World-renowned physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) left behind a trail of famous quotes, wise words, and inspirational sayings before his death. But he’s also known for his real talk, telling audiences that humankind is greedy and a threat to the planet. In 2016, during an interview with Larry King of the Larry King Now talk show, Hawking said that humankind is greedy and has always been its own greatest problem. We are consciously careening too close to a time when climate change would be irreversible, and sadly, there is no breakthrough in sight.
“We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid,” Hawking said . “Six years ago I was worrying about pollution and overcrowding. They have gotten worse since then. The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting [six years prior], with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100.
In another interview with BBC, Hawking said, “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”…
“Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent if we act now.”
Interplanetary relocation as the only plausible solution
While there may still be a chance to save the earth, Hawking was convinced that humankind is greedy and would never see reasons to take solid, united and well-targeted actions. In his words, “[…]evolution has inbuilt greed and aggression to the human genome. There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarized technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous.”
The only way to preserve our species would be to secure some sort of backup planet for a time when the earth would become completely inhabitable.
“The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space.”
On pollution and AI abuse
Hawking mentioned that air pollution was getting rapidly out of hand as the growth curve had taken a steady climb in the past five years.
“Air pollution has increased over the past five years,” he said . “More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.”
Air pollution is the largest contributor to climate. The major cause of air pollution today is fossil fuel combustion, a by-product of industrialization and as humankind has ruled it, there’s no turning back from the advancements of the modern era.
Hawking also discussed Artificial intelligence with King, stating that world governments are dangerously engaging in “an AI arms race.”