“It’s an irreversible situation. I think it’s too late,” said 95-year-old Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, who helped eradicate smallpox from the planet. “I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.”
Britain’s astronomer-royal and president of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, questions whether humans are smart enough to use what they have learned to save themselves.
He warns that the promise of extended life-spans through medicine, and prosperity through economic growth, could easily lead to oblivion by using up Earth’s resources and changing the planet’s climate.
The planet has existed for 45 million centuries, Lord Rees said on BBC radio. “But this is the first when one species, ours, can determine – for good or for ill – the future of the entire biosphere.”
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