An unpopular opinion: moving to Mars is a horrible idea
By Naveena Movva
Look alive people, the end is nigh!
Okay, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, planet Earth is slightly under the weather. Among the Earth’s rapidly lengthening list of ailments are global warming, rapid overpopulation, and the unrestrained, unsustainable use of depleting natural resources. And while we may like to pretend otherwise, we are all aware of these facts.
Our views of what a future on Earth will be like are changing, moulding themselves to reflect these inconvenient truths. Evidence of our increasingly bleak outlook can be drawn from that most reliable of sources, pop culture.
Until about 2010, we had a predominately hopeful view of future Earthling society: Back to the Future, Futurama, Meet the Robinsons, and even The Jonas Brothers’ iconic cover of Year 3000, all present depictions of a technologically advanced and thriving society.
The most frightening part of Futurama’s future world is the lawyering…
Fast forward ten years, and we have gone from imagining a future filled with floating vehicles and teleportation devices to predictions of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. One may confidently predict that the year 2050 will see us forced to fight to the death over a crusty scrap of Coles-brand garlic bread – potentially in a heavily marketed and widely televised death match (hello Hunger Games). And although I’d never say no to some garlic bread, I’m left asking myself where it all went wrong.
If this is the future we have to look forward to, how exactly would moving to Mars fix anything? It’s a band-aid solution at best. Realistically, how will a Mars colonisation be a practical long-term solution? For one, Mars is roughly half the size of Earth, and it unlikely that the Earth’s rapidly expanding population will fit on the smaller planet (sometimes size does matter). A Martian colonisation could lead to a dangerously Elysium-esque situation where the richest of Earth’s inhabitants are able to move to the newly colonised planet, leaving the rest of us to rot and decay in a disease-infested death pit. Do I want to live in a death pit? No! That’s why I’m not at Johns! But if we go down, then we all better be going down together!
The point I’m trying to make is that the establishment of a Martian colony would represent a lack of understanding of the issues we face, and very little possibility of change and growth. If we were to invest time, money and resources into a Mars colonisation, I want to know that it would be worth it: Without dealing with the root causes of the problems we’ve caused on Earth, any colony would be afflicted by the same limitations of Earth.
While the argument can be made that moving to Mars might be an opportunity to make good some of our mistakes on Earth, I struggle to see what is preventing us from making those changes now. David Attenborough didn’t go to all the trouble of filming Blue Planet II so that we could squander what can still be salvaged from our planet.
Blue Planet II shows the natural beauty of Earth, a planet Naveena Movva says we shouldn’t abandon just yet.
Let’s face it; we really haven’t thought this through. “But Naveena!”, you cry, “What is the alternative? We can’t just stay on a dying planet!” Yes. Yes we can, and we absolutely should. A few centuries from now we might have destroyed the planet beyond recognition and to the point of no return but let’s go out with some dignity, damn it! We created this mess, and we should deal with the consequences of our actions – it’s the adult thing to do.