RE: Will humans go extinct in 100 years?
The comments here certainly do get interesting at times.
First, of our 4 options, it's unlikely we'll go extinct as a species, unless we have a massive extinction, like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. It is quite possible, even likely we might say, that civilization as we know it, will collapse, as it has done numerous times before. But a collapse of civilization is our third option, not the first one.
Our second option is sustainability. Incredible as it will seem to many people, there are existing sustainable human societies on this planet. They are very few and far between, that much is certain. I know of 5. But to contrast Easter Island, my favourite must be the island of Tikopia. The Tikopians are from the same polynesian stock as the Easter Islanders were. However, while the Easter Islanders arrived at a large island with massive resources which they then squanderred away in a pointless competition to see who could build the biggest shrine, the Tikopians arrived at a small island (1.5sq.miles) with limited resources. Realizing that they would need to work together in order to survive, they created a cooperative society. They also developped the most advanced form of agricuture of anywhere in the world being able to support 972 people per acre of arable land with minimal maintenance. All this using "pagan rituals" and a so-called lack of "scientific knowledge". Humans then were not so different from humans now. A lack of formalized scientific methodology did not make them stupid. Humans have used "science" long before we have had a name for it. Humans try something (experimentation or trial), observe the results (observation), and build knowledge from there. If the results were not to their liking (error), they try something else. "Trial and Error" are an early form of the scientific method. Because of the restrictriveness of their environment, the Tikopians saw quickly when they made a mistake and were thus able to take immediate corrective action. They did not turn to religion to hide from their mistakes the way many societies have done in the past. In this way, they were quite scientific even without formal modern science. They also realized early on that if population growth was not controlled, they would soon have more mouths to feed than food available. A doctrine of zero population growth became central to their society. Their society existed for over 3000 years when the Portugese came, bringing christianity, and a doctrine of "go forth and multiply". With a population increase of a mere 11%, the island had its first famine in its verbal history. They returned to their "pagan" principle of zero population growth very quickly since they knew it meant survival. They did not trust the christian god for his doctrine had failled them.
I like Tikopia best of all of the sustainable societies I have looked at. Their island is the closest thing to paradise on Earth of anywhere. They do virtually no work. Disease was a rarity until the white man came. They have no wars and until the aforementionned episode with the Portugese missionaries, no famine. It's a virtually stress-free life, but a very happy and fulfilling one. They are amongst the most culturally advanced peoples on the planet. And they are proof that sustainable societies are possible. It just requires humans to actually think about the impact of all of their actions.
Our third option, of die-backs caused by resource wars, famine, and disease/pestilence (the 4 horsemen of the apocolyspe for you christians out there) has been the human method of population control for a very long time. Unlike the Tikopians who could see the effects they had on their environment relatively immediately, we do not see the effects we have on our environment for generations. And so, we over breed until we exceed our resources. With more mouths to feed than food immediately available, we get famines. People will raid others rather than go hungry, and thus we have wars. Starvation will weaken people thus making them susceptible to diseases, and thus we have pestilence. And because of famine, war, and pestilence, we have, in large numbers, death. When you look at the Rwandan genocide, or the Black Plague for example, in detail, you see the same pattern. Too many people, not enough food, and all hell breaks loose. This story has repeated itself over and over again in history, and it is sure to do so again. And when this happens to a civilization, like the Mayans, or the Anazai, that civilization, no matter how advanced it is, collapses. Only this time, given the weapons of war that are available, we could easily extinct ourselves. Which is why we must avoid this option.
The fourth option of migrating into space is one I've always dreamed of for myself. However, while we might make it to the moon, or Mars, we're going to need to come up with closed environments where we can grow enough food, produce enough breathable air, and so on. This requires a massive step towards sustainability. To travel to the stars will require generation ships, and for those generation ships to succeed, because of limited air, water, and food, the societies living aboard them are going to need to be sustainable. Over population will kill them faster than anything on this planet. But if we've managed to develop such a sustainable society to allow us to migrate to the stars, then, unless groups of us destroy this world first, we won't need to.
So our only real options for survival are options 2 and 3/1.
If we choose option 3, the apocoplyse will come, as it has many times in the past. But this time, it won't be a minor local apocalypse, it'll be a major global apocalypse which, given the number of weapons of mass destruction, could wipe out all life on this planet. And like every preceeding apocalypse, the survivors, if there are any this time around, will create a new and better society which will seem like "Heaven on Earth".
But unless we want to continue the cycle of die-backs, we'll need to choose option 2. It's possible, but I'll be the first to say, it won't be easy. By choosing this option, just as the Tikopians created a paradise on their small island, we will turn the entire planet into a paradise, a veritable "Heaven on Earth".
But those who will create this "Heaven on Earth" are not those who look to God or their Messiah to save them from their own irresponsible behaviour. It will be created by those who take full responsibility for their actions, who demonstrate that they are the kind of people who would be good caretakers of the Garden of Eden.