The Consequences of Living Longer

Perhaps you’d never consider the prospect of living forever. But today human beings are living longer than ever. In the early 1800s when life was very different and much more difficult the average lifespan was around 30 years. With the prevalence of technological advancements that of improved quality of life as well as advancements in medicine, people are living as long as 110 years or longer. Logistically, what are the ramifications associated with our longevity as a species? And how to we overcome them?

Population explosion

The population of mankind on the planet is fast approaching 7 billion with the availability of resources grossly unequal. Access to clean drinking water, availability of food and access to adequate medical care in specific regions of the world remain a problem that is not easily resolved. As advanced as we are as a civilization it’s difficult to understand how thousands of people are still dying of starvation. But even a breakthrough that provides food and clean drinking water and access to medical care to those living in less fortunate countries would only add to the problem of our ever exploding world population.

Mass extinction of indigenous species

In the lush marshlands of Florida introduction of the python is having a devastating effect upon the indigenous wildlife. With no real natural predators, the numbers of anacondas in Florida have gone out of control. The only real solution to the python problem in Florida has been to hunt and kill them. Like the anacondas in Florida, mankind has had a devastating effect on the indigenous wildlife across the planet. As we continue to expand and move into the natural wildlife environments the wildlife are pushed ever farther toward extinction.

Epidemics and plagues

Mass epidemics have tormented mankind since his early beginnings. Throughout history we have documented where millions have died as a result of plague. But advancements in medical treatment, sterilization during medical practice in the eradication of viruses and diseases we have greatly reduced the threat of plague upon mankind. But we are still at risk. Scientists warn us that the flu virus is becoming increasingly more resistant to our vaccinations with each passing season. Diagnoses of antibiotic resistant pneumococcal pneumonia are increasing every year. Within 30 years airborne transmission of antibiotic resistant viruses could result in mass death on a global scale. Terrorism is also a factor. Biological agents used as weapons against populations are our new reality.

The consequences of our longer life spans upon our environment are affecting us as a species today. We must find solutions to these consequences if we are to continue to exist as a species on this planet.

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