“If all insects disappeared, life would vanish from Earth. If humans disappeared, all life would flourish.”
It’s only natural that we should hold our own interests above others, as a species or individuals. Nobody thinks we should resort to suicide to save the ant eaters. By comparison, life has managed to carry on for 4,000,000,000 years, give or take, without posing such a grave threat to itself. Why? It’s in our own vested interest not to wipe out life on Earth, because our grand children will need to live here, too. The insects know this. We know this, you and I – it’s only as a crowd that we lose sight. And it’s only when we become drunk on money (and oil!) that short term thinking is allowed to have a devastating impact on the long term.
Biology does everything it needs, from sonar to decalcification, with a limited subset of the periodic table. We use all of those elements, plus the toxic ones. Our effect on other life should be a wake up call to the effect we’re having on ourselves. Not only is the globe generally getting warmer, but asthma is a growing problem from air pollution, cancer from hair products and foods, etc.
We need to figure out how not to destroy ourselves (and everything else with us), because even if we have the technology in time, I don’t think very many of us will be happy trying to colonize space. Being confined to a space shuttle for years at a time can’t be that unlike prison.