The rise of humans has unfolded in a very specific niche of physical geography -- a "just right" combination of temperatures, precipitation, continental positions, atmospheric chemistry, and existing organisms. Could we take this show on the road even if we wanted to? This piece from Aeon argues that humans will not be able to live off Earth for sustained periods of time because of differences in the underlying physical geography, including biogeography..
"Given all our technological advances, it’s tempting to believe we are approaching an age of interplanetary colonisation. But can we really leave Earth and all our worries behind? No. ... What Earth-like means in astronomy textbooks and what it means to someone considering their survival prospects on a distant world are two vastly different things. We don’t just need a planet roughly the same size and temperature as Earth; we need a planet that spent billions of years evolving with us. We depend completely on the billions of other living organisms that make up Earth’s biosphere. Without them, we cannot survive. ... In fact, we would have been unable to survive on Earth for around 90 per cent of its history; the oxygen-rich atmosphere that we depend on is a recent feature of our planet. ... The only reason we find Earth habitable now is because of the vast and diverse biosphere that has for hundreds of millions of years evolved with and shaped our planet into the home we know today. ... We are complex lifeforms with complex needs. We are entirely dependent on other organisms for all our food and the very air we breathe. ... The only reason we find Earth habitable now is because of the vast and diverse biosphere that has for hundreds of millions of years evolved with and shaped our planet into the home we know today. Our continued survival depends on the continuation of Earth’s present state without any nasty bumps along the way. We are complex lifeforms with complex needs. We are entirely dependent on other organisms for all our food and the very air we breathe."
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