Terraforming Planet Earth

I got the thread of this idea from a permablitz newsletter, and have expanded on it somewhat.  Just go with the flow, and no plagerism is intended.

Wikipedia describes it as follows:

Terraforming (literally, “Earth-shaping”) of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to those of Earth to make it habitable by humans.

Not quite possible yet, however many sci-fi books have been written about the subject.  Also quite a few Star Trek episodes have covered off the process of terraforming (Search for Spock comes to mind on planet Genesis). 

You may think that terraforming is out there in sci-fi land, but have a think about it.  On a global scale we are reverse-terraforming our one and only planet as I write this post.  I think that this is all very strange that humanity is trying is darnedest to stuff up this planet and making it uninhabitable to humans.  Ever increasing volumes of greenhouse gasses being pumped into the atmosphere, the polluting of our oceans and decimation of fish species by overfishing, the mass extinction of nearly every mammal on the planet (except our own), and overpopulation by humans.  All of these events have begun to erode the habitat for the very species who began the process.  That would be you and I for those who haven’t figured it out yet!

So here is a question to all of you.  Do you think we can begin to terraform our own planet back into a habitable environment?  Well, famous sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson, of the Red Mars, Blue Mars, Green Mars trilogy, says we should start thinking about terraforming planet Earth.  He says that permaculture is a way to terraform for the better. 

He goes on to say;

“It would be really good if ecological and permaculture principles were taught in schools as a basic part of the science curriculum and one’s general education. I think to an extent this is happening, it’s getting more common to learn ecology and earth sciences by studying where your food and water come from, and the energy and carbon and water cycles, and so on. These educational basics are needed to make sense of the oncoming problems of this century. It would help also if this education led to a more realistic economics, in which there wasn’t so much false pricing based on theft from the future generations. This would take legislation and run into opposition from “free enterprise” (read free to steal from the future).

Making things cost what they really cost; this would be part of any real solution.”

You can read the full interview with Kim Stanley Robinson here.

I also believe that by learning the principles of permaculture we can change the way we look at the environment around us. 

So instead of dreaming of changing distant planets to become the new haven for humans, why don’t we focus on saving our existing planet and learn as much as we can about living on the land sustainably.  This is the very essence of permaculture, creating a sustainble place to live that can feed and nurture its enhabitance. 

What are you waiting for?  Lets get to it.  We certainly don’t need Khan or the Genesis device to start this big bang!

P.S.  Did I ever tell you that I like Star Trek? :-)


  1. says

    That’s an interesting new way to define terraforming. I agree that there is a lot to be done by thinking more sustainably – it would certainly be a shift from what most people are trying to use to change the planet’s composition. And there are a lot fewer risks of side-effects or unexpected consequences than in the traditional approach to the term.

  2. says

    That’s an interesting take on terraforming, Gav – I like it! Scaring people about the future usually makes them freeze like a rabbit in the headlights, but putting it like a cool, sci-fi challenge seems more inspiring to me.

  3. says

    I agree wholeheartedly. We need to change our thinking. But I always come back to the same question – How do we encourage people to change when they don’t want to or don’t care? They aren’t scared enough.

    Terra forming definitely sounds good.

    The needs of the One outweigh the needs of the many.

  4. says

    I’m with you Gav, we need to encourage people to do their little bits to help our Earth and slam those who actively deceive the general population about environmental issues.

    We all need to be a little less in a hurry, slow down , take a step back and correct the mistakes.

    Terra forming sounds good.

    Live Long and Prosper

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