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Twenty minutes read. 

Most of us struggle with seeing things from a different perspective but our perception of how the world is changing matters for what we believe is possible in the future.

So the purpose of this post is an attempt to take the complexity of the world and simplify it into some sort of graphic that will either help you understand it or motivate you to do something differently.

Dire predictions for the future are nothing new. There is a connection between our perception of the past and our hope for the future.

When one considers our world from a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

The state of the world today with Social media and profit-seeking algorithms is one of distrust. There are things that are certain in this world and there are lots of uncertainty attached to many things. Sometimes the only way to understand the world at its extremes is to put it in terms we use every day.

The fact is that at least two of the world’s largest powers have been at war with each other more than 50% of the time since about 1500. 

The only problem we have here is us and therefore we cannot kill our way to a solution.

The Earth is about 3.5 million times larger than a human.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Here’s what we’ve got.

We see our earth as big, and in a relative way, it is.

There are about 7 billion people currently on Earth.  Over its existence, around 106 billion people have lived on Earth.

It exists on a blue dot, 24,901 miles in circumference that is over 4 1/2 billion years old, weighing in a 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds (or 5,974,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms)

(Since Earth is too big to be placed on a scale, scientists use mathematics and the laws of gravity to figure out Earth’s weight.)

It has a solid iron ball in the middle that is 1,500 miles wide. 

It makes up about 0.0003% of the total mass of our solar system.

75% of the Earth is covered in water only 2.5 per cent of it is fresh essential for producing food, clothing, and computers, moving our waste stream, and keeping us and the environment healthy.

About 321 billion gallons per day of surface water is used by humans.

Humans who are just 0.01% of all life have destroyed 83% of wild mammals.

Plants overshadow everything, representing 82% of all living matter. All other creatures, from insects to fungi, to fish and animals, make up just 5% of the world’s biomass.

It takes light a little over 8 light-minutes to travel from the Sun to Earth and it can circle our planet about seven and a half times in a single second.

Our closest star is Proxima Centauri at a distance of four light-years.

The Milky Way itself is about 100,000 light-years across and is home to about 400 billion stars.

(A light-year is the distance light travels in one Earth year. One light-year is about 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km). That is a 6 with 12 zeros behind it!)

According to the Big bang theory which happened about 13.7 billion years ago all the matter in the universe came into existence at the same time.

So anything can serve as a symbol as long as it refers to something beyond itself.

In our daily activities to give such things more than a passing glance.

However, our planet only seems large until we take a look at the rest of the cosmos around us.

Where do start? Its age., its place in the cosmic, or it’s future.

“Statistical facts don’t come to people naturally. Quite the opposite.

We’re visual creatures.

So perhaps a sense of scale might help.

Let’s start with a few comparisons

Life on Earth first emerged about 600 million years and we are the first generations whose decisions will determine for good or ill the future of human life on this planet, and we seem stuck in a way of thinking that is obsolete in a globalized world of growing populations. The widespread ignorance about these truly important changes in the world feeds into a general discontent about how the world is changing.

To our brains, a million, billion, and trillion all seem like large, vague numbers. 

Today (January 2020) Bill Gates fortune amounts to around $108,5 billion around 0.5% of the GDP of the United States. By the time I complete this post, $1436400 amount will be added to his net worth and is predicted to hit the trillion mark by the age of 86.

If you are one of the so-called “rich” and you were lucky enough to make a million dollars per year, it would take you almost 80,000 YEARS to catch up. 

We share the Earth with an estimated 1 quadrillion ants. Insects outweigh us by a factor of 17.

For every human, there are about one million ants and the total weight termites are more than the weight of all the humans in the world. They alone make up 10% of all animal biomass and 95% of soil and insect biomass in tropical regions.­ Colonies of multi-drug resistant EBSL E. coli

Bacteria were one of the first life forms to appear on Earth, about 3.8 billion years ago, and they will most likely survive long after humans are gone.

The number of bacteria on our planet is estimated to be five million trillion trillion – that’s a five with 30 zeroes after it.

All the bacteria on Earth combined are about 1,166 times more massive than all the humans. For every human walking over the face of the planet. 

Bacteria are the huddled masses of the microbial world, performing tasks that include everything from causing diseases to fixing nitrogen in the soil.

The number of bacteria makes the globe’s human population look downright puny.

Because the number of bacteria is so large, events that would occur once in 10 billion years in the laboratory would occur every second somewhere on the Earth.

We may have been underestimating our own humanness for the past several decades when it comes to Bacteria. The average human has over 100 trillion microbes in and on their body microbial cells outnumber human cells in your body by a ratio of around 10:1.

Our modus operandi was to kill them, rather than synchronize with them.

Bills and coins are the best way to transfer bacteria between people worldwide; 

The debate over the microbiome will rage on, as the fear of the invisible and little understood will drive the masses in the short-term.

It is a fact that bacteria live in a whole series of worlds which stretch our imagination, be it the clouds in the sky, an Antarctic ice flow, a 100 degree C hot sulphur spring, 10 km down at the bottom of the sea, 1500 m below the surface of the earth in solid rock, in a rotting peach, in the roots of plants, the stomachs of animals and even your mouth, bacteria can be found there.

The vast majority of life is land-based and a large chunk – an eighth – is bacteria buried deep below the surface but bacteria also now found circling the Earth in the most upper layers of our atmosphere.

Recent findings on animal-bacteria interactions will likely require biologists to significantly alter their view of the fundamental nature of the entire biosphere.

“And that’s the way it is.”

My preference would be to avoid mentioning any ratio at all – you don’t need to it convey the importance of the microbiome. 

Some 70 per cent of the global consumption of the drugs are used in animal and fish farming and to spray on crops.

Antibiotics in the environment do not do any good, they only contribute to risks which we are now witnessing with the Coronavirus. A rapidly spreading virus that is establishing itself across the world through international travel, trade and tourism.

We are now living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than

previously thought.  No matter what process you think you are studying, you

must look for and consider a major role for bacteria. 

The World Bank has estimated that drug-resistant infections could cost the world economy $1 trillion every year after 2030.

By 2050 costing the world around $100 trillion in lost output: more than the size of the current world economy, and roughly equivalent to the world losing the output of the UK economy every year, for 35 years not to mention killing an extra 10 million people across the world every year.

Back to earth.

This is what a quadrillion looks like written out: 1,000,000,000,000,000.

If it survives us it has 6.5 billion years before the sun (which is 92,960,000 miles away) about 109 times larger than the earth. That means you could fit around 1.3 million earth’s inside the sun which is actually considered a dwarf star — By contrast, UY Scuti is the largest star we humans are aware of; it is a hypergiant around 1.7 billion miles in diameter. UY Scuti is around 5 billion times larger than our sun.

Its no wonder we a pixel.

The diameter of our solar system is around 5,580,000,000,000 miles — that is, about five and a half trillion miles across.  Expanding outward from here, we have to start talking about things in terms of light-years, as the scale is just too massive to discuss in miles. (One light-year is about 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km).

Our Milky Way Galaxy is about 100,000 light-years in diameter of which since the dawn of man we have observed the equivalent of the top of rubber on a pencil.

This is about one 24-millionth of the entire night sky visible from earth.

The diameter of the observable universe is estimated at about 28 billion parsecs (93 billion light-years).

Ok, the numbers are pretty hard to comprehend even when you know what each unit represents. To even think of how long 10 trillion kilometres might be, let alone 93 billion times that distance, can cause your brain to hurt.

Earth, in turn, is nothing more than a molecule in the incomprehensibly vast cosmic ocean. 

Without a global jurisdiction, no government can enforce any kind of coherent rights doctrine, particularly in the face of borderless problems like terrorism or environmental crisis. 

It is up to the people of earth to dissolve the strains between each-other in an equitable, harmonious way. 

The planet you were born on is dying.

We’re on a timeline that leaves little space for politicians to gamble. This is a world that requires nations, corporations and individuals to think not in terms of quarterly reports or midterm elections, but in decades.

For transformative change to be possible, we sometimes need marginalized peoples to speak out, in a loud voice, against the status quo.

The guardians for future generations, representing the children of 2050, can be that voice that says we are spending too much on conflict and too little on peace.

Thus  as Irving John Good said, “The survival of man depends on the early construction of an ultra-intelligent machine.” 

“The first ultra-intelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.”

If I took a personal guess the way we are going there will be no need for such an intelligent machine as there will be nothing to be intelligent with.