It was interesting to hear the argument that Tyson made about why humans would never make it to mars. I believe he argues that we would never reach mars because our society would sooner spend money funding a world war or are more likely to have a ruler fund the construction of a masterpiece such as the Taj Mahal. Given that we have not yet landed on Mars, Rees responds that this is likely the case because society cannot comprehend the urgency of climate change– it currently has far too gradual an impact on human life. It was interested to hear him argue that as catastrophic as a World War would be, at the very least it would be alarming enough to unify people in spending a large amount of money. He cites COVID as a similar example of a tragic event, but one that engages and motivates all of society.
If I were the interviewer, I might ask a follow up question to the interviewers' about what it was, barring a wolrd war or a world wonder, that prevented us from going to Mars. I would ask what level of immediacy is necessary to motivate humans to take action. Are events like natural disasters/world wars/etc., where the impact is immediately felt by most individuals the only types of events that are able to instigate change. Also, is there anything that might be able to encourage humans to feel the impact of events like climate change, even if the immediate effects will not be felt by most individuals for years?
I find your question and comments really interesting, however on the contrary i believe that our society is already spending too much money on space travel. I understand Rees's point on the urgency of climate change, but the concept of finding a suitable planet that he proposes falls upon the idea of ditching earth and escaping to another.
There are many risks and gambles involved in doing so, firstly we have little to no information about the long term history of many of these planets and base many of our conclusios on speculation. Second, if we cannot reach nor find a planet in time, the investments made into space travel would have been a waste, and we would be doomed to die with our planet.
Instead of space travel, would it not be wiser to invest in our own planets survival first, and then possibly expand into space travel?
Super intrigued to hear about Tyson's argument - I think the lack of urgency regarding climate change characterizes much of human action today. Society is constantly putting climate change on the backburner to focus on more "urgent" political and social initiatives, but forgets that without productive work to combat global warming we may not be able to go forward with any of these initiatives. This reminds me of what Gina McCarthy said in her interview (https://www.labxchange.org/library/pathway/lx-pathway:825945a0-367c-45dc-82b7-3d160c6e6f7a/items/lx-pb:825945a0-367c-45dc-82b7-3d160c6e6f7a:lx_simulation:6113c65e?source=%2Flibrary%2Fclusters%2Flx-cluster%3AModernPrediction) about how messaging on climate change must be relevant to individual's lives in order to be salient. Effective advocacy starts with eliminating the focus on these more trivial problems and shifting towards the more urgent problem of climate change.