Earth at Night

In the 21st century most humans live in the flicker.

Europe at Night South America at Night North America at Night Asia at Night Oceania at Night

 

A hundred years ago it looked very different; a hundred years from now it may look very different.

Population was 1.8 billion in 1916 and per capita consumption of stuff and energy is now about 10x higher,
so a hundred years ago the lights would have been about 1/40th as bright. After peak brightness, then what?

“Like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker.”
― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

 

Retrieved via Way Forward Machine, from Wikipedia 2154. 

 

"Increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid."
Letters to Lucilius #91, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 64 CE 

 


As a recent convert to Ecomodernism, I interpret the above to indicate that as we of the Anthropocene becomes evermore prosperous, amateur astronomy becomes so popular that the Dark-Sky Movement's demand that all have a right to view the night sky's heavenly wonders leads to a compromise: All human-scape areas where people want a well-lit life are domed. Roads between cities become tunnels, ask Elon Musk how. Areas outside of city domes will be restored to Nature. Envision honeycombed domes hundreds of meters thick containing the robotic control systems. The domes, small ones covering towns, vast ones covering cities, are each covered with soil and native vegetation where the deer and the buffalo again roam. A few hold-out Eloi may refuse to use fusion or clean nuclear power and cluster around hydroelectric sources because they don't believe in human exceptionalism nor value dark skies. They who live with the animals will become as animals. The decoupling of techno-modern human life from nature will be completed in the near future. I used to be a growth apostate because at times I'd rather know than believe, but believing feels so much BETTER!, so I'm determined to remain a true believer—at least until after breakfast.


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