So as is the usual way of things I was wasting time and reading things on the internet. This time it was from Wait But Why (it updates every sometime!). Specifically, this post about the Fermi Paradox.
The Fermi Paradox is the one that says, according to maths and statistics and what we've observed, there must be a whole lot of stars and planets like our own, so there must be alien civilisations out there - so where are they? We've never seen any or talked to any or made strange hand gestures at each other.
There are lots of theories but the bit I'm interested in comes in three parts.
Part 1 - Any sort of intelligent life, way before it builds a world-spanning civilisation, must come to a point where it looks around at itself and makes the realisation, "HOLY SHIT WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE ARRRRRRG!!!"
Part 2 - There are theoretical classifications of civilisations. Class 1 is a civilisation that is using all the energy resources of the home planet. Class 2 is a civ that uses all the energy resources of the solar system. Class 3 is a civ that uses all the energy resources of the galaxy.
Part 3 - If there actually aren't any other super-advanced alien civilisations out there, then there must be some sort of Great Filter. This is some sort of evolutionary or civilisation goalpost that is exceptionally difficult to get past. The idea is, the reason why we haven't talked to any super-advanced aliens is because hardly anybody ever gets past this Great Filter.
There's all sorts of theories about this Great Filter and what it is and if it exists, and if it does, if we're already past it or if it's yet to come.
My idea was: Hey, wait. What if the Great Filter is getting past Class 1? This is where you're using all the energy resources of the home planet. Going past Class 1 is going to be difficult. It'll put great stresses on the home planet's ability to support the civilisation. It will also put great stresses on the civilisation, as it realises its home planet can no longer support it.
Gosh, hm, this sounds very familiar.
If there is one lot of people in the civilisation that says "We're fine there's no problem!!" and another lot of people screaming "OH FOR GODS SAKE DO SOMETHING OR WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE AND WE KILL THE PLANET ARRRRRRG!!!" and they can't agree, then just how possible is it for this civilisation to get past Class 1?
OK let's stop beating around the bush - how possible is it for *us*, the humans that live on this planet, to get past Class 1?