This serves to pose a new question- if going to another planet is the best chance for our survival, should humans care that this may entail ruining the new planet as well? Are we obligated to preserve the life of possible foreign species, or should we value our own survival over that of anything found on other planets?
There are two sides to the argument about foreign life- those that believe that, since there is no sign of sentient or intelligent life on nearby planets, we shouldn’t care about our possible effect on their ecosystems. Others argue that exterminating even unintelligent species of foreign life should be avoided if at all possible. Additionally, even if colonization was not the main cause for a visit, bringing other life to until-then-unexplored planets is potentially easily done and very damaging. Without meaning to, humans could harm or even destroy the ecosystems on these planets.
Another argument to be considered is the possibility that human colonization, however damaging it may be, is more humane than colonization by some other civilization. If this is to be believed, it seems almost a given that humans should colonize as many other places as possible, since our, at least initial, purpose would be solely our survival. Unfortunately, the chances of our purposes staying focused solely on survival seems somewhat slim- looking back through human history.
There is also the possibility of other life colonizing other planets, or Earth for that matter, before we can colonize those other planets first. Humans are likely not alone in the pursuit of survival, and it is likely that other civilizations may be just as self-destructive to their own planets as we have been to ours. If this is the case, these civilizations have just as much of a chance at colonizing the planets surrounding us as we do, and could therefore take away our chances at survival. This implies that colonization should be done as soon as possible, to limit the chance of other civilizations colonizing available planets before we can.
However, no matter what possible future decisions seem the best, there may always be a few (or many) people that will strive for colonization. Despite any concerns that may arise, humans will always strive towards survival, and if colonization seems the surest way to survive, there will be people determined to follow through with it.
- Mary Garrett