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12 Problems Solved

“The natural resources of Terra were so vast and varied that it was easy to assume that they would never run out. But this was an illusion, and as more and more Terrans sought to exploit the resources of their homeworld to expand personal wealth and power, the more Terra fell into the tragedy of the commons. Individuals and groups who focused more on economic and ideological competition rather than productive cooperation could not conceive of the damage they wrought by externalizing costs while aggregating gains.”

“The worst problem was at first only recognized by a small number of scientists of nature. The climate of Terra was changing. Centuries of consumption during the Dark Ages, of exploiting resources in the most convenient and inefficient and hence destructive ways, had altered the ecological balance that had prevailed from early in the planet’s history. At first the changes were subtle, insignificant changes in insignificant elements — metals and gases, for example — that inspired little concern.”

“Until they were able to utilize the resources of the ConSci, climatologists could not comprehensively describe and explain the causes and consequences of irresponsible exploitation. They brought together disparate research and used Extrapolators in a truly innovative way to project possibilities into the future. It was more than the scientific sterility of prediction: it was prophecy, and inspired Terrans like never before. It took barely a century to outline and address the worst of societal ills, of poverty and inequality and so on, and a smidgen more than twice that to register a significant reversal of the damage to Terra herself.”

“The dawn of the Golden Age found Terrans not only solving problems both known and unacknowledged, but also exploring creative and innovative solutions to the challenges they were only beginning to imagine. And their imagination found the energy to reach out to the stars.”

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