The Future

  • Filipe Duarte SantosEmail author
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


Although deeply involved in the affairs of the present and near future—hours, days, weeks, months, or even a few years—people also ask themselves about the middle and long term future — a decade, decades, a century, or several centuries. Clearly, the former time scales are of vital importance, while the middle and long term future is irrelevant to the majority of the human population, especially those who live on the edge of survival. However, in the 21st century, more than in the past, there are many human activities with serious cumulative impacts on the Earth system and on the depletion of natural resources, and these will manifest themselves in a marked way in the middle to long term. Some of these impacts may even be irreversible on time scales that are long compared to the average duration of a human generation, on the order of thousands of years. Moreover, they are likely to aggravate the current inequalities in social and economic development, increase poverty and hunger on a global level, and raise the risk of critical and dangerous situations in the future.


Black Hole Solar System Switch Grass Synthetic Biology White Dwarf 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fac. Ciêncas Depto. FísicaUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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