By Robert Lynch
My ship dropped through the clouds and landed in a remote area. I checked that the cloak was working fine (they are finicky things cloaks), which it was, so I put on my hologram generator and took my speeder to the nearest big city.
What an interesting world this was. Prosperous certainly, but completely preoccupied with things and stuff. The people are focused on spending their days doing repetitive tasks to gain theoretical tokens which they use to barter for material goods. A few move into research and unlock new things, but the pace of progress is slow.
As they slowly move towards becoming a level 1 society, their planet is paying the price for their lethargy. The process of becoming a sentient species always goes through a period of rapid consumption. Still, the focus on material wealth as a status symbol has slowed the process of shifting to renewable and recyclable processes. As a result, the air has a high concentration of nitrates, methane, and sulphates that result in an unbalanced biosphere. It seems that atmospheric CO2 has doubled in the last four generations, resulting in higher mean temperatures and the destabilisation of the polar regions. Species loss is at an alarming rate, the levels of mass extinction.
It is an alarming study in contrast to our own society. Material wealth never held status with us as individuals, and as a result, we never paused at this dangerous stage of development. It is easy to see how close sentient species are to disaster during this period of development.
I recommend more study be done on “Earth” as the natives call it. They may turn out of the tailspin and flourish, or they may embrace more sustainable practices. It will definitely be interesting study material.