General Question

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

If you had to choose between survival of your species or survival of your planet, which would you choose, and why?

Asked by Skaggfacemutt (9785points) May 22nd, 2014

This hypothetical question came to me as I was reading another question here about extinction and human ravages on the planet. So if it would take the obliteration of the human race to return the planet to pristine condition, would that be the goal? Or would the condition of the planet not matter if humans were not here to enjoy it?

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71 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

The planet, no contest.

mazingerz88's avatar

On my deathbed, I will choose the survival of Earth.

jerv's avatar

My answer depends heavily on my mood.

Bill1939's avatar

No choice is necessary, as unless humans radically change their behavior, the planet will remove us and heal itself

ucme's avatar

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones to make a brighter day, so let’s start givi…
I hate that fucking song, save the planet!

JLeslie's avatar

My guess is once we remove ourselves the planet will heal, so I am going to go with save the species, assuming we are travelling to another place at least temporarily. My hope Is that saves both the species and the planet in the end.

mazingerz88's avatar

I wish Keanu Reeves in The Day The Earth Stood Still would show up and solve the dilemma for us. : )

flip86's avatar

There was a show I used to watch called Life After People. It was a pretty cool show. They used CGI to show what would happen to major cities 10 days to 1000 years after people. It was on Netflix for a while a few years ago. Not sure if it still is or not. Part of me wishes it would come true. With me as the sole survivor of course.

Paradox25's avatar

It’s a catch 22 because we’re screwed without the planet and a healthy environment anyways.

RocketGuy's avatar

@mazingerz88 – as Keanu Revees said: If man dies, Earth lives; if Earth dies, man dies.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Species of course.

We cannot expect the Earth to be a adequate steward of humankind forever.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

And Keanu is just going to let you keep your laptop…

Coloma's avatar

The Planet. I’d love nothing more than to see a return to the garden minus hominids. I think flora and fauna, minus the ship of fools would be ideal.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^You are aware what you’re suggesting isn’t your decision to make for the rest of us, right?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If evolution is true, man will adapt, go with the survival of man.

Coloma's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Well…if I had to choose between the survival of my species and the plant, guess you go down by default since that’s the question and my answer is the planet. lol

josie's avatar

I like living, thus I am a fan of humanity.
Maybe the people who wish all the humans would go away should in fact do away with themselves. That would free up lots of green jobs, cut down on the number of cars, and increase land for organic farming for the rest of us to enjoy. If you hate yourself so much, why put up with yourself?

ragingloli's avatar

Hate myself? No, I hate YOU.

josie's avatar


Pretty strong stuff…

Crazydawg's avatar

Species. My species depends on the survival of the planet we live on so if our species is to survive so will our planet. A true win-win situation.

wildpotato's avatar

Planet, no contest. Though I discovered when I found this site a while back that I’m not quite ready to put my reproductive rights where my mouth is and join.

talljasperman's avatar

Half and half.

Coloma's avatar

Okay…humor humor, nobody flip out
What say I select a couple dozen of the finest young specimens of humanity and a few of us elders for wisdom and good measure. Would that make me a Nazi? lol

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Humanity. Shoot for the title of longest running joke in the history of the Universe.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The planet, without it we don’t have a chance anyway.

preile's avatar

This question is a bit paradoxical. So many angles but ultimately moot. Unless humans found another planet to inhabit they couldn’t survive the total destruction of the planet. That choice wouldnt even present itself unless survival on another planet were an option.. AND (for instance) getting there or terraforming it to suit our survival needs required a huge power source that could be obtained by consuming the earth for fuel… And if you want to cut through meaningless hypotheticals and focus on a situation that could be a reality.. the only subject on the agenda would be- how to reduce the population well below the earths carring capacities for the survival of the planet and SOME humans. The choices would be… Who will choose the worthy survivors? What criteria will determine ones fate? (Eugenics? Wealth?) How to Irradicate the inferior parasites? What process should be engineered and implemented? (Traditional/Chemical warfare could destroy resourses.. but VIRAL warfare is perfect.)How to pacify the masses? dispose of corpses? How to divide up the land? How will they compete for dominion over the richest most desirable territories? New laws/government??? Many many many questions. All of them important. None ultimate.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Species. No f’ing brainer.

Coloma's avatar

@preile Welcome to the pod, you pose many thoughtful questions. To simplify, lets just go for human extermination, viral works, and most likely it would not be species specific, sooo….plenty of non-effected species would devour our corpses quickly. I live in major bear, coyote, mountain lion, territory The apex predators would be so damn fat and happy. lol

flutherother's avatar

The question is flawed as it assumes we are somehow separate from our environment but we are not. We are an integral part of it.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I would not choose neither. There is no way I could possibly influence this sort of massive survival problema.

kritiper's avatar

The planet. Because mankind is a plague, a disease, a pestilence, germs, bacteria. Like a deadly rash. Cancer.

Coloma's avatar

@flutherother The only flaw on this great planet is us.
Our species had it’s chance, we blew it. We are the weakest link.

ibstubro's avatar

Amen. @Coloma.

Another misguided experiment.

Rolfadinho's avatar

It depends. If there is a spaceship that will take us to another planet, then the species survive, and Earth dies. If not, then we will let new species form in outer space, while we all die.

El_Cadejo's avatar

The planet. This sums up my thoughts rather well.

@Paradox25 not really. Say the only means of survival of the species was to harvest the last of it’s resources and move on out into space or a new planet.

wingsonroots's avatar

what?? what does this question even mean?? everyone is always asking this question!
save the planet? you think you are god?? no, you cannot save the planet! the planet (with the sun, if not earlier) is going to be destroyed in however million years it takes and there’s nothing you can do about that!
and if you are talking about destroying this planet with over consumption of fossil fuels, murdering innocent cows, poisoning all the freshwater resources with your toxic wastes and whatever hellish scheme you devise, it has no effect on the planet’s survival!
but hey, if you can really survive the destruction of your species long enough, you might just be able to escape to some other solar system! please do! move to mars already!
so.., there’s isn’t much choice left. the planet’s not going anywhere. how to save humans is another question altogether. ice caps melting, increasing carcinogens, sea level rising by decameters, what will you about them?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Someone explain to me why I must die just because of someone else’s misdirected self loathing?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

If I had to choose? Everything would die. I can be very indecisive and by the time I got around to answering, it would probably be too late, but that’s okay because my answer would probably be, “I’m not making that kind of choice”.

GloPro's avatar

Do I get to live out my days either way?

ragingloli's avatar

Explain to me why the planet must die because of your unwarranted self importance?

Coloma's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Misdirected self loathing, haha.
How is being willing to surrender ones life for the greater good of the planet self loathing?
That’s not self loathing, that’s heroic enlightenment.

canidmajor's avatar

It’s “heroic enlightenment” to determine that you are qualified to decide the ultimate fate of over 7 billion other sapient beings in your species? I’d call that monstrous hubris.

Interesting morality play, this question.

LostInParadise's avatar

The species. If it were guaranteed that another sentient species would evolve, I would go with the planet, but I don’t see such evolution as being certain.

I love the diversity of life on the planet and I wish that we would realize what an irredeemable loss it is every time a species disappears, but I take a human-centrist position. Without sentient beings, stars, planets and life do not exist. There is just undifferentiated stuff out there reacting without consciousness. It takes humans to recognize the patterns and see the beauty.

Strauss's avatar

The Earth will survive with or without humans.

Coloma's avatar

@canidmajor Again….answering the question as it is presented has nothing to do with taking some dictatorship position. Lighten up you guys. I find it interesting how many of us would choose to sacrifice humanity for the greater good of the 10 billion other species that have no say in their fate. Man and his ego, just can’t let go of the fact that you’re not anymore or less “special” than a minnow or a mouse. Pffft!

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Yetanotheruser True.

But what if the purpose of the Earth is humans?

RocketGuy's avatar

@SecondHandStoke – like maybe we are a giant computer to figure out the ultimate question, whose ultimate answer is 42?

Coloma's avatar

Of Mice and Men, I choose mice. lol

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

If we chose an elite group of people to survive, as @Coloma suggested, it would only be a matter of time before we will be right back to this point again. If humans are killing the planet, or making it uninhabitable, then in time humans will die off, and the planet will win after all.

Coloma's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt Very true, as I said, I was being rather sardonic, but certainly, just because you start a breeding program with good foundation stock, doesn;t mean you won’t get genetic throwbacks. lolol

SecondHandStoke's avatar


But that didn’t end up working did it?

The Earth was accidentally invaded by a race of alien telephone sanitizers.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Am I (along with Belgian Industrial wizards Front 242) the only people that “believe in the future of the human race?”

Strauss's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Then we (humans) have really messed up, haven’t we!

gondwanalon's avatar

The Sun will become a supernova and turn the Earth into a burnt-out cinder in just a short time (couple billion years). So what difference dose it make?

Coloma's avatar

@gondwanalon Yep, even the sun will die, but I’m betting we’re going to vote ourselves off the island long before another couple billion years. haha

SecondHandStoke's avatar


We have about 2 billion years on the inside before the sun’s demise takes us with it.

I think that’s plenty of time for us to find a way to disperse ourselves across the galaxy.

The “the planets” set’s negativity isn’t going to make that happen any sooner.

Paradox25's avatar

What would be the point of preserving anything without sentient life? What’s the point of watching a beautiful sunset or colorful autumn mountainside without a sentience to appreciate it? I agree with josie here, being those who really hate humans and their own existence so much always have the option of ending their own lives. I would think it should be more important to try to make life better for other sentient life though, and take care of the environment that helps to sustain us.

@El_Cadejo If I had to live in an outer space colony though I just might choose not to exist anymore then. If we’re going to a new planet I would hope that these new explorers would be an enlightened few, and do not repeat the same mistakes their ancestors made.

ragingloli's avatar

More anthropocentric arrogance.

Paradox25's avatar

@ragingloli Hey, you can always end it you know.

ragingloli's avatar

The human virus, yes.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ Yeah.

I saw that movie too.

Also, do you really want all those furries to die just for the planet?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@RocketGuy What is six times nine?

RocketGuy's avatar

54 – why?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@RocketGuy thought you’d get it . Guess not.

Coloma's avatar

Well…as last nights shooting rampage here in Santa Barbara CA. shows, another, premiere example of human lunacy and evil. Another spoiled, fucked up rich kid goes wrong.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I haven’t seen this much clear cut division between the rational and the emotional in a while.

GQ @Skaggfacemutt

Coloma's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Ya know, there should always be a balance between the rational and emotional. The survival of our planet DOES evoke emotion. Cold hard logic has it’s place, and as a rare, rational thinking woman who is not driven by emotion, but is also connected to her emotions, well….nobody can deny that the human species is going to hell ( hypothetical of course ) in a hand basket, and taking mother nature down with them. To have no emotion makes one a sociopath, one of our biggest issues as a society in these modern times, from Corporate America, Wall Street and Joe citizen.

RocketGuy's avatar

Ah, 42 in base13 = 54 in base10.

antimatter's avatar

Screw the human race will go for the planet!

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