All posts by Francisco (Paco) Garcia-Gonzalez

Cientifico Titular. Doñana Biological Station-CSIC. Seville. 2017- Adjunct Research Fellow. Centre for Evolutionary Biology, The University of Western Australia. 2015- Investigador Distinguido. Doñana Biological Station-CSIC (Spanish Research Council), Seville, Spain. 2016-2017 Ramon y Cajal Researcher. Doñana Biological Station-CSIC (Spanish Research Council), Seville, Spain. 2012-2016 Australian Research Fellow - Assistant Professor. Australian Research Council. Centre for Evolutionary Biology, The University of Western Australia. 2009-2014 Postdoctoral Research Associate. Centre for Evolutionary Biology, The University of Western Australia. 2008-2008 Australian Postdoctoral Fellow. Australian Research Council. School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia. 2005-2007 Postdoctoral Fellow. Spanish Ministry of Education. School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia. 2002-2004 PhD student. Complutense University of Madrid and National Museum of Natural Sciences (Spanish Research Council, CSIC). 1998-2002

One Sun Project – Are we humans really intelligent at a global collective level?

The typical short-term perspective of human behaviour is partially responsible for many of the global problems that humanity faces today (loss of biodiversity, rapid depletion of natural resources, climate change, etc.). Only recently humans have realized of the need to take action if we are to leave to future generations something remotely similar to what we have found on this planet. A large part of the world’s population and an increasing number of governments are aware that environmental and energy crises must be quickly addressed with innovative and more efficient measures. Hopefully, this welcomed paradigm shift will lessen the negative consequences of global problems for our children and for the children of our children. However, are we content to replace a fleeting perspective containing one or a few generations with an extended version that only takes into account a few more generations? Or should we go further? And if the answer to this question is positive, how far away should our time goal be placed so that we can preserve at least some life forms, including humanity itself, in a distant future?

Photo taken by F. Garcia-Gonzalez

Let’s imagine an intelligent species living on a planet in a remote solar system. Let’s imagine that this species is aware that its planet, and its whole solar system, have an end. Could we say that the species is truly intelligent if its individuals do not bother about how to preserve its existence beyond their dying system? This is entirely applicable to humans on Earth. Luck permitting, in the best-case scenario, if governments are able to come together soon and we take the necessary actions to prevent the loss of biodiversity on Earth and to ameliorate other global problems, the planet could support life, more or less as we know it today, for thousands of years. However, an unavoidable reality is that the Sun has its days (or rather millennia if you will) numbered. Astronomers estimate that in about years the Sun will become a Red Giant that will absorb Earth. But long before that, due to increased solar activity, within about years if not much sooner, life will not be possible on Earth. That time span is about one-fourth of the time that life has been present on Earth; in other words, life on Earth is on its final fifth part of existence. That moment is very far away, of course, but we are heading towards it inevitably. When should we turn our attention, collectively, towards that reality? 1000 years before it happens? 10000 years before? And when would it be too late? Shouldn’t we start thinking as soon as possible about joining forces to allow humanity to go on beyond the existence of our local system? Shouldn’t we try to see beyond our noses? If we are intelligent, shouldn’t we start thinking not only about global but also “trans-global” problems as soon as possible? The sooner one starts thinking about a problem and about potential ways to solve it, the better, especially when the solution does not seem to be easily found and less so implemented. One Sun Project is created as a platform to initiate discussions on these questions, from many angles, including biological, evolutionary, social, and philosophical perspectives. It is also hoped that it can help create a sense of global community focused on addressing global problems. If you have comments or if you are interested in future developments, please send an email to