Science Pub Corvallis will explore Earth’s legacy and climate change

CORVALLIS, Ore. – We value legacies. We leave them for our families, our communities, society, and the environment. But will the Earth leave a legacy for extraterrestrial civilizations? At Science Pub Corvallis on Nov. 4, Martin Fisk, emeritus professor at Oregon State University, will address that question.

“The chance that Earth leaves a legacy, that is, preserves evidence of our existence by passing information about us to extraterrestrial civilizations, improves as we increase the length of time that we maintain our ability for interplanetary communication,” says Fisk.

The issue may rest on what he calls “great filters,” planet-wide events that create barriers to the rise and persistence of intelligence. Earth has passed through several naturally occurring “great filters,” and a natural or man-made filter will someday end our civilization, he adds. If this happens before we communicate with intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, Earth will very likely not have a legacy.

He argues that the climate crisis could be a man-made “great filter,” which we have a chance to avert. “The decision to survive the climate crisis can be posed as an ethical conflict between the well-being and happiness of today’s current population and the well-being and happiness of future generations.”

Fisk will explore the potential number of exocivilizations who might detect us and the relationship between technological longevity and alien contact. He’ll consider how ethical decision-making could mitigate the climate crisis, maintain or improve standards of living and increase the chances that distant civilizations will contemplate our existence.

Science Pub begins at 6 p.m. in the Old World Deli, 341 2nd St. in Corvallis and is free and open to the public. Registration is required and can be done online at

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