It’s rather likely that humans soon or late will colonize earth’s moon or even other planets, but it’s fair to say that we as human species will cease to exist ‘as such’ when our planet cannot longer provide the necessary conditions for human life. Therefore, territorial planning must always include territorial and environmental impact assessments of every human intervention in the built and even more so in the unbuilt environment – see e.g. “Half Earth”.
Some researchers argue that we are already far too many to keep mother Earth in good health. While territorial planning is not about demographic planning – e.g. to limit further population growth in certain areas – it needs to deal with the expected impacts of the population size now and later. Mother Earth will not negotiate with her colonizers so we need to make a plan to keep her healthy and happy. And let’s be clear on this, such a pan does not exist yet!
While many oppose any kind of territorial planning beyond the nation-state, it is pretty clear that the sum of these national plans do not provide sufficient protection to keep the global eco-system in balance, given the rapid loss of biodiversity, wilderness and of course the global warming. While smart technologies can help reducing our negative footprint on Mother Earth, the plan to save her from irreversible damage will have to more with reversing human greed, selfishness and apathy (see Gus Speth). Therefore, any territorial planning activity should consider Mother Earth as the first and foremost ‘stakeholder’ of the planning process, backed up by an expanding set of environmental critical parameters and indicators.