Over at WorldChanging, sf author Karl Schroeder talks about Colonizing Planet Earth:
if you ask where we should have been building our cities over the last century or so, the answer is in the Gobi desert, and the Sahara, and the barest and emptiest rocky plains we could find.
We should have been colonizing Earth as though it were a planet with no ecosystem resources to exploit.
Look at the difference between what we do when we settle a new area on Earth, compared to what we’d do on a planet like Mars. On Earth we’d take advantage of the free air and water, ready-made soils provided by local fauna, pollination provided by the local bees, all to minimize the costs of building and maintaining our colonies. This process is documented expertly by Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs and Steel; he points out that the conquest of the Americas was really the invasion of one ecosystem by another, rather than a simple matter of moving human populations. North America is the greatest success story of European expansionism because its ecology was most similar to that of Europe, more than for any political or social factors.”
Perhaps we coud colonize the set of the new Flash Gordon since there does not seem to be signs of intelligent life over there. [Ba-dum crash!]