These are the types of things I think of in the shower…
I’m sure many of you are familiar with Fermi’s Paradox. Let’s disregard some of the bigger aspects of the development of a galactic civilization we can interact with, like the location in the galaxy, the rarity of earth like planets in the habitual zone of a long lived star similar to our own or the fragility that humanity faced or the rarity of sentient life arising under all these circumstances. Let’s forget all the problems a civilization faces when it reaches our level (nuclear extinction, mass pandemics, asteroids, or just plain running out of resources and reverting to an earlier style of living, like if we run out of coal, oil, etc. before developing, say, fusion or whatever).
So we have our little civilization. There are certain rungs on the ladder towards a space fairing existence that must be met in a certain order. But people just assume that if a sentient race arose that they would be just like us and go up the ladder…but what if they couldn’t?
I’m thinking of trees in particular. Without trees, we would be stuck in a semi stone age existence forever as far as I can tell. Of course, without trees the path evolution took to arrive at us probably wouldn’t have been treaded and life on earth would be very different…but still. It’s possible that intelligence could be found on a planet without trees. I mean, we’re talking about an alien environment.
No trees mean a lack of fuel for the masses. No easily mass produced structures. No paper – no convenient communication. Without wood I don’t see how we could have advanced to bronze, copper, steel, etc. on a meaningful level. An alien world without wood may very well have a similar or different replacements…but maybe they wouldn’t. And they’d be stuck like that forever.
Or I’m wrong.