Science cannot save the planet. Humanity can not save the planet. Only the planet can save the planet. Earth as a system has weathered many die offs in her time. This time is only different, in that it is caused by humankind.
If the question were to be re-phrased should we employ Science to save ourselves? That is a no brainer. Using science wisely is just revealing truth. We should employ every thing at our disposal, technology, science, ancient wisdom, and realization that we can affect something we have already affected: the quality of life on earth. Letting people become empowered is key.
What really needs to happen more than anything else is that people recognize we have power and control of resources on planet earth, and we can affect how we choose to conserve those resources. Overpopulation has to be considered. Empowering women worldwide to have a say in family planning is crucial.
Humans who suffer need to stand up to those other humans who profit by business as usual. Learning how to keep poisons out of the air, water, and food supply is certainly possible. Look at how other animals and life support systems operate, with efficiency, and of course, we can and are making discoveries about how to be more aligned with natural laws. Clean energy alternatives, and distinctions made between those who want power and influence, rather than those that really want to use resources wisely, will unfold with time.
Alternative energy will play a part. Consumption tracking and mapping will play their part. People feeling they can make a difference just by unplugging, and planting more forests, will play their part. in the analysis of what can be measured by Science, technology, and engineering, to help preserve connected life on earth, all of us will play an important part.
There is a huge problem. Paralysis, hopelessness, greed on the part of those who are rich enough to buy their own private and pristine oasis, all contribute to people feeling inadequate to the task. Political infighting is so counterproductive, that many scientists and engineers get so fed up they are ready to throw out the baby (our living impacted biosphere) with the (toxic, leachate contaminated) bath water.
People are confused and bewildered about climate change. They live, work and soldier on through denial, hearing daily “it's the end of the world as we know it,” but still sold plastic bags, bottles, fossil fuels and a rich diet of processed trash in many forms: literal, analytical, and political.
Yet there are still signs of hope. Just this week the Governor of California called out polluters on their claims about “job protection” The Governator, rightly saw through to the oil blackened hearts of big oil bazillionaires. He knows that putting off green jobs and green technology is just adding to the muddled up chances of people wanting to make a positive difference in a cleaner environment. If you have ever been to Los Angeles, or even near it, you know how the heavy brown cloud of smog there sits like an enormous sky scab on the planet.
Other signs of hope are that people are beginning to see they can make a difference. Even though a lot of recycling programs are corrupt and inefficient, the awareness that is beginning to build is optimistic for all of us.
In many ways, large and small, people are realizing that everything we take out of earth needs to go somewhere, and that everything we take is a gift, we can spit on that gift and mix it with carcinogenic compounds, or we can use science to find ways to invest wisely in ourselves and our needs.