EXISTENTIAL THREATS

There is a strong likelihood that the current threats to the sustainability of Spaceship Earth, at least for civilised human occupation, are beyond solution, given the large number of accelerating dysfunctions brought about by human behaviour. We were warned ; Global risks report 2018

NATURAL WORLD THREATS

  1. Human population exceeds earth’s carrying capacity (ecological footprint) – Stop the clock!; 2 billion new homes needed; Paul Ehrlich interview;
  2. Climate disruption (global warming; extreme weather events) – Climate change refugees;
  3. Sea level rise (melting of cryosphere on land & sea)
  4. Ocean acidification
  5. Pollution of air, water and land (material and chemical waste products) –9 million deaths from pollution – a new report; Pollution & poverty – 1 in 6 deaths? Plastics;  Air pollution in China & India; RDX pollutionEU policy on plasticsMethane pollutionMicroplasticsVolatile Organic Compounds (VOCs);  
  6. Biodiversity and ecosystem losses (the planet’s 6th Great Extinction) – Insect Amageddon & neonicotinoids; more urgent than climate change? 
  7. Depletion – fossil energy and minerals
  8. Depletion – fisheries, forests, soils, water – soil depletion;
  9. Global epidemics of disease
  10. Food & water supply related to 1. above

MACHINE WORLD THREATS

  1. Global debt-based financial system instability
  2. Increasing inequality in wealth & poverty (the 1% and the 99%)
  3. Illegal migration & criminal global trafficking
  4. Regional ethnic, resource & religious conflicts
  5. Weapons proliferation – US nuclear weapons expansion; US Gun Profiteers;  
  6. Terrorism – US military in 149 countries
  7. Urbanization & mega-cities (31 cities with over 10 million population)
  8. Cyber-warfare and internet fragility
  9. Uncontrolled artificial intelligence (AI)Manipulating emotions
  10. Genetic engineering- 1960s Green Revolution;
  11. Ego-centric unpredictable political leaders – Climate deniers;   

Nevertheless, for the sake of coming generations and the planet we cannot abandon the hope of finding solutions. Hope of progress and redemption arise from both religious and liberal humanistic beliefs, the ‘stories’ that give purpose to so many lives.  Writers such as John Gray and Ronald Wright characterise ‘progress’ as a delusional myth, given the record of history and the exponential impact of human activity on the very systems that support life. But large numbers of people are still seeking solutions to many of these ‘systemic stressors’ or existential threats These hope-driven efforts seek to create a safe operating space for humanity within the limits (planetary boundaries) of the earth systems that sustains us.

REMEDIES NEEDED – summary of threatening events and attempts at remedies;f car ownership   globally. There are currently 1.2 billion vehicles on earth,  2 billion by 2035. Resilience – Post-Carbon Institute is a leading source of adaptive ideas; Ecology or catastrophe? – The root causes of the environmental crisis are social and  lie in social relations of domination and exploitation. Avoiding a food supply tipping point; Averting Ecocide – call for a Human Survival Index; Exponential decrease in GHGs;

Leave a Reply