In my 100th blog, ‘Quo Vadis: Homo sapiens?’ https://khakispecs.com/?p=2367 I described the state of peril in which humanity now finds itself. We are at a forking of the ways. One way, the main, well-formed road, down which we are currently travelling, leads to a selection of options for our extinction: the other, far bumpier and less comfortable route, offers the possibility of survival of our species – and that of many other of our fellow species on planet Earth.
In this, much shorter blog, I will attempt to map the landmarks that need to be passed on that more difficult but more hopeful route. In following blogs I will embark on an absurdly ambitious attempt to look at how the objectives set out below might be achieved and invite other readers to improve upon and add their ideas to the debate.
Awareness. This is the biggest ask of all that follows, but without it, all else is impossible. There needs to be a universal change in public consciousness: a sea-change in the current consumer oriented, individualistic self-centredness. It needs to be replaced by an awareness of the peril facing all human society and a willingness and determination to cooperate in averting it. Humanity needs to debus from the present charabanc of ‘greed is good,’ neo-liberalism and ever expansive capitalist growth. It now needs to board a bus of frugalism and empathy, custom-adapted to the new path being taken.
The Environment. A more sustainable way of feeding ourselves and protecting bio-diversity needs to be found. This may involve having to make a conscious decision about population levels – before Nature and our own natures make the decision on our behalf. How many humans can enjoy life on a sustainable planet? (It would appear from the rapidly declining birth rates around the world that human group consciousness, as if instinctively, has this matter already in hand.)
Climate destabilisation. The global economy urgently needs a radical re-orientation, so it no longer depends on the burning of fossil fuels and intensive farming of livestock. Furthermore, additional heavy investment is required in finding ways of capturing and sequestering the greenhouse gases already ambient and in countering, and possibly even reversing, some of the adverse effects of damage already done.
Disease. Adequate resources need to be allocated to ensure that no pandemics run out of control.
War. Means have to be found to make all forms of physical warfare redundant – but most immediately, to reduce the threat of nuclear war.
State failure. As in the jungle, so in the global capitalist system. Might remains right and there are winners and losers. It is too easy for governments to lose their way and for states to fail through economic and/or political disruption, be it internally generated, or externally imposed. Ways need to be found of imposing an international rule of law, preventing external aggression between nations and of uniting to help those that are in need of support.
Trade. The contribution of international trade to climate destabilisation is immense while, at the same time, decreasing national self-sufficiency and increasing the risk of supply break-down. Virtual Reality needs to replace tourism and trade in intellectual property (IP) needs to become the dominant mode of commercial inter-action between nations, while the nations themselves concentrate on maximising their self-sufficiency in food and manufactures.
Migrations. By abolishing the use of warfare, conventional and unconventional, as an instrument of policy, mass migrations will be restricted to those brought about by climate change and economic breakdown. Given the achievement of others of the goals above, these migrations can be planned for and conducted in an orderly manner.
Anticipating. Most failures of previous civilisations have been characterised by a failure to recognise the impending threat in time to take appropriate and timely counter-measures. Today, the threat is understood: the problem is the taking of the appropriate and timely counter-measures.
‘Democracy.’ In my previous Blog No. 101., I looked at the outcome of democracy in the USA in the light of the current presidential options (I could have chosen Brazil, Turkey or any one of multiple other democracies to illustrate the flaws in this system of government.) The reform of current constitutional arrangements within existing nation states is another of the tasks facing those attempting a sea-change in the conduct of human affairs.
The problem now facing humanity is both enormous and catastrophic. Given the seemingly impossible complexity of the steps needed to make as radical a change of course as the one required, it is all too easy to abandon hope and sink into the apathy of the disempowered. Being human, it is both in our genes and a debt we owe the generations that might follow, to make our best attempt to find a pass between the looming mountains ahead….
P.S. I make no apologies for quoting Albert Einstein – though I suspect many of the quotes ascribed to him were, in fact, penned by others wishing to gain wider circulation for their wit. Albert was not only a a genius of original thought in the field of science, but also a political thinker, advocating a global government, while referring to nationalism as “an infantile disease, the measles of mankind,” and following in Leonardo di Vinci’s footsteps in advocating vegetarianism. Here is his letter, written to the United Nations Organisation in 1947. I would beg anyone who reads this blog to go to the trouble of opening this hyperlink. It is sixty years since the letter was written and it is as valid today as it was then. Have we progressed at all? It is time we must! https://neutrino.aquaphoenix.com/un-esa/ws1997-letter-einstein.html
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