Our human world is becoming an increasingly dangerous place. Quite apart from what is happening between Gaza and Israel, and in the war between Russia and Ukraine, we are currently living with a series of human-made catastrophic threats that are coming together to threaten the very existence of our own human species. All of these threats are manageable, but we are not yet managing any of them adequately. And the combination is terrifyingly lethal.
The threats include:
- Resource depletion: including depletion of fresh water, soil, forests, fish, oxygen and other key life resources.
- Extinction and destruction of the Earth’s life support systems.
- Global poisoning by human made chemicals that is killing 13 million people annually and purportedly lowering our human intelligence.
- Global heating due to climate change induced by fossil fuel, emissions.
- A new nuclear arms race featuring dangerous new weapons and killer robots.
- Food insecurity including the growing risk of simultaneous harvest failures and failure of supply chains.
- New pandemic diseases.
- More humans than the earth can support, given the way we live.
- Uncontrolled technologies like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology and universal surveillance.
- Misinformation and mass delusion that is paralysing of humanity’s ability to save itself.
An additional problem is the gross inequality between different human groups and the fact that our social, economic and political systems are dedicated to competition, often to the exclusion of cooperation and collaboration. Vast numbers of humans live in abject poverty, Oxfam International claimed in 2017 that: just 8 men, then owned the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people, who then made up the poorest half of the global human population! Since that time, the world human population has continued to grow by 80 million annually to more than 8 billion, and the way in which we currently aspire to live, is exacerbating the threat to our continued survival as a species.
A group of concerned Australians, led by former politician John Hewson, and science communicator, Julian Cribb (who has published six, highly acclaimed books on the catastrophic threats and their management), has been working together in a group called the “Council for the Human Future” (CHF), to raise national and global consciousness about the need for change in the way we humans live, and relate to our planetary home. Members of the Council are arguing for a global Earth System Treaty, to be signed by every country and able to be signed by citizens, organisations and interest groups everywhere, to address the issues that stand in the way of a survivable future for our descendants. We are arguing that Australia is well situated to place such a Treaty on the UN Agenda, and have suggested this course of action to The Prime Minister and his cabinet.
We await their response.