We have little time to save our children.
Life is facing extinction within the near future.
In the last session we all stated our major concerns and what needs to be prioritised to improve our lives. We were given statistics that showed there’s both improvement on many vital measures and some worries. So it looks as if we are managing. On the other hand, the availability and quality of vital resources are decreasing at an alarming rate, such as forests, ground water, fish stock, and top soil at 20 times their renewability. That, with an expected population of 9 billion people this century and with nations armed to the teeth and competing to maximise their control of the world’s resources interplayed with multinationals, all taking as much as they can out of our planet’s depleting resources. A common reason given for that shocking way of life is put down to human frailty, however, that behaviour was nurtured to function as part of civilised life of might makes it right over the ages. It’s not due to the supposed faulty human genetic makeup.
Our human nature is the outcome of billions of years of evolution; that evolution has fine tune every life form to be an ideal organism in its environment. While human are great generalists with an ability to live in all liveable environments, we are also the most social of any life because we have a unique versatile body that’s able to justify a very large brain. We are therefore able to express the highest sensitive feelings of any life. In pre-agricultural societies of less than 100 members we made unanimous decisions by all adults. Furthermore those societies lived a mostly leisurely life within and as a part of nature.
The use of agriculture as a primary source of food and fibre could support societies of thousands of legate individuals, but the required more work and needs good soil and a suitable climate. This may have taken over a thousand years to be able to support a city, however, with so many people it’s impossible to know the character of people who are striving to take control of one’s society. As there’re only a few of us, about 2% who have no emotional feelings for others, they have no inhibitions in taking advantage of their fellows they, therefore are best able to dominate and exploit large communities by whatever means they can. Because 98% of humans are cooperative, feeling people, it enables societies to be managed and function even in systems that are competitive and controlled by people lacking feelings.
Once agriculture became more efficient it could support societies of thousands, but unfortunately they ended up to be ruled by the most determined individuals with the least feeling for any one. Those societies are civilised their rulers pretend to have wisdom not endowed by commoners, the early ones were regarded as God’s legates or even gods, while in democracies people choose their figureheads approved by the church or people of wealth. However, those pre fossil fuelled societies weren’t able to make an impact on our planet’s climate, its life, and its mineral resources.
Fossil fuel energy is seemingly infinite in its output compared to animal, water and wind power of the 18th century. Using fossil fuels allowed businesses to increase output creating new methods of farming, manufacture, and transport; it also increased production and reduced its cost. That opened opportunities for a few individuals to significantly enrich themselves, which also supported and promoted ever increasing competition while resources kept up. It gave a false impression that our standard of living is due to ever increasing competition, which replaced the whip as an incentive to hard work. Competition for wealth and fame became the reason for living for a few domineering people, while the multitude’s purpose is to facilitate a growth in production and sales, measured as GDP. The higher that figure is, the more successful the economy is and the efficiency is measured on how little is lost in processing goods and services including wages. That’s the current civilised system we’re living under.
That setup can continue for ever in a make-believe world of infinite resources to supply all our needs, while waste is hardly counted unless there’s a profit in it. BUT the real world has limits and we might be very close to them. The killer is global warming particularly with the unpredictable methane hydrate at the bottom of the shallow sea off Siberia, which holds a vast amount of methane, a gas that’s 100 times more powerful than CO2 on a 20 year base. That by itself could be catastrophic but there’s a host of other players involved that could endanger all life and might produce a runaway global warming that could turn our Earth to a Venus-like planet.
It’s difficult to know at what stage of warming when the planet takes over and keeps warming from the release of carbon due to rising temperatures. Many scientists are concerned that we are getting or are close to a point of no-return. So our children’s survival is at stake. We need to deal with that on a planetary scale. The other unnoticed fact is our planet takes time to warm up to be equal to the effect of the gas already emitted. It could take over 2 decades to equalise. So even if we come to our senses soon, we are in overwhelming trouble with any civilised system. The System that has produced this calamity can’t save us. We must free our mind from the ideology that keeps us working hard on our extinction course.
The following are a few points that I consider we must tackle to survive.
Scientists and concerned people must see life as highly interconnected even when they investigate and assess it and working in a reductionist way.
Life is doomed unless the wealthiest 1% of the world’s people who are chaotically controlling world societies realise that if they keep on course they and their children are likely to perish this century or wish they were dead.
Once that 1% realise their lives is at stake they may allow accurate information to be assimilated worldwide. If so then the masses will quickly absorb the real information.
People must realise that it’s a life or death situation and the more cooperative and helpful we are, the easier life will be. On the other hand, if we maintaining competition it will be fatal.
We will need to be economical, radically reduce waste, and start the long-term program of population reduction as an urgent need. To live well in a sustainable way, be able to withstand adversity, we must reduce world population to less than 2 billion which should be in our sight. That was the population when I was a child. It shows the irresponsibility of our leaders and most of our educated ones.
Predictably infinite growth and demands on a finite planet are impossible, but as civilised believers we can’t see the obvious as we are tied to a belief that best suit psychopaths competing to maximise their power and wealth
We will need to live in small communities that are interconnected and cooperative with one another motivated to enhance ones neighbouring community, which will be return from any of the communities. The purpose must be to have the smallest footprint on the planet and give the greatest satisfaction to as many people while living as a part of nature.
Lionel Anet is a member of Sydney U3A University of the Third Age, of 20 years standing and now a life member