Apart from the tragic loss of loved ones what if this epidemic is a turning point, and after it, the world is never the same?
Will the world come out of this crisis better than it was before?
It all depends on what we do and how we behave right now.
Even in the height of the darkest of times, people are already imagining what the future world would look like.
It is, in Metzl’s words, “a convergence of the worlds of science and biology and the world of geopolitics.” And as the coronavirus crisis continues to play out, its geopolitical implications are going to become much greater.”
The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born.
Post-WWII planners envisioned a world that shared sovereignty and curbed nationalism. But we’re now in a period of dramatic re-nationalization of the world, with the populist, extremist, or authoritarian leaders in power from Brazil to the US to China, and many countries in between.
The one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is that we don’t have effective structures in place to address global crises—and not just coronavirus. Think of climate change, protecting the oceans, preparing for a future of automation and AI; no country can independently take on or solve these massive challenges.
Crucially, we’re more connected to each other than we’ve ever been. It used to take thousands of years for knowledge to transfer; now it can fly across the world over the internet in minutes.
The tools we’re bringing to this fight are greater than anything our ancestors could have possibly imagined.
Unforuntitly this is bottom-up energy and connectivity, as we witness the abysmal failure of our top-down institutions.
We don’t know the way out or how long it’s going to last. In the meantime, a lot of unexpected things will happen.
There will be an economic slowdown or recession, and there will be issues with our healthcare systems—and these are just the predictable things.
We may see fragile states collapsing and even the EU disintegrating.
We’re going to come out of this into a different world.
We don’t know exactly what that world will look like, but we can imagine some of it. Take the trends that were already in motion and hit the fast-forward button. Virtualization of events, activities, and interactions. Automation of processes and services. Political and economic decentralization.
In hindsight, it’s easy to picture a far better response and outcome to the COVID-19 outbreak. What if, three months ago, there’d been a global surveillance system in place, and at the first signs of the outbreak, an international emergency team led by the World Health Organization had immediately gone to Wuhan?“
We need to be articulating our long-term vision now so that we can evaluate everything against that standard.
There’s not a total lack of a positive long-term vision now: the UN sustainable development goals, for example, call for gender equality, no poverty, no hunger, decent work, climate action, and justice (among other goals) around the world.
The problem is that we don’t have institutions meaningful enough or strong enough to affect the realization of these principles; there’s a mismatch between the global nature of the problems we’re facing and the structure of national politics.
We couldn’t have done this in the industrial age or even the nuclear age. There’s never been this kind of motivation combined with this capacity around the world.
This time will be different; to succeed, the new global plan will need to have a meaningful drive from the bottom up. We need to recognize a new locus of power. And it’s us. Nobody is going to solve this for us. This is our moment to really come together.
We have to turn the United Nations from being a gossip, veto voting, begging shop to an Institution fully funded. ( See the previous post on a World Aid commission of 0.05%. So it can establish around the world Aid Silo fully equipped.)
What better way to help the damaged world economies and to prepare for the next pandemic and climate change.
There is no need for further Climate change deliberations.
If we don’t want to be haunted by COVID-19 saying one thing and doing another is over
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
NOW IS THE TIME TO WRITE A CONSTITUTION FOR THE PLANET THAT WE ALL LIVE ON – THE EARTH.
We can observe our Planet from space, but many of us are still not able to see it as a unique and precious miracle of life.
Why a Constitution?
Because most of the declarations like the universal declaration of human rights or the US constitution do not, constitute viable instructions for change: they are rather moral discussion papers, containing much wishful thinking, or a list of flaws people are perceived to commit in their relation to Nature.
Because neither human beings nor culture is independent self-sufficient existences – they are dependent on the Earth.
Only the Earth can be thought of as a relatively independent existence within the Universe.
They depend on the health and prosperity of the biotic assembly that constitutes our Planet.
Because there will be no exit strategy without a healthy Earth.
The relationship between man and Earth up to now has been exploited for profit.
All noble sentiments and efforts to understand and resolve the current crisis while ignoring the splitting of the planet into two opposing systems – Culture and Nature – are doomed to failure.
The currently prevailing anthropocentric vision of the world is incorrect, not only in its details and in its specific arguments, but also in its deepest underlying principles – in short, in its entirety.
Culture is not a continuation of natural evolution by different means.
Culture is an artificial system opposing Nature.
If it were set as Nature is in biophilia, life-reverencing format, then Culture’s self-activity would grow in a desirable way.
Culture would respect Nature and both systems would co-operate at a new level.
Our world is not only surrounded by junk it is full of junk.
HERE: IS A DRAFT EARTH’S CONSTITUTION.
Feel free to add.
The Earth is the natural home to all of its interdependent live beings. It cannot belong to any biological species, not even to the human species. Humans, the founders of Culture, must not ravage the Earth to the detriment of themselves or of any other living beings.
The Earth represents the highest value for both our species and for human Culture. It constitutes the oldest, broadest and most powerful creative activity, the unique planetary subjectivity. We have to defend its right to evolution, and its right to maintain a planet-wide balance between animate and inanimate systems.
Our Culture must not expand further, neither at the expense of the natural diversity of the planet nor at the expense of human health.
As a system superordinate both to humans and to their artificial Culture, the Earth is sovereign and our elected and controlled institutions must become its defenders and advocates.
We commit ourselves to halting the decline, destruction, and pollution of Earth’s natural existence and, to that effect, also to advancing the recognition of a system of human responsibility, including effective and deterrent sanctions against those who fail to respect this Constitution.
Human beings are not the immediate cause of the current environmental crisis. The root cause of the crisis is the systemic conflict between the artificial cultural orderliness and the natural orderliness of the Earth.
Humanity is not responsible for the Earth. It is responsible for Culture, its product, which has divided the Earth into two mutually opposing systems: the Cultural and the Natural. It is the paramount task of law, politics, and science in the coming period of life-reverencing – biophilia – Culture to reconcile Culture with Nature.
The human species subjectivity is restricted by the superior subjectivity of the Earth. All persons and government authorities are obliged to respect this wider subjectivity, protect the diversity and unity of the biosphere and sparingly use the inanimate products of the Earth.
We hereby declare that the human species can only be biologically congruent with natural existence – not with artificial cultural existence. We acknowledge that anything that is good for the Earth is good for human beings as well.
All legal systems must protect and enforce the natural orderliness of the Earth.
Culture is an artificial system with its own internal, intrinsic information, and that is intellectual culture. A change in the orientation and contents of the intellectual culture, including values, knowledge, and precepts, is a prerequisite of the biophilia transformation of Culture.
Culture, which is a human creation, is neither a continuation of the evolution of Nature nor a process in its improvement. It is an artificial and temporary construct, which is dependent on mass, energy, and information coming from Nature. It is a structure incongruent with the biological structure of human beings and it will cease to exist after the demise of humankind.
The Culture system’s growth marginalizes and exterminates live systems and breaks up the natural structures of the Earth. Should the evolution of the Culture system’s continue, it must abandon the predatory orientation and adopt a position of a humble integration into the superior evolution of our planet.
It has been political entities – States – that have made the ravaging of Nature possible, since these States have, directly or indirectly, supported the development of the predatory entrepreneurship and unrestricted extension of both materials- and energy-intensive consumer techniques. These States, therefore, bear the main responsibility for the current crisis of civilization.
All States must be obliged to take steps towards a state of sustainable co-operation between Culture and the Earth. They are charged with the task of changing the predatory spiritual paradigm of Culture, starting the process of adopting biophile laws and spreading knowledge about the need for reconciliation between Culture and Nature.
1. New innovations and uses of technology will be an active and integral part of the
international development story going forward. Developing a deeper understanding of how technology can impact development will better prepare everyone for the future, and help all of us drive it in new and positive directions.
2. The link between technology and governance is critical to consider in a better
understanding of how technology could be developed and deployed. The distinction between “developed” and “developing” nations should no longer apply.
3. Strong global cooperation on a range of issues drives technological
breakthroughs that combat disease, climate change, and energy shortages.
4. Governance, in turn, will play a major role in determining what technologies
are developed and who those technologies are intended, and able, to benefit.
5. Transparency allows states to glean insights from massive datasets to vastly improve the management and allocation of financial and environmental resources.
6. All technology must carry a world-recognized seal of safety verifying the authenticity of anything.
But no one was prepared for a world in which large-scale catastrophes would occur with such breathtaking frequency. Not surprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has put enormous pressure on an already overstressed global economy.
Most nation-states could no longer afford their locked-in costs, let alone respond to increased citizen demands for more security, more healthcare coverage, more social programs and services, and more infrastructure repair.
So yes I can hear you saying this will never happen.
How would such a constitution be ratified, by who, at what cost, who will pay?
It can be ratified in the United Nations, passed at the next global climate summit, the cost of not doing so outweighs any alternative, and it can be paid for fairly by placing a world aid commission on all activities that are for-profit sake. ( see the previous post on world aid commission)
As you have seen, each of the scenarios, if it were to unfold, would call for different strategies and have different implications for how a range of organizations will work and relate to changes in technology. But no matter what the world might emerge, there are real choices to be made about what areas and goals to address and how to drive success toward particular objectives.
“Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.” Wilson, Edward O.
All comments and contributions welcome. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
We already have the power to destroy ourselves without the wisdom that we don’t, but this Coronavirus pandemic is another kettle of fish altogether, there is no need to press a button.
Most species live for millions of year so we are at 200,000 are teenagers.
If we play our cards right we could be around for hundreds of thousands of years to come.
Now that we realized the truth, of the fragility of our present times we need to revamp our World Institutions to get the risk of living down and keep it down forever.
Perhaps after this Pandemic, we as a species need to write a constitution for humanity to set us on the right course to sustainability.
Because no one individual, no president or politician has been able to solve in the last century even if they wanted to, the problems that Earth our home must tackle as a species.
Worldwide we are now looking at more than 838,000 cases of COVID-19 leaving the majority of citizens jobless, broke, and without options.
You’d think people would be used to it by now. Every couple of years the world is thrust into hysteria by the latest virus that is threatening to wipe out a significant portion of the population.
How many shocks can an international economy sustain?
How many shocks are likely on their way?
Forests are burning. Glaciers are melting. Ecological systems are collapsing. Resources are running out.
Coronavirus has and is changing everything and not everything.
We just haven’t noticed it yet.
But those changes will become more apparent by the day.
Suddenly, we may have to think about things we’ve never needed to consider before.
Like a social bomb that can explode at any moment.
In our global society, this outbreak moved from a remote village to a major city on the other side of the world in under 36 hours.
Despite generous government-mandated disaster pay, unemployment, and stimulus checks, it’s only a matter of time before many issues combine to become the flashpoint that leads to an explosion of civil unrest.
The consequences will be very different in countries where political institutions are weaker and where the illness or death of a leader has been known to generate the kind of power vacuum that might inspire rival leaders, opposition parties, or the military to launch a power grab.
HOWEVER, ultimately its impact will not be counted in human fatalities.
Nor in the cost of treating the sick.
It will be in our minds. It’s in our economic system. In our societies that are all linked to the overwhelming extent of globalisation, urbanisation and ecosystem collapse.
Our interconnected world – and its ultra-efficient flow of trade, investment, knowledge and people – has been revealed to have feet of clay.
Globalisation will have to be rethought because most of the population is the urbanised disassociated from even basic agriculture, NOT TO MENTION THE WORLDS ECOSYSTEMS.
We have skewed supply chains so far to the extremes that when they are perturbed, people get into a lot of strife and our way of life isn’t built to cope with it.
What COVID19 is emphasising is that our system is set up ideally to transmit such a disease and is extremely susceptible to even small interruptions.
It jumped into a world humans have moulded to their own purposes. But that world is also nirvana to a virus.
We’ve actually put ourselves in an ideal position from the perspective of a virus, which is why we see estimates of anywhere between 30 and 60 per cent of the population likely to get it.
It has burst on an unready world.
COVID-19 will eventually pass and become more controllable with vaccines and developed natural immunity, but not yet and not before it could wreak profound change on those who currently hold political, economic and military power around the globe.
It has set in motion a chain of events that will bring consequences, that none of us IMAGINE NOW.
Everybody is suddenly very aware of just how reliant we are on China for everything from medicines and machinery to electronic components and rare Earths.
There is a big judgement call to make such are the levels of interdependency built by reliance on global just-in-time supply chains that the developed economies will largely sink or swim together.
But it’s not just China. It’s the whole globally specialised network of supply.
Diversification is now a necessity, not just strategic aspiration.
Suddenly the logic of many belts and many roads is plain.
It is not possible to manage the truth.
When benefits run out on a national scale, fear, lack of food, employment, the number of people dying with the potential for much more yet to come there is risks of a domino effect leading to Civil unrest.
Fear becomes the default emotion. The very emotion that motivates people to take to the streets to engage in civil unrest and protest.
Exceptional conditions of imbalance between needs and available resources.
Historically, larger outbreaks of civil unrest tend to occur in largely populated areas.
But most people don’t go further and ask the question; “What exactly are people afraid of?” Is it death? Of course, that is mankind’s greatest anxiety, especially for those who have children.
Civil unrest affects more than just the civilians involved and the law enforcement that are called on to subdue it. It isn’t limited to riots. Violence and destruction aren’t necessary to classify civil unrest. It can start for many reasons. Of course, any prediction is hard to make given that infections haven’t yet peaked.
The sooner you accept the need to go into lockdown, the better.
The sacrifice isn’t fun, and borders on tragic. Hopefully, people will see fit to prepare for such setbacks in the future as history has shown that this will not be the last impending “catastrophe” to derail us from our lives.
All human comments appriciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
It all depends on how governments and society respond to coronavirus and its economic aftermath.
As we know COVID-19 is highlighting serious deficiencies in our existing system.
Hopefully, we will use this crisis to rebuild, produce something better and more humane. But we may slide into something worse.
My focuses on this post are on the fundamentals of the modern economy: global supply chains, wages, and productivity.
I argue that we will need a very different kind of economics if we are to build socially just and ecologically sound futures.
In the face of COVID-19, this has never been more obvious.
The COVID-19 pandemic is simply the amplification of the dynamic that drives other social and ecological crises: The prioritisation of one type of value over others.
From an economic perspective, there are four possible futures:
Descent into barbarism, robust state capitalism, radical state socialism, and a transformation into a big society built on mutual aid.
Coronavirus, like climate change, is partly a problem of our economic structure. Although both appear to be “environmental” or “natural” problems, they are socially driven.
Yes, climate change is caused by certain gases absorbing heat. But that’s a very shallow explanation. To really understand climate change, we need to understand the social reasons that keep us emitting greenhouse gases.
Likewise with COVID-19. Yes, the direct cause is the virus. But managing its effects requires us to understand human behaviour and its wider economic context.
Tackling both COVID-19 and climate change is much easier if you reduce nonessential economic activity.
The epidemiology of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. But the core logic is similarly simple. People mix together and spread infections.
We can see from Wuhan that social distancing and lockdown measures like this are effective.
Political economy is useful in helping us understand why they weren’t introduced earlier in European countries and the US.
We are now facing a serious recession and we are living with an economic system that will threaten collapse at the next sign of pandemic.
The economics of collapse is fairly straightforward.
Businesses exist to make a profit.
If they can’t produce, they can’t sell things. This means they won’t make profits, which means they are less able to employ you.
Businesses can and do (over short time periods) hold on to workers that they don’t need immediately: They want to be able to meet demand when the economy picks back up again. But, if things start to look really bad, then they won’t. So, more people lose their jobs or fear to lose their jobs. So they buy less. And the whole cycle starts again, and we spiral into an economic depression.
In a normal crisis, the prescription for solving this is simple.
The government spends, and it spends until people start consuming and working again.
This pressure has led some world leaders to call for an easing of lockdown measures.
But normal interventions won’t work here because we don’t want the economy to recover (at least, not immediately). The whole point of the lockdown is to stop people going to work, where they spread the disease.
If we want to be more resilient to pandemics in the future (and to avoid the worst of climate change) we need a system capable of scaling back production in a way that doesn’t mean loss of livelihood.
At its core, the economy is the way we take our resources and turn them into the things we need to live.
Looked at this way, we can start to see more opportunities for living differently that allow us to produce less stuff without increasing misery.
So how do you reduce the amount of stuff you make while keeping people in work?
You have to reduce people’s dependence on a wage to be able to live.
Currently, the primary aim of the global economy is to facilitate exchanges of money. The dominant idea of the current system we live in is that exchange value is the same thing as use-value.
This is why markets are seen as the best way to run society. They allow you to adapt, and are flexible enough to match up productive capacity with use-value.
What COVID-19 is throwing into sharp relief is just how false our beliefs about markets are.
There are lots of contributing factors to this. But let’s take two.
First, it is quite hard to make money from many of the most essential societal services-key workers low-paid employee. This is in part because a major driver of profits is labour productivity growth: doing more with fewer people – automation.
Second, jobs in many critical services aren’t those that tend to be highest valued in society. Many of the best-paid jobs only exist to facilitate exchanges; to make money.
People are compelled to work pointless jobs (they serve no wider purpose to society: ie. consultants, huge advertising industry and a massive financial sector) because, in a society where exchange value is the guiding principle of the economy, the basic goods of life are mainly available through markets.
This means you have to buy them, and to buy them you need an income, which comes from a job.
Meanwhile, we have a crisis in health and social care, where people are often forced out of useful jobs they enjoy because these jobs don’t pay them enough to live.
While state-capitalist society continues to pursue exchange value as the guiding light of the economy. It also enacts a massive Keynesian stimulus by extending credit and making direct payments to businesses.
The expectation here is that this is will be for a short period.
Could this be a successful scenario?
Possibly, but only if COVID-19 proves controllable over a short period.
Limited state intervention will become increasingly hard to maintain if death tolls rise.
Increased illness and death will provoke unrest and deepen economic impacts, forcing the state to take more and more radical actions to try to maintain market functioning.
Barbarism is the future if we continue to rely on exchange value as our guiding principle and yet refuse to extend support to those who get locked out of markets by illness or unemployment. It describes a situation that we have not yet seen.
Could this happen?
The concern is that either it could happen by mistake during the pandemic, or by intention after the pandemic peaks.
Potentially just as consequential is the possibility of massive austerity after the pandemic has peaked and governments seek to return to “normal”.
This would be disastrous. The subsequent failure of the economy and society would trigger political and stable unrest, leading to a failed state and the collapse of both state and community welfare systems.
Then there is the possibility that we could see with a cultural shift that places a different kind of value at the heart of the economy.
The state steps in to protect the parts of the economy that are essential to life: so that the basic provisions of life are no longer at the whim of the market. The state nationalises hospitals and makes housing freely available. Finally, it provides all citizens with a means of accessing various goods – both basics and any consumer goods we are able to produce with a reduced workforce.
Citizens no longer rely on employers as intermediaries between them and the basic materials of life.
Payments are made to everyone directly and are not related to the exchange value they create.
Instead, payments are the same to all (on the basis that we deserve to be able to live, simply because we are alive), or they are based on the usefulness of the work.
A Basic Universal Income.
Supermarket workers, delivery drivers, warehouse stackers, nurses, teachers, and doctors are the new CEOs.
If deep recessions happen and there is a disruption in supply chains such that demand cannot be rescued by the kind of standard Keynesian policies we are seeing now (printing money, making loans easier to get and so on), the state may take overproduction.
There are risks to this approach – we must be careful to avoid authoritarianism. But done well, this may be our best hope against an extreme COVID-19 outbreak.
Mutual aid is the second future in which we adopt the protection of life as the guiding principle of our economy. But, in this scenario, the state does not take a defining role. Rather, individuals and small groups begin to organise support and care within their communities.
The most ambitious form of this future sees new democratic structures arise. Groupings of communities that are able to mobilise substantial resources with relative speed. People coming together to plan regional responses to stop disease spread and (if they have the skills) to treat patients.
This kind of scenario could emerge from any of the others.
What hopefully is clear is that all these scenarios leave some grounds for fear, but also some for hope.
The upside of this is the possibility that we build a more humane system that leaves us more resilient in the face of future pandemics and other impending crises like climate change.
A key task for us all is demanding that emerging social forms come from an ethic that values care, life, and democracy.
The central political task in this time of crisis is living and (virtually) organising around those values.
Not low-paid workers or National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage because their work is so vital.
Successive governments had failed to reduce inequality between rich and poor despite two decades of interventions.
We must now with an uncertain future focus more on the journey, rather than the ultimate destination.
But be no doubt that we are at a crossroad where the low pay culture that has trapped people in poorly jobs is coming to an end.
Capitalism Inequality can not be allowed to continue.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
AS IF WE DID NOT KNOW it is posing that fundamental profound question once more.
Are we going to care of the Earth so it can care for us?
It is impossible to say which way the disease will go however there is no doubt that it is creating the biggest restriction of civil liberties “in peacetime”.
We know that we all tracked by Google. Behind all the restrictions governments will adopt powers that they will loath to relinquish when the crises are over.
There is every like hood that the pandemic will strengthen the state and reinforce nationalism. What won’t change is the inequality and greed, rather it will create a less open, less prosperous and less free world.
Of course, it did not have to be like this but it will be the straw that brakes the camel’s back of globalization and it will probably result in uncontrolled Co2 emissions.
In the short term, with decoupling and rivalry coming to the forefront driven by a cascading sense of vulnerability there will be a race to return to full production.
However the Pandemic is proof of our interdependence but we are not or are we heading for a poorer, meaner, and smaller world.
If the Pandemic shocks us into recognizing our real interests in cooperating multilaterally on the big global issues facing us all it will have served a useful purpose.
We all know that it is not enough to think of one nation’s power over another when it comes to climate change. The key is learning the importance that we have all to act together and Covid -19 is going to show that we are failing to adjust our strategy on many fronts to this new world.
Either way, this crisis will reshuffle the international power structure in the way we can only begin to imagine.
If we don’t support each other the result will be instability and widespread conflict within and across nations.
We know that there is a dramatic new stage in global capitalism on the horizon with supply chains be brought closer to home. We are going to see failed states with billions of economic refugees on the move.
We are going to see the USA no longer as an international leader.
To date, international collaboration has been woefully insufficient.
What is needed it targeted assistance that provides hope that men and woman can prevail in response to this extraordinary challenge.
If it gets Airborne the white full personal-protection suits that presently strike fear into the hearts of us all will be worthless.
AS IF EARTH DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS THE NEXT NASA PROJECT TO MARS IS SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH IN JULY.
NASA’s 2020 Mars rover.
The rover will collect and cache promising samples for eventual return to Earth.
The first pristine pieces of Mars won’t be coming down to Earth for at least another decade, but the time to start preparing society for the epic arrival is now.
This is an extremely grave point.
On the one hand, we can argue that Martian organisms cannot cause any serious problems to terrestrial organisms, because there has been no biological contact for 4.5 billion years between Martian and terrestrial organisms. On the other hand, we can argue equally well that terrestrial organisms have evolved no defences against potential Martian pathogens, precisely because there has been no such contact for 4.5 billion years. The chance of such an infection may be very small, but the hazards, if it occurs, are certainly very high.
Martian rock that has already arrived on earth contained structures resembled the fossilized remains of bacteria-like lifeforms.
What if such samples turned out to be dangerous, and contagiously so?
Are there some Mars-oriented lessons to be learned from COVID-19.
Here on earth, it is gruelling and potentially lethal work to identify a virus never mind virus from other planets.
It is estimated that there are 1.6 million unknown viruses in birds and mammals. Of these, it is thought between 600,000 and 800,000 are zoonotic, meaning they have the potential to jump from animals to people.
Virulence, contacts and the length of time for which people are infectious are the three factors that determine what is called ‘the basic reproductive rate’ – how far and fast the epidemic will spread.
As with historical infectious disease epidemics, the coronavirus that’s spreading currently is another example of why it’s so important to understand the consequences of interacting with environments humans rarely contact and then distributing widely whatever [they] picked up.
If one looks at the outbreak in Africa, of Ebola and the HIV/Aids pandemic – which to date has killed 35 million and infected 70 million – started about a century ago in Cameroon when a chimpanzee virus was transmitted to a human who almost certainly killed, butchered or consumed it.
Markets were closed during both outbreak, but they are now once more doing a roaring trade selling tropical game including monkeys, chimpanzees, cane rats, bats and snakes. Bushmeat is entrenched in local culture and is often a vital form of subsistence, hence why the authorities are unwilling or unable to announce an outright ban.
Last, with or without artificial intelligence we continue at our collective peril to make imbalance’s in the ecosystem.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
I know that humans are the only type of species that are suitable to manage the earth but it does not make them the right species!
Did we ever think that we would be living in a world where it is life-threatening to go our side and I am not talking about terrorists or any other Hollywood science fiction movie scenario?
There’s a lot of bad news out there but this is not a death sentence.
It’s time to save the world. ” We can use it as we wish”
No one owns the earth. No one has the right to do whatever they want.
We’re not the only thing that lives here, nor are we more important in any way.
We cannot use the world as we please as our actions are endangering not just us but other species.
Our Earth was meant to be lived on in union with its Ecosystems and we cannot allow that to be broken.
The Coronavirus ( Covid 19 ) is illuminating what is wrong with our world.
So our most crucial life questions are:
What Kind of World Do We Want to Leave to Our Children?
Whatever your interest — whether it’s the environment, health care, poverty, or education — there are simple steps each of us can take to make life better not just for someone in our own community.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” now needs an Earth Declaration.
Here are the top six of my non-legal binding the goals.
Use Global Warming to Solve Global Warming.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
Sustainable Development Goals which will take years for a critical mass of governments to actually rally behind.
The allocation of resources to fight climate change and other environmental issues over the next decade can be achieved by making a profit for profit sake pay. ( See the previous post on a 0.05% World Aid Commission. How it could be implemented so the costs are spread fairly)
End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Global poverty. Reduce inequality within and among countries. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Expand access to clean drinking water, green energy.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation.
The 2020s sounds like such a radical futuristic decade however to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development requires a coherent and plausible conception of social justice. Abasic income, a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement.
Stop the sale of arms.
The estimate of the total value of the global arms trade in 2017 was at least $95 billion.* However, the true figure is likely to be higher. On any given day at any given moment in your life, there are at least 15 wars and armed conflicts actively going on all around the world — even if you’re only hearing about a few of them on the news.
There are an estimated 11-12 million refugees in the world today with between 12-24 million Internally Displaced Persons.
Electoral Reform with Citizens’ Assemblies.
These aren’t just focus groups or consultations though but for the members to engage in serious, informed reflection on important policy matters with people they may never normally meet.
As Hubert Reeves ( Canadian-French Astrophysicist) say’s, ” Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and Destroys a Visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshipping “
Feel free to have idea sex between your ideas and mine so we can come up with even better ideas. It’s a way of saying: “We agree that these are the world’s top priorities right now.”
With all aspects of our life made into a form of viewing entertainment. We live in a world that has become desensitized.
The result is that most if not all of us pay little attention to the state of Earth.
The drawn-out nature of many crises now facing us all underscores the importance of coming together to urgently resolve the root causes of a humanitarian crisis.
It is unlikely the situation will improve.
Where do you even start? Which issues are the most urgent?
So this post is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Rather, it serves as an overview of some of the major issues all global citizens should be aware of.
Sometimes it can seem as though there are too many – from climate change to inequality around the world, too many people living without access to medical care its not worth knowing.
But just in case here is why we are in such a mess.
12.9% of the world is undernourished, about 30% of the adult population is overweight.
Conflict continues to drive displacement and food insecurity but communicable diseases are still responsible for 71% of deaths.
The international community, and in particular wealthy nations, are failing to meaningfully share the responsibility for protecting people who have fled their homes in search of safety.
25.9 million refugees globally — the highest level ever recorded
Half of the world’s refugees are children
A third of refugees — 6.7 million people — is hosted by the world’s poorest countries
Driven by nearly two decades of conflict and political instability; 9.4 million Afghans (25 per cent of the population) need humanitarian assistance. There are almost 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees living outside the country.
4.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country as of November 2019.
There are over 2 million displaced Nigerians.
Eleven million Syrians (65 per cent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Democratic Republic of Congo 15.9 million people require humanitarian assistance.
Over 24 million Yemenis (80 per cent of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance,
South Sudan 7.5 million people need humanitarian assistance.
600 million children are not mastering basic mathematics and literacy while at school.
Forests are key to producing the air we breathe, yet these are being depleted at a rate of 26 million hectares every year.
Extinctions are happening at what scientists estimate to be about 1,000 times the normal pace. Not only are we losing flora and fauna, but we are also damaging our ecosystems, and throwing them out of balance
Our oceans are under threat.
Sand and gravel are now the most-extracted materials in the world, exceeding fossil fuels and biomass.
Climate change is another issue.
There is actually not enough fresh water for each person currently living on the planet.
Population growth. The number of people on the planet is set to rise to 9.7 billion in 2050 with 2 billion aged over 60.
More than 61 million jobs have been lost since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008, leaving more than 200 million people unemployed globally.
With 43% of the world’s population connected to the internet, regulatory frameworks are unable to keep up.
In this complex moment in history, in which so many are suffering and the Earth itself is in peril
The cloud of nuclear destruction hangs over each of our days.
But the question remains what kind of society do we want to have?
The reasons behind current trends are many and complex.
The detail of the information that we are beginning to capture about our world is mind-blowing. The granularity of the data we are beginning to collect through advances in technology. While improving our lives through cleaner energy sources, personalized nanomedicine and nano-engineered materials.
In all of these areas, progress will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in conventional jobs and inequality on a global scale not seen before.
But technology alone can not break the self-reinforcing mechanism that causes poverty to persist.
As highly innovative products emerging will, however, promote inequality if only a few have access to this new technology and the knowledge to master it.
Education is probably the single most important tool for turning technology into an engine for opportunities for all.
Public policies, which are currently mainly focused on fostering economic growth, should focus on providing further opportunities, less inequality and a more sustainable economic, social and environmental future.
Technology is not the solution but it is, for sure, a powerful tool towards achieving this ambitious objective.
Whether it’s turning promises on climate change into action, rebuilding trust in the financial system, or connecting the world to the internet there is an overall lack of long-term investment, which has serious implications for global growth.
But the most astonishing canvas is right in front of us if only we would listen with our ear to the earth we might see the light we cannot see.
In short, the world urgently needs a new, global plan based on genuine international cooperation and a meaningful and fair sharing of responsibilities.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
Most of us struggle with seeing things from a different perspective but our perception of how the world is changing matters for what we believe is possible in the future.
So the purpose of this post is an attempt to take the complexity of the world and simplify it into some sort of graphic that will either help you understand it or motivate you to do something differently.
Dire predictions for the future are nothing new. There is a connection between our perception of the past and our hope for the future.
When one considers our world from a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.
The state of the world today with Social media and profit-seeking algorithms is one of distrust. There are things that are certain in this world and there are lots of uncertainty attached to many things. Sometimes the only way to understand the world at its extremes is to put it in terms we use every day.
The fact is that at least two of the world’s largest powers have been at war with each other more than 50% of the time since about 1500.
The only problem we have here is us and therefore we cannot kill our way to a solution.
The Earth is about 3.5 million times larger than a human.
If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.
Here’s what we’ve got.
We see our earth as big, and in a relative way, it is.
There are about 7 billion people currently on Earth. Over its existence, around 106 billion people have lived on Earth.
It exists on a blue dot, 24,901 miles in circumference that is over 4 1/2 billion years old, weighing in a 13,170,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds (or 5,974,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms)
(Since Earth is too big to be placed on a scale, scientists use mathematics and the laws of gravity to figure out Earth’s weight.)
It has a solid iron ball in the middle that is 1,500 miles wide.
It makes up about 0.0003% of the total mass of our solar system.
75% of the Earth is covered in water only 2.5 per cent of it is fresh essential for producing food, clothing, and computers, moving our waste stream, and keeping us and the environment healthy.
About 321 billion gallons per day of surface water is used by humans.
Humans who are just 0.01% of all life have destroyed 83% of wild mammals.
Plants overshadow everything, representing 82% of all living matter. All other creatures, from insects to fungi, to fish and animals, make up just 5% of the world’s biomass.
It takes light a little over 8 light-minutes to travel from the Sun to Earth and it can circle our planet about seven and a half times in a single second.
Our closest star is Proxima Centauri at a distance of four light-years.
The Milky Way itself is about 100,000 light-years across and is home to about 400 billion stars.
(A light-year is the distance light travels in one Earth year. One light-year is about 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km). That is a 6 with 12 zeros behind it!)
According to the Big bang theory which happened about 13.7 billion years ago all the matter in the universe came into existence at the same time.
So anything can serve as a symbol as long as it refers to something beyond itself.
In our daily activities to give such things more than a passing glance.
However, our planet only seems large until we take a look at the rest of the cosmos around us.
Where do start? Its age., its place in the cosmic, or it’s future.
“Statistical facts don’t come to people naturally. Quite the opposite.
We’re visual creatures.
So perhaps a sense of scale might help.
Let’s start with a few comparisons
Life on Earth first emerged about 600 million years and we are the first generations whose decisions will determine for good or ill the future of human life on this planet, and we seem stuck in a way of thinking that is obsolete in a globalized world of growing populations. The widespread ignorance about these truly important changes in the world feeds into a general discontent about how the world is changing.
To our brains, a million, billion, and trillion all seem like large, vague numbers.
Today (January 2020) Bill Gates fortune amounts to around $108,5 billion around 0.5% of the GDP of the United States. By the time I complete this post, $1436400 amount will be added to his net worth and is predicted to hit the trillion mark by the age of 86.
If you are one of the so-called “rich” and you were lucky enough to make a million dollars per year, it would take you almost 80,000 YEARS to catch up.
We share the Earth with an estimated 1 quadrillion ants. Insects outweigh us by a factor of 17.
For every human, there are about one million ants and the total weight termites are more than the weight of all the humans in the world. They alone make up 10% of all animal biomass and 95% of soil and insect biomass in tropical regions.
Bacteria were one of the first life forms to appear on Earth, about 3.8 billion years ago, and they will most likely survive long after humans are gone.
The number of bacteria on our planet is estimated to be five million trillion trillion – that’s a five with 30 zeroes after it.
All the bacteria on Earth combined are about 1,166 times more massive than all the humans. For every human walking over the face of the planet.
Bacteria are the huddled masses of the microbial world, performing tasks that include everything from causing diseases to fixing nitrogen in the soil.
The number of bacteria makes the globe’s human population look downright puny.
Because the number of bacteria is so large, events that would occur once in 10 billion years in the laboratory would occur every second somewhere on the Earth.
We may have been underestimating our own humanness for the past several decades when it comes to Bacteria. The average human has over 100 trillion microbes in and on their body microbial cells outnumber human cells in your body by a ratio of around 10:1.
Our modus operandi was to kill them, rather than synchronize with them.
Bills and coins are the best way to transfer bacteria between people worldwide;
The debate over the microbiome will rage on, as the fear of the invisible and little understood will drive the masses in the short-term.
It is a fact that bacteria live in a whole series of worlds which stretch our imagination, be it the clouds in the sky, an Antarctic ice flow, a 100 degree C hot sulphur spring, 10 km down at the bottom of the sea, 1500 m below the surface of the earth in solid rock, in a rotting peach, in the roots of plants, the stomachs of animals and even your mouth, bacteria can be found there.
The vast majority of life is land-based and a large chunk – an eighth – is bacteria buried deep below the surface but bacteria also now found circling the Earth in the most upper layers of our atmosphere.
Recent findings on animal-bacteria interactions will likely require biologists to significantly alter their view of the fundamental nature of the entire biosphere.
“And that’s the way it is.”
My preference would be to avoid mentioning any ratio at all – you don’t need to it convey the importance of the microbiome.
Some 70 per cent of the global consumption of the drugs are used in animal and fish farming and to spray on crops.
Antibiotics in the environment do not do any good, they only contribute to risks which we are now witnessing with the Coronavirus. A rapidly spreading virus that is establishing itself across the world through international travel, trade and tourism.
We are now living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than
previously thought. No matter what process you think you are studying, you
must look for and consider a major role for bacteria.
The World Bank has estimated that drug-resistant infections could cost the world economy $1 trillion every year after 2030.
By 2050 costing the world around $100 trillion in lost output: more than the size of the current world economy, and roughly equivalent to the world losing the output of the UK economy every year, for 35 years not to mention killing an extra 10 million people across the world every year.
Back to earth.
This is what a quadrillion looks like written out: 1,000,000,000,000,000.
If it survives us it has 6.5 billion years before the sun (which is 92,960,000 miles away) about 109 times larger than the earth. That means you could fit around 1.3 million earth’s inside the sun which is actually considered a dwarf star — By contrast, UY Scuti is the largest star we humans are aware of; it is a hypergiant around 1.7 billion miles in diameter. UY Scuti is around 5 billion times larger than our sun.
Its no wonder we a pixel.
The diameter of our solar system is around 5,580,000,000,000 miles — that is, about five and a half trillion miles across. Expanding outward from here, we have to start talking about things in terms of light-years, as the scale is just too massive to discuss in miles. (One light-year is about 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km).
Our Milky Way Galaxy is about 100,000 light-years in diameter of which since the dawn of man we have observed the equivalent of the top of rubber on a pencil.
This is about one 24-millionth of the entire night sky visible from earth.
The diameter of the observable universe is estimated at about 28 billion parsecs (93 billion light-years).
Ok, the numbers are pretty hard to comprehend even when you know what each unit represents. To even think of how long 10 trillion kilometres might be, let alone 93 billion times that distance, can cause your brain to hurt.
Earth, in turn, is nothing more than a molecule in the incomprehensibly vast cosmic ocean.
Without a global jurisdiction, no government can enforce any kind of coherent rights doctrine, particularly in the face of borderless problems like terrorism or environmental crisis.
It is up to the people of earth to dissolve the strains between each-other in an equitable, harmonious way.
The planet you were born on is dying.
We’re on a timeline that leaves little space for politicians to gamble. This is a world that requires nations, corporations and individuals to think not in terms of quarterly reports or midterm elections, but in decades.
For transformative change to be possible, we sometimes need marginalized peoples to speak out, in a loud voice, against the status quo.
The guardians for future generations, representing the children of 2050, can be that voice that says we are spending too much on conflict and too little on peace.
Thus as Irving John Good said, “The survival of man depends on the early construction of an ultra-intelligent machine.”
“The first ultra-intelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.”
If I took a personal guess the way we are going there will be no need for such an intelligent machine as there will be nothing to be intelligent with.
ALL HUMAN COMMENTS APPRECIATED. ALL LIKE CLICKS AND ABUSE CHUCKED IN THE BIN.
We live in a world where the obvious cannot be addressed.
Each and every aspect of our daily lives, work, relationships are somehow influenced or mediated by technology today, not only as individuals but collectives.
It makes one wonder about the sheer volume of ignorance which not only allows the same problems to persist decade after decade but to even get worse.
It is obvious that our very sustainability is under threat but we remain “Oblivious”
Consider the paradoxical and strategic implications of the fact that people do not perceive things being too small or too big, too far away or too close, too wide or too narrow, too unimportant or too important for us, too slow and gradual or too sudden and fast, always present or usually absent, too often repeated or not often enough to be remarked, too general, complicated and abstract or too simple, too respectable or too unworthy, too familiar or too alien, too similar or too different too few or too many… Imagine the practical implications of such blindness!
Some of the biggest things around us dissolve into background scene, too huge to count and seemingly too big to fail.
To defeat this blindness we must ask what exactly is obvious? Why? obvious to whom? To me? to you? To everybody? Everywhere? All the time?
Decisions about technology should not be irreversibly delegated to technocrats, corporations and tech monopolies.
We think unknowingly with other people’s thoughts.
The conclusion is that our senses and memories cheat us, our common sense is no good and our judgement false.
It is self-evident that basic assumptions are the riverbeds of our thoughts, the compass of our judgment and choices and our actions; most of them we inherited from trusted people and from authorities, they look inherent, seem to be there from eternity, as if out of sight, so that we would not question them.
This is now leading to a ready-made thinking world of algorithms used by Facebook- Utube – Google – Smartphones -Twitter -and Social media. An invisible prison of social media where it is easier to observe other people’s basic assumptions than yours; particularly when they are dissimilar with yours; then, other people have not yet grown into your culture may be useful to detect your unquestionable beliefs; especially very different people coming from somewhere else; or you, visiting somewhere else.
I do not see much good in convincing people not to trust their own mind; we must instead accept and work around this “blindness” without moving our life into monasteries at the feet of gurus or into laboratories at the feet of the experts of the day.
After a while, you don’t notice. They become references.
The Right to an Algorithmic Opt-Out…
How to notice, by ourselves, the obvious turned imperceptible? How to detect it, how to discern it from the merely neutral “obvious” background? How to evaluate the importance and potential of change of something so evident that it escapes your attention? How to wake up to it? How to seek and get help? How to help other people to do the same? What to do when people cannot or do not want to see the obvious? How to awaken people?
The question is still “How to open my eyes when they are open already?”
The intelligent reason should visit its basic assumptions, regularly; but it doesn’t.
Our worst enemy in discerning the obvious is a certainty, to be convinced that we know it all and that the obvious is obvious for us.
The obvious is best disguised into itself. One obvious hide another.
How banal to say that the obvious is that which is right in front of us, readily accessible to our observation, to our senses or being credible knowledge we have!
With commercial profit-seeking algorithms, this hidden price of selective blindness and thus freedom diminished.
if you repeat slogans endlessly they will become obvious for you (even some false ones), and you will end up believing them.
The most amazing for me is to observe how we only apprehend things fit to our size and relative to us. We do not grasp the incommensurable, out of proportion with us, with which we have no common standard of measurement: the trillions of billions.
Because of compression, we have become an incredibly stupid species.
The obvious known comes alive for us to do something about it only when understanding turns it into a personal image, vivid and simple enough to be of our size; otherwise, we stay paralysed and dumb.
Perhaps it because our body believes that big things don’t move and unmoving things are harmless.
Perhaps its because we are weak, unable to face them and we allow our judgment to slumber; we do not see what we do not wish to see, hoping that it will go away or solve itself.
Perhaps only when understood does the evidence become awareness, we are able to respond to, so that we would do something because of what it means.
Perhaps figuring out that the elusive 20th-century social contract is gone, is too enormous for us. Therefore we will go on like cattle to the slaughterhouse.
Why is this becoming true?
Because as Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophical Investigations states.
“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one’s eyes.) The real foundations of their inquiry do not strike people at all. Unless that fact has at some time struck them. And this means: we fail to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful.”
Only by understanding how and when common sense fails can we improve how we plan for the future.
Then, question and challenge the obvious at the root: “Why exactly it must be so? Why it is impossible? Who says so? Where is it necessary or impossible? Only here or everywhere? Really?! For whom; for you or for the entire humanity? With what means? At what size? Within what frame of time? Forever? Which pieces in this puzzle would, if changed, make the impossible possible and the necessary less so? Maybe you or somebody else, somewhere else, with different means have other self-evidence.
Where it will end?
Either there will be a technological or psychological breakthrough or we will see worldwide degradation like we’ve never seen before.
Old labels often obscure the obvious.
I’d like to state the obvious:
Problem-solving is the only thing in life that holds value. Anything that isn’t a solution to a problem is pure excess.
The truth is that the world is not a democracy. We don’t all decide what is best – only a select few do.
We are egocentric through and through – but creating a lasting, meaningful change feeds our egos like nothing else.
Unfortunately, creating change takes time, patience and perseverance.
It appears that for every one step we take forward as a global community, we end up taking two steps backwards.
Every problem in the world is a function that is processed in an environment, on a platform with certain bounds, certain rules, and certain major players.
As far as I can see, life has little certain purpose. If there is a real reason for it, then we have to accept that we simply don’t know the reason.
However, don’t give up until you have to – until there is a better, more logical option.
Big ideas can change the world, can’t they?
Of course, we don’t know. Nobody does. It is really about what we want to happen and whether we go out there and make it happen.
Will we be able to shift direction to avoid the worst impacts of climate change?
We face risks, called existential risks, that threaten to wipe out humanity.
These risks are not just for big disasters, but for the disasters that could end history.
Anyone of them might mean that value itself becomes absent from the universe.
In doing so we will get the economy back on its feet again and re-orientate our financial institutions so that they cannot place the world in a similar situation to what we experienced in 2008.
In the daily hubbub of current “crises” facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.