The Serious Issues we have to address.

There are a large number of issues that we as a species need to deal with. These issues are not possible for countries to tackle on their own. There needs to be a unified approach. Some of these are so big that politicians do not want to tackle them. Many of them affect some regions more than others so it is easy for some politicians to ignore them – or even refute that they exist.

If we do not tackle these issues then, further down the line, I believe they are going to become huge issues.

All of these issues are solvable – though they would require quite a unified effort. How do we reduce population without imposing draconian policies on fertility? There are many solutions involving welfare and female education.

Here are the issues I think we should focus our minds on:

  1. Overpopulation

I think this is the biggest issue and one that underpins most of the others. The amount of pollution and use of resources is in proportion to the number of people. This leads to deforestations, overfishing, habitat loss etc.

2. Global Warming and Climate Change

The climate we have now is ideal for us. If it was to get colder or warmer that would be a disaster for us. Sea level rises would be devastating. Major weather events, desertification, droughts, floods, forest fires, melting ice, bleaching coral…….. It would lead to areas becoming uninhabitable and mass migration. It could lead to wars.

Whatever is causing global warming (and I do not think that is open to debate) if it is in our power to prevent it then we should put our energies into doing that.

3. Species extinctions and population crashes

All across the globe, we have major crashes in populations of insects, fish and mammals.

As insects form the basic diet of many food webs the decimation of insects leads to the crashes in populations of other animals. As we are part of these food webs we have a direct interest. If we value nature (as has been a feature of this lockdown) and want to see the swallows, hedgehogs and wild birds, we have to protect our insects. Insects are pollinators. For our crops and wildflowers, we need insects.

The loss of fish is due to overfishing and pollution.

The loss of mammals is due to habitat destruction, deforestation, desertification, loss of insects, hunting, poaching and fires.

4. Gross inequality and poverty

Increasingly, wealth is being accumulated into a small elite. With the advent of A/I this is likely to become a lot worse. There is more than enough to go around, yet we see millions still starving and living in abject poverty.

This poverty leads to the type of mass migrations we have been seeing in recent times.

The good news is that poverty levels have come down. We could eradicate poverty completely if we wanted to.

5. Pollution

We have seen the terrible impact of plastics in our environment. They are one of many pollutants. Our air is unbreathable in many cities. Our soil and water is full of chemicals. Habitats are destroyed. Animals are killed and we are poisoning ourselves.

We need stringent controls on industry to prevent this pollution.

6. War

As resources become rare, populations increase and tensions rise there is an increased risk of war. We have seen the repercussions of this with the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. While some people have literally made a killing, the rest of us have shouldered the economic burden and loss of life. We have seen uprising of religious fundamentalism, terrorism and political extremism. We have seen more refugees, populism, nationalism and isolationism and extreme political thinking.

Nobody ever wins a war. It costs us all. This vying for power between nations is plain stupid.

7. Pandemics

We are in the midst of a global pandemic which has devastated the world economy and caused immense disruption. This is just one of many we have had in recent times. We’ve dodged many a bullet – MERS, SARS, Ebola, Bird Flu, Swine Flu……..

These are not a new phenomenon but the numbers of pandemics are increasing and we know why. Our numbers and practices – such as hunting and logging – are opening up remote areas and bringing us into contact with animals that have viruses we have never encountered before. This is not a good idea. We should conserve those wild areas.

Catching and butchering wild animals in ‘wet’ markets is creating this problem.

We need to ban wet markets and the importation of wild animals. We need to control hunting, mining and logging.

8. Tax evasion and the Multinationals

The multinationals and wealthy elite have found numerous loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Trump won’t reveal his taxes because he knows he has been cheating and will be caught out. Multinationals are so powerful they simply play one country off against another and use powerful lobbying, bribes and corruption to weigh the rules in their favour. They buy off governments, pollute and do not pay their share.

The end result is that the rest of us have to pay more, that more people live in poverty, education and healthcare is worse, infrastructure is worse and local services are worse.

We need a global power capable of curbing the activities of the multinationals and wealthy elite. We need a fairer world and more accountability.

These people control the media, buy off political parties and dictate policy in their favour. They are getting away with murder. They ravage the planet and pollute for profit. They need stopping.

9. Asteroids

We know the earth regular gets hit by large asteroids which cause mass devastation (as wiped out the dinosaurs). A big one could wipe out all life on this planet. It could happen tomorrow or in a million years time. We have no way of knowing.

A sensible, intelligent people would use their science to provide early detection and a means of dealing with such an event.

10. Education and Science

The world is a complex place. Far too many people live in ignorance and superstition which holds us back. Science does not have all the answers (yet) but it can provide us with a lot of the solutions. Having a good education and understanding science and the world can dispel a lot of our problems. We could have functioning democracies, wise decision-making and better choices. We could have less suspicion and fear, less racism and xenophobia, less tyranny and a smaller population.

11. Racism, Sexism and Xenophobia

Black Lives Matter has illustrated the kind of world we live in. It is based on patriarchal institutionalised racism. That has to stop. We are one species. All cultures, races and people need valuing equally. There should not be a valuing of one gender over another or one race over another.  This artificial division is primitive, cultural, tribal and is holding us back.

Enough.

I believe that human nature is good. Most people are compassionate and caring. It is the minority who are a problem – and that minority includes many of our political and religious leaders.

We could live on a planet in harmony with one another and nature, without extremes and with everyone have a good life with freedoms, work, creativity, pleasure and comfort. There could be plenty of adventure.

If we wanted.

I’m open to a debate!

2 thoughts on “The Serious Issues we have to address.

  1. Opher, this is the best post of yours I’ve yet read. You should try to get it published in the Grauniad, or a similar leftist rag.

    On a first scan, I’m about 50% with you and 50% against you. Here are some initial thoughts:

    (1) Why do you keep harping about the negatives of human civilization? Without taking into account the positives, like the house you live in? There aren’t too many vacant caves around Nafferton, are there?

    (2) You say “The climate we have now is ideal for us.” You’re a climate conservative, Opher! But isn’t there evidence that humans flourished in earlier warm periods? And how do you know that a bit more warmth would be bad for us?

    (3) Too much research needed to comment today.

    (4) I basically agree with what you say, but you don’t seem to understand that by your collectivist attitude you are supporting the political elite.

    (5) The solution, for me, is “polluter pays.” In proportion to his share of the problem. And, on the other side, “politicker pays.”

    (6) Couldn’t agree more. As Randolph Bourne told us, war is the health of the state. It’s the state that is the problem.

    (7) I think you need to supply some evidence for your claim. My own guess on how the epidemic started is that the Chinese were doing some stuff they shouldn’t have done; then they made a series of monumental cock-ups.

    (8) But Opher… Don’t you understand that taxation feeds the elites? And that the multi-national bosses have become, over the last 40+ years, part of the elites? They behave like kings; they can do anything, without any come-back. Look, for example, at how the quality of Microsoft software has deteriorated over the last fifteen years or so. Your “global power” would only be more of the same, and worse.

    (9) Yes, an “asteroid watch” would be a good use of resources for the longer term. But how much should it cost?

    (10) I agree that science ought to be able to help us. But government-funded science, at least, has been corrupted by the vested interests of the political elites.

    (11) I’d say “every human individual is morally equal.” But you and I are on the same side here.

    Lastly, you say: “I believe that human nature is good.” I agree. Though where you say “compassionate and caring,” I would say “peaceful and honest.” But there are some among us that are not so good. And as you say, that minority “includes many of our political and religious leaders.”

    Nice post, Opher.

    1. Cheers Neil. Good to hear.

      Oh there are many positives. I think we have got much better down the years. The problems we are creating with our numbers need addressing or else we are not only going to destroy ourselves but also most of the life we share the planet with – and I don’t want that to happen.

      The climate is ideal for us. Neither a warmer world nor colder world could support our population size. Rising sea-levels – as have existed in the past – would put our cities and much of our fertile farmland under water. Extensive ice and glaciers would similarly impair agriculture. With a small population size it would not matter. 8 billion id 5 billion too many.

      There is much evidence on this corona pandemic and previous HIV, Ebola, SARS and MERS. I don’t believe this conspiracy theory stuff. That’s Trumpian proganda – fake news. As a biologist I read extensively about the HIV cause. We can see quite clearly how these diseases jump species barriers. Having seen Asian markets it is easy to see.

      Taxation is necessary Neil. Tax evasion is what the elites practice. Without global constraints, they are free to plunder and cheat without any restriction. I agree that we have to be wary of the body we put in place and the power we give it. I do not think there is an alternative. These people are already doing what they want.

      It is people like Trump and the multinationals who are corrupting science. We have to have a better, politically and business free science.

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