We have been unable to leave our homes for about four months due to the epidemic. But if we take the whole year, in fact, this year has led us to witness quite remarkable events for both pre-existing and emerging disaster risks: severe drought, destructive forest fires, dangerous gas emissions, towns facing drought. In fact, all these events are hitting the consequences of climate change caused by us.
While the above disasters have been overcome, all these disasters are actually part of the puzzle. A report entitled Survival and Development in the 21st Century, published by the Human Future Commission (CHF), highlighted ten threats that human survival must fight for.
Without priority order, we can list disasters as follows:
- Depletion of natural resources, especially water, day by day
- The collapse of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity
- Human population growth that exceeds the world’s capacity
- Global warming and human-induced climate change
- Chemical pollution of the Earth system, including the atmosphere and oceans
- Increasing food insecurity and malnutrition quality
- Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction
- Emerging and untreatable pandemics
- The emergence of powerful, uncontrolled new technology
- National and global failure to understand these risks and to act against them.
Human Future Commission established
Last year, the Human Future Commission was established after debates at the Australian National University over the great risks faced by humanity, how to approach them and how they can be resolved. Last month, we hosted the first roundtable discussion, bringing together more than 40 academics, thinkers and policy leaders.
Commission report; Since the middle of the 20th century, human beings have done much more harm to themselves; It revealed that global trends in population, knowledge, politics, war, climate, environmental damage, and technology result in an entirely new level of risk.
These risks that we now face have become even more diverse, global and complex. Each carries a “significant” risk to human civilization, even a “catastrophic risk” and can actually destroy the human species and therefore we can actually call it an “existential risk”.
The risks are interrelated, that is, they arise for the same underlying causes and must be resolved in a way that does not harm the person further.
This means many existing systems that we do not appreciate. It includes economy, food, energy, production and waste, community life and our governance systems. These systems, along with our relationship with Earth’s natural systems, must also be subject to research review and reform. (Governance: (As business) multilateral routing and management. (in organizations) jointly manage together and interactively.)
COVID-19: A Lesson That Tells the Links
Although it may be tempting to examine these threats separately, we see how connected everything is in the coronavirus crisis.
What has been done against the coronavirus has also sparked controversy about climate change reducing carbon pollution, artificial intelligence, and data use (including facial recognition). Especially in the changes in the global security landscape in the face of major economic troubles.
COVID-19 cannot be “overcome” without considering other risks.
All for One, One for All
The report of the Commission is not intended to resolve each risk, but to summarize current thinking and identify unifying themes. Understanding science, evidence and analysis will be key to adequately addressing threats and finding solutions to them. An evidence-based approach to policy is required. As we have seen with climate change, lack of science and evidence leads to risks that cannot be overcome.
The human future is for all of us! To shape this, we need to have collaborative, inclusive and diverse discussions. We should listen carefully to the advice given by political and social scientists on how all humanity can participate in these debates.
We will need imagination, creativity and new narratives for the challenges that test our civil society and humanity. Because the wildfire smoke we’ve witnessed was unprecedented, and COVID-19 is a newer virus.
If policymakers and our government had spent more time using current climate science to understand and construct the potential risks of summer 2019-20, we would have realized a disastrous season and we could have been much better prepared for these disasters. After all, there is no such thing as we will not be exposed to events that we have never experienced.
Thinking Long Term
Our political processes need to be overcome for a short time. We must not forget that our actions today will affect future generations.
The Commission’s report highlights the failure of governments to address these threats and particularly highlights the short-term sentiment that is increasingly dominating Australia and global politics. This has seriously undermined our potential to reduce risks such as climate change.
The transition from short term to long term thinking can begin at home and in our daily life. Today, we must make decisions considering the future. We must apply this not only in our own lives, but also at the request of our policy makers.
We live in unprecedented times. Destructive and existential risks for humanity are serious and multifaceted. And this talk is the most important talk we have today.