It’s all too easy to see the world as a bundle of problems, but that perspective gives no hope and no useful openings for action. “Solutions” to problems all too often merely create fresh problems of their own.
But there’s no denying that the human race faces plenty of challenges, many of which even pose threats to its very survival.
Can these Challenges be resolved? This site is dedicated to the position that they can, and to the investigation of how that may be accomplished.
But will they be resolved, before time runs out and Human Civilisation is devastated, or maybe the species is anihilated entirely? This remains an open question. My stand is that they will be, and that the family of humanity will live in harmony and prosperity. We don’t have long to wait to find out, one way or the other. Almost certainly, it will be within the lifetime of most people living today.
So let’s start by listing the major Challenges that we face, and then move on to opening the discussion of what resolutions are available to us:
- Population overload
- Fossil fuel exhaustion
- Climate change
- Pollution of air, water and land
- Exhaustion of raw materials
- Nuclear weapons
- Nuclear waste
- Economic recession and Financial Turmoil
- Workplace alienation
- Opressive, intrusive and despotic Government
- Loss of Biodiversity
- Soil erosion
- Spiritual empoverishment
Some of these may seem less survival-threatening than others. But it seems to me that none of these challenges can be resolved in isolation; they are all inter-related as they represent different facets of our failure to empathise with each other, and with the planet and the cosmos which we inhabit.
I’ll sketch outlines of potentential resolutions of some of these challenges below. The fact that resolutions exist does not of course mean that it is going to be easy to get from here to there! All of these will be explored in articles of their own on this site in the next few weeks. In the meantime, please feel free to add your own comments.
Debates rage about whether the human population has exceeded its sustainable level or not. Without taking issue with that, it is clear that there is some level beyond which the resources of the planet cannot support us. Even if that has not been reached already, it must be soon if the population continues to expand exponentially; doubling in less than 40 years in recent times. However experience shows that wherever you have passable healthcare and nutrition, a reasonable life expectancy, avalability of birth control and a minimal level of female education, the population stabilises and may then gently decline.
Fossil fuel exhaustion and Climate change
All serious studies point to the fact that oil extraction rates will peak at some point (if they have not already done so), and will decline thereafter. There are bitter disputes about whether this will happen now, next year or in a decade. But even the most wild optimists can give no evidence that this will happen more than a few decades hence. The same applies to coal and natural gas; the timescales may be a little longer in those cases, but not by orders of magnitude. The good news is that this would automatically solve the problem of CO2 emissions (if it’s not too late by then). In fact all of our energy needs for a comfortable abundant life can be met from solar-power plants of various types, and at a fraction of the cost of current arrangements (despite what you hear from the fossil-fule lobbyists).
Pollution of air, water and land and Exhaustion of raw materials
We dig increasingly rare minerals out of the ground, make them into stuff which doesn’t last long and then throw it away. We could take a leaf from the book of the natural world. Every organism that dies immediately becomes the raw materials for the structure of other organisms. If we 100% reclaimed and recycled the materials from all our objects when they were finished with, there would be no garbage – and no demand for new feedstock. Of course it would help if we made things to last and to be fully and easily repairable as they broke or wore out. And if we cut down on unnecessary junk and packaging.
In the ancient world War was a perfectly rational strategy, if a callous and immoral one. In an agrarian society the principle form of wealth is land. By conquering another state a ruler could increase his wealth – in land, in serfs and slaves, and in concubines. Any destroyed crops, livestock or dwellings would be readily replaced. There is no longer any rational case for war in the modern world. Victor and defeated alike are impoverished. The wealth in land is dwarfed by that in the form of infrastucture, buildings, factories, plant, power stations etc, which are reduced to worthless rubble. Even where the victor avoids damage to their home territory – as in the wildly asymmetric conflicts between the US and Iraq or Afghanistan – they still pay an intolerable price in destruction of their military equipment and personnel. Not to mention the thousand million dollars that this misadventure costs every week – which represents manpower, energy and materials which are lost to the building of abundance and prosperity at home.