SURVIVAL MATTERS

GREAT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FACE OF CATASTROPHIC RISKS

We all now face a set of human-driven catastrophic risks that threaten global and national security, prosperity and potential. In the worst case, these risks spell mass harm, up to and including human extinction. They include: 

– Emerging scarcity of key resources including water, soil, fertiliser, forests, wild fish, certain minerals 

– Pandemics of new and antibiotic resistant diseases 

– Growing insecurity in the global food system, leading to conflict and mass migration. 

– The mass extinction of wildlife around the planet and the decline and loss of key ecosystem services that support and sustain human life 

– The continuing overpopulation of Earth by the human species and its demands

– The rising threat of global nuclear war, from powerful new weapons of mass destruction, many of them robotic 

– The emergence of potent new supertechnologies over which society has little control 

– The universal pollution of the Planet by human chemical emissions, harming both our health and the survival of other forms of life 

– The growing impacts of a changing climate, including famine, mass migration and war. 

– The widespread delusion that we can ignore these consequences of human actions. 

The likelihood that several of these risks will combine in catastrophic consequences is still relatively low. However their likely scale and severity imposes an obligation on all governments, industries and communities to take early precautionary action. 

At the same time, in all such risks lie great opportunities for a nation with a high level of awareness, creativity, ingenuity and determination. The key to this is a clear-sighted understanding of the challenges we face, a realistic appreciation of the scale of our risk, the brains to overcome it in a well-planned and integrated fashion – and the skill to capitalise on the major opportunities it holds. 

Australia has exceptional skills in fields such as novel food systems, water management, regenerative farming, low-impact mining, recycling of scarce resources, climate adaptation, healthcare, science and education. We have a population with many of the skills, talents and qualities we need to grasp such a chance. What we lack is a shared view of both the threats and the opportunities, and a national plan to carry us forward. 

The undersigned call on the governments of Australia and on all political parties, corporations and community organisations to get behind the development of a national plan to prepare for catastrophic risk – and seize the opportunities. 

Elements of this plan include: 

– a high level Roundtable of national experts and stakeholders in Parliament House Canberra , to address the question: “How can Australia develop a national plan for managing interacting catastrophic risks and exploiting the opportunities they offer?” 

– a new independent national commission with a whole-of-government view of both catastrophic risk and opportunity to oversee policy development. 

A NEW BODY TO SOLVE RISKS

 

The Commission for the Human Future has been set up by concerned Australians to:

Alert Australians to the nature and scale of the catastrophic risks now facing human society

Help to develop solutions to global catastrophic risks

Identify fresh opportunities arising out of the solution of major threats.

Promote nationwide dialogue about the risks, their solution and the opportunities that solving them entails.

Serve as a knowledge hub for the solution of global catastrophic risks.

You can find out more about the new Commission by visiting the website www.humansforsurvival.org

 

You can also learn more of these threats and what experts think of them by listening to a series of podcasts at this address

 

The Commission is one of a growing number of bodies around the world dedicated to solving risks and preventing the collapse of society. It will ally and work with these to generate a safer future for humanity and the Planet

Australia21 is an independent, not for profit think tank. We promote fair, sustainable and inclusive public policy through evidence-based research.

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