Salvation if we want it… but we all fear change.

Posted on July 15, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Word facts… Humanity stands on the threshold of a peaceful and prosperous future,
Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it.
Tell them something new and they will hate you for it
– George Monbiot
 
Energy czars persuade the persuadable to continue a future built by destroying finite resources 

“the greenest energy is that which you needn’t ever produce.”
 
 
We’ve seen the future … and we may not be doomed
UN report finds life is getting better for people worldwide – but that governments are failing to grasp the opportunities offered at ‘a unique time’.
 
Humanity stands on the threshold of a peaceful and prosperous future, with an unprecedented ability to extend lifespans and increase the power of ordinary people – but is likely to blow it through inequality, violence and environmental degradation. And governments are not equipped to ensure that the opportunities are seized and disasters averted.
 
So says a massive new international report, due to be published late this month, and obtained by The Independent on Sunday. Backed by organisations ranging from Unesco to the US army, the World Bank to the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2008 State of the Future report runs to 6,300 pages and draws on contributions from 2,500 experts around the globe.
 
Its warning is all the more stark for eschewing doom and gloom. “The future continues to get better for most of the world,” it concludes, “but a series of tipping points could drastically alter global prospects.”
 
… “This is a unique time in history.  It is increasingly clear that the world has the resources to address our common challenges. Ours is the first generation with the means for many to know the world as a whole, identify global improvement systems, and seek to improve [them].”
 
What is more, say the authors of the report, produced by the Millennium Project of the World Federation of the United Nations Associations, many important things are already getting better. Life expectancy and literacy rates are increasing worldwide, while infant mortality and the number of armed conflicts have been falling fast. Per capita income has been growing strongly enough to cut poverty by more than half by 2015
 
Even better, it says, “advances in science, technology, education, economics and management seem capable of making the world work far better than it does today”. “collective intelligence for just-in-time knowledge to inform decisions”.
 
The report reserves its greatest enthusiasm for the internet, which it says is “already the most powerful force for globalisation, democratisation, economic growth and education in history.
 
Just over one-third of humanity still lives in the 43 countries with authoritarian regimes, but half of these people are in China.
 
On the other hand, the report warns “half the world is vulnerable to social instability and violence due to rising food and energy prices, failing states, falling water tables, climate change, decreasing water-food-energy supply per person, desertification and increasing migrations due to political, environmental and economic conditions” – threaten to undo the improvements of recent years and blight the chance of a better future.
 
Yet nuclear power – the solution increasingly favoured by governments, which are planning to add another 350 reactors to the 438 already operating around the world – will not do the job. “For nuclear energy to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, about 2,000 nuclear power plants would have to be built, at $5-15bn per plant, over 15 years – and possibly an additional 8,000 plants beyond that to 2050.”
 
The report says that there is not enough uranium in the world to fuel all those reactors, that another Chernobyl-type accident could halt the expansion in its tracks, and that the rapid spread of the atom around the world increases the chances of nuclear proliferation and terrorism.
 
There are grounds for hope… But the report’s authors say that governments are not up to the job: “Many of the world’s decision-making processes are inefficient, slow and ill-informed, especially when given the new demands from increasing complexity [and] globalisation.” They call on world leaders to do more long-term planning, and to join in global approaches to the interlocking crises. “There seems to be an interest in creating global strategies, but it needs a little push. There’s more within us now to collaborate in the face of shared problems.”
 

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