(Roughly) Daily

“Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie”*…

Charles F. Kennel and Martin Rees argue that the Anthropocene demands a massive realignment of priorities…

Our Earth has existed for 45 million centuries; and humans for a few thousand. But this century is the first when our species is so numerous—and so demanding of energy and natural resources—that we risk collectively despoiling our planet. It’s surely an ethical imperative that we should not deny future generations the wonders and beauty of the natural world. Policy must, in the words of the Brundtland Commission, “meet the needs of the present—especially the world’s poor—without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This requires a massive transformation in our lives—how we derive our energy, and how we feed ourselves. It’s an inspiring challenge for the younger generation, and an investment crucial for the future of humanity—and indeed all life on Earth. But it requires a massive realignment of priorities in all nations—a change in individual attitudes, as well as in public policy.

Planet Earth is on a perilous course. Society’s delayed adjustment to Anthropocene dynamics has amplified risks to global, regional, and local human security and threatens a comprehensive crisis, especially if risks materialize in reinforcing ways. This, the Crisis of the Anthropocene, is likely to be most acute when world population peaks—according to U.N. demographers this should happen before the end of the century. The number of humans at risk will therefore be largest when resource consumption and stress on eco-environmental systems are maximal and extreme climatic events disrupt ecologies at their most vulnerable. Since threats we presently think distinct are the most likely to interact and cascade then, we will not have the luxury of dealing with them one at a time, as we are trying to do today.

The nations of Earth need to transform their economies in little more than one human generation to meet the challenges posed by Anthropocene dynamics…

Read on for their prescription: “Two Distinguished Scientists on How to Rescue Humanity,” from @kennel_charles and @LordMartinRees in @NautilusMag.

* Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well


As we face the future, we might send precipitant birthday greetings to atmospheric scientist Bernard Vonnegut; he was born on this date in 1917. While he was not as well-known as his novelist brother Kurt (nor in some circles, as his architect father Kurt Sr.), he is nonetheless widely remembered for his discovery that that silver iodide could be used effectively in cloud seeding to produce snow and rain.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 29, 2022 at 1:00 am

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