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Uniting Humanity for Survival.
How our Lack of Coordination Could Stop us From Surviving the Great Filter
We, as humans in the 21st century need something of a Hari Seldon Moment. This comes from the Book Series Foundation where a great scientist of the fictitious Psychohistory (a mix between statistics, psychology, economics, sociology, and the most goddamned cool forecasting I’ve seen in sci-fi) The Hari Seldon moments where when humanity was at the brink of failure when facing a huge crisis the predictions of the trends and the actions of societies were enough to overcome with some slight guidance from Seldon himself. Now I’m not saying there needs to come an individual to guide humanity to deal with the poly-crisis world we are living in. (even the book series foundation is more on how trends and societies move beyond the actions of single individuals but of the context that elevates certain people into temporary positions of leadership and power)
Sadly I think we are more and more allowing ourselves to fall for this narrative of individuals leading and the rest as followers instead of creating the context for individuals to rise to the occasion. This can lead to a lot of people lazily trusting others without questioning and also being lazy and not making any effort to push towards a better and brighter future.
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And as such we must look and work together to collaborate and accelerate the throughput of solutions for the problems currently affecting humanity. And here is a couple of things that have left me somewhat bummed out at our incapacity for global collaborative solution making but again and as a caveat for this article I will always be an optimist by heart.
The Climate Crisis.
As we all know and are almost indifferent at this point. Climate change is real and is an ever-looming crisis that is slowly but surely advancing and will plummet humanity into a big period of chaos if w don’t do something about it. And I'm not only talking about mass migrations caused by parts of the human globe being uninhabited the changes in weather patterns and their effect on food security, and the biodiversity of the planet and our oceans. But also from a sociopolitical perspective.
And with this looming and slow-advancing crisis, what do we have to show up for that? COP which for all its intentions and purposes can be vetoed when India says they want to keep pumping cheap carbon-producing energies. Or we have Germany being the laughing stock of the developed world shutting down nuclear energy because of a promise made 15ish years ago by a wave of brainwashed politicians sucking off on cheap Russian oil and gas and a youth movement of “environmentalists” who are now too dumb and compromised on their failing ideology to accept other alternatives of green energy besides their babies (wind and solar)
So how can we aspire to improve if governments have failed us, some companies are pushing the problem from their hands upon the individuals and making us feel guilty for mistakes they were aware of since the 80s and tried for decades to actively hide the evidence. I say fuck them and their guilt-tripping.
Activists have been carrying the flag of environmental change but what factual results besides big lectures, invitations to fancy events, and best-selling books do they have to show? What sort of empirical studies do we have that show what these pe actually done?
Also, let’s not forget the incredible privilege most of the world-renowned climate activists have, coming from wealthy, and stable nations calling forth an accelerated transition into a “greener future” while mobilizing thousands of youth and pushing forward a mindset of activism which isn’t all that bad if it had clear and direct results of pushing humanity out of the problem instead of emotional and political debates instead of concrete actions.
The problem is when we see that many of the followers of said activists believe that reducing emissions in wealthy countries that today represent a minimum % is a way to do any sort of help towards the climate crisis. When the greatest value a developed nation with a high scientific throughput could have in combating the crisis, is on the research and development of new and better energy sources or implementing a REAL replacement for fossil fuels such as nuclear in their own countries. Which let’s be honest is a great solution due to the intermittency and storage problems that have crippled solar and wind power since its inception. (I know energy economics is more complex but again on a big picture protesting for “cleaner” energies but then forcing a nuclear reactor to shut down is so dumb and I am still mad about this!)
I, on the other hand, don’t want to sound like a pure hater and just throw shit all over the place but share positive examples of people actually DOING great things in the world. And the greatest example I’ve seen of a young leader is The Ocean Cleanup which saw a problem and used science and engineering to try and solve it without having to mobilize thousands of people but instead developing a technical solution alongside a sound business model to overcome one of the great crisis currently affecting humanity plastic trash floating in our oceans.
Now, I'm not saying this is the only way, but I do believe that encouraging and having more and more examples such as this one is one of the only ways if not the most consistent way that we could see some of the crises we are being afflicted at the moment.
And yes I wish developing a sound business model depending on the negative externality you’re trying to solve seems like an impossible mission or even a very non-profitable endeavor. But it’s the world we live in at the moment and the rules of the game of life. So given the current situation and let’s be honest it is more likely that we will see in our lifetimes a world-changing environmental catastrophe before a radical shift in our economic, political, and social institutions.
So if our politicians are too slow, our activists are inefficient I say take the challenge upon your own two hands alongside people who share your passion and your dream. In some instances something like the ocean cleanup project might be feasible and doable, in some cases may be getting into activism is the way to go, or doing research, or publishing and exposing through investigative journalism
But don’t feel threatened by the size of the challenges falling humanity and your capacity to solve you would be surprised by how many people who have developed world-changing solutions weren’t the smartest people or the most competent but mainly the ones who dared to take a chance at solving a big problem currently facing humanity. And maybe you’ll fail most likely but at least you tried, at least you gave it a shot, maybe someone will be inspired by your work, your story, or your ideals to go again and try to tackle that problem and maybe they will succeed where you failed. But the greatest thing is just trying to do it.
The next Pandemic
COVID taught us a lot and also we forgot a lot of what we learned. In most countries in the world, COVID is now an almost endemic disease that goes in waves, you, your friends, or someone you know has had COVID probably more than once ever since the pandemic “ended” ( did it end it never had a formal date, right?) but still we have many lessons and enough data for health economics to be publishing papers and thesis for a lifetime. But that’s not all that I wish humanity has taken from all of this.
The impact this virus had on humanity gave us a warning about the state of our hygiene protocols regarding animal slaughter, and also a wake-up call about our global food consumption trends toward animal-based protein. Also our view of regulatory pathways for drug development and preventive measures to avoid the next plague.
And so far it seems things are not so dire as in the previous crisis. Drug development seems to be accelerating deeply thanks to AI and other developments in the field. Even though governments have withdrawn from a lot f their COVID policies the flexibility and experience hopefully are institutionalized so that for future events the pathways and winning strategies are already there in place in case future governments need to do it again and how to tackle the next challenges.
Unfortunately, it seems the practices of wet markets seem to be still alive and kicking(bad pun, now that I think about it) For most humans vaccines still remain a known solution to diseases such as COVID and a safe and effective method. But still, it is depressing to see how scientific skepticism and even anti-science views are rising to the mainstream and even infecting politics(bad pun#2) which is a global crisis that if left unchecked could lead to harmful results for all of us.
The Cascading Aftermaths
Now, these crises aren’t happening in a vacuum and we need to acknowledge how in the midst of these, and possibly alongside other crises as well we will see cascading “side-crises” happening which will of course make all things worse. For example, with the potential crisis of massive migration caused by the climate crisis, the collapse of different nation-states, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the bolstering of autocratic regimes, it seems like maybe Taiwan might be next in line to be invaded by its dangerous neighbor. If that is the case the polarization of democratic open economies and the gang of autocratic regimes will be higher than ever and the “neutral” countries of the global south will have to make a hard decision between following democratic freedom and openness or falling by the temptations of a powerful regime with some economic incentives for the short term. Sadly given Latin America and Africa’s tendency for unstable and failing democracies, the decision doesn’t seem to be so hard to predict, but again I’ am an optimist by heart so we shall see.
So it is interesting to see how much of these crises are compounding upon each other for example maybe the mass exodus of climate refugees could also lead other nations to tighten up and become more and more isolationists trying to protect their borders from the literal hordes of climate refugees that will be flooding soon enough if things don't improve. This would only bolster the current global apartheid we live in where humans can be brought into extreme privilege or the outmost misery just by the fact of the geographical location they were born in.
So why align humans?
And how can we even begin to solve these crises? It is clear that one of the most important things we need for all of this is a joint global effort, both because of the complexities of these crises are too much for any one nation to handle (while at the same time handling its internal affairs) But because these are things that affect us all as humans. If we cannot unify ourselves as humans and step up to the plate and deal with them, I don’t think we have much of a chance of passing through the great filter and hopefully expanding throughout the cosmos in the coming centuries.
I’m not saying it will be all perfect or like in the movies where one lone hero saves the day, not at all, I think A LOT of people will suffer and die in the coming decades even if we start acting perfectly TODAY... But, we need to develop better and more effective ways to coordinate and organize global endeavors. Because sadly we are currently facing up challenges that no one person can do it, no one country can solve, and we must collaborate and work together as we’ve never done before to survive. Through public, private, and social collaboration we need to overcome these Global Catastrophic Risks we are currently facing, if not I don’t see a bright future for humanity. So Praise Seldon we manage to do that sooner rather than later.
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