This is a crisis: environmental breakdown

This report published in February 2019 is from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the UK. It is yet another appeal to politicians to act in the face of the gravity of environmental breakdown due to human activity. It warns that the world is on a path toward “environmental breakdown” that will likely trigger “runaway collapse” of social and economic systems in the vein of the 2008 global financial crisis, and it calls for major shifts in understanding the scale and pace of environmental change, the implications of it, and the need for a radical transforming response.

It is almost half a century since warnings of this type have been appearing and have been ignored by those who are in a position to initiate the radical changes required to reverse the exponential acceleration of the damage that the “Machine World” is inflicting on Spaceship Earth. Crises are not what most leaders wish to recognise and the status quo that assumes that economic growth and human dominance can continue indefinitely is preferable to radical reversals of public policy. The dynamic of corporate profit-seeking remains all-powerful to allow serious attention to environmental breakdown.

Existential risks – the Centre for the Study of Existential Risks at Cambridge University contributed this article to the BBC website.

“the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forumboth listed climate change and its effects as one of their top risks for 2019.Recent UN talks heard climate change was already “a matter of life and death” for many regions. While many, including Sir David Attenborough, believe it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of “much of the natural world”. The threats are complex and diverse, from killer heatwaves and rising sea levels to widespread famines and migration on a truly immense scale.
Also increasing are the potential risks from novel technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). The scenarios range from increasingly sophisticated cyber-weapons that could hold an entire nation’s data to ransom, to autonomous algorithms that could unwittingly cause a stock-market crash. Another threat is the possibility of a nuclear war. While many focus on rising tensions between global powers, new technologies may also be making us less safe.”

Plastic pollution a distraction from worse threats

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