Australian news, and some related international items

Our existential threat – our extinction

Externalities Are Our Existential Threat, Medium, 10 June 20, It’s the “ex’s” we need to worry about the most. Externalities that create an existential threat. The ultimate threat: Our extinction.

An externality is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved”. Externalities in a global context are the consequence that everyone bears for everyone else’s actions. Externalities result in us all bearing the consequences of living out of synchronization with Nature, but unfortunately in most cases the poor and the vulnerable pay a higher price, disproportionate to their contribution to the cause. 

The negative externality consequences of most human economic activity are unaccounted; seemingly off loaded free of charge to the ecosphere. But Nature has a balance sheet — these unaccounted, costs of doing business, that are charged to Nature, are turned into debts. These debts will be settled at a later date and not in a manner of our choosing. The challenge for us is that in many cases the debts are slow to become obvious to everyone, remaining invisible or disguised for a prolonged period. Linking cause and effect is very complex and spans long periods of time, often not directly attributable. It is like a very slow moving train crash — you barely notice it happening but you’ll know when it hits, and then it’s too late. We are all aboard that slow train right now.

In developed countries, we are fortunate to not have to face the poverty, war, famine, diseases that affected humans in the pre-industrial and early industrial times. Capitalism has been an amazing wealth creating and poverty reducing system. Most of us cannot even comprehend how fortunate we are. However, there is a downside to the considerable progress we have made since the industrial revolution; the unintended consequences. Never before were humans able to have an impact on future generations aside from culture or knowledge that was passed on. Today that is different — our actions are determining the fate of billions of people, those currently alive and those not yet born. Unfortunately, we have been brewing trouble……

capitalism can only operate in the best interests of society if it is governed well. It is the good governance part that we have been lacking — unfortunately we have a corrupted, crony capitalism that stems from problems with our democratic system. Quite simply, we seem to be unable to elect leaders who actually care about the long term interests of the people.  Our entire political system is deeply corrupted by money — elected officials represent those who contribute to their campaigns, not their constituents, and that’s dominated by the very wealthy, corporations and special interest organizations, not the typical citizen. This is something that needs mainstream understanding as it is the root of all society’s problems and why they are never sensibly addressed.

The common theme is that we have proved ourselves to be incapable of acting in our collective best interests. Together we are all on that metaphorical slow train, steaming towards a cliff edge with no one in the driver’s seat attempting to steer us away from inevitable catastrophe……

In our deeply specialized society, too many people are ignorant about the bigger picture, the interconnectedness of all these issues, and the consequences of our actions. I believe in the collective will of humanity when there is better understanding, but too many of us are out of touch…..

 with these externalities, it is like a tsunami — you barely notice it at first out on the ocean but by the time it eventually reaches the shore it is a calamity. The externality tsunamis are already traveling — they’ll get bigger and bigger, then eventually crash. We have to do everything we can to dampen them so their effects will not be so catastrophic.

Here are the externalities.

Carbon Emissions:

The climate change problem we face is now very well known, even if not everyone believes it. Whether we can muster the collective action to do something about it is still playing out but it isn’t looking that great……..


Chemicals are killing us all, slowly. They are making us sick in a multitude of ways, including obesity. …….    How does it feel to know that you are walking around with man made “forever” chemicals within you? Persistent organic chemicals like Perfluoralkyl and Polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAs) don’t ever break down or go away and they wreak havoc on your body…..

Even if you adjust your life to touch plastic less, there is no escaping since these substances are likely in your food, especially if you like to eat from further up the food chain, and your water, even if it has been tested as “safe”. In fact, the very definition of safe is not reliable, as the science has moved forward and the testing procedures have not. Very low doses are counter-intuitively impactful. …….


This year is a case in point for our political situation; a complete inability to coordinate a response for our collective well being. There is of course much discussion about the origins of the coronavirus but one thing should be clear: Our impact on Nature has consequences; strange diseases could become more commonplace. Consider this startling fact: there has been a loss of 60% of the world’s biodiversity in the last fifty years — this is the greatest loss of life on Earth since the dinosaurs were wiped out…….


Massively industrialized farming controlled by a small number of large corporations has enormous adverse consequences. …..

Population Growth

Obviously too many of us exacerbates all the problems above. (The UN projects 9.7 billion of us by 2050)……….

Nuclear War & Nuclear Accidents:

Even unintentional mistakes happen to everyone eventually which is why we cannot be trusted to handle nuclear materials. There is also the enormous problem of what to do with radioactive waste which we haven’t properly solved, leaving behind a horrible problem for hundreds if not thousands of years to come. It is also little understood how close we have come to other Chernobyl’s………

So how do we solve these externalities and mitigate our risks? I urge you to consider these points and help where you can: ………

We can make changes so future generations have a decent future. This starts with more awareness amongst everyone, and ideally a reformed political system so we can establish the ground rules on which sustainable capitalism can operate; fair for all humans and fair for the Earth. The laws of Nature are our guide.


The reality is that we produce too much garbage and we can’t continue like this. ……

June 11, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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