Physicist Michio Kaku’s discussion fits in well with the ‘big filter’ theory which says the reason we never see any sign of alien life is because, so far, no advanced civilisation has managed to survive technology and greed. They either polluted their planet to the point of it no longer been inhabitable or they blew themselves up with nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction. As a species humans are now about to take the test and discover whether we are the one species – or one of the very rare – which has the intelligence needed to put primitive instincts aside and survive to become the species that will propagate itself throughout our galaxy and maybe even beyond.
The state premiers and the federal prime minister struck whilst the Las Vegas iron is still hot, all agreeing the police and the secret squirrels (intelligence persons) should have access to driver license photos to enhance the effectiveness of facial recognition technologies. Fact not mentioned is that none of that would have prevented the Las Vegas massacre. One premier waffled on about how we should resource the heroes who ‘put their lives on the line’ to ensure our safety but again and whilst that may well be true – that they do take risks – he could have also mentioned the farmers, transport, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, mining and health care and social assistance workers all of whom and in that order are at greater risk of death and injury than police and intelligence persons. Priest is the safest profession in case you were wondering – except for the risk of arrest as a result of falling prey to the charms of Eros but let’s not go there now.
Another oft repeated point made by these politicians is that their first duty is to preserve the safety of citizens. That is untrue – their first duty is to preserve the democratic system of government which includes preserving the ability of citizens to remove those elected to govern should the need arise. In keeping with that same principal of all powers, legislative, judiciary, executive, remaining with the people it needs to be reminded that the authority and duty to enforce law remains (executive) at all times with the people and is not surrendered to the police. “The police are the public and the public are the police”, as said Sir Robert (Bob) Peel, creator in 1829 of the first modern police force. The reason British police are to this day still called ‘Bobbies’.
For the people to exercise their right and duty to be the sole government of a democratic nation they need the ability to meet, discuss and take action free from intervention by those who in power might not have or are not acting in the nation’s interest. This is why we have freedom of speech, of assembly and freedom to communicate.
Yes I understand the need to keep criminals and terrorists under surveillance if they present a danger to the public but measures that impede on the rights of all citizens should always be temporary. We never hear Australian politicians mention ‘sunset clause’ and that should be a concern to anyone who values democracy.
Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.
It’s near unthinkable but some including with ‘emeritus’ and ‘professor’ ahead of their name, claim there is now no hope of avoiding extinction. One of these persons travels around the world telling all willing to listen that we have at most ten years before the last human falls flat dead. Imagine that, no one left to hand out the “last human on earth” award and worse still there will be nothing that will remember humans even existed. What a waste of time and effort every sacrifice made, battle fought, every act of self-denial for the betterment of the many, the billions of those who came before us who lived, suffered and struggled did all that for nothing and even our extinction itself will be for nothing because at least the last great extinction cleared the planet of over-sized lizards so mammals including our variant of primate could take over. In fact if we are indeed the only life-form able to look back at the Universe in wonder then our disappearance will make further existence of the Universe itself pointless. Of course there could be other planets where complex, self-aware life also exists but as probable as that is, we have no proof of it and should act accordingly.
I think all the emeritus’ are wrong. Not on climate change and its oncoming dire consequences but on human extinction. If we are alone in the Universe then that same Universe will not let it happen. The process will not be pretty, few of the current seven-billion-plus will survive and we may go back to population levels similar to the beginning of the AD which is estimated to have been as low as 150 million. We know the cause of climate change is consumption-based civilisation and we could wait for its inevitable collapse to be the starting point of recovery but that starting point could equally be more of us deciding to buy a bicycle rather than a gas-powered motorcar.
I love my mountain bike, the trains run more or less on time and so can’t imagine driving a gas-powered vehicle ever again. Picture taken near where I live in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
No hope? Of course there is hope and I believe that inevitable collapse of the present destructive civilisation will happen well before the planet becomes entirely uninhabitable even if we do nothing other than business as usual. The sudden lowering of CO2 output combined with the planet’s ability to reabsorb the excess CO2 faster than that lingering excess can further heat the planet to uninhabitable levels will guarantee a much reduced number of humans and an equally reduced number of other species will survive but in the case of humans, having learnt a very important lesson – you are not what you have. The choice is ours, we can let mother nature take care of the problem in which case a big Ouch!!! and few survive or, we can do it ourselves and lower CO2 levels even faster than we raised them and all will live on a healthy planet amongst a better, cleaner and fairer global community of humans.