Environmental & Viral Disruptors:
Rising to the Challenge, Reducing Risk & Future-Proofing Humanity
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Is humanity nearing the end?
As the 2020 ACNEM Online Conference: Environmental and Viral Disruptors enters its final week world leading science writer Julian Cribb leaves us to ponder some big questions.

This week ACNEM presents Global Environment: The Implications of Climate Change to Human Health in which author and journalist Julian Cribb asks if humanity is indeed entering the end game? Will the 21st Century be our last as a civilisation and a species?

"We are facing the biggest existential emergency the human species has ever faced in the whole million years of its history," Mr Cribb says.

"Humans have completely taken over the planet. We are motoring through the earth's resources and we are going to run out of most things if we keep doing this."

Mr Cribb's presentation Surviving the 21st Century identifies ten colossal risks to humanity:
1. Ecological collapse:

Humans have wiped out 60% of all mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970 and leading scientists now consider human extinction possible. Mr Cribb says ecological collapse threatens humans as gravely as it does our wild animals.

2. Resource scarcity:

In an average lifetime Mr Cribb says human will use 99, 720 tonnes of freshwater, consume 720 tonnes of metal and materials, cause the release of 288 tonnes of CO2 and waste 13.4 tonnes of food. Mr Cribb adds humans will inadvertently help destroy 800 sqm of forest and cause the release of 320 kgs of toxic chemicals in their lifetime.

3. New arms race:

Mr Cribb says nuclear risk is the highest it has ever been and there are currently eight nations equipped to terminate civilisations with nuclear weapons.

4. Climate Change:

Mr Cribb predicts an increase in atmospheric temperature of 3-5 degrees by 2100 and a 2 degree increase by 2050. Mr Cribb believes far more frightening than carbon emissions is methane, with 5 trillion tonnes of methane locked up in seabeds and peat swamps. Mr Cribb says it will start to vent as the earth warms.

"Methane is 80 times more powerful than cardon dioxide," he says. "There is nothing humans can do to stop it but we must prevent it from happening in the first place by cooling the planet."

5. Global Poisoning:

Mr Cribb says human chemical effusion amounts to 250 billion tonnes of chemicals emitted by industrial and production activities.
"We are basically poisoning the whole planet and every single individual," he says.

6. Food system failure:

Global food demand is set to double by 2060 as scientists predict human population growth of more than 130,000 per day.

7. Pandemic diseases:

Mr Cribb says planet Earth has had seven pandemics so far this Century and we will see more unless we work out a way to prevent rather than treat.

8. Uncontrollable technologies:

Mr Cribb believes new technologies keep pouring out of laboratories uncontrolled into the wider population. He believes society needs an ethical system to be able to control artificial intelligence, universal surveillance and nuclear drones in order to assure a secure future.

9. Overpopulation:

Mr Cribb says the ageing population in wealthy counties is draining the earth resources and an average Australian will consume 35,000 more meals in their longer lifetime than a person in West Africa.

10. False Beliefs:

Mr Cribb says human beliefs and delusions are endangering our populations and money is a major factor in the destruction of the planet.

"Money is a figment of the human imagination and it does not exist in the real world," he says.

"Because of that it (money) is infinite, we have an infinite amount of money on a finite planet. Guess which one we are going to run out of first?"

Mr Cribb says all the risks are interlinked and cannot be separated.

"They must all be addressed and solved together otherwise we make other risks worse."

The good news is attainable solutions exist to all ten risks but Mr Cribb says it requires behavioural changes and worldwide action.

"It sounds like a big ask but the alternative is unthinkable," he says.
Sky Farms
Mr Cribbs says to solve the global food problem one third of our food should be produced in cities and one third in the deep oceans.
One half of the world's farming land should be retired back to nature says Mr Cribb.

"This can save many, many species from the extinction and the best people to manage this are today's farmer and indigenous people, they are the ones who care for the land and understand it."
Clean Earth
Mr Cribb believes consumers must demand products which are non-toxic and made with safe, clean and green methods.

"Governments and industry are not going to solve this one for us; it has to be driven by ordinary people who no longer want to ingest poisons."
Put Human Survival First
Finally Mr Cribb says a reframing of economic, political and religious narratives should start to put human survival first.

"We need to encourage the world's religions to take more courageous moral leadership," he says.

Mr Cribb remains positive if the whole planet converses and society as a whole works toward solving catastrophic risks we have a positive future.

Watch Julian's presentation "Surviving the 21st Century" as part of the 2020 ACNEM Online Conference, plus more than 40 hours of online education from international experts. Julian will also be joining us for the final Q&A Panel discussion this Friday 26th June on Global Threats, Environmental and Health.
22 Jun 2020
As the 2020 ACNEM Online Conference: Environmental and Viral Disruptors enters its final week world leading science writer Julian Cribb leaves us to ponder some big questions.
9 Jun 2020
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29 May 2020
More Australians are reportedly suffering severe psychological distress due to COVID-19 as are individuals in China, Italy, Norway and the US. The Australian National University has tracked the mental health of Australians and found higher levels of psychological distress and serious mental illness, particularly in young adults, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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