Collected Essays part 1-3

These three books contain collections of essays and articles by John Scales Avery discussing the severe problems and challenges which the world faces during the 21st century. Human civilization and the biosphere are threatened by catastrophic climate change. Unless rapid steps are taken to replace fossil fuels by 100% renewable energy, we risk passing a tipping point beyond which uncontrollable feedback loops could produce a 6th extinction event comparable to those observed in the geological record. Another serious threat to human civilization and the biosphere is the danger of a catastrophic thermonuclear war. Over a long period of time there is an ever-increasing risk that such a war will occur by accident or miscalculation. Thirdly, there is threat of an extremely serious and widespread famine, produced by the climate change, rapidly-growing populations, and the end of the fossil fuel era. We must urgently address all three challenges.

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Space-Age Science and Stone-Age Politics

Space-age science and stone-age politics make an extraordinarily dangerous mixture. It seems probable that in the future, the rapidity of scientificand technological change will produce ethical dilemmas and social tensions even more acute than those we experience today. It is likely that the fate of our species (and the fate of the biosphere) will be made precarious by the astonishing speed of scientific and technological change unless this progress is matched by the achievement of far greater ethical and political maturity than we have yet attained.

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The Need for a New Economic System

It is clear that our present economic system is unsustainable. Never-ending exponential industrial growth on a finite planet is a logical absurdity. We are already using resources at a rate which it would take 1.6 planet earths to replace. We are already undermining the ecological systems which support all of life. Our present economic system has led to an unbelievable degree of economic inequality. To maintain this inequality, both between nations and within nations, military force is used, and democracy is replaced by oligarchy. The future of human civilization is endangered both by the threat of thermonuclear war and by the threat of catastrophic climate change; and both of the twin threats are results of our present economic system. This book documents in detail the serious economic problems of today’s world, and it also proposes sustainable solutions.

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