Inner Space – going boldly where angels fear to tread

The progress we've made
When Stephen Hawking was asked whether the world is likely to end on account of humans, or through natural disaster, he selected humans. According to The Telegraph's Science News1, Hawking responded “Most of the threats we face come from the progress we’ve made in science and technology. We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we must recognize the dangers and control them. I’m an optimist, and I believe we can.”

"A powerful analysis of our situation"

This book shows how societies and individuals can have too much of a good thing, often unconscious of the effects of ingenuity on their environment. When changes are man-made and harmful, a downward spiral begins: development that excludes solutions to problems that arise from development.

What it takes to end an environmental crisis

Cholera in London, 1858
It takes hardship, observation, data, and in the case of London's cholera epidemic - a stench from the River Thames so foul that Parliament ceased functioning. The next order of business was for the members of Parliament to quickly enact legislation ordering the overhaul of London's sewerage system.

The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming - what's our excuse? - Cosmos

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves" - Shakespeare
Allow me to transcribe some eloquent lines spoken by Niel deGrasse Tyson in Episode 9 of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey. The topic is mass extinction of species, such as befell the dinosaurs. After extolling the human skills that gave rise to civilizations, Tyson observes:

People who don't believe in climate change?

"You won't find them on the fireline in the American West anymore," said a Federal chief of fire operations, interviewed by CBS News at the site of the fatal wildfire in Arizona on July 1st, 2013. Nineteen firefighters lost their lives fighting the fire near Yarnell, Arizona on June 30.
 

Flexibility and Progress - why can't our leaders be more like Mandela?

In 2003, Dr. Gilla Family noted in the Creativity Research Journal, "Plenty of evidence exists for goodwill, honest effort, and dedication by individuals, groups, and nations...South Africa broke the back of apartheid and is on the road to reconciliation ...
Plenty of good reasons exist for realistic optimism that catastrophes can be avoided." 1

Freud and the attack on nature

The idea of subjugating and manipulating nature, as the earliest farmers did, still drives human endeavor. As Sigmund Freud put it in Civilization and its Discontents,* "Against the dreaded external world one can only defend oneself by...becoming a member of the human community, and, with the help of...science, going over to the attack on nature and subjecting her to the human will."

Tikopia

This small southwest Pacific island is of special interest because it appears to have achieved sustainable development. An island of 1.8 square miles and 1,200 inhabitants, it is described by Jared Diamond as being "micromanaged for continuous and sustainable food production" 1


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"The Progress Trap - and how to avoid it" Copyright Daniel O'Leary, registered at
the Copyright Office, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Canada on April 5, 1991 (ref 405917)

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