13 July (RL) What is the single biggest threat to human life on our planet?(Present: BB, RF,RL,MS,EW, RW, Apologies RW, KR): We enjoyed a robust discussion, with no single anwer being a provable front-runner: The chief suspects included over-population by humans (with beneficial impacts of economics and education) , climate change too rapid to adjust to, all-out warfare including nuclear, biological and/or chemical (the nuclear aspect perhaps resulting in a "nuclear winter"), catastrophic eruption (e.g. the Yellowstone Caldera, also resulting in a multi-year winter) or a magnetic polar reversal, where, happily, recent research greatly weakens the previously implicated links to mass extinctions within the fossil record, but gives plenty of other causes for concern. Our discussion helped us to appreciate a distinction between:
"biggest threat to human life" and
"biggest threat to our modern civilisation"
The two are not the same! We could recognise that as our global economy becomes increasingly inter-dependent, it also becomes decreasingly resilient to any degradation. It would be very possible for civilisation as we know it to end, leaving one or more small populations of humans living at a pre-stone age level. We didn't quite manage to stay focussed "on topic" throughout, with entertaining diversions into the whereabouts of certain Russian Generals and Wagner leader Prigozhin, the definition and weaponisation of "Wokery", the importance of free speech as advocated by Rowan Atkinson, the saga of Covid and the Wuhan laboratory, and (certainly the most positive) testimony concerning quite staggering advances in modern cancer treatments
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