AFOI – After the binge…the apocalypse? – Adelaide Festival of Ideas

Last night, I braved the elements and made my way to the town hall for After the binge…the apocalypse? Miriam Baltuck, Peter Cullen, James Lovelock, Marion Nestle – (Chair Phillip Adams)

Adams announced that the session was being recorded and would make its
way to air via radio national. (I will try and track down the audio for
you to enjoy).

The session was reasonably lively, with short
talks by each speaker followed by a robust question and answer
section.  Miriam was first up, bringing her NASA ‘rocket scientist’
perspective to the question.  Her key point was that we aint gunna be
able to live on other planets any time soon, so we had better look
after this one.  Being a marine scientist, Miriam suggested that smart
use of oceans could be a way forward.

Peter was up next with a focus on Adelaide and water that reminded me of my blog post
from womadelaide.  He gave us some scary insights into our reliance on
rainfall and dared to ask what it would be like living in a city that
ran out of water.  The (recurring) theme of ‘water theft’ was raised
for the first time in the evening.

James had us all
mesmerised with his deep understanding of complex systems, giving us
clues to management of ocean and atmosphere that could get us out of
trouble.  His comparison to the future climate of Europe to the current
climate of Australia was very compelling. He also suggested that there
will be a lot of people movement around the planet as conditions change

Marion finished up, advising us to vote with our forks. 
That is to say that we get to make a choice every time we buy / prepare
/ eat food.  If we don’t like the effects of industrialised
agriculture, there a plenty of farmers willing to grow food ye olde
way, and it turns out that this is just about as efficient as the
horribly industrialised global mechanisms in place today.

hoping the audio from the question and answer sessions is posted
somewhere, because there was just too much detail and too many
interesting players to relay to you here.  The thing that stuck in my
mind was the comment that James made – ‘this sounds similar to what was
being said just before world war II’ (in response to questions /
comments suggesting that we might be better served by stronger
leadership than we currently enjoy in the era of TV democracy).

So, if you want to keep up with the stuff I find from the festival, subscribe to and keep an eye out for posts that start with AFOI.

FangMike Seyfang


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One Response to AFOI – After the binge…the apocalypse? – Adelaide Festival of Ideas

  1. Unknown says:

    What I got out of this was that science and technology can continue to extend the life of the planet and our wonderful lifestyles. It will also delay the time when the world’s population will be unsupportable by the planet, but that at some point, there will be too many of us for the resources available. Changes in lifestyle by a few overly educated worry warts in the West is not going to help. Resources are going to run at some point to keep everyone living the lifestyle that they have become accustomed to. What do we do then?In the meantime, humans are incredibly adaptable and we know that necessity is the mother of invention. The next few decades will see all sorts of wonderful solutions and technologies to cope with our demand for more value from a declining amount of available resource.On a pessimistic note, when you look back into history at the way humans have coped with limited resources in the past and present, it has not been through good diplomacy, sensible discussion and certainly not by listening to clever scientists or philosophers with ideas about doing more with less. When someone else or another species gets in the way of our lifestyle aspirations, humans use all the power and might at their disposal to push the competitors out of the way. Armagedon has arrived to many human communities over the history of this species. Armagedon will be brought on humans again, not by God, but by other humans. Whether it is Roman conquest, Mogolians moving their horses to greener pastures, war in Iraq to protect oil supplies, conflict in Africa over cheap resources or water theft in Australia, this species does not have a good track record in being able to come up with fair and sensible solutions

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