New Scientist‘s next three issues will follow up on what this week’s issue started: defining world problems and finding solutions. I have been continually impressed with New Scientist, from their articles on economic growth, endorsing the steady state economy, and their article about the nature of greed. I am one of the few Americans I have met that actually subscribes to this great weekly UK periodical, though I hope more will follow my lead.
Their ambitious premise on this four-part serious entitled “Blueprint For A Better World” is to “explore diverse ideas for making the world a better place, and the evidence backing them.” [emphasis added] It is one thing to talk the talk, but now it’s time for decisive action. We can no longer wait around for the change to self-manifest, we have to deliver it ourselves.
“Too many people live short lives plagued by disease and poverty. Political decisions are too often taken without any evidence that they will work. Governments are too focused on material wealth as an indicator of well-being, and technologies that could improve lives are too often sidelined for irrational reasons. As the global population soars, we are starting to bump up against constraints on key resources, such as oil, water and phosphorus. And if all that isn’t bad enough, the developed world has already emitted such vast quantities of greenhouses gases that climate change is already becoming significant. We face a perfect storm of problems.
So talk of making the world a better place is not starry-eyed idealism. It is about survival – the long-term survival of the civilization we have built and the lifestyles we have come to enjoy.
Can we do anything about it? You bet we can. Technology is a double-edged sword, but science and reason have made our lives immeasurable better overall – and only through science and reason can we hope to make a real difference in the future. “
This series is bound to be full of great things, the one I am happy to see mentioned on the first page of the cover story is, “In part 3 we’ll explore what many see as the fundamental problem: overpopulation.” Hooray for sense in media!
This cover story hits on some other great topics, like redefining GDP, taxing pollution and giving the money back to the people, shortening the work week, protecting the oceans, and encouraging cheap, distributed renewable energy generation. I can’t wait to get next week’s issue! I encourage you to pick up a copy or subscribe today!