Tag Archives: planet

Manning Clark House organized a unique multidisciplinary conference entitled "Science and Ethics: Can Homo sapiens Survive?" at the Academy of Science in Canberra on 17-18 May, 2005. Drawing upon the expertise of speakers in a variety of fields including law, economics, medicine, politics, journalism, aboriginal affairs, earth sciences, religion, education, nuclear armaments, defence studies and ecology, the conference reached the conclusion that, while at risk from natural global disasters (supervolcanos or asteroid impact) and human-induced global impacts, Homo sapiens is likely to survive for the foreseeable future.

However, and this is just as important as the survival of the human species, civilization as we know it will not survive beyond a few decades unless there is a radical change in human culture, from a society driven by the pursuit of material wealth to one focused on human well-being. Science and the ethics of science are an aid to survival and indeed are necessary to address today’s risks and tomorrow’s possibilities.

There are several reasons for this, all of them reflecting applications and changed behaviours arising from advances in science and technology. Although these advances open doors for improvements in human health, wellbeing, and an increasingly open society, they also increase imbalances in wealth and power, raise barriers and foster exploitations in societies, and cause major changes to ecosystems and global systems.

The self-generated negative impacts include:

1. The explosive growth of the human population in the past sixty years and the inevitable addition of another two to three billion humans to the existing six billion by 2050.

2. The enormous global expenditure of nation states on military equipment, including nuclear arms, and the role of arms trade. The stockpiles of nuclear weapons held by several of the wealthy countries encourage rather than prevent the spread of nuclear arms capability to other nations.

3. The continuing overexploitation and pollution of land, fresh water and fisheries.

4. The increasing degradation of natural ecosystems, which provide irreplaceable "ecosystem services". The atmospheric pollution with greenhouse gases due to overuse of fossil fuels, which have a "life" of several decades, is already at dangerous levels, and emissions are still increasing globally.

5. Unless we focus on human wellbeing in place of material accumulation, the quality of life will decline. The likelihood is that this overexploitation will result in ever increasing conflicts, within and between nation-states, especially over supplies of fresh water needed for food production.

These multiple threats to human lives, health and well-being can only be attacked by a change in the behaviour of human beings from the current preoccupation with material wealth, that is, from a philosophy of "I want" to an acceptance of "I need", just enough to provide a fulfilling life. In fact, a focus on human well-being in place of material accumulation would actually improve the quality of life. Such a change requires a different approach to economic measurement, and the identification of objectives other than material gain.

These changes will have enormous effects on societies such as ours, effects that are likely to be resisted by corporations, advertisers and a public disenfranchised by monolithic mass media, education in decline, and low integrity in politics. In parallel with these changes, governments must ensure that the changes in employment that will follow, if this re-orientation of objectives occurs, are devoted to tackling the causes of each of the items mentioned above.

By Frank Fenner, Stephen Boyden, David Green, Andrew Glikson and Sebastian Clark

Community

  1. Mentor someone.
  2. Let people use your space – extra cash or community use.
  3. Work together on a community project.
  4. Have or give an hour off each week for volunteer work.
  5. Give away things for a good cause.
  6. Join a community clean-up day.
  7. Take time off to clean up some beach, bush or road.
  8. Take on people for work experience – especially youth.
  9. Put some spare change aside and donate it to a good cause.
  10. Give away toys, etc. at special occasions.
  11. Give tins of food, etc. to the RSPCA.
  12. Award “people of the month” for community spirit.
  13. Employ or utilise unemployed, disabled or prison people.
  14. Impose personal fines for swearing, etc. and donate the money.
  15. Sponsor a sports team or other team/event.
  16. Participate in causes that raise money for good causes.
  17. Organise a fun walk/run for charity.
  18. Investigate how you or your business could help a charity.
  19. Have or give time for helping charities.
  20. Donate your product or service for raffles, etc.
  21. Get involved in local issues and help the community.
  22. Inspire people by volunteering to talk about your business or success.

World

  1. Sponsor a child.
  2. Ask people for suggestions to make the world a better place.
  3. Donate a certain day’s percentage of profits to a good cause.
  4. Join organizations that support causes you believe in.

Environment

  1. Try to use recycled paper as much as possible.
  2. Use eco-friendly products and services as much as possible.
  3.  Recycle everything.
  4.  Have a ‘plant a tree day.’
  5.  Donate things of use to schools, etc.
  6.  Avoid copying or printing out things where possible.
  7.  Avoid using disposable things.
  8.  Try to use recyclable packaging.
  9.  Use as much as possible for composting.
  10.  Have a ‘no waste day’ or policy at certain times.
  11.  Prepare and distribute info on recycling.
  12.  Use bio-chemicals, etc. as much as possible.
  13.  Use locally made resources.
  14.  Try to be power efficient and use alternative power sources where possible.
  15.  Avoid harsh and damaging chemicals in the environment.
  16.  Share info about bio-friendly products and services.
  17.  Reward people for being environmentally friendly.

People

  1.  Sponsor someone for a course or event.
  2.  Organise a ‘family day’ at work, home or other place.
  3.  Be create and fun with titles at work, home and other places.
  4.  Be ‘weather wise’ and work creatively with the weather.
  5.  Let people use your resources – eg. car parks, etc.
  6.  Establish a small library – great books for people to read and borrow.
  7.  Put some encouragement and promotional material around.
  8.  Have or give a day off on birthdays, etc. – with pay.
  9.  Get involved in special events, eg. Melbourne Cup, etc.
  10.  Be creative and entertaining during breaks and mealtimes.
  11.  Allow people to donate ‘leave’ to other people.
  12.  Be aware of different cultures, etc.
  13.  Provide extras for people – eg. irons for uniforms, etc.
  14.  Provide meals, etc. on special occasions.
  15.  Provide or pay for training, etc.
  16.  Make people’s families, etc. part of things.
  17.  Have equality for everyone – eg. everyone has business card, etc.
  18.  Have photos, etc. around of people and events involved.
  19.  Encourage and reward people doing a good job – use surprise and spontaneity.
  20.  Ask people what their goals are and encourage them to achieve them.
  21.  Use the environment as much as possible – eg. plant gardens, etc.
  22.  Where possible, introduce a workplace pet – fish are great.
  23.  Give and encourage people to spend an extra hour each week with their families and other special events.
  24.  Encourage people to have their say.
  25.  Allow people a little time off when something ‘big’ is happening in their life.
  26.  Encourage people to save for the future – hire a financial advisor to talk.
  27.  Introduce spontaneous surprises.
  28.  Send congratulations cards, etc. to people for special achievements.
  29.  Send birthdays, etc. cards to people.
  30.  Play music in the workplace and encourage it – have a band sometimes.
  31.  Appreciate and encourage people’s customs and beliefs – learn from them.
  32.  Have an ‘outside day.’
  33.  Encourage people to decorate their surroundings.
  34.  Provide refreshments and beverages for people.
  35.  Trust people with responsibilities.
  36.  Value people as assets – not liabilities.
  37.  Get to know people – especially their goals and achievements.

Cheerful

  1.  Have a ‘lollypop day.’
  2.  Send people gifts and cards.
  3.  Don’t put a ban on funny emails – but be sensitive.
  4.  Acknowledge all holidays and special events.
  5.  Put ‘smiley face’ stickers, etc. everywhere.
  6.  Use cheerful colours wherever possible.
  7.  Have an office picnic.

Health

  1. Encourage people to take OH&S and promote preventive health.
  2. Subsidise people’s gym fees and health fees, etc.
  3. Have ‘random fit days’ and have/give time off for fitness and health.
  4. Have computer-free days.
  5. Encourage and help people in anti-smoking, etc. programs.
  6. Allow for more sick and special leave.
  7. Make sure the work environment is ergonomically correct.
  8. Provide or encourage flu injections, etc. for health.

Ethics

  1. Create an ethics policy at home and in the workplace.
  2. Try to deal only with ethical people.
  3. Develop good relationships with neighbours.
  4. Don’t support stereotypes.
  5. Make sure all advertising and promotions are ethical.
  6. Make sure all contracts and dealings with people are fair.