10. Excuses, excuses.

Escaping the progress trap, chapter 10 - Summary: We humans are very adept at creating systems, institutions and cultures which insulate and isolate from our surroundings. While learning is one of our species' special skills, under certain circumstances it fails. A progress trap is one of them. Innovation has unpredictable results that often defy solutions. Science creates unknown factors: pollution and disease, climate instability.

Most threats come from progress in science and technology ̶ Stephen Hawking (1942 - 2018)

The renowned physicist recently discussed his BBC* Reith Lecture1 on black holes.2 It emerged that in response to a question submitted by a schoolboy on whether the world is likely to end on account of humans, or through natural disaster, Hawking identified humans

Climate change, beyond a reasonable doubt

On September 20, 2016, three hundred and seventy five members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel laureates, made history. They published  "An Open Letter Regarding Climate Change From Concerned Members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences." Their main concern was that in "the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control."

1. They saw it coming

Escaping the progress trap, chapter 1 - Summary: The book is introduced in terms of one ecologist's observation regarding environmental degradation: "they saw it coming but had not the wit to stop it happening". The opening chapter prepares the reader for a wide-ranging synthesis of knowledge from history, anthropology, neurology, etc. It explains how the historical record is the virtual laboratory for this study since the variables are too numerous for isolation in any actual laboratory. In finding out where we have been, we can tell where we are headed (2007).


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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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