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Seminar 9

“Future of Planet Earth” Participant Statement

Paris, France | June 3–5, 2008

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Crispin Tickell

What are the three most critical challenges facing Planet Earth going forward?

First is human failure to recognize the connectedness of all living organisms and non-living material, and the myriad ways in which each shapes the other. This was well set out in the Amsterdam Declaration of July 2001, and reinforces the Gaia hypothesis.

This has led to human destruction of both other organisms and the resources on which they – and we – depend, these results that cannot yet be foreseen. Life itself may be robust (“a tough bitch”) but the particular characteristics of our present global ecosystem are highly vulnerable. Most of the time humans do not know what they are doing to the natural environment.

In the meantime we are damaging the prospects for our own animal species by vastly increasing our numbers, depleting the resources on which present human society depends, and polluting land, sea, and atmosphere. Nor can we yet assess the consequences of some of our present technologies, from nuclear and nanotechnology to genetic modifications and robot development.