For seventy years, Schwartz has been aware that he, with the rest of humanity, is in grave danger of being wiped out. He takes account of the record and reveals his solution to the most immediate threat.
With every day bringing us a day closer to the end of the world, I find myself wondering what will trigger it. It has long been apparent to me that we will not have to wait until the sun burns itself out in five billion years for human life on earth to come to an end. Since I began reading newspapers about seventy years ago, I have had sleepless nights (a figure of speech; I’m a thankful good sleeper, except for some bad nights after I saw On the Beach in 1959) over the following ultimate threats.
Weapons of mass destruction
— Mutual U.S.-Russian nuclear annihilation
— Nuclear proliferation to Iran, Iraq, North Korea or some terror group or other gets out of hand
— U.S. launches fire and fury
— Attack with or leakage of anthrax, botulin (a girl I knew in Baltimore in 1965 told me she worked with botulin in the U.S. weapons program at Fort Detrick) or some other chemical or biological agent
— Eruption of the Yellowstone caldera
— Volcano in Indonesia blocks sunlight all over the world
— Asteroid hits the earth. Boom
— Monster earthquake generates worldwide tsunamis
— Resumption of ice age, which ended (went into remission?) only 10,000 years ago
— Gulf Stream fizzles out, ending life at least in my part of the world
— AIDS: prediction by the maharishi that one third of mankind would be wiped out
— Flu pandemic
— Everyone turns out to have Creutzfeldt-Jacob from eating Big Macs
— Indestructible prions kill all bacterial life
— Pandrug resistance rob antibiotics of their efficacy
Manmade ecological disasters
— Silent spring: DDT and the end of agriculture
— Death of the bee population, ditto
— Monsanto destroys all plant life in pursuit of improved quarterly figures
— Biodiversity tipping point passed
— Ozone layer burnt off
— Fatal resource wars
— Acid rain poisons all trees
— Destruction of Amazon rain forest chokes planet
— Club of Rome: overpopulation makes human life unsustainable and resources unaffordable
— Melting of glaciers, Arctic and Antarctic ice
— Global warming accelerated through release of methane from melting permafrost
— Worldwide deluges
— Massive climate migration
— Poisoning of oceans
— Choking of oceans with plastic
Manmade technological disasters
— Nuclear chain reaction burns up the atmosphere
— Self-teaching computers displace mankind
— Millennium bug crashes global networks
— Westworld androids or robots kill off humanity
— Runaway algorithms do the same
— Book of Revelation: The Rapture and end of days
— The end of the Mayan calendar brings history to its close
— Jewish Temple Mount fanatics blow up the Dome of the Rock and set off Final World War
And there is always the constant threat of alien invasion. I believe that I have seen movies about all of the above, and none of the following.
The same newspapers, during the same years, try to convince me that
— human life expectancy has increased considerably;
— the number of the desperately poor has dropped;
— effective health care has become available to more people than ever before;
— literacy has reached a level of 80% worldwide;
— the percentage of income required for housing and food has dropped;
— the price of nearly every natural resource, related to income, has declined;
— no nuclear attacks have taken place since 1945;
— and that in general things have gotten better rather than worse.
Forgetting the newspapers and concentrating on personal experience, I found that I have lost a lot of friends and family to disease and medical mishaps; one friend to each of the following: murder, automobile accident, airplane disaster; two to suicide; and three to brain damage after falling off a bicycle, the last only six weeks ago. In response to that warning, I have now bought a helmet that in uncool vioIation of fairly universal Dutch practice I now wear religiously whenever I get on my bike.
© 2018 Gary Schwartz. Published on the Schwartzlist on 28 June 2018
Responses in the Reply box below (these will be viewed by all visitors to the site), or personally to Gary.Schwartz@xs4all.nl are always appreciated and will be answered.
So will donations.