What Is Our Future?

A perfect storm? Photo AFP/Getty Images

A perfect storm? Photo AFP/Getty Images

The various topics of this blog, and in Mother Earth, all lead to the biggest and most fascinating question of all for humankind: what is our future?

That can be broken down further, to ask whether the multiple dangers facing our present civilisation will lead to its collapse, and, since that eventuality throws up further, potentially existential threats, if we as a species can continue to ride our good fortune and survive at all. If that sounds fanciful or unduly pessimistic, consider the fact that we homo sapiens are already the last of a number of human species that have lived. The neanderthals and others didn’t make it this far.

In the (very) long run we’ll probably share their fate. If we remain on this planet, and don’t succeed in colonising other worlds, we are unquestionably doomed. Eventually. The earth is around 4 billion years old, and life as we know it is only made possible by the energy of the star we know as our sun; but, and here’s the rub – in another 4 billion years or so it will enter its final phases and turn into a red giant, becoming big enough to reach, and possibly engulf, our earth. Nothing will survive the heat of that encounter, and after about another billion years the dying sun will arrive at its own end in a spectacular explosion known as a supernova, scattering all the atoms making up us, and our little world, back into the vastness of space from whence they came.

I quite like the symmetry of that, since returning to the space dust from which we originated seems to round things off rather neatly, but like you my principal focus is of course more immediate. And of course  the young people of today are entitled to ask: What is our future? That question was the subject of a partly NASA-funded study in 2014, which is becoming ever more urgent if our present civilisation is to survive. It addresses the need for urgent action:

“….to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth: Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”

That strikes me as a good way forward, particularly since we can all play a part by doing as much as we can to reduce our own consumption of energy and resources. If you agree, and would like to read more about this interesting study, here’s the link to the article:

What is our future?

The UK Referendum

Oh God… not more bloody propaganda! 

(With apologies to non-British readers – this is not the type of post I usually place here; it’s more overtly political. The reason I’m doing so is because the UK referendum is a significant point in Britain’s and Europe’s history; possibly a key turning point that will determine the future direction of the EU – if it survives – and have wider ramifications around the world.)

Here’s what I’ve said on Facebook:

“If you’re British you’ve probably made up your minds already, but in case not here’s why I’m voting to leave the EU – as briefly as I can make it! 

Firstly, I love Europe, and Europeans. I worked for many years for a major German company, in the course of which I travelled to most countries on the continent. My wife is half Irish; I’m one quarter Welsh; my son-in-law is a Frenchman.

However, Europe and the EU are not the same thing. In or out of the EU, we remain a major European country. We have the world’s 5th largest economy, and I believe passionately that we should leave the increasingly dysfunctional and undemocratic EU now – while we still have the chance.

We will not be isolated from the world. Our European neighbours will still trade with us, for the incontestable reason that they need our business – we’re the EU’s largest export market (source: EU help Desk).

We can still cooperate on whatever is in our interests, such as security, and we’ll be freed from EU restrictions on trading with the rest of the world. This is important because the EU’s share of world GDP is in long-term decline – from 30% in 1980 to less than 16.5% in 2015 (source: IMF).

And most vitally, we’ll be largely independent again, having taken back control of our own sovereignty, borders and money.

1. Control of our sovereignty

The EU is woefully undemocratic, with unelected bureaucrats proposing laws, rather than our own parliament.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, whom we did not elect and cannot vote out, has said that “There can be no democratic choice against the European Treaties.”

Lord Mandelson has said that we’re “entering a post-democratic age.”

Politicians of all parties have lied for several decades, telling us it’s all about trade – i.e. what’s now called the single market – when the real reason, enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty of 2009, is ‘Ever Closer Union’. This means that we’re being gradually subsumed into a new Superstate – in which Britain will be no longer great, but instead little more than another EU region, among dozens.

I think we’re much better than that.

(And I do not believe for one minute the claims following Cameron’s recent farcical non-agreement on reform that we could remain uninvolved in ‘Ever Closer Union’ – that we have an exemption that will be anything other than temporary. As Angela Merkel says, revealingly, “It’s alright to go at different speeds” – carrying the obvious inference that the destination is the same.

Already, as Jeremy Paxman recently showed, EU law has primacy over British law – how the hell did that happen without our consent?

For these reasons I strongly believe that we must take back control – returning legal powers from the unelected officials in Brussels and Strasbourg to our own elected MP’s and parliament in London.

As Lincoln said:  “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

2. Control of our borders

I love the different cultures and national identities within Europe, and I believe immigrants from the EU, and elsewhere, are beneficial, make a valuable contribution, and enrich us in very many ways.

However, under EU freedom of movement rules we have no control over our borders – however much Cameron may insist we have. Stamping passports at Dover is not control, and we’ve never been asked if we agree to unlimited numbers of new arrivals. It’s a ludicrous and in my view ultimately socially divisive way to run a country.

(I’d invite anyone who thinks it’s a good idea having no control over numbers, and also qualifications, to try throwing a party at home and posting an open invitation on Facebook!)

It should be in our power to decide how many people we admit, and from where.

A controlled number of invited newcomers can be welcomed, assimilated and, critically, helped to integrate. That’s surely a win win situation!

And of course we’ll still be welcome in European countries, because they need our tourist dollars.

3. Control of our money

Amongst all the hot air, it’s generally agreed that the gross cost to us of EU membership is about £350 million pounds a week – reduced to about half that figure by our rebate, and what we get back in grants with strings attached – i.e. the EU has a big say in how the money’s spent.

I think we should decide how we spend all this money, be it on the NHS, as some have suggested, or whatever else we choose. It really is none of Jean-Claude Juncker’s business how my taxes are spent!

I’ll fully respect your decision, if, astonishingly, it differs from mine, but I’ll be chuffed to bits if you join me in deciding to vote leave from the EU, and thereby regain control of our borders, our trade, our laws, our money, our democracy, our independence.

Let’s be proud of our country, and believe in Great Britain’s place in the modern world.”

New Mother Earth Giveaway

Thanks to all of you who entered my previous Goodreads promotions. If you weren’t lucky then, or have never entered before, there’s another chance now to win a free copy of Mother Earth.  

Here are extracts from what some Amazon readers have kindly said about the book:

A good read… worth downloading…

Definitely worth a read… instantly absorbing…

A very well researched first novel… certainly worth the read – you may well be surprised!

Do try this book. I am enjoying it, and want to pick it up to see what happens next.

To reiterate what I said last time, “The novel deals with a number of themes concerning the future of us, the brilliant but also flawed species known as Homo sapiens. The name means ‘wise man’, but are we going to be wise enough to deal with the challenges ahead? Some of them are likely to grow and threaten our very existence if the right decisions are not made in time.”

If you’re interested in nature, and the future of humanity as one of its integral components, you may like a chance to win the free signed copy of Mother Earth in my latest Mother Earth Giveaway promotion.

Entries cost nothing and run until midnight on May 6th 2016.

If you’ve never entered one of these before, it’s simple. All you do is apply to become the “winner” of the free copy, who is then selected at random by Goodreads.

You can apply now by clicking here:  Enter Giveaway

Good luck! This is for a paperback version. If you’d like to download the e-book, it’s available by clicking on this Amazon link.

 

 

 

 

 

War or Peace – why isn’t our path obvious?

If asked the simple question, do you want war or peace, most of us know which we’d plump for: the nice little white dove. Of course.

peace

But the fact remains that we, the most sophisticated species ever to have walked the earth, remain stubbornly wedded to blunt old warfare as a means to resolve issues. Not all of us, of course, and certainly not a majority, but a significant enough proportion of the global population to make for uncomfortable dreams on a bad night.

Why is this? I have plenty of thoughts, but no real idea, and it weren’t the hugely complex conundrum that it is we’d surely have solved it long ago. It’s not as if peace, decades after the end of the second world war, is not a worthwhile goal – just think what could be done with the money spent on weapons!

If you’d like to read some really informed comment on the subject, and how the threat to peace is inextricably entangled with world population growth, cultural and bio-diversity, and various environmental issues, I would recommend this website:

http://www.ecology.com/2014/09/17/ecology-peace/

 

Mother Earth Giveaway

I was delighted with the response to my Goodreads promotion in November, when five lucky readers won free signed copies of the paperback version of Mother Earth. Thanks to all of you who entered, and especially to those who also downloaded the e-book version. Here are a few extracts from what some Amazon readers have kindly said:

A good read… worth downloading…

Definitely worth a read… instantly absorbing…

A very well researched first novel… certainly worth the read – you may well be surprised!

Do try this book. I am enjoying it, and want to pick it up to see what happens next.

Contrary to what most people think, there’s very little money in novel writing these days – unless you’re a J.K.Rowling! – so the main reward for the majority of us is from such readers who are interested in and enjoy our work. Thank you all!

And since the first promotion generated such a lot of interest, I’ve decided to run it again. To reiterate what I said last time, “The novel deals with a number of themes concerning the future of us, the brilliant but also flawed species known as Homo sapiens. The name means ‘wise man’, but are we going to be wise enough to deal with the challenges ahead? Some of them are likely to grow and threaten our very existence if the right decisions are not made in time. 

If you’re interested if nature, and the future of humanity as one of its integral components, you may like a chance to win one of five free copies of Mother Earth I’m offering as a Goodreads Giveaway promotion at the moment.” 

Entries cost nothing and run until midnight on January 31st 2016. You can apply now by clicking here:  Mother Earth Goodreads January Promotion.

If you’ve never entered one of these promotions before, it’s dead simple. All you do is apply to “win” one of the five free copies, which are then selected at random by Goodreads.

Good luck! This is to win one of five paperback versions. If you’d like to download the e-book, it’s available by clicking on this Amazon link.

Mother Earth Goodreads Giveaway

My recently published novel Mother Earth deals with a number of themes concerning the future of us, the brilliant but also flawed species known as Homo sapiens. The name means ‘wise man’, but are we going to be wise enough to deal with the challenges ahead? Some of them are likely to grow and threaten our very existence if the right decisions are not made in time.

If you’re interested if nature, and the future of humanity as one of its integral components, you may like a chance to win one of five free copies of Mother Earth I’m offering as a Goodreads Giveaway promotion at the moment. The process for those not familiar with Goodreads is that you apply to win one of the free copies, which are then selected at random.

It costs nothing to enter and runs until midnight on the 30th November. You can apply now by clicking here:

Book giveaway for Mother Earth by A.P. Jessett Nov 01-Nov …

Good luck! If you don’t win a copy it’s available on Amazon in e-book and paperbook versions.