The fake news experience, as its name suggests, arises either from a failure properly to collect the data required for a factual report, or from an intentional muddying of the waters by false reporting. The “it’s worse than you know” experience arises from vested interests withholding information for gain, whether for reputation, financial reward, or holding on to power. So, what can we do so that we know for sure? There’s no easy answer to this challenge. Undoubtedly, the first requirement must be to develop our own critical faculties, and endeavour to be as well informed as possible in the matters of interest to us. Equally important is to search out reliable sources of information, eschewing social media as a reliable source.
Aid, church, and community groups have been aghast at Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement in February to spend $3.8 billion to expand arms production seven-fold in order to make Australia one of the top ten global arms suppliers, up from number 20 on the present table of arms producers. He argued that this will create jobs and make lucrative profits for Australian companies, especially from sales in the Middle East, a “priority target” according to the “Defence Export Strategy”. The government intends to spend $200 billion on the military over the next ten years.
The banking royal commission confirms our worst fears about many business executives and crony capitalism
We have now had dreadful insights in the Banking Royal Commission into the greed and incompetence of our inflated and padded banking system. Adele Ferguson, in the SMH of 17 April 2018, pungently highlighted what has gone wrong with the banks. She spoke of the ‘poor culture of greed, a lack of respect for the law, and breaches of trust’. She spoke of the behaviour of the banks being so grubby and cynical that their social licence must be questioned.
The consequences of a nuclear exchange belong to the unthinkable. According to the article titled Nuclear War, Nuclear Winter, & Human Extinction (Starr 2015, director of the University of Missouri’s Clinical Laboratory Science Program), apart from the immediate destruction by nuclear explosions:
- Nuclear firestorms would burn simultaneously over a total land surface area of many thousands or tens of thousands of square miles. These mass fires would release many tens of millions of tons of black carbon soot and smoke, which would rise rapidly above cloud level and into the stratosphere.
- A nuclear winter would cause most humans and large animals to die from nuclear famine in a mass extinction event similar to the one which wiped out the dinosaurs.
Addressing a Vatican symposium Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons & for Integral Disarmament, Pope Francis said nuclear weapons exacerbate “a climate of fear” which affects the whole of humanity. He said that “weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security”, and cannot constitute the basis of peaceful coexistence among nations. He said use of nuclear weapons, even as an accident or in error, would result in “catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects … The threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned”.
Reviewed by Gary Harkin
In the opening lines of his new book, A World of Three Zeroes, Muhammad Yunus reminds the reader that, in 2010, Oxfam reported that ‘the world’s richest 388 people owned more wealth than the entire bottom half of the world population (3.3 billion human beings)’. Yunus then updates us with the latest 2017 data from Oxfam: the richest half has shrunk to just eight people, and the poorer half has grown to 3.6 billion.
Yunus suggests that this continuing trend of gross inequality in respect of the world’s wealth is dangerous. Such inequality threatens social cohesion, and is therefore ultimately a matter of sustainability for humanity. In this regard, Yunus and his work are in absolute alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indeed, he is a UN special advocate for the 2030 SDGs.
Solar photovoltaic and wind power are rapidly becoming cheaper and more abundant than ever – so much so that they are on track to supplant fossil fuels worldwide entirely within two decades, with the time frame depending mostly on politics. The protestation from some politiciansthat we need to build new coal stations sounds rather quaint.
The reality is that the rising tide of solar photovoltaics (PV)and wind energy offers our only realistic chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.