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The big risks from nature were part of an overall discussion by the WEF of about 50 global risks. The report stated,
The global risk that respondents rated most likely to manifest over the next 10 years is severe income disparity , while the risk rated as having the highest impact if it were to manifest is major systemic financial failure . There are also two risks appearing in the top five of both impact and likelihood -- chronic fiscal imbalances and water supply crisis...
Do you get that? The number one risk these economists fear is income disparity-- translated-- the one percent versus the 99%. We are on the right track focusing on what Occupy raised as the main issue.
But I'm writing this article because the report gets downright entertaining when it discusses potential global risks from nature. And they don't even include things like hurricanes or tsunamis.
My favorite prediction is the possibility that scientific proof of life on another planet will be discovered.
Here's the list the report describes:
X Factors from Nature
Developed in partnership with the editors of Nature, a leading science journal, the chapter on "X Factors" looks beyond the landscape of 50 global risks to alert decision-makers to five emerging game-changers:
- Runaway climate change: Is it possible that we have already passed a point of no return and that Earth's atmosphere is tipping rapidly into an inhospitable state?
- Significant cognitive enhancement: Ethical dilemmas akin to doping in sports could start to extend into daily working life; an arms race in the neural "enhancement" of combat troops could also ensue.
- Rogue deployment of geoengineering: Technology is now being developed to manipulate the climate; a state or private individual could use it unilaterally.
- Costs of living longer: Medical advances are prolonging life, but long-term palliative care is expensive. Covering the costs associated with old age could be a struggle.
- Discovery of alien life: Proof of life elsewhere in the universe could have profound psychological implications for human belief systems.
The one that is probably the most dangerous in the short term is geoengineering. There's already been one incident where a private individual dumped tons of chemicals into the ocean. There are ideas on the drawing board to put tons of chemicals in the atmosphere to reduce global warming. No nations have done it, but there's the possiblity some crazy billionaire might decide to save the world-- and that things won't go as planned.
Then, who knows what kind of toxic brew Monsanto, the most evil and perhaps most dangerous corporation on the planet, will secrete, which could disrupt the biological balance of the planet.
Getting back to discovery of alien life, it does seem like we're getting closer, with various satellites and landers on mars finding evidence of water.
What will it mean to anthrocentric religions when it is shown that life forms were also created on other planets? How much will the DNA or whatever coding defines those life-forms be worth to corporations looking to find new things to patent?
Will humanity suddenly develop a new sense of humility? Recognize the need for balance, for sustainability? Will we see the risks that our current eco-technological path puts us on?
Another item on the list is "significant cognitive enhancement" in plain English, people getting a lot smarter. I don't think we have to worry about that risk. People are getting dumber, not smarter. And that is planned-- by dumbing down education and the media.
But this is interesting. And maybe a few people will pay attention to the income disparities, global warming and the huge threats to the environment.