Isaac Asimov – How to Save Civilization Part 1

Isaac Asimov – How to Save Civilization Part 1

I have written an article on the Green House
effect. It was a year-end article. They wanted me to pick out the most important scientific
event of 1988. And I really thought that the most important
scientific event of 1988 would only be recognized some time in the future. When you have a little
perspective,. But I thought that the most interesting scientific event of 1988 was the
way everyone started speaking about the Green House effect just because there was a hot
summer and a drought. So I explained what was meant by the Green
House effect, and I also explained that not only were we constantly pumping carbon dioxide
into the atmosphere because we’re burning fossil fuels, coal and oil and gas, so that
the content of the atmosphere, as far as carbon dioxide is concerned, has been going up steadily.
Not very rapidly, but steadily ever since 1900. And it’s continuing to do so. The amount
of CO2 in the atmosphere is now 50% higher than it was in 1900. It’s still only a little
over 300 (pause) .035%. Which is not enough to bother us as far as breathing is concerned,
but it’s enough to trap the infrared waves that Earth reflects into space and to raise
the temperature of the earth slightly. The temperature will keep on going up. And not
only are we piling in more and more CO2 in the atmosphere, but we’re chopping down the
forests of the Earth at a great rate. And the forests themselves are the most efficient
consumers of CO2 that there are on Earth. Anything that substitutes for the forests,
like, let us say, grain fields or grass lands, are not going to consume CO2 as efficiently.
And if we replace them with desert, which is most likely, it won’t absorb the CO2 at
all. So that, in a sense, we are contributing to the Green House effect in two ways: by,
by pushing the output of CO2 and inhibiting the input, so to speak. I say, therefore when Brazil begins to cut
down the rain forests of the Amazon, not only is it destroying a habitat for vast numbers
of plant and animal life, which could be of great use to us. There are perhaps pharmacological
products we know nothing about that are produced by these forms of life, that if we knew about
could advance the art of pharmacology and the practice of medicine, enormously. And
we’ll never find out, we’re going to drive them to extinction. We’re going to destroy
the ground, because the soil of a rain forest isn’t very good. When you chop it down it
doesn’t make for good farming, what it makes for is good deserts. And, finally, we’re going
to cut down the absorbing of CO2 and on producing oxygen. So we are actually tempering with
the climate of the Earth and with the very atmosphere that we breathe. So that under
those circumstances it is useless for Brazil to say that she can do what she wants with
her own. That the rain forest belongs to her and that if she wants to cut them down, she
can. The rain forest doesn’t belong to her, it belongs to humanity. She is merely the
custodian of the rain forest. I said that in the course of my article, and
I got a letter in which a young man said: Who gave the United States the right to tell
Brazil what to do? What if Brazil says to us that we produce far more carbon dioxide
than any other nation, because we have more automobiles, more motors, we have more industry
and we are polluting the atmosphere far more in a per capita basis than anyone else on
Earth, and therefore why shouldn’t they have the right to tell us to cut down on our industry,
to clean up our pollution instead of telling them not to cut down their forests. And I
answered and said: You make a very good point, but now look through my article, and see where
I said it was the United States who is supposed to make these decisions. I didn’t say anywhere
that it was the American right to police the world or to tell them what to do. And, in
fact, that gets to the nub of the whole point. That we are facing problems that transcend
nations. That when we talk about the Green House effect, we’re talking about something
that effects not just the United States, not just Brazil. That effects the entire Earth,
for the worse. If the population goes up to the point where we destroy the resources of
the Earth, it doesn’t matter which nation is most populous, we all get it in the neck.
If we have a nuclear war that produces a nuclear winter, or a fall out that kills people everywhere,
it doesn’t matter who started the war, it doesn’t matter at whom the nuclear bombs were
aimed, we’ll all get it. You can go through the entire list of dangers that faces humanity,
and the very point of the whole thing is that they face humanity, and not any one section
of it. And, therefore, I might say in passing, that this should be a peculiar interest to
Humanists. I have always thought that the reason we’re called Humanists is that we’re
involved with human beings as opposed to the supernatural, the existence of which is dubious,
at best. But, if we are going to be interested in and involved with human beings, then I
fail to see anything in the name that distinguishes between one set of human beings and another
set. We are all human beings. If there is one thing that is biologically certain about
the human species is that it is a human species. One species. The similarities among us are
enormous. The differences are trivial. That it is criminal for all of Earth now, now not
to be Humanists. Because now when all human beings are facing the same problems. And these
problems are life and death problems, they go to the root of the viability of the planet
itself. And in order to solve these problems, in order to make sure, not just that our progeny
will be prosperous, that our progeny will be peaceful, but that our progeny will live.
To go to the solution of these problems, we cannot expect that this will be done by individual
nations. The only way we can solve a problem is by a human solution, a totally human solution,
an international solution, a cooperative solution. It is important that the world get together
and be sufficiently a unit to face the problems which attack us as a unit. The problems with
the ocean, with the atmosphere, with the soil, with the population, with pollution, with
anything you want to aim, do not distinguish among us. How, then, can we distinguish among
ourselves? There must be some way of getting together. And of deciding not that the United
States will tell Brazil what to do, not what Brazil will tell the United States what to
do, but what the people of the Earth will tell themselves they must do. We have no difficulty
applying this principle to the United States itself. We don’t say that New York hasn’t
got the right to tell California what to do, that California hasn’t got the right to tell
Florida what to do. When it comes to international trade, when it comes to any facet of national
life that it rises above the parochial needs of cities and states, the federal government
tells all the states what to do, and the federal government can do it because it consists of
representatives from all the states. Well, what we need is some sort of federal world
government, and the only problem is how we manage to do that.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Isaac Asimov – How to Save Civilization Part 1

  1. @Badgerinthenight …and so, at least in 'Western' culture, human ownership is destructive and unnatural (Many hunter gather cultures don't share or understand the idea of land ownership). This is a truth but I think at this point many people make the dangerous conclusion that there is no alternative to our bizarrely unnatural paradigm of ownership, or rather they are to fearful of accepting an alternative and wind up saying things like: "well the only solution is to get rid of humans"…

  2. @Badgerinthenight …which then finally leads to one of three ultimate conclusions: 1) the individual giving up depressed and saying the planet is doomed to die by our hand, possibly becoming an ascetic 2) criminalize the people that point out the unnaturalness and unsustainability of west civilization's entire paradigm and go into complete denile (by far the most common outcome and this describes the majority of US republicans I think) 3) In extreme cases leads to the…

  3. @Badgerinthenight … conclusions that humans need to die for Earth to survive and take it upon themselves to kill other humans (and has happened in extreme cases of 'environmental terrorism'). All these conclusions are equally dangerous and destructive. The fact is that there are many viable alternatives to our 'Western' idealized vision of civilization and many that will not only provide us with better lives but are sustainable. People just need to see that the alternatives are there.

  4. @KingKahnTV Sorry to call you back from a 6 month retirement from this video, but I just wanted to say that we already have a global Bill of Rights, namely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we also have the genocide convention, the trouble is with enforcing these things. But the good news is that the apparatus for a United Earth is already at hand.

  5. @sageofsuccess You don't live in a democracy or you always take the minority positions that you have such a problem with goverments?

  6. @boccastones The droughts because the trees are gone, it's are part of the reason why rainforests don't regenerate.

  7. @agents1986 There should be a formal declaration of war so this conflict of interest can be solved once and for all, the losing side with be banished from earth.

  8. @KingKahnTV If we're responsible, than human nature justifies our right to own what we're responsible for. You can never ask for humility. Just wisdom.

  9. His thinking was way ahead of its time…hopefully one day we can trans-send our menial differences and unite as human beings

  10. its great to hear him talk about there being a single human race, no divisions. It was obvious in the first place but especially true now that the human genome project established as certain and scientific fact the non-existence of "race"

  11. People like Alex Jones say that global warming is a crock/hoax and the whole carbon-tax thing is a move by elites to simply make money off of people. Who's right?

  12. Scientists don't make more money from saying it's right than saying it's wrong and you don't just buy almost all scientists that exist in almost every nation on Earth.

    The few who states that global warming isn't CO2 based will still tell you that CO2 is a green house gas and can have the effect and they will also say that temperatures have gone up, they will just say that the primary cause is other things than CO2.

    It still isn't certain, but CO2 is a good bet atm and we should react on that.

  13. yes chopping forrests and driving cars are bad to the earth. BUT Co2 has gone up in the past and it was the result of the earth warming up… Yes the earth does warm up from the inside, so do all the other planets and this has to do with cycles and through what kind of energy we're actually flying in the cosmos. So, more cars and less trees are coincidential with much larger influences on Co2.

  14. do u think, that they don't know about this? they just don't care. they care about, what amount of money will they put in their pockets!

  15. I was one of the last intellectuals to have met and talked, one on one, with the late, great Isaac Asimov. I CORDIALLY INVITE You and Everyone to examine my videos and Subscribe to my channel. Thank You.

  16. search youtube "foundation 2011 asimov" and watch that video with this speech dubbed over it… amazingly eerie.

  17. The loss of Isaac Asimov was a great loss for the entire world. His work in Science and Humanism, his Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Humor were all wonderful contributions to our world.

  18. NWO means if one government ruling all over the nations, means nations will have to give up their differencies, languages, cultures, religions, political regimes, beliefs in order to obey the same laws, which also leads the uniformization of humanity.
    With such tremendous power in its hand, it's not hard to see that a world government would be easily corrupt.
    Real democracy has to weaken all powers to protect the people against abuse of power.
    NWO won't make the world a better place, only worse.

  19. I think Asimov was thinking of government as one that governs, rather than rules. It would facilitate the solution to global problems. Very likely it would be a government that enables a regionalism as that is very likely healthiest for us all.

  20. So, you're assuming that's federal government is the penultimate form of democracy ?
    When you see how dysfunctionnal it is in the US, where the congress and the government are both in the hand of industrial and military lobbies, how can you believe it would work on a worldwide scale ?

  21. To govern means to rule. By electing them, the people allows the governers to rule over them for a short period of time.
    When you look on a time scale, you see that in modern "democracies", regions or states have less freedom and autonomy.
    As for global problems, those who favor deforestation, neocolonial wars, slavery by debt and all sorts of global dizorganization are the same who praise for a new world order.
    They're like pyromaniac firemen, they create a problem and then propose a cure.

  22. Great video! I arrived at the same conclusions before I read Asimov.
    The main advantage of world government would of course be that we would no longer be spending billions building weapon systems which threaten our very existence. This money would be spent on tackling the problems we all face as a species.

  23. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Many will regard world government as an erosion of their national sovereignty. What these people forget is that their own nations were in fact arbitrary and often artificially created.

  24. u make another assertion, without answering the initial Qs.
    name a few disadvantages, and then I will see that u have thought about the counter argument.

  25. I am not advocating taking peoples freedom away from them. I have always been a supporter of the freedom of the individual.

  26. Asimov and a few others, have demonstrated the ability to look into the future. This is done with mathematics and without emotion.

  27. i'm a pessimist. i already feel like its too late. we are destroying this poor earth that gave us life. Everyone talks about "god" this "god" that, while you are destroying the one certain thing that brought us where we are today. We are literally killing the closest thing to "god" that we will ever know, its a god damn shame. 

  28. 9 planes of existence and their moral power/concensus;

    Level 3; ruin existence and time/space*, "no way, 12's". *necessary for an actual other existence to consume – us.

    Level 4; (Babylon) cause trouble, control economics, "get your way".

    Level 5; (purgatory) how to: create light, "take everything".

    Level 6; gay falsehood, unfriendly traitors.

    Level 7; universal, one point: equality.

    Level 8; one world – lovable like Isaac, but solitary w. torture, make the "one with the elements" desiccated; don't expect corroboration yet – (mesmerized); "what does "kind" mean?"

    Level 9; kindness' victory; "what doesn't "Jesus" mean?"

    Level 10; save people; "do what's right."

    Level 11; (saints) animals, too, "what to do."

    Level 12; heavenly hosts, etc.

  29. This guy is so cool.  I had never heard of him, but I just read this book called 3 Futures by Peter T. McQueeny, and he lists Asimov as a huge influence on his Amazon profile.  I really want to read the Foundation books now!

  30. So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You'd better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can't rearrange the universe.”


  31. It's sick how people use rhetoric to deceive masses. All what he's saying is wonderful, yet when the countries or even his plan future for a world government in a sense gets to action, It won't give an F for the simple worker, the simple human.

  32. I fully agree with Mr. Asimov, mankind has to stop being stingy and cooperate with each other because we are doomed to disaster in this way.
    What about the Amazon forest destruction, unfortunately Brazil is a country as chaotic and disorderly, and I fear that by the hand of Brazilians do not go stop anytime soon.
    P.S .: I'm a brazilian.

  33. Geez. Thanks man. My most favorite author Ever. And it's also weird to hear about global warming from 1989.

  34. What we need to understand, in order to solve this problem, is that our MODERN economic systems and systems of incentive were developed in the 17th century to 19th century, in a thick, global atmosphere of imperialism in either political sense or business sense. As a result, incentive was for achievement of short term goals for short term gains, rather than for long term gains.

    This entire conversation about climate change won't change anything until we change the way we see incentive and restructure our economic systems. And that is basically impossible. And even if it isn't impossible, it's at least slow… And by the time our economic systems favor long term gains (foresight into the gains of MANY generations into the future, rather than the present generation that one belongs to), it'll be too late to start the conversation about climate change. I just don't see any way around this issue.

  35. o robo como aprimoramento do ser humano, sendo melhor p/ realizar melhores tarefas p/ melhorar a qualidade de vida, status kuo ideal de vida, em harmonia c/ o criador humano, inspirado na sabedoria da criação divina, pode salvar a civilização, assim como a genetica pode aprimorar o futuro humano

  36. Are there any examples of this in the past? Civilisations that have over 10,000 people ruled by one government with no other civilisations that somehow regulate the function of the society by (however unintentional) ominous threat, or by setting a boundary for expansion with human retaliation if crossed? What might it be like in reality living under a one world government?

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