Survival Matters

Working towards a safer future for all Australians


Most of us expect that children born in 2019 will be able to live peaceful, prosperous lives to a ripe old age – but on the current trajectory of our species, that seems highly unlikely.

Our civilization is faced with ten mega-threats: climate change, human population growth, food insecurity, ecosystem destruction, resource depletion, threat of nuclear war, uncontrolled technology and artificial intelligence, global poisoning, pandemic diseases and, above all, the self-delusion that we can somehow escape the consequences of our actions.

Despite their imminence, we often find ourselves in blissful ignorance of these threats, for the collapse of human civilization and early human extinction are undoubtedly distasteful topics. As such, our efforts to tackle just one of these threats – climate change – have been less than half-hearted.

But such pessimism need not continue. As Canberra Science writer, Julian Cribb, explains in the video below, if we use our assets to take global action, disaster can be avoided.

>> Watch the 10 minute video now

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So, to even dream of a positive future for our children, we urgently need a greater commitment to resolving these threats. We need to understand them thoroughly, face them directly, and take resolute and global action to give us hope for the future.

Survival Matters: a project in 4 parts

It is in the hope of a better future that Australia21 is embarking on the Survival Matters project. Through this project, Australia21 wants to encourage a large number of Australians to consider these threats and ways to tackle them, to enhance the probability that our children and grandchildren will survive and flourish to a ripe old age.

The four elements of the project are:

  1. A podcast series involving young Australians in interviews with experts on these matters
  2. A process to engage thousands of Australians in small group discussions of the issue and possible solutions and to document their conclusions for transmission to our political leaders

  3. A series of high level Roundtables involving leading Australian scientists, thinkers and policy makers on national and international strategies for mitigation of the intersecting threats
  4. Discussions across Australia about developing a world-leading National Commission on Global Futures

Download the five podcasts

Our 5 episodes are now available on most platforms, including Spotify, Apple, Google, and RadioPublic.

Episode 1: Anthropocentrism and our culture

In this episode we speak with Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas, a retired public health academic and a Founding Director of Australia21, about the need for a change in the way humans think about the planet. He explains the difference between “anthropocentrism” and “eco-centrism”, and why we need to embrace the latter.

Episode 2: The ten threats to human survival

In this episode we speak with science writer Julian Cribb about ten interacting threats that are putting the future of humanity at risk: ecological collapse, resource depletion, weapons of mass destruction, climate change, global poisoning, food insecurity, population and urban expansion, pandemic disease, and uncontrollable new technologies, and human self-delusion.

Episode 3: Young people and climate change

In this episode we speak to Hannah Ford, the Campaigns Coordinator of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and the 2018 ACT Young Environmentalist of the Year. We explore the way young people are beginning to act politically and socially on issues of climate change and threats to human survival.

Episode 4: The impact of consumption on health

In this episode we speak with Professor Fiona Stanley, a maternal and child health epidemiology and public health expert, and 2003 Australian of the Year. She discusses the impact of consumption on human health, and the social factors that have led us to the predicament that we now face as a species.

Episode 5: The need for urgent political action

In this episode we speak with Ian Dunlop, an Australia21 Director, former international oil, gas and coal industry executive, chair of the Australian Coal Association, and CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He speaks to us about the political challenges we face in addressing climate change and related threats to human survival.

Discuss the five big questions

After you have listened to the podcasts, download the discussion paper (using the link below) to help you get started on a discussion with 4 friends about the issues in the podcasts.

>> Download the 1 page discussion document,  to provide a resource and links to national and international evidence and activity on these matters.

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