The Five Biggest Threats to Human Survival

The other day I came across one of those internet articles that get shared on Facebook. This one, by Larry Schwartz, (full article on Alternet) got me thinking about the real threats to Human Survival. My favorite is number 10. Dude, stop watching Cable TV.

I compiled my own list of five threats (below this one), which I think are the real threats to human survival.

Ten Biggest Threats to Human Survival (as seen on the Internet)

1. Global Climate Change
a volcano erupting

2. Loss of Biodiversity

3. Bee Decline

4. Bat Decline

5. Pandemic

6. Biological/Nuclear Terrorism

7. Super Volcanoes

8. Asteroid Impact

9. Rise of the Machine

10. Zombie Apocalypse

Five Real Threats to Human Survival On Planet Earth

1. Fear
When we let ourselves be ruled by fear, we might as well go back to living in caves. Americans spend far too many resources on fear. If we spent half the money on research and development, infrastructure, and education as we spend on fear, we'd have nothing to fear. The fear industry is big business, but it's parasitic business, siphoning funds away from the investments we need to make in our future.

2. Loss of Compassion and Empathy
Watch cable TV and listen to the rhetoric, especially on the political shows. Everything is presented as adversarial. For every hero, the media needs a villain in order to create a story that is compelling enough to get you to watch it through the commercial break. When we demonize people, when we talk about enemies, monsters, and evildoers as one-dimensional, we stop trying to understand the motivations of people. If we are to survive, we don't have to embrace ideas that are dangerous our hurtful, but we need to understand them in order to find ways to productively counteract the destructive forces in the world.

3. Too Busy to Care, Apathy
"I have too much work to do, then I have to go to the gym, and when I'm done all I have energy for is some mindless television." If we let ourselves become overwhelmed by the rat race, we forget to live. When we don't live, when we just exist, our mental state deteriorates into depression and apathy. "Who cares? Oh, the Apocalypse is coming,? Excellent. I need a nap anyway."

4. Numbness and Desensitization
We indulge in violence as a form of relaxation. Violent films, music, and video games are a multi-billion dollar business. Heroes often use violence to solve problems, and we love it when the villain "gets it in the end." It's cathartic, exhilarating, addicting, and when we think of violence as the best or first option for resolving conflict, we have to wonder if our species should survive long term.

5. Isolation and Disconnection
Isolation and disconnection lead to fear and loss of empathy. It is easy to stereotype and hate others when you don't know them.

I guess I was wrong. If humans perish from this Earth, it will be a zombie apocalypse...


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