The efforts being undertaken by the organizations and individuals,
engaged in "sustainable development" problems, are still ineffective,
so unsatisfactory results of their activity for today testify
that the taken direction of efforts is not correct
Despite the activities of numerous organizations, declaring serious concern of the adverse course of events on our planet and trying to carry out actions aimed at ensuring a stable existence of mankind, however, everywhere in the world there is chaos, threatening at any moment to escalate into a global catastrophe.
I. Last Century - a New, Peculiar Stage of Human Civilization's Evolution
Almost universally accepted that at our stage of civilization development, a number of threats to its continued existence.
The following are the most serious problems:
- Anthropogenous poisoning of environment – atmosphere, water, deforestation and pollution (including chemical and radiational) of the planet's surface increasing with growth of population and volumes of production and soaring consumption.
- Resource depletion (combustibles and other resources).
- Aggravation of military conflicts (the 20th century saw two world wars). Conflicts are caused by territorial disputes, religious, ideological, ethnic or social differences, ambitions of the leaders. In the future, military conflicts may further exacerbate fueled by the shortage of natural resources, territory and environmental problems.
- Development and accumulation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that are capable of killing billions of people and may lead to the extinction of the human race.
- Continued research work aimed at further development of nuclear (and, obviously, chemical and biological) weapons and creation of new WMDs based on nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotechnics and other areas of scientific breakthroughs. Development of weapon delivery systems. Militarization of space.
- Threat of a new global economic crisis, unprecedented in scale, that would reduce human civilization to chaos with unpredictable consequences.
As it is now becoming clear, is not so rare and natural disasters: Space - the fall of large asteroids, outbreaks of dangerous radiation - the sun and distant stars, geophysics, planetary phenomena - volcanic eruptions, climate changes and fluctuations in the level of the oceans, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.
Based on results of numerous research performed into the problem, experts often name the middle of the 21st century as potential date of such global cataclysms. Television and filmmakers compete with one another showing apocalyptic scenarios for the human race. Most of the threats mentioned above have appeared (or exacerbated) during the last 100 years, i.e. during the period which is fundamentally different from all other phases of development of our civilization. Technological breakthroughs have led to the appearance of global means of communication, new types of weapons and means of influencing public mindset and attitudes. Wars have become much more destructive and claiming bigger death toll: The two world wars of the 20th century claimed 26 million and 55 million human lives, respectively. Most of the planet's suitable for life areas have been developed and populated; human activities are causing significant changes to the environment. Over the last 100 years world population has grown from 1.5 billion to 7.1 billion. Displacement (destruction) of many species of living creatures and plants continues. Natural studies have brought us closer to the understanding of the human civilization's place in the Universe and in its many-billion-year long development cycle. These dramatic changes in the life of the human civilization appear to have little effect on the main traits of our consciousness, style and manner of group and individual behavior as well as the instincts that have formed over the long period of evolution - often dangerous at the present stage of development.
As things stand today, society is almost unable to cope with the numerous emerging contradictions, and the main question to ask is whether we will manage to overcome the growing threats and continue our path forward. It is obvious that without a fundamental change in the way of life, approaches to conflict resolution and planet's resources management mankind will be very likely to become degraded or even extinct.
Apart from such 'traditional' sciences as history, political science, globalistics, etc., a new science has appeared to deal with looking ahead into the future of human civilization. I'm speaking about synergetics - the science of describing complex systems and laws governing their existence. According to synergetics, the epoch of evolutionary, upward development, may be followed by a phase of instability, bifurcation, i.e. a state where the system becomes unable to continue living by its former laws and slides into a state of chaos with unknown consequences...
II. Organizations and Activities Aimed at Peaceful and Stable Development
In recent decades we could see the appearance of a number of organizations engaged in the analysis of our life and seek for solutions that could ensure stable, long-term existence of the Humankind. Given below is a list of organizations and forums which are (or were) involved in struggle for peace and preservation of mankind or have been actively studying these problems. It has to be noted that these organizations in certain cases appeared successful in quenching local conflicts which cannot be said about their activities and strategies directed at sustainability of the human civilization.
- The Club of Rome (since 1968)
- The Pugwash Movement (since 1955)
- The Club of Budapest (since 1996)
- The League of Nations (1920 - 1940(45))
- The United Nations Organization and the General Assembly (since 1945)
- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, since 1945)
- The Tallberg Forum (since 1981)
- The International Peace Bureau (since 1891)
- The World Congress of Philosophy (since 1900).
- World Peace Council meeting (since 1950).
- Sustainable development conference Rio (1992)
- Millennium Forum, New York (2000)
- Sustainable development conference Rio+10 (2002)
- Futurology Commission, USA, (1965)
- The U.S. National Intelligence Council
- The International Global Zero Movement (since 2008)
- Dialogue of Civilizations (regular forums in Rhodes)
- The U.S. Rand Corporation
- The Issyk-Kul Forum (later - Intellectual Alliance of Civilizations)
- Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting), USA.
- Santa Fe Institute (SFI)
- The International Futures Research Academy
- Greenpeace (since 1971)
- The Russian Transhumanist Movement (since 2000)
- The Association of Professional Futurists.
- The International Foundations for the Survival and Development of Humanity (since 1988)
- Swedish Defence Research Agency.
- Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGO) in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.
- The World Philosophical Forum (with its yearly Dialectical Symposia in October)
- The Federation for Peace and Conciliation (formerly, the Soviet Peace Committee)
- The Global Harmony Association
- Bonn International Center for Conversion.
- Munich annual safety conferences (Davos Safety) (since 1962)
- Freedom House
- Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research
- Internal displacement monitoring centre
- International Crisis Group
- International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
- International Relations and Security Network
- Political Terror Scale
- Reporters without Borders
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
- The Fund for Peace
- Transparency International
- Uppsala Conflict Data Program
- Vision of Humanity
- International Institute of Forecasters (IIF)
- World Futures Studies Federation
- Humanity+ (Transhumanist FAQ)
- The Union of Concerned Scientists
- World Without Violence (since 1990; coordinating center in Tula).
- International Philosophers for the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide
- International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide
- International scientific congresses in 2009 and Global Studies Global Studies-2011
- Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
- Faculty of Global Processes (Moscow State University, since 2005)
- UNESCO Chair in global challenges.
- University of Aberdeen (UK).
- Gorbachev Foundation (Russia).
- Global Studies Consortium.
- International Association for Global Studies. International Global Research Association.
- Russian Academy of Sciences. Office for Global Concerns.
- Russian Philosophical Society
- The Foundation Culture of Peace.
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Nobel Laureate Symposiums on Global Sustainability
- etc., etc.
Regular summits of the world's mightiest countries (originally, G7, it recently became G8 and G20) focus on the crucial and most challenging issues of the global level management. For more than 40 years now government and business representatives have regularly come together at the World Ecomomical Forum in Davos. There are several more regularly held at regional level and also religious forums. Considerable attention at such meetings is given to problems of interrelations between communities and peace preservation on the planet.
The biggest and most authoritative organization dealing with global management is the United National Organization which was established in 1945. Most meaningful events staged under the UN auspices in the recent several decades have been two world forums - the Sustainable Development Forum in Rio-de-Janeiro in 1992, "Rio+10" forum held in Johannesburg in 2002 and "Rio +20 " - in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All these forums were attended by the leaders of over 100 countries and dozens of thousands of participants. The spirit of these conferences is best expressed in the words of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "responsibility for our planet, whose bounty is the very basis for human well-being and progress. And most of all, responsibility for the future - for our children, and their children."
The Rio-de-Janeiro conference of 1992 was followed by the adoption of the document called "The 21st Century Agenda" which outlined measures to counteract the dangers noted above. Similar proposals are present in the Millennium Declaration which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000. "We have approached a decisive turning point in history… New and various threats have taken shape. We have to take another look at the mechanism of international relations: whether or not it is up to these new challenges? And what changes should be introduced if it is not?," former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said. Academician Nikita Moiseyev made the following assessment of the conference. "[The forum in Rio] has failed to rise to a sufficiently high level. We ought to reach the level of society where people think and act together." The Rio forums inspired many countries into the adoption of their own programs of combating the dangers facing humanity, but it had not been much time before these efforts had mostly faded away.
The following is a list of selected documents - manifestos, appeals, declarations, events, etc. - focused on the matter of our concern:
- Humanist Manifesto I, 1933
- Appeals and declarations of the UN and General Assembly: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, and many other documents
- The Russell-Einstein manifesto
- Humanist Manifesto II, 1973
- World Peace Congresses
- World Peace Council meeting
- Stockholm Appeals of 1950 and 1975
- Secular Humanist Declaration,1980.
- UN Declaration "On the Prevention of Nuclear Catastrophe." Resolution 36/100 of the UN General Assembly of December 9, 1981.
- Declaration of Interdependence, 1988.
- World Scientists' Warning to Humanity, 1992
- The Earth Charter, 2000
- The Humanist Manifesto, 2000
- The UN Millennium Declaration, 2000
- Appeal of the Russian Scientists to the International Scientific Community adopted by a group of academicians from the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2004
- UNESCO International Programme of additional higher education (UNITWIN program).
- Project "Who's who and what's what in Globalistics".
- Journal of The Age of Globalization.
- Journal of globalization studies.
- Magazine "Global Studies and Geopolitics" (within the Bulletin of Moscow University).
- Journal of globalization studies.
- The Stockholm Memorandum. Tipping the Scales towards Sustainability. 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium* on Global Sustainability, Stockholm, Sweden, 16-19 May 2011
- Other magazines
Futurology on the Internet:
III. Scientists, writers and public figures who performed futuristic research and made forecasts for the future of humanity
(approximate, incomplete list)
Albert Einstein, Herbert Wells, Max Borne, Frederic Joliot-Curie, Joseph Rotblat, Aurelio
Peccei, Ervin Laszlo, Stephen Hawking, Bertrand Russell, Robert Jungk, Stanislaw Lem,
Mihajlo Mesarovic, Eduard Pestel, Donella Meadows, Alvin Toffler, Glenn D. Paige, John
Haldane, Hazel Henderson, Francis Fukuyama, Nick Bostrom, Bill Joy, Erich Fromm, Ray
Kurzweil, Alexander Bolonkin, Vladimir Tsaplin, Georges Krassovsky, Immanuel Wallerstein,
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clarke, Samuel Huntington, Ilya Prigogine,
Thomas Friedman, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Irina Bokova, Konrad Lorentz, Al
Gore, Federico Mayor, Roland Robertson, Lee Dingsin, Norman Graham, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky,
Andrey Sakharov, Igor Kurchatov, Nikita Moiseyev, Igor Bestuzhev-Lada, Vyacheslav Stepin,
Sergei Kapitsa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Akop Nazaretian, Yegor Gaidar, Alexei Ggvishiani,
Nikolay Timofeev-Resovsky, Sergey Kurdyumov, Vladimir Yakunin, Alexei Turchin, Georgy
Malinetskiy, Leo Semashko, Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Delyagin, Alexander Neklessa, Alexander
Ageyev, Boris Kuzyk, Yuri Yakovets, Viktor Sadovnichiy, Vladislav Inozemtsev, Alexander
Zharov, Yuri Sidelnikov, Lilia Shevtsova, Dmitry Aksyonov, Petr Saveliev, Kim Losev, Aidar
Abdullin, Arkadiy Fedotov, Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, Ivan Artyukhov, Dmitry Medvedev,
Andrey Korotayev, Alexander Nikonov, Abdusalam Gusejnov, Artur Chilingarov, Yuri Izrael, Arkady Ursul, Igor Kondrashin, Oleg
Kuznetsov, Askar Akayev, Viktor Kamyshanov, Viktor Shmakov and Evgeny Abramyan, etc.
IV. Present Situation and Look-Ahead
The present-day situation in the world community shows no signs of positive development in the direction toward resolving the problems described above, and there are no serious and purposeful efforts currently underway to counteract these problems. Let's now have a brief look at the obvious measures that need to be taken or raise their efficacy to preserve human civilization that were proposed by the author of this text about 10 years ago and which are contained in various forms in numerous appeals and declarations.
Transformation of the consciousness and mindset of the people, changing the historically formed behavioral patterns that are no longer acceptable in the modern world. Large scale (embracing vast majority of the population) activities of upbringing, propaganda and education directed at cultivating decent culture of behavior, tolerance, peacefulness and equality, eliminate aggression and ignorance, national and religious hatred and to limit the excessive consumption.
Gradual disarmament and disbandment of national armies. Only international security forces should be preserved. Termination of development and production of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction. International control of scientific research.
Development of humanitarian technologies ensuring transformation of mindset and behavioral patterns in line with the Consciousness project as well as technologies that would help enhance quality of life and environmental protection. Establish an industrial base in outer space.
Develop Third World economies through the introduction of innovative technologies, personnel training, financial aid and fostering regimes based on social justice and stability. Elimination (dramatic reduction, for starters) of the gap in the quality of life.
Association of the states (on the sample of the European Union), elimination of borders and armies. In the long term creation (through a unified system of education of citizens of the Earth) the single global community, or – political and social globalization.
It is easy to see that there is little work actually performed in the modern world along these directions despite the numerous programs and declarations calling for radical measures for the preservation of the human civilization put forth by various organizations and forums and works of leading experts in the field. See, for example:
The actions taken in the right direction by a few teams and individuals are by far insufficient for achieving problems solution on any large scale.
Let's try to analyze possible causes of this impasse situation:
- Incompetence on the part of the authorities, lack of knowledge, neglect of expert opinions. Unwillingness (or inability) to take an active path toward resolving the problems facing humanity on the global level.
- Failure to acknowledge the high probability of the dangers facing humanity. Hopes that these threats will take long time to develop.
- Wrong priorities in the allocation of funds and efforts: It is necessary to allocate less to the seemingly important transitory tasks in favor of the global problems (analysis indicates that there are sources for funding efforts directed at resolving the globally important problems).
- Bundle of humanity on the rich, prosperous and lagging - the poor, prematurely dying from starvation, lack of medical care and other necessities for living conditions.
- Inadequacy of the upbringing and mentality of the vast majority of the world population to the needs of durable and conflict-free existence.
- Lack of coordinated efforts and consolidated plan for the activities of the numerous organizations and individuals. Lack of activity and resources.
If no changes to the better are achieved from the present situation, the following scenarios will be the most likely ones:
- A limited catastrophe - a war involving the use of WMD producing a strong psychological shock that would hold mankind back from massive confrontation for some time to come.
- A global war or catastrophe caused by natural or anthropogenous factors reducing human population to a few separated groups of people struggling to survive and restore our population.
According to expert estimates, the probability of a global cataclysm in this century is as high as 25-50%, therefore, there is no time to lose to start working on counter-measures. In view of the above, I deem it necessary to prepare and discuss specific programs aimed at resolving the main problem of our time - the problem of the human civilization's preservation. If you agree with my vision of the present situation, I would like to invite you to joint efforts in changing it to the better, specifically, to provide your proposals how to organize such cooperation. Near-term actions could include "information attacks" through the Internet (for example, on this web-site) or at personal meeting prosecuting the specified subjects and, probably, organization of international working groups on issues within the World Philosophical Forum.
The idea, which should and can unite humanity - is the salvation of human civilization.
The following is the list of priority actions:
- Coordination of our efforts based on common sense, reason and morality.
- Activities to refocus mass media, to improve education and formation of next generations, the introduction of an ideology of cooperation (rather than confrontation).
- Radical action to develop Third World economies, improve their living arrangements.
- Measures aimed at general disarmament and effective control over new technological developments. Termination of arms production and trade (with the exception of a limited contingent of international peacekeeping and police forces).
- More effective (adequate to the situation) involvement of international organizations (UN?) into conflict prevention and regulation.
- Search for solutions to demographic problems.
- Setting up a permanent organization for rapid response to problem solving and decision enforcement control. Probably, these functions could be performed by a modernized UN and its subdivisions.
- Discussion and adoption of a common program of action - a Salvation Manifesto 2011.
Professor Evgeny Abramyan
(Wikipedia: Evgeny Abramyan)
For more details see:
 Already at this point it is possible to name a number of possible sources of funding efforts aimed at resolving global problems:
- Reduction and ultimately termination of spending on weapons and national armies.
- Existing reserves and superfluity available to the rich countries, companies and individuals.
- Education and training of people in the Third World.
- Wider use of robotechnics, computerization of industry, other benefits of technical progress.
- Shifting to moderate consumption in the developed world.
- Active development of extraterrestrial resources.
 The tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was so widely publicized and outspoken that held mankind back from rushing into a global nuclear war in the times of the Cold War although the level of confrontation was very high.