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Surviving the Future
Jamais Cascio   Oct 19, 2010  

This week, CBC TV (Canada) will show Surviving the Future, an hour-long documentary on the major challenges facing humanity over the next half-century and the amazing technologies and social shifts underway to meet those challenges.

Directed by the award-winning documentarian Marc de Guerre, Surviving the Future is an intense piece of work, featuring interviews with a wide variety of scientists, writers, and other thinkers, including the IEET’s Jamais Cascio.

Edited down, here are the thoughts that Jamais contributed, adding up to about 5 minutes out of the (commercials subtracted) 43 minutes of the documentary.

Surviving the Future: Jamais Cascio excerpts from Jamais Cascio on Vimeo.


What it basically boils down to:

If one understands the ecological principles of food web tropic levels, then one should understand that a consequence of our ever increasing population, relative to the essential biodiversity of higher life form conducive natural ecosystems, is that we're causing the extinction of an alarming number of other life forms daily just to support our own biomass. We're systematically shifting the biomass of the many life forms we're not smart enough to care about, into the biomass of a lesser number of life forms we use to maintain our own biomass (e.g. cows, chickens, corn, beans, tomatoes, ...). That is, we're systematically diminishing the biodiversity of the natural biological communities, and in so doing are destabilizing nature's infrastructure that is keeping us alive.

The key factors of healthy ecosystems (in the sense of being conducive to human existence) are sustainable long term productivity through extensive biodiversity to exploit all the ecological niches (in time, space, and kind), and relative stability through the overall balance of ecological processes in minimizing ecosystem state shifts. This more complete utilization of limiting resources at higher diversity increases resource retention through more thorough and efficient recycling increasing productivity, and the balance of inherently more intricate ecological processes promote stabilization.

For a better understanding of how we are jeopardizing the shorter term state of human existence on Earth, see the article Natural World Consciousness at

Will objective understanding or subjective beliefs prevail?

Lee C
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