Julian Cribb – Surviving the 21st Century






One of the world’s top science writers, Julian Cribb, joins me to discuss his books, Poisoned Planet, Food or War and Surviving the 21st Century. We talk about human safety and our future… what we can do and how we can thrive. This was a fascinating and empowering discussion. One that I hope you finding as enlightening and inspiring as I did.

Selected Link from the Episode:

Dr. Ron Ehrlich:            Hello and welcome to Unstress. I’m Dr. Ron Ehrlich. Well, we’re living in some very interesting times, moments of great reflection. We’ve covered some of those issues. We’re going to cover many more in the weeks and months ahead, but today was such a great opportunity to speak to what I believe is one of the world’s top science writers. His name is Julian Cribb. And Julian has written many books and inspired many people, and we’re going to be talking about many of those issues today. I’m not going to spoil it for you, other than to say, I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Julian Cribb. Welcome to the show, Julian.

Julian
Cribb:                 Thank you, Ron.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Julian, you are a
prolific writer and I’ve read so many of your books and I wanted to discuss
those with you today, but I wondered if you might just share with our listener
a little bit about your story and what got you to this point?

Julian
Cribb:                 Yeah, well, as you
say, I’ve been a journalist and a newspaper editor for 50 years now. I’ve been
writing about science for nearly all of that time. But I’ve been a specialist
science writer really since the mid 1990s. And I wrote about science because it
was journalistic freedom to me. You can write about anything you like. And as I
progressed in my science writing, I began bumping into more and more scientists
and grandparents such as myself and young millennials who were all rather
despairing and saying, “Is this the end of history as we know it?”
And that concerned me deeply.

Julian
Cribb:                 What I knew was
that we were in some considerable trouble, but I didn’t know how bad that
trouble was. But I thought as a science writer, it’s possible for me to delve
into the best science in the world and find out exactly what is going on, what
does the best science say about the many and various risks that humanity is
manufacturing for itself? And that’s basically where it went. I started off
looking at the food risks because that’s the area that I knew best. But I
pretty soon branched out into all the other risks as well. I’ve written four
books and many thousands of articles since that time.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Yeah. Well, I
became very aware of your work with the Poisoned Planet, which was published in
2014 and I know you’re going through a revision of it as only one can, given
the scale of the problem. Can you tell us a bit about that book and some of the
learnings that you shared with your reader there?

Julian
Cribb:                 Yeah, that grew out
of work that I did for a cooperative research centre called the Cooperative
Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the
Environment, CRC CARE. And with Professor Ravi Naidu, in particular who headed
that up. And they were looking at the issue of contaminated sites and how do
you clean them up. But they started broadening that out into more and more
different aspects of contamination. And I found this absolutely fascinating and
the more I delved into it. They used to hold these big conferences where
scientists from all over the world would attend with their own stories of local
pollution. And I began to see this big jigsaw puzzle assembling before my very eyes.
Every single one of these stories was a story of local pollution. So it might
be air pollution in Beijing or water pollution in Shanghai or water pollution
in the United States.

Julian
Cribb:                 But it started to
add up to me to a very big picture. And that’s the advantage of being a science
writer. Unlike a scientist, you’re not confined by a single area of discipline.
You can look at the big picture, you can assemble all of the pieces and see
what sort of a picture you get. And I started to get very, very concerned at
the enormous scale of the pollution of the planet that was taking place. I
started to rough out some numbers on the back of an envelope and it quickly
struck me that the pollution of the planet that we’re doing by all the various
means that we have, actual production of toxic chemicals, but also the
unintentional release of soil and polluted water and things like that. Our
impact on the planet is many times larger than the impact of climate change in
fact.

Julian
Cribb:                 Sorry, I’ve got to
pause there, my telephones ringing.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            That’s all right.
The interesting thing about the chemicals side of things is that it’s not only
the chemicals that are produced as an end product, but there’s so many others
that are given off as waste along the way as well. So many more chemicals than
we even imagine we’re being exposed to, we’re exposed to.

Julian
Cribb:                 Yes. And I have to
say that the chemical industry has been very disingenuous about this. And
they’ve relied, I find this extraordinary, they’ve relied on this old chap
called Paracelsus. So it was around 500 years ago, a Swiss alchemist of all
people, who said the dose is the poison. So whenever you ask a chemical company
is their product poisonous, they say, “Oh, no, as long as is less than so
many parts per billion in your glass of water or your pizza or whatever it is,
it’s harmless.”

Julian
Cribb:                 And that of course
is complete and utter bullshit. That chemical can combine, it can mount up in
your system, it can bio accumulate, it can produce new chemicals, it can
produce daughter products. There’s all sorts of things that can happen there.

Julian
Cribb:                 So by saying to
society, “Don’t worry about it, chemicals are safe. We’ve been using them
for years.” These guys are just fudging it, to put it politely and they’re
lying flat out, to put it more directly. And the medical science, which is
really piling up now, and there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of
medical papers now that are making the connection between various chemicals or
mixtures of chemicals and various human diseases. And we have the Lancet
Commission come out two years ago and estimate that 9 million people were dying
of chemical poisoning of one sort or another or diseases started by it, every
single year. So that’s 50% higher than the death toll in World War II.

Julian
Cribb:                 So this is a really
serious issue. And even that is a very large underestimate because for example,
it doesn’t include cancers. And we know that anywhere from 30 to 50% of all
cancers are triggered by some kind of chemical in your environment acting on
your genes, scrambling your immune system in some way. So, the picture is
probably much, much worse than 9 million. It’s probably of the order of 14, 15
million. And we don’t know. The answer is, most of the chemicals that we
produce, and there are 140,000 of them, have never been tested for human
safety. Or they’ve only been tested in a very vestigial manner. For example the
maximum residue limits are set on the basis of an adult male. That doesn’t tell
you where the children are getting poisoned by the same chemical at those
supposedly safe rates or whether women or people of lower body mass are getting
poisoned.

Julian
Cribb:                 So there’s a lot of
misleading information going on about this. And I felt that it was my job to
try to bring together all the science I could find on this topic, but put it in
a way that ordinary consumers can understand and use in their daily lives as
they try to avoid these things.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well, it is
ultimately we as consumers, that drive the market for those chemicals and by
making informed choices, and this is a story that’s very easy to miss, but once
you hear it, very difficult to ignore. You came out of that book, I know that
at the end of that book there were principles that we should adopt. Could you
just share a couple of those with us?

Julian
Cribb:                 Yeah. Well, I feel
that it ought to be a human right not to be poisoned. And we’ve got a human
right not to be tortured and we’ve got a human right to a healthy life. We’ve
got a human right to democratic expression of our views. There’s all kinds of
human rights. But this poisoning has really only been going in the last 50 to
70 years. It really got a go on with World War II and the rise of the big
chemical industries which were making munitions. They made the poison gasses
and the shells and God knows what in World War II. So really, that chemistry
industry is what’s doing the, and of course, the massive outgrowth in the
petroleum industry, because a lot of these things are made from petroleum.

Julian
Cribb:                 So it’s a very
recent phenomenon. The point is that every single human being, prior to the
industrial revolution, did not get poisoned by manmade chemicals. For the
exception of the ones that Lucrezia Borgia took out, or one or two of those.
But seriously, our entire ancestry lived a life free of these toxins. Now we’ve
got something like 200 billion tonnes of them being emitted every single year
in our air, in our food, in our water, in our clothing, in our houses, in our
cars. We’ve got absolutely no handle, scientifically speaking, on the quantum
of this problem. So I thought a good place to start was to establish a human
right not to be poisoned. And that’s just a way of conditioning the debate
around this issue, it’s drawing a line in the sand saying everyone has a right
to a reasonably healthy life. That a big chemical company or a careless mining
company cannot just come along and poison you.

Julian
Cribb:                 And the problem
that we’ve seen so far, if you look at all of the big chemical scandals,
Minamata and Bhopal and Seveso and all of those, Tianjin and things like that.
The onus of proof has always been on the victims to prove that they got
poisoned, not on the government or the chemical company to prove that its
processes were safe. And that’s an outrage basically. People are being killed,
the chemical companies know they’re killing people, but they hide behind
lawyers. They hide behind sham claims and 15th century alchemists and whatever.
So this has got to change. And I think the push has got to come from the
medical profession. The medical profession has got to front up and say,
“Enough of these things.” And they’re starting to say that. Get them
out of our food, get them out of our air, get them out of our water. And
consumers have to be given the right information so that they know what they’re
buying.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well, it’s
interesting, I mean the regulatory bodies that have largely been dismantled and
in the last 40 or 50 years is not a small part of the problem, but it’s
interesting to consider, I think there was President Eisenhower, when he left
in 1961, said, “The thing we have to fear most is the unsolicited
influence of the industrial and military complex.” And this is translated
into this very issue that you raised in your book, isn’t it?

Julian
Cribb:                 Yes, it has. The
chemical industry is not as powerful as the coal and oil industries, although
they’re so closely related to one another, there’s hardly any day light between
them. It is true that governments like the American government and the
Australian government are pretty much in the pockets of the large fossil fuels
industries.

Julian
Cribb:                 And a lot of the
poisoning that is going on around us is the result of the activity of those big
industries. I mean, for example, we are moving away from coal and we’re moving
away from oil and the oil industry is now so frightened that it’s putting all
its efforts into developing new petrochemical products that are all going to be
toxic. And the classic example is plastics. The reason the world is flooded
with plastics is that oil companies were no longer able to make so much profit
from motor fuels.

Julian
Cribb:                 So they transferred
their effort to value added plastics and other products, including
pharmaceuticals. So, they’re just shifting the playing field underneath our
very feet to keep on polluting the world that we live in. And that’s got to
stop. I mean, there is such a thing as green chemistry, which is chemistry that
is harmless and that involves recycling of things. It’s pretty innocuous. We
need to be doing much more of that. So that’s not going to happen unless
consumers put the pressure on manufacturing companies and others to stop doing
the bad stuff and start doing the right stuff. So there has to be a risk and
reward process set up. We’re going to have to pay companies to produce
sustainable, safe, healthy products. It’s going to cost more money. But that’s
got to happen if we want to stop dying of these horrible diseases.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well, it’s this
idea of seemingly cheap food and products are not so cheap when health and
environmental costs have factored into the cost of these low cost products. We
need a more holistic way of accounting for it. And we’re going to come to one
of those in a moment. And I know you are going through a revision of this 2014
book as we speak really aren’t you? Is that what you’re working on now, Julian?

Julian
Cribb:                 Oh, yes, it is. So
I’m working on a book for Cambridge University Press, which updates all the
information in there goes to the very latest science. And since I wrote
Poisoned Planet about six years ago, seven years ago, there’s been a tremendous
amount of new science, particularly medical research that come to light that makes
the connection between various chemicals and various diseases.

Julian
Cribb:                 I think we’ve gone
through the same phase that the world went through with tobacco back in the
1980s and 1990s and things like that, where there was huge denial on the part
of the industry. There was mounting evidence on behalf of the surgeon general
and everybody else that cigarettes can kill you. But even so, it took a tough
and bloody struggle to get the acceptance that cigarettes produce all these
7,000 different chemicals, any of which can kill you. So they’re bad for your
health. It took a long, long time.

Julian
Cribb:                 But we have to make
the same argument about plastics, about additives to our food. There’s
something like 16,500 different chemicals can get in your food. The number has
magnified in the last 30, 40 years, dramatically, more chemicals used on farm,
more chemicals used in food processing, more chemicals in food packaging. It’s
a very alarming state of affairs and very little monitoring going on worldwide.

Julian
Cribb:                 The Americans test
the blood of their people and guess what they find? They find that nearly every
American is a walking contaminated site. They’re absolutely full of industrial
chemicals and carcinogens and other studies have shown this goes right way back
to infancy and even into the womb. Babies are now being born with a load of 200
industrial chemicals already in their blood. We’re in a dire situation.

Julian
Cribb:                 But what has not
happened is there has not been a focus on this issue like there has been with
climate change and the intergovernmental panel on climate change, there hasn’t
been a worldwide focus on this. Scientists have been talking about it,
consumers have been talking about it, but there has not had anything like the
profile, scientifically speaking, of the climate issue.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Yes. Well, then
another book that you wrote was called and very pressing title considering what
we are going through in this year of 2020, but it was, Surviving The 21st
Century. I mean there’s a catchy title, if ever you wanted one for the 21st
century. Tell us about that book.

Julian
Cribb:                 Well, this fed into
the end of history idea that a lot of people were forecasting the end of
history. And this book answers that question. What are the risks? So basically
I reduced the risks to 10 major lists, but they’re all interconnected. They all
come out of human overpopulation and over use of resources, over exploitation
of the earth. So all of them fall out of that, but they got all that included
nuclear war, they include the chemical poisoning thing we’ve just mentioned.
They include uncontrolled new technologies like artificial intelligence and
mass surveillance and things like that.

Julian
Cribb:                 So what I did was I
took each one of those threats and I described the threat as science sees it
and the debate around it, scientifically. And then I listed the solutions from
a human species point of view. But I also put in a little box at the end
saying, “This is what you can do in your life to live more safely, to help
change humanity away from this suicidal course, basically.”

Julian
Cribb:                 Because these
things taken together will almost certainly bring down civilization if we do
not fix them. And in several combinations they could actually extinguish us as
a species.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            And one of them of
course was pandemic disease.

Julian
Cribb:                 Yeah. And pandemic
disease is connected with all of the others because it comes out of the fact
that we’re extinguishing wild animals all the way around the world. So viruses
that live in bats and pangolins and God knows what, have to go and live in the
human compost heap because it’s the biggest available bunch of carbon on the
planet for them to survive in. They’ve got no choice. There’re not enough bats
left. We’re cutting down the rainforest where all these animals lived and that
is bringing humans into closer contact. So that’s allowing the spill over, the
transmission from one species to another to take place.

Julian
Cribb:                 Normally you don’t
catch foreign viruses from other animals, it takes an awful lot of effort to
get a breakthrough of a virus into human beings. And the circumstances have to
be exactly right for it to occur. But we are creating those circumstances more
and more often. And of course, in our airline travel and childminding centres
and things like that, we’ve created the perfect crucible for viruses to travel
and be shared around the world.

Julian
Cribb:                 Viruses are not
very smart, no, they’re just looking for a good feed or somewhere nice to
breed. We provide them with lots of cells that are very suitable for them to
reproduce in. That’s what we’re doing. So, it’s human behaviour that causes
pandemics, not the viruses themselves. But our behaviour is leading us more and
more to these types of accidents, you might say.

Julian
Cribb:                 A classic example
was HIV/AIDS. It’s killed 36 million people since it first emerged from the
rainforests in the late 1950s. And it quite possibly was started by a polio
vaccine that was contaminated and that has never been disproved. There’s a lot
of scientific evidence for that. So these are the kinds of theories we need to
look at. For the same reason we need to know how the Coronavirus got out of the
laboratory or the wet market or wherever it got out of. We have to know how
these things start, else we won’t be able to stop them.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Another one of
those 10 threats that you identified was self-delusion, which is particularly
an interesting one.

Julian
Cribb:                 Yes. So it’s quite
a complicated story. Humans have beliefs for a very good biological reason. If
you were walking across the Savannah, say a million years ago, and a tiger or a
lion jumps out at you, you don’t sort of stand around and check everything out
and form an educated judgment about what’s going on, you just get straight up a
tree, don’t you? What has happened in that instance is that your senses have
detected a threat and your mind has painted in the rest of the picture.
“Oops, it might be a lion.” Oh, it turned out it was only some wild
pig or something else like that. But what you’ve done is you’ve painted a
belief and that belief saved your life. So that’s what beliefs are actually
for.

Julian
Cribb:                 But as society
emerged and we got more complicated beings, we began to attribute the beliefs
to God or traditional stories and things like that. Now we have a situation
where the beliefs are getting totally out of control. They are being
manipulated by all sorts of people, by politicians, by religious people, by
money marketeers, by filmmakers, by all sorts of people. They’re playing on our
capacity for beliefs, to give us a false view of the world. And if we have a
false view of the world, a false understanding, the threats are very much more
likely to actually destroy us.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well, one thing to
write a book, of course, Julian, and you’ve written a few as you’ve mentioned,
but it’s another one to inspire a university. In fact, one of Australia’s
leading universities, the ANU, the Australian National University in Canberra,
to form a commission, the Commission for The Human Future. And your book, Surviving the 21st Century, actually did
lead to just that thing. Can you tell us a little bit about the Commission for
The Human Future?

Julian
Cribb:                 Yeah, sure. A lot
of the credit goes to Professor Bob Douglas, a retired epidemiologists from the
ANU who read the book and thought that there was something in my arguments and
that people ought to be aware of all the threats that we face. And we ought to
start coming up with some solutions. And he staged a large round table at the
ANU of about 50 academics from all different disciplines. And the result of
that was, “Yes, we should do something.” And at that time, the former
liberal leader, John Hewson, was a Professor. He still is a Professor at the
ANU. And he suggested that one of the things we could do was actually form a
commission whose purpose was to inform people, given the scientific advice
about the nature of the threats we face, and to bring people together to try to
come up with rational, sensible and lasting solutions to them.

Julian
Cribb:                 So that was what
got the Commission for The Human Future off the ground. We’ve had one round
table where we discussed the threats in general. We’re about to discuss the
food threat as our next topic. And we’ll just go on rolling all the way through
the threats and the opportunities, over the coming year or two.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well, I know the
report in, I think it is March of 2020, just tabled it’s first, well I don’t
know whether it was the first report, but it’s report, Surviving and Thriving
in the 21st Century. And we’ll definitely have links to that downloadable
report. It’s about 38 pages, brilliant really. And the show notes for this
podcast. And as you say, brings together an array of experts in a very holistic
way of thinking that none of these, in fact 10 existential threats as they’re
called, act in isolation. Do they?

Julian
Cribb:                 No. They’re all
connected. And this is the point. You have to come up with solutions that cross
cut all of them. You cannot solve one threat if you’re going to make another
threat worse, that does not make humanity any safer. So for example, if you try
and solve the food crisis by pouring more fossil fuels and chemicals on the
land, you’re only going to make the climate crisis and the ecological crisis
and the human poisoning crisis, all these other crises, worse. So what we’re
doing at the moment to increase food production is actually making several
other crises much worse. We have to, in other words, reinvent food, we have to
go for renewable food. So it’s not pillaging the earth to grow our food.

Julian
Cribb:                 So those are
examples of the kinds of changes that we’re likely to recommend to people. And
we want to inform not only politicians and industry, but particularly the
person in the street, the average citizen, what they can do in their lives to
make this a safer earth for their grandchildren.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well, I think I’ve
heard you give us statistic which stuck in my mind, that top soil is being lost
at the rate of, did I get this right? 75 billion tonnes a year or something
like that. Anyway, a huge amount. I had the pleasure of talking to John Hewson
in recent weeks and he was mentioning that regenerative agriculture was an
important part of many of these solutions.

Julian
Cribb:                 Yes. He’s
absolutely right. I mean, we cannot feed ourselves if we devour the earth by so
doing, that’s just a dead end. So if we destroy the soil’s base and the water
base and the ecological base for agriculture, we are not going to be able to
feed 10 billion people in the 2060s. And you add to that climate change, that’s
going to damage agriculture more than somewhat.

Julian
Cribb:                 The system we’ve
got for producing food at the moment will not last. It’s not sustainable, so it
has to be replaced with something new. I dealt with that in my book, Food or War, I described a system that
is sustainable. How we can produce food sustainably, a circular system where we
keep on renewing the food supply from the nutrients that we’ve got. We don’t
have to plunder the earth any longer or cut down any more rainforests to grow
enough food for ourselves or produce enough food.

Julian
Cribb:                 So the point is
that these things sound dire and grim, but there are solutions there and the
solutions are all capable of making us wealthier, happier, more prosperous of
improving our wellbeing, improving our health, improving our relationship with
the natural world. The solutions actually offer us a wonderful future, if we
can only get our head around them and get them implemented.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Yes. I mean it
ticks so many boxes you can only wonder why. The other book that I wanted, and
you’ve just touched on it as well, you’re more recent book in 2019, Food or War. And I was particularly
struck by the fact that Professor Paul R. Ehrlich wrote a piece on the front
recommending the book as a must read and Professor Ehrlich was a guest on our
podcast also last year. Tell us a little bit more about that book, the issues
you mentioned, the circular economy. Can you expand on the concept of the
circular economy a bit more?

Julian
Cribb:                 Yeah, sure.
Basically Food or War, the hypothesis
there is that when people don’t have enough to eat or they haven’t got enough
lands to produce it or enough water to produce it, they fight. And the evidence
is we’ve been doing that for 20,000 years. So what is a country? A nation? A
nation is a line drawn around basically your farms and your fishing rights,
your fishing grounds. It protects your food resources. Everybody is conscious
of their food resources. And World War II began because Hitler wanted the
Russian farm lands for German farmers. That was the primary motive for his
starting World War II. You can go into the German history books and find that
out. So this contest over food resources underlies two-thirds of the human
conflicts that we have seen through history.

Julian
Cribb:                 So if we want to
not fight in the 21st century and not risk a devastating nuclear war, then we
need to get the food thing right first. But if we get the food thing right, if
we produce a sustainable food system, then we are going to be able to re-wild
half of the area now occupied by our farms and grazing lands. So we’re going to
be able to end the sixth extinction. We’re going to have a much healthier diet
than we’ve got at the moment. And basically we’re going to simply turn over our
food supply.

Julian
Cribb:                 And let me just
illustrate this with a city. There is no city on earth that can feed itself at
the moment. They all import their food from miles away, where it’s generally
produced by a process of mining the top soil and the water and the environment.
And that’s an unsustainable system.

Julian
Cribb:                 If however you
captured all the nutrients that pass through that city on their way to the tip
or on their way to the sewage farm or something like that and you put them back
into food production in one form or another, growing algae which you feed to
fish, which you feed to consumers, that sort of thing. If you did that, most of
our cities could in fact feed themselves.

Julian
Cribb:                 So part of the idea
here is that we have cities semi self-sufficient in climate proof food. And
that’s not hard to achieve, may be expensive, but it’s not hard to achieve.
It’s physically quite possible and people are doing it all around the world now
anyway. So that’s going to be one of the big changes, that food production is
going to come back into the cities to make cities more food secure than they
are at the moment.

Julian
Cribb:                 In COVID we’ve seen
the food system nearly break down because it has to come from thousands of kilometres
away in a series of ships and trucks and planes and what have you. That’s a
very vulnerable system when you have to fight a pandemic at the same time. So
we need to produce more food locally and we need to do it by these modern
methods of intensive food production in cities and also in the deep oceans.
There’s a huge scope for aquaculture, both of plants and fish in the deep
oceans, which we have not even scratched the surface of yet.

Julian
Cribb:                 So all of these
processes are part of what’s known as the circular economy, which is everything
we throw away, we don’t actually waste, we just take it back into the
production process again. It’s the same as your aluminium can. 86% of the aluminium
in the world today gets recycled into new tin cans or new aluminium products.
So if we can repeat, replicate that for nutrients and for other metals and for
building materials and for clothing, textile fibres, then we have solved the
problem of the throwaway society, of the endless growth society. You can have
endless growth, provided it’s in a circle and not in a straight line. That’s
the point.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Yeah. One last
thing I wanted to ask you and I ask my guests this often, taking a step back
from your role over many years as a science writer and clearly an observer of
the world on many levels, because we’re all on this journey now together. I
wondered if you might share with us what you thought was the biggest challenge
that we as individuals face in our modern world on our journey through life.

Julian
Cribb:                 Well, I have
concluded in all of these books that it is possible to solve the problems that
we’ve got. It is technically quite feasible to fix all of these problems. You
can ban nuclear weapons, you can ban fossil fuels, you can recycle your food,
et cetera, et cetera. The solutions are obvious in most cases. But before you
can do that, you’ve got to wake everybody up to the fact that we’ve got a
problem. And nine-tenths of the world doesn’t know we’ve got a problem and
they’re just going their own blind, happy, ignorant way.

Julian
Cribb:                 So the real task is
an educational one, an informational one. It’s science communication, which is
what I do. It’s sharing the knowledge that scientists keep with the wide 7,
nearly 8 billion people on the planet today, so they can implement it in their
daily lives and in the consumer decisions that they make. And I think that’s
the big challenge. We’ve got the technology to solve all our problems. We do
not have the institutions, nor do we have the level of education that is
necessary to solve them. So it is on the human side that we actually fall down.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well Julian, you
are playing your very significant part in this with your writings. And I want
to thank you so much for joining us today. We’ll have links to your books, your
website, and that commission report. And thank you again.

Julian
Cribb:                 Thanks very much
indeed, Ron.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            Well, I’ve had the
pleasure of listening to Julian. That’s why I invited him. I think I’ve
mentioned to our listeners that I have the honour of being President of the
Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. We are
currently well, right through May and June, putting on an eight week conference
called Environmental and Viral Disruptors: Rising to the challenge, Reducing
the risk and Future Proofing Humanity. And Julian has presented three
presentations at that conference. Each of those books that we touched on, the
Poisoned Planet, Surviving the 21st Century and Food or War, all about food
security. And of course his work as I mentioned, inspired the formation at ANU,
of the Commission for The Human Future. The chair of that was Professor John Hewson,
and he opened the ACNEM Conference.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            So the ACNEM
Conference touches on so many issues that Julian talked about in this podcast.
And of course he covers so many issues we cover in this podcast. And if you
wanted to go back and listen to Allan Savory for example, and that’s why we
reissued Allan Savory’s very inspiring episode where he talked about holistic
context. That before governments, before organizations, before individuals make
any specific decision, they need to view it in a more holistic context.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            And Julian was
referring to the Commission for The Human Future and he touched on 10
existential threats which his book and the commission have focused on and they
are, ecological collapse in extinction. We are going through the sixth great
extinction. Global warming, weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear
weapons of course, resource scarcity, global poisoning, food insecurity,
pandemic disease, population, uncontrolled technology. And the last one, which
is perhaps the most interesting because unless we get this one right, none of
this is going to change, and that is self-delusion.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            So we’ll have
links to all of Julian’s resources. I would encourage you to read his book, to
download the report from the Commission for The Human Future and leave us any
comments on Facebook. And don’t forget to go on to iTunes and leave us a good
review because the more reviews, the higher we go up on the ratings and this
message gets out there to more people.

Dr.
Ron Ehrlich:            We’ve got some
really exciting things planned in this really amazing year we find ourselves
all in. Has there never been a more important time to focus on health, not just
of yourself, not just of your family and community, but of our whole planet. As
I often say, we are all connected, so we are all affected. So until next time,
this is Dr. Ron Ehrlich, be well.

This podcast provides general
information in discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The
content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a
substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other
person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately
qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their
own opinions, experiences and conclusions.

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