Guns, Germs, and Steel Support for the claim that Eurasians had geographical and ecological advantages that gave them a head start on the rest of the world.
The Axemaker’s Gift How discoveries and innovations drive adaption and change.
1491 How the impact of European contact with the Americas altered the ecological dynamics.
1493 How Europe’s Discovery of the Americas Revolutionized Trade, Ecology and Life on Earth.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction.
Neanderthal Man – In Search of Lost Genomes How are we related to Neanderthals? When did we first branch off from them? Did we interbreed with them? How big is the genetic gap between our two species? It took until 2010 to find out, when the whole Neanderthal genome was published.
The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change What is our present conception of the future? How does our image of the future affect the choices we are making in the present? Do we still believe that we have the power to shape our collective future on earth and choose from among the alternative futures one that preserves our deepest values and makes life better than it is in the present? Or do we have a crisis of confidence in humanity’s future?
In this section we will look at the work of experts in psychology and the behavioral sciences to reflect on what we understand by these terms and why these two aspects of human society need to be increased. We will also ask which people, ideas and institutions help in this effort and how well do they help? How do useful ideas reach people on the streets in a way that informs and prepares them for a changing yet sustainable world, and how can individuals contribute to this process?
Introduction Humans evolved to survive as individuals within a group. We are born with the characteristics and mental abilities that favor successful cohabitation anywhere in the world and which can enable us all to move beyond our inheritance. However, the flexibility required to live within our group means that we are easily influenced, sometimes to our serious detriment.
Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind It is commonly thought that current civilization began with revolutions, one of cognition 50,000 years ago, and another in Neolithic times, about 11,000 years ago. The authors pose an alternative explanation, that it has been a matter of gradually increasing brain growth during our history, not at specific points of revolution.
Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect Renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior.
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, an the Gap Between Us and Them We live in an age of historically declining violence and expanding kindness. But it doesn’t feel like that to most of us. Unprecedented global threats and conflicts demand advances in our ability to coexist peacefully. Greene believes such improvements require changes in our moral thinking and a global morality to help resolve disagreements.
In this section we will look at what works and does not work in international and domestic aid programs. We will consider why some countries and communities who have received aid have taken off and done well, while others have not. And we will look at why other countries who have not received aid have nevertheless thrived.
There is a controversy over how best to foster development in poor countries — the developed world has spent almost 3 trillion dollars on aid with less results than had been hoped — how can aid and development be improved? Two poles of the discussion are: that it hasn’t been done efficiently, or that it has been misdirected through “top down” large projects.
We’ll consider new approaches, social entrepreneurship, a focus on the power of the “Bottom Billion,” micro-credit, the stimulation of new business, globalization, its pluses and minuses.
The West has spent $2.3 trillion dollars on foreign aid over the past 50 years. What has gone wrong?
Past and Present
Looking at the Past can help understand the Present.
Multilateral Aid – The UN, IMF and World Bank
How Multilateral aid works.
How Bilateral aid works.
The World of the Poor
Lawlessness has unleashed gender-based violence which now represents a greater risk of death and physical harm than cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria combined.
What Approaches Work and When?
Understanding poverty at the local level.
Is Democracy a Factor?
A free society provides incentives for individuals to solve their own problems.
Investing in the Poor
A market-based ecosystem provides a framework for a variety of groups to work together provided they have the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances as they strive for increased efficiency.
Investments in Health
Most poor countries lack skilled workers so innovative solutions must be found to improve their lives.
We have a world of billion people many of whom have possibilities beyond any previous culture’s wildest dreams but half of whom are very poor. In this section we will provide an understanding of the globalization of the modern economy, its consequences and possibilities.
Creating a Learning Society: A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress Growth depends on increasing knowledge; so how do countries learn, and what economic environments and policies foster that learning and growth?
Capital in the Twenty-First Century Why is it that a seven hundred page book about macroeconomics, written by an obscure French professor become a bestseller that stayed in the top three of the New York Times list for twelve weeks? What has grabbed people’s attention is the fact that both in America and Europe inequality has risen steeply, and visibly, and continues to do so.
What really determines health? Individual medical care is but a small part of health care yet individual action contributes most to a healthy world. The role of Public health measures in the future to provide programs which ensure adequate vaccinations, pollution reduction, nutrition, clean water, etc., will be vital for the world’s population. How can we improve health for both the underserved (where there is no doctor) and the wealthy?
What Causes Health?
The major determinants of human health in both developed and developing worlds are the environment (physical and social), human behavior, and our genetics – and to a lesser extent medical care.
Who Provides Care?
it may be possible to improve health while reducing health care costs simply by helping patients to care for themselves, i.e., knowing when to seek professional advice and when and how to use self-care.
Does Mind Matter?
Why positive moods and mindset matters and the health benefits of sensuality, optimism and altruism.
We provide an overview of how education has and should be developed and examine what kinds of programs are preparing people, both rich and poor, for the modern world.
What role does and will technology play in this? How can technology adequately emphasize what it is vital for us to know, instruct us how to learn how to learn, how to adapt and change?
As we say in the Introduction to this section, the problems and needs of education in the undeveloped world and even in parts of the developed world are very different, as are the potential solutions. We have separated our overview of this topic into two sections: 'Education in the U.S.' and 'Education in the Developing World.' Many of our findings are applicable to all sections.
One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined A free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere is the goal of the Khan Academy. Salman Khan presents his radical vision for the future of education, as well as his own remarkable story, for the first time.
Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools How do we determine if our schools are preparing students for a meaningful future in our society? How can we improve the schools that are not living up to those standards? David Kirp explores the current crisis in American education, with a close look at four districts that have made positive changes.
The human community has increased 40 fold since the time of Christ, and almost half have energy use undreamt of in that time. With the development of the world’s largest populations, comes the need to create a shift in our understanding about the way we use the earth. We need to understand how behavioral measures can change energy use. We will review current and promising technologies, examine what works internationally, what works at home, and how the individual can contribute to help move the dialogue.
The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrive in the face of Natural Crisis The author views human history, as species struggling to exploit nature to better feed and expand themselves. Humans have been spectacularly successful at this because of our relentless ingenuity. Each success ratchets up our numbers—and our needs.
Our Choice, A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis Gore’s sequel to An Inconvenient Truth is Our Choice, A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, in which he describes what individuals can do about global warming.
The Economics of Renewable Energy We must change how we generate and use energy in order to fight climate change. But will this hurt the world’s economy? How will it affect the lives and aspirations of the poor? Will subsidizing renewable energy create new jobs, or destroy high-paying jobs that depend on the fossil fuels? Can renewable energy sources stand on their own without subsidies? These are all questions that concern governments and individuals alike. But, whatever the answer, the cost of not taking action now spells disaster for our planet.
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