Pre-2000: What global catastrophic risk researchers can learn from the history of global catastrophic risk.
The study of global catastrophic risk often feels like it is still in its infancy with seminal works like Our Final Century as its founding studies. However, in truth, people have been worried about global catastrophes for centuries with early pioneers being found among science fiction authors (like Mary Shelly, H. G. Wells and Isaac Asimov), atomic scientists (like Elbert Einstein, Leo Szilard and Hermann Muller), Environmental scientists (like Rachel Carson, Paul R Ehrlich and Carl Sagan) and philosophers (like Bertram Russell, John Somerville and John Leslie).
It seems odd that scholars in a field so committed to long term thinking so often overlook the work of such predecessors. However, even more troubling is the thought that our own work might be quickly dismissed by the next generation to take up the mantle of preventing global catastrophes. As we look towards the risks that our future might bring, we should start by thinking about the past and what we can learn from those who speculated, studied and campaigned for a safer world, sometimes long before any of us were even born.
Francesco Calogero: Nuclear Deterrence Increases the Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe.
Francesco Calogero served as Secretary-General of the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs from 1989 to 1997 and in that capacity accepted on behalf of Pugwash the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize jointly awarded to Joseph Rotblat and to Pugwash.
Malcolm Potts: Act now and slow global population growth.
Malcolm Potts is an Emeritus Professor of Public Health at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.