At the inception of the project, I researched, wrote and produced a news bulletin. Its style will be familiar to listeners of BBC Radio News, especially the bulletins read during Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, The World At One, PM, The World Tonight, and The World This Weekend. It was hastily recorded over the dining room table, on a dark, winter evening, using the in-built recorder on my mobile phone.
The content is obviously quite different, and is not the sort of thing likely to emerge from Broadcasting House in the immediate future; indeed, it is interesting to consider what the effect would be were the likes of Chris Aldridge and Corrie Corfield to begin to read such fare aloud. It represents my effort at the time, in the form of a weekly bulletin, to describe the present state of affairs accurately. I believe it still largely applies.
The audio file has been posted to my SoundCloud account.
This is the Decency & Survival Weekly Bulletin for the week commencing 2nd January 2017.
- The human system, as it is, remains a ‘Live and Let Die’ system. Another half a million people have died prematurely this week, including tens of thousands of children, with a majority of the world’s people continuing to be subject to systematic immiseration or premature death.
- Warnings of the existential threats to humanity posed by the system, in the form of climate change, and nuclear weapons, remain in force. We are in an emergency situation.
- Action by our major institutions, public and private, including the British government, continues to be contrary to what is required, and to what is decent. The response of individuals also continues to be inadequate, with continued use, operation, and maintenance of the system, and, as yet, no sustained global or nationwide protest or protection effort.
The human system – that is, the sum total of our institutions and manmade physical structures – as it is, remains a ‘Live and Let Die’ system. Its continued use, operation and maintenance is causing the immiseration or premature death of a majority of humankind. Another half a million people have died prematurely this week – about half of all deaths – including tens of thousands of children. A majority of the world’s people continue to live in materially poor or miserable conditions, which, for most, will shorten their natural lifespan, whilst a minority of ultra high net worth individuals and high net worth individuals lives in materially rich conditions. The worst off continue to die from communicable diseases, including lower respiratory infections, HIV Aids, diarrheal diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, as well as from malnutrition, and birth-related complications.
Warnings of the existential threats to humanity posed by the system remain in force. The Earth System is on the verge of being changed irrevocably by climate change into one that will not support humankind in the way it has to date. There is little or no time left in which to take action, and we are therefore in an emergency situation. Thermonuclear war, and even limited nuclear exchanges, whether initiated intentionally or not, also threaten us directly, and indirectly, through their likely impact on the Earth System. The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has warned of a ‘world situation full of potential for catastrophe’. In its latest statement, it expresses ‘dismay that world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world’s attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change’, saying, ‘these dangers threaten the very existence of civilization and therefore should be the first order of business for leaders who care about their constituents and their countries.’
Action by our major institutions, public and private, including the British government, continues to be contrary to what is required, and to what is decent. Governments have not declared a state of emergency. The response of individuals also continues to be inadequate, with continued use, operation, and maintenance of the system, and, as yet, no sustained, coordinated, global or nationwide industrial action, city centre demonstrations, or interventions at key sites to protect vulnerable people, and the Earth System, from further harm. We must act now, before the window of opportunity closes, to bring about a ‘Live and Let Live’ system, which provides for material conditions in which every member of the human population can live well, and which protects the Earth System as one fit for human life. Institutions and individuals opposing this emergency transition may not be considered decent, and must be removed from power by concerted action in the community and at places of work.
This is the Decency & Survival Weekly Bulletin.