Issue 17: from dying seas to Nagorno-Karabakh

Dying seas, nuclear ban, world-in-chains, vaccines and Nagorno-Karabakh

Dear reader,

Welcome to this week’s issue of the Anti-Apocalyptus newsletter. Each week I send you five links about some of the most important challenges of our time: climate change, weapons of mass destruction, emerging technologies, mass causes of death and great power wars. If you haven’t done so yet, feel free to subscribe at the button below, hit the heart button or share this email with anyone who could be interested.

No introduction this week (because of a shortage of time), so hope you enjoy the links:

1. Climate change

Nautilus - The “Dying Seas” of the Anthropocene

Interesting excerpt from a book by historian Anthony Adler. In it he discusses how our views of oceans have grown misguided at a time of climate emergency. We started seeing them as rapidly dying aquatic wastelands covered in plastic soups and with dead coral abounding. This over-the-top view in turn legitimated harmful environmental interventions.

2. Weapons of mass destruction

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - The UN Nuclear Ban Treaty Enters Into Force in January: Then What?

Good talk on the treaty to ban nuclear weapons. This treaty was ratified by 50 countries a few weeks ago, and will thus enter into force at the beginning of next year. This panel, which includes some great names, discusses what this will mean for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

3. Emerging technologies

BBC Future - The grim fate that could be ‘worse than extinction’

When people talk about existential risks, they often talk about risks that could destroy humanity. Yet there’s a category of these risks, where we stay alive, but remain stuck in a never-ending state of suffering. The most common of these scenarios is that a global totalitarian regime takes over, which cannot be challenged because of new technologies. Imagine Nazi Germany, but with the ability to read everyone’s minds. This article explores those risks.

4. Mass causes of death

UnHerd - Yes, the vaccine is really on its way

Good breakdown of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine announcement this week. Much of course remains to be said about funding models and intellectual property in the pharma sector, besides the practicalities of vaccinating the world population (and whether one vaccine will be enough). Yet the announcement seems real, and a sign of hope.

5. Great power war

Politico - Russia’s win in Nagorno-Karabakh is EU’s loss

A truce has been declared between Armenia and Azerbaijan in their short-lived war that raged over the last few weeks. Azerbaijan is the clear winner, but it remains to be seen what the effect of this will be for great-power competition in the region. This article claims Russia and Turkey are the big winners, to the detriment of the EU. Others claim it’s a humiliation for Russia.

I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. Feel free to send me comments or remarks by responding to this email. If you haven’t done so yet, please subscribe at the link below, hit the heart button or forward this email to anyone who could be interested.