The Homo sapiens Report: The Future of Humanity
From: 03 March 2011 To: 03 March 2011

According to Dr. Wadleigh, the challenges facing humans cannot be solved just by moving to renewable energy sources. Within a few decades, humans would have no resources to rely on. We thus have to analyze possible future problems, as well as contemplate potential solutions and decisions that need to be taken. To that effect, Dr. Wadleigh's highly visual presentation at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, on 3 March 2011, had a broad look at the complex issues mankind will be facing over the next century.

An Oscar winning film director and co-founder of The Homo Sapiens Foundation, part of the UNESCO's Education for Sustainable Development, Dr. Michael Wadleigh is educated in physics and medicine, and is an expert in popularizing difficult information with special emphasis on global sustainable development. In his lecture “The Homo Sapiens Report: The Future of Humanity”, he focused mostly on global issues, with a special part about Egypt. “I hope the Egyptian people would consider some of the points I raise in this lecture while developing a new constitution for their country,” he told the audience.

Dr. Wadleigh joins hands with prominent figures in advocating for the concept of sustainable development for humanity as the most important subject of the 21st century. This means that science should play a crucial role in any solution to the crises that humanity encounters. He emphasized how crucial the next forty years will be with respect to the interaction of all human institutions and disciplines; science, arts, politics, business, psychology and the environment; in addition to the interaction with our planet’s natural resources, without which nothing is possible for humanity.

Through his report, Dr. Wadleigh presented data in an accessible and appealing fashion, comparing the growing rate of product development to the exploitation of our finite natural resources. It was a kind of narrative of human history, where data complemented drawings, inspired by the visual imagery of sci-fi films; such as the world’s most famous movie “Avatar”.

The lecture also tackled the rapid changes taking place around the globe, including the financial and ecological resources crises; as well as the social, political and economic volatility in North Africa and elsewhere. Dr. Wadleigh discussed unusual, novel, as well as desirable “alternative futures”, which all countries should find important.

When talking about Egypt, Dr. Wadleigh explains a scenario that he believes is likely in the future as resources deplete and people have little to exchange with one another. “When building a new Egypt, think about being in a spaceship, solving problems as if nothing else is coming in from the outside world,” he says. To demonstrate the possibilities of change, Dr. Wadleigh is working on a documentary film about Egypt from 1970 until 2050. In cooperation with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, he will be collecting images, footage and data on the past forty years to show how Egypt has changed and to make future projections for the coming forty years.

“We need to return to the basics; the real needs and causes of happiness,” he said. Many consumer values are created and sustained through advertising by attaching meanings to specific products. By achieving sustained developmental goals and standards of living, in addition to defining the basic needs of food and shelter, health and education, people derive happiness and fulfillment from human interaction and the ability to reason and create instead. The presentation was not only original, systemic and visually compelling, but also stimulating and useful.

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