2nd September 2020

We don’t care much about things until they hit home. I viewed deaths due to the current pandemic with only mild concern, until I found out about the death of one of my lecturers from my student days, John Horton Conway.

On a larger scale, when I was setting my part of the Love The Earth Quiz, it struck me that it is impossible to know as much, or care as much, as we ‘should’ about other countries because our brains aren’t big enough to hold all the information, and our hearts aren’t big enough to hold all the emotion. Yet countries need to care about each other to solve the world-wide problems we face today: pandemics, climate change, pollution, recycling, energy, ecology, overpopulation, global poverty, international aid, human rights, exploitation, the possible future risks of biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, or whatever concerns you.

Tshering Tobgay, ex prime minister of Bhutan, has given Ted talks on Gross National Happiness and Climate Change. In the second, he says he didn’t care much about other countries until he realised his own country faced related problems.

So how do we get our country to care more about other countries? The answer is through public opinion which, fortunately, our governments do eventually respond to. Our part is to contribute, in any small ways we can, to public opinion. So we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a wide-ranging chat.

Ian Holyer