Global Threats at the Skoll World Forum

Catastrophic Risk and Threats to the Global Commons
Our president, Larry Brilliant, hosted a panel here at the Skoll World Forum yesterday focused on the big global challenges we face today – climate, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, et alia – and why we have so much trouble, as humanity, in tackling them.  It was a unusual mix, but great individuals:  Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, Helene Gayle of CARE, Ian Goldin of the Oxford Martin School and Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund.

The panel surfaced a number of issues that contribute to our inability to date to make serious strides on global challenges, including income inequality, failure of governance and lack of leadership.  It also explored some deeper issues around pysche and society  – people’s inability to convert information to wisdom, the loss of sense of self, the challenges of hyperconnectivity, and questions about economic models and motivations that have long underpinned concepts of growth and wellbeing.  The session was filmed, and we’ll make public that link once the file is available.  In the meantime, here are some of the more memorable quotes (which may not be verbatim, but this is how I wrote them down):

“When people say something is impossible, that just means it’s hard.”

“Inequality is becoming an existential threat.”

“We’re at a crossroads.  We can make progress against these big issues or we can kill ourselves.”

“We need inclusive globalization, to give everyone a stake in the future.”

‘Fatalism is our most deadly adversary.”

“What we’re lacking is not IQ, but wisdom.”

“We need to tap into the timeless to solve the urgent.”

Much more from the Forum is available on the site:  video of plenaries, photos, social media streams from the event and more.  Another very inspiring and educational week in Oxford…

Skoll World Forum Kicks Off

The Skoll World Forum, the signature event of the Skoll Foundation and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, kicks off today in Oxford. Visit the site for details on the program, including what will be live streamed.  Audio and video for many of the sessions will also be archived.  The Skoll Global Threats Fund has been involved in helping pull together a few sessions.

On Friday, March 30, our President, Larry Brilliant, will moderate a panel with Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, Helene Gayle, the President and CEO of CARE, Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, and Joe Cirincione, the President of the Ploughshares Fund, to talk about threats to the global commons and how we need to surface new ways to think about them.

Members of our team also helped pull together two “Connect and Collaborate” sessions, one on faith communities as communities of action and another on risk management in a world of global warming.  These are but two of a huge number of interesting sessions.  Plus, of course, plenaries with some high level folks, including former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, George Soros, Hans Rosling, Carl Pope and more.  Again, much of the content will be available either live or archived, so if you can’t join us in Oxford, you can still get the goods!

Sea Level Rise

New research out of Climate Central and a new tool allowing folks to assess the potential for sea level rise in their regions have generated a lot of media attention over the last couple of days.  It’s good to see science reporting getting this type of focus.  You can watch NBC Nightly News’ coverage below.  The New York Times also gave this serious attention with a page one story.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Scientist Problem?

Sometimes you just have to laugh….Although the attack on science from multiple quarters is certainly a serious problem.  If we can’t make decisions based on data, what should we make them on?

Via the Rick Mercer Report