What To Worry About Next

I know this is ferociously bad timing, but once we get past this pandemic, what will be the next problem to hit us?

There are many ways to approach this, depending upon which experts you listen to, but here is one viewpoint, under the catchy title “Experts Knew a Pandemic Was Coming. Here’s What They’re Worried About Next: Nine Disasters We Still Aren’t Ready For” by Garret M. Graff.

So, for what it’s worth, here is Mr. Graff’s list, based on the experts he has been talking to —

1. Globalization of white supremacy — There is evidence local groups are combining into a global web of white supremacism. For example, recently the State Department formally designated a white supremacist organization, the Russian Imperial Movement, as a terrorist organization.

2. Attacks on trust and truth — “Trust and truth are the foundations of free and open societies,” says Sue Gordon, a career intelligence officer who until last summer was the principal deputy director of national intelligence. “Our growing concern about those two things are causing chaos in open societies and leaving room for authoritarian tendencies.”

3. Biosecurity — This is a general category that includes four types of biological events: Natural events (like the Covid-19 pandemic), lab accidents, bioterrorism and biological warfare. If any of these happen in the future, how will we respond?

4. Massive technological disruption — This category includes anything from downed power grids and GPS outages to solar flares. Use your imagination on this one. Remember the 2010 “flash crash” on Wall Street led by algorithmic trading systems that over-reacted to a falling stock market? How about quirks in automatic listings and bot-driven price wars that can cause a used book being for sale for $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping)?

5. Nuclear weapons — A lot of progress has been made on reducing the threat since the height of the Cold War, but the threat is still there, and the danger appears to be increasing.

6. Climate change –– Some 600 million people live at sea level, and oceans are projected to rise by 6 feet or more in the coming decades. And you thought Syrian refugees created a crisis!

7. Covid-19’s Next-Level Impact This pandemic’s impact is expected to last for years.

8. Catastrophic earthquakes –– Planners are worried about four faults: California’s San Andreas, the Cascadia Subduction Zone in Washington and Oregon, the New Madrid Seismic Zone running from Arkansas to Illinois, and the Wasatch fault zone across Utah and Idaho. Any one of these could cause widespread devastation.

Finally, 9. Unknown Unknowns — You not only have a problem, but you don’t know this until it bites you.

To learn more about these dangers and what can be done, visit https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/07/experts-knew-pandemic-was-coming-what-they-fear-next-238686?

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