Trev Prew

-45Joined Aug 2022


Hi JasperGeh

Thanks for you comments. I take your point that I do not make citations references etc. I'm not an academic, so I don't have to follows rules and can write with complete freedom. It's great therapy for me at least!

 I guess EA is not the social group for me, so I wish you all well and I will continue with my solo actions of writing to Ambassadors, newspapers, Politicians, Religious leaders, MP's  and any one else who might listen and has power to make the world a better place. I put my faith in the chaos theory, that a small insignificant butterfly has a small non zero probability of  creating a storm one day.

Keep up the good work, but apologies for wasting your valuable time.

Best Regards 

Trevor Prew


At a lecture I attended, a leading banker said  "long term thinking should not be used as an excuse for short term failure". At the time, he was defending short term profit making as against long term investment, but when applied to discussions of longtermist  the point is similar. Our policies and actions can only be implemented in the present and must succeed in the short term as well as the long term. This means careful risk assessment/management  but as the future can never be predicted with absolute certainty,the  long term effects of policy become increasingly uncertain into the future. It should be remembered that policy can always be adapted at a future date as events/new information dictate. This may be a more efficient way of operating.

I wholeheartedly agree that Governments need more long term thinking rather than indulging voters demands that are driven on by a crisis loving media (please excuse my cynicism) . I assume the EA community is taking action and  lobbying MP's to legally adopt UNESCO's  declaration of Responsibilities of Current Generations towards Future Generations. But I would hate to think that longtermism became an excuse for inaction or delay, as we have many serious problems that need urgent action.


Trevor Prew

Sheffield UK


Who I am isn't very important, but like you, I endeavor to make the world a better place. To this end I write to who ever I think could make a difference and write essays on my blog. It all started when I stared into the darkness whilst standing in a railway truck that transported Jews to Auschwitz. After this harrowing experience, I thought "is this the way it is going to be? War and holocausts forever, as long as there are humans alive? Current events suggest yes, but I believe humanity can learn and avoid such a future. See my essay "A history of the world in a single object".

Donating to charities is fine and will do a lot of good in the world, but I also feel it is like passing the buck, avoiding our direct responsibility to our fellow humans and other inhabitants of planet earth whether living or to live. I think that it is vitally important that we understand human nature, so that we can learn to change for a much more positive future. (I did get one of my essays published as the lead letter in the Economist Magazine March 5th - 11th 2022, if this is all sounding a bit wacky).

So I would be grateful if you could use some of your valuable time to read some of my work on my blog and consider my ideas. 

Trevor Prew

Sheffield UK

Hi Jamie 

For Longtermism see UNESCO's declaration of the Responsibilities of Current Generations towards future Generations. 

Also the Welsh Assembly in the UK has a working Future Generations Commissioner  

Best Regards

Trev Prew

There has been plenty of discussion above relating to family planning, birth rates and global population, but no mention of death rates. Longer life spans means a higher population. So does this mean euthanasia and right to die   policies should be considered as a means to reduce population levels too?

I agree that a lower global population would solve many environmental problems but is fraught with issues.

In low income countries with minimal welfare provisions, children are seen as an alternative to a pension. Sons and daughters will look after you when you are old, so having many will be added security. Therefore female education and contraception provision should go hand in hand with increase in wealth and welfare. 

Lowering population will lower GDP which is a principal measure of Governments success or failure. Countries with falling populations currently solve this by immigration which defeats the  goal of a lower population. If governments concentrated on alternative measures of success, such as happiness measures per person this may help.

Other people telling couples how many children to have is an infringement of basic freedoms and morally wrong. So a programme of contraception education within local communities based on freedom of choice is essential. 

Who decides what is the "correct" global population level? I see the "correct" level of population as a balance between life style ie consumption level and number of people. If everyone in the world adopted a western high consumption level then a low population  would be obvious, but if everyone lived sustainable simple life styles a higher level of global population would be  unproblematic. Proposing lower population levels could be viewed as culturally biased, ie rich westerners wishing to protect their high consumption life styles at the expense of other equally valid cultures. Dangerous ground to be avoided.

China adopted a one child per family policy which has been abandoned, so this is not the way to go. It lead to a sex bias of more sons than daughters and much resentment and suffering at the state intervention required to enforce it. 

So to summarise, make contraception and the knowledge to use it correctly freely available, but do no more. Let people decide what is best for their lives, after all they are the true experts in this field. 

Action on climate change is in its infancy and forecasts cannot be relied as they cannot include unforeseen events.  Given human nature ie people do what is the least inconvenient to them (ie act in their own self interest) rather than what is morally right, I'm expecting a backlash to CO2 reducing policies which I doubt the IPCC forecasts include. Will the majority of people pay for new green infrastructure and a more expensive hydrogen economy?  People are already up in arms about the current energy cost rises. Will Governments stand up to the majority who want cheap energy and convenience, as they have had for the past few decades? 

The only hope to counter this self interested behaviour that I can see, is to portray the fossil fuel industries as being as bad as the slave trade of the 19th 18th centuries. Both are/ were  cheap sources of energy but both have or will cause great harm to humanity. (Predictions of 4 Billion people living in a tropical hot house by 2050 was reported in New Scientist a few weeks ago).

See "What else is there to say about climate change?" on   

As for AI, can't you just pull the plug out if it starts running amuck!

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