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Humanity demands that we speak out, bear witness, and  tell the truth for a better world. The website “Gideon Polya Writing” contains writings by Dr Gideon Polya ( a Melbourne-based scientist, writer, artist and humanitarian activist) for Humanity and the Biosphere (see “Gideon Polya”: https://sites.google.com/site/drgideonpolya/home ).

I am impelled by the fundamental position that decent people are obliged to speak out for Humanity and the Biosphere, whether at the level of individuals or specific  species and ecosystems or  at the global level in relation to avoidable deaths (avoidable mortality, excess deaths, excess mortality, deaths that should not have happened) from violence or violently-imposed deprivation, or man-made climate change and worsening climate genocide.   

Rational risk management, that is crucial for societal safety, successively involves (a) accurate data, (b) scientific analysis, this involving the critical testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses, and (c) informed systemic change to minimize risk.

Unfortunately,  this rational risk management protocol is typically perverted at the individual,  family or local level,   or at the level of the family of nations by (a) lying, self-deception, spin, obfuscation, intimidation and censorship, (b) anti-science spin, this involving the selective use of asserted facts to support a partisan position, and (c) blame and shame that is counterproductive because  it blocks reportage crucial for rational risk management and in the worst cases leads to war.

Failure to speak out permits harm. Thus, as attributed to Edmund Burke, “Evil happens when good men do nothing” and, as attributed in various forms to George Santayana, “History ignored yields history repeated”.     The worst evils  are irreversible acts such as  war (with consequent  avoidable mass death from violence or from war-imposed deprivation)  or ecocide and speciescide (we must not destroy  what we cannot replace).

Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity – we are obliged to bear witness.  As that wonderful Palestinian humanitarian Jesus stated in the parable of  the Good Samaritan, “We cannot walk by on the other side”.

Dr Gideon Polya (BSc Hons, University of Tasmania; PhD, Flinders University of South Australia; post-doc, Plant Science,  Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia ) taught science students at La Trobe University for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career in biochemistry, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/australian-complicity-in-iraq-mass-mortality/3369002#transcript) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-history/listen-the-bengal-famine ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .