Does mankind need to get serious about global threats?

Is humanity prepared for a catastrophic disease or a man-made environmental crisis that could wipe out our species? Or are we incapable of taking threats seriously enough until it is too late?

Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Laurie Garrett fears humanity is taking a lacklustre approach to facing up to the problems of the future. Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, has tracked outbreaks and pandemics around the world.  

She says a common theme in dealing with these is the lack of a realistic level of response from global health institutions and governments.

From newly emerging diseases to lethal and drug-resistant strains of familiar plagues, Garrett believes people have become overly complacent about some of the biggest threats to life on Earth.

Governments need to make better informed decisions about issues as wide-ranging as food production, climate change and the regulation of genetic research. The question is – do we have enough time?

* Laurie Garrett spoke to BBC Future at The Atlantic Meets The Pacific conference.

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