An Australian science writer says women can fix the big challenges our planet faces.

From ecological collapse, climate change and chemicals in the environment to war, food, disease and delusional thinking, Julian Cribb says putting women in charge of world affairs could spare us from the fallout of the past.

Cribb’s new book says female leadership is one of the essential solutions to the big existential risks.

“As a rule, women don’t start nuclear wars, dig coal, destroy landscapes and forests, pollute air and oceans or poison their children,” says the author.

“They tend to think more about the longer term than do men, and about the future needs of their children and grandchildren.

“They tend to seek peaceful and constructive solutions to problems rather than fighting over differences in values and beliefs, or resources.”

“Pragmatic male thinking has largely driven humanity’s remarkable ascent, our great technological successes. But in a hot, overcrowded, resource-depleted world it is also our potential downfall, due to the vast risks that modern civilisation is now accruing.”

Cribb says those risks include: global ecological collapse, weapons of mass destruction, climate change, universal chemical poisoning, resource scarcity, food insecurity, overpopulation, pandemic disease, deadly new technologies and self-delusion. 

'Surviving the 21st Century' lays out the scientific evidence for each threat, and explains how they are now combining to menace the human future.

It also outlines some solutions, which could to be undertaken by governments, corporations and by individuals worldwide to successfully overcome these risks.

“Many people consider the biggest threat is human overpopulation. Well, the good news is that women everywhere are already taking action to reduce human fertility,” he said.

“They have brought the birth rate down from 4.4 children per woman in the 1970s to 2.4 children today – and it is still falling, in every continent and almost every country.

“Moreover, women are taking the decision to lower human fertility often without male approval. It is a responsibility the female of the species has undertaken because she instinctively understands the dangers inherent in uncontrolled population growth.”

“So when I argue that women should lead humanity in this century, it isn’t an issue of gender or politics. It’s part of the new rules for human survival.

“It’s a matter of choosing the kind of leadership which can best get us through the most dangerous era in all of human history.

“Female thinking can save the planet, and humanity. And this means female thinking by men as well as by women. But we need a majority of wise women in positions of power if we are to escape the fate which aggression, over-consumption and over-pollution are creating for us.”