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Saturday, 04 May 2019 21:16


-For sure, without man, the planet would become ideal for nature …in 20 years from now. (Roberto Savio)


1. “Suddenly” --said Leonardo Da Vinci-- “there are no poor and rich, no young and old, no white and black on board… only a bunch of passengers toiling, working together to survive, to avoid a shipwreck”. This is the advice we should convey today through all media so that the people(s) become aware of the situation humanity is facing for the first time in history. In (not so) recent years, a series of global threats have been recognized as potentially irreversible processes that need to be confronted and dealt with before it is too late. We are talking about climate change, neoliberalism (stubbornly led by the United States Republican Party), human rights (HR) violations, supremacism, racism, fanaticism, dogmatism… The only true thing today is that the time has come to join our hands and voices, instead of breaking up consensus; the time has come for an efficient multilateralism with a planetary scale authority; the time is for genuine democracy to prevail… Because otherwise, devastation will be the irremediable consequence. The vessel is sinking, because we have not paid attention to any of the recommendations made during the last decades. Who will do it if not all of us? (Federico Mayor Zaragoza)


The big geopolitical issue today is not which power will dominate the 22nd century, but whether there will be a 22nd century


2. Human civilization is threatened with extinction. What threatens it is its ecological and social irresponsibility --its own inner barbarism, if you want-- rather than barbarism from the outside. (Dialogues for Humanity Global Network, ).


3. The-perpetual-quest-for-growth-and-profit-threat drives our economies.* That is why our environment and financial system lurch from crisis to crisis while HR and the rights of nature are trampled. (George Monbiot) Is poverty not the worst form of pollution? It certainly is not an evil, but rather a basic injustice to be corrected.

*: A worse even threat are ‘windfall profits’, because they are a subsidy/incentive given for an investment that would have been made even if no incentive was offered.


When dealing with rural systems, people are not poor when the ecosystem they live-in is healthy --unless someone else owns it… (Greg Gerrit)


-Those who see the world mechanically (as a source of natural and human resources), do not look at it in the same way as those who see it as a worryingly deteriorating planet. (Adapted from Rene Passet)


4. Take traditional farmers, they have an attitude of co-existence towards nature, not one of exploitation. Most subsistence societies optimize for survival, not for production of energy or even food. They work for maximum production under the least favorable conditions, and not for maximum productivity under the best conditions, because such a strategy may lead to fatal insufficiencies in times of stress. (J. D. H. Lambert)


5. Or take indigenous communities who have recognized the rights of nature for thousands of years. (Of interest: Ecuador was the first country to make the right of nature a constitutional right by awarding ecosystems legal rights so as to protect the environment and its people. In practice, this means that all persons, communities, peoples and nations can demand that Ecuadorian authorities enforce the rights of nature).


6. Seen from another perspective, civilizations have historically declined, not because of how knowledge was handled**, but usually as a result of their own ‘success’. This success ended up either breeding, ecological blindness, complacency on a vast scale and/or over-consuming some resources key to its success all the way to extinction.

**:  What is it going to be: Homo sapiens or homo demens …or homo not very sapiens? (Leonardo Boff, Geoffrey Cannon)


7. Among all the great universities on Earth, to my knowledge, there is not a single graduate program that adequately addresses the global crisis. Humanity is going through the most turbulent and complex change, at planetary scale, that it has ever gone through and there is literally no PhD program on Earth dedicated to preparing scholars to address this situation (I hope I am wrong).


Bottom line

-Do we need an eleventh commandment that the Lord forgot?: Thou will love nature of which you are part. (Eduardo Galeano, Apuntes para Fin de Siglo)

-I do not want to say to my children that I did not do my best to protect them and their children. (Sally Davies)


8. The logical solution in the ecological situation we are entrapped-in would be to reach an agreement on a global governance, in the interest of the planet and of humankind. Well, we are going in the opposite direction. The international system is besieged by neoliberalism and nationalisms that make it increasingly impossible to reach meaningful solutions. (R. Savio)


9. So, stop obsessing with how personally green you and others live and start collectively taking-on corporate power! (Martin Lukacs) Allow me to close with a wishful food-for-thought here: It is good to close with some openings for the future… Are you on board?


Claudio Schuftan, Ho Chi Minh City

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