TO TODAY’S YOUTH: RISE UP AND TAKE HOLD OF YOUR PLANET!

10 Feb

The world was shocked by the election of Trump as 45th president of the US. The world’s remaining superpower had chosen someone who is leading the world on the road to disaster. Don’t take it from me, here are just two of many scientists who have commented in this fashion: “A Trump presidency might be game over for the climate,” said Michael Mann, a prominent climate researcher. “It might make it impossible to stabilize planetary warming below dangerous levels.” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, added: “This [administration] is an unmitigated disaster for the planet.” The actions that have come out of Washington in the first weeks of government are chilling. Meanwhile in Europe fascism, which almost eighty years ago triggered World War II and untold destruction and the death of maybe as many as 80 million people, is taking hold again and it is threatening the stability of the European Union after the longest period of peace and prosperity on our continent.

We are in crisis

Life on our planet is in a multi-faceted crisis with overpopulation, increasing inequality, resource depletion, species extinction and the most lethal of all, carbon pollution leading to dangerous global warming, climate change and ocean acidification, while we are governed by an economic system that has gone rogue and does not support society but in fact preys upon it. What is happening has been predicted decades ago. The Club of Rome foresaw in 1972 the collapse of human society in the decade to come in their report: The Limits to Growth. The world was told to take strong action to avert the worst. It never did. Or to put it in the words of Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything: “our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”

This lethal combination of resource depletion and exploding population plus the effects of climate change is putting more and more pressure on more and more people. The stress is spreading rapidly, exponentially and we are nearing dark times indeed. Europe is destabilizing just from the influx of relatively small numbers of refugees and this is only the start of a much larger migration in the decades to come if we do not act now. Because the masses of the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and above all the countries east of Turkey are bursting at their seams.  These movements have all been pointed out by scientists in thousands of publications. It took decades to get the world moving towards the Paris accord and the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the two major global tools to find solutions to these crises. While they are not sufficient, they are a necessary first step. But now, they are under threat from the new US government. The world has gotten much more volatile after the 2008 financial crisis and we all know that the root causes from that crisis were never removed. The political fall-out of that crisis, which was, a crisis of sustainability is now culminating both in Europe, the US and elsewhere, whilethe causes of that crisis have not been analyzed and the world has not adopted an economic system compatible with our needs. there is a big chance of a new financial crisis. The Trump regime is another big nail in the coffin of humanity’s future and we, you cannot let that happen.

Change is in the air

Change is in the air, enormous change. We all feel it, but do not want to linger too much on it, because it is scary stuff. We are being anesthetized by the media with trivialities and titbits of spectacular things that are happening daily. We anesthetize ourselves shopping and consuming, running after the latest gadget and fashion, reporting daily nonsense and liking funny videos by the millions on facebook. Meanwhile the large structural changes, the tectonic movements that are building the pressure to  break up our society are hardly reported on. ‘’Capitalism and market forces are very powerful in producing wealth and innovation. But we need to ensure that these forces act in the common interest.’’ (Thomas Piketty). The way the system works now it is solidifying the old formations, increasing the build-up of tensions. The big question that nobody wants to formulate, but needs to be asked, is, can we still stop the world from falling apart in an explosion of fear, hate and violence? The ghost of the Nazi’s is haunting our countries again.

I beg you, rise up!

The youths of today need to rise up, not to build fortresses safeguarding the wealth of the few, not to set race against race and religion against religion. It will simply not work. Instead you need to rise up, push for change towards a new culture of sustainability and sharing, a world organized around the needs of people and other living beings, not around greed. A world where serving life is again an honor and helping a pleasure. Do it in the non-violent tradition of Gandhi, Satyagraha, that brought the world’s super power of that era, Great-Britain,  to its knees in India and ended the racist system of Apartheid in South-Africa. Please, rise up for the sake of your future and those of your kids and all life we share our planet with. The current generation in power (to which I belong) has failed badly to protect our only home. We had the information, but we failed to act upon it. It is up to you now. The world is at a cross roads, a choice between the destructive route towards fascism as is emerging in the US, Europe and elsewhere on the one hand and the choice to transcend towards a new spirit of community and the celebration of life in all its variety. Your horizon needs to widen to embrace the whole of your planet with all its miraculous beauty. I know you know, please answer the call, take hold of your Planet, there is no time to spare!

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