Saturday, 18 May 2019

This is a Global Emergency: No more! Enough is Enough!

#ClimateEmergency #EcologicalBreakdown #BiodiversityLoss

Fridays For Future, Oslo.
Fridays For Future, Oslo.

Swedish schoolgirl and climate activist, Greta Thunberg came to the public attention through the school strikes for climate which she instigated, which have since spread around the world. It’s heart-warming news to see her courageously standing up on the world’s stage and speaking on behalf of her generation and the generations to come, of the dire climate crisis, ecological breakdown, and rapid and deep loss of biodiversity that we are now facing. Thunberg tells us that she is only bringing our attention to what climate scientists have been saying for years. Scientists now predict that we have a small window of opportunity – perhaps only 12 years – in which to reduce CO2 levels (carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels; etc) before we hit a tipping point and global heating really goes out of control. If the world’s climate (not weather patterns) heats up much more, then permafrost near the poles will thaw at an increasing rate, releasing huge amounts of previously-trapped methane into the atmosphere – and methane is a gas that has a far more potent and dangerous greenhouse effect than CO2.

The climate crisis is, of course, only part of the wider picture. Equally alarming is the ecological breakdown and loss of biodiversity, issues that have led to the prediction that the world is facing a sixth extinction or Anthropocene extinction, as a result of human activity. Indeed, with the ongoing extinction of many species, we have already entered the sixth extinction phase in Earth’s history, and in response to this, a new global movement of activists, Extinction Rebellion, has also been holding protests throughout the world and demanding change.

Mostly as a result of the work of activists like school strikes for climate and Extinction Rebellion, and meetings with politicians, several governments have declared climate emergencies. However, if further action is not taken by governments, industry and other key players, then the protests will continue and grow still further.

This is only one major part of a much wider picture, however ...

#GlobalEmergency #EnoughIsEnough

Of course, you only have to turn on the radio and television news, or scroll through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to see that – in a wider context beyond the climate emergency, beyond the ecological breakdown and beyond the loss of biodiversity – however great these crises are – there is a plethora of other diverse and major issues plague humanity on this, our Mother Earth. And, more and more, people – especially the vulnerable and those who have empathy for the suffering of their fellow human beings – are crying out: “No more! Enough is enough!”

Global Emergency: Enough is Enough!
Global Emergency: Enough is Enough!

The rise of neoliberalism, neoconservativism, populism and political or religious extremism, yet more wars, and the plight of growing numbers of refugees, are perhaps the most prominent issues facing us – or at least most widely-reported and talked about in the social media. But this is only part of the growing and increasingly insane dysfunction we face as we enter the last days of the capitalist experiment and enter the “Between” – an interregnum between the old life as it was (which is coming to an end) and to which people still cling, and the new, uncertain, unknown future that now awaits us.

With apologies for any errors and omissions, a partial list or basket of the sort of areas where we are faced with key, inter-related and interactive issues (which can't really be sorted out in isolation and by treating symptoms and not the root cause of the dis-ease) – and which together comprise nothing short of a global emergency – would be:

Climate • culture • debt • disease • ecology • economics • education • energy • famine • food • freedom • fundamentalism • health • housing • jobs • law • mental health • politics • poverty • prison • refugees • rights • sanitation • wages • war • and water.

So many things must change – not through “thoughts and prayers” alone, however welcome these may be, but through an increased practical engagement with our fellow human beings, our social groups, and our societies as a whole – and action by those who care about our current plight and who hold bright visions of a better future.

“People in this civilization are starving in the middle of plenty. This is a civilization that is going down, not because it hasn’t got the knowledge that would save it, but because nobody will use the knowledge.”

The writer and thinker Idries Shah wrote those words in an interview for Psychology Today magazine in June 1975, and though Shah was using these words in a different context and many years ago, and though of course there are many more enlightened souls who certainly are using their acquired knowledge to help create a better world; nevertheless, the spirit of these words still holds true and the message is, if anything, more relevant than ever, at this critical juncture in our collective and creative conscious evolution.

In the spirit of the iconic speech by Peter Finch in the 1976 film, Network, “I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad ... I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value! ... I want you to get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it:”

“This is a global emergency! Enough is enough!”

This is Only the Beginning

Protest action is only the beginning, however. The most necessary, urgent question of our time, for which we must provide practical answers, as cultural creatives, is: “How can humanity create a better future?”

Related Reading

The “Great Dying” Has Begun. Only Transforming the Economy Can Stop It


Image: "Fridays For Future in Oslo".
Author: WikiToTheMax8.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).

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