By Juan Gómez*
We have witnessed over the past decades that humanity and its environment seem to be on the wrong track leading to their imminent destruction.
The alarm signal was triggered by the depletion of some non-renewable natural resources, extinction of many animal species, atmospheric pollution, pollution of rivers and seas. Also the consequent deterioration of the flora and fauna that inhabit them, partly depleted by massive fishing, partly intoxicated by the waste of human activity and also diminished by the increase in the temperature of their waters.
Wars for power and natural resources have always existed, for centuries, however they have never had such a destructive effect on people and their habitat because of the technological development of the weapons used, which has generated massive exoduses of entire populations, migrants that nobody wants to receive given the nationalist policies of Western countries.
The model of almost universal development of countries based on growth through consumption generates various types of problems both for the environment and for the human beings who inhabit it:
Firstly, it generates an enormous emission of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change. In spite of having clear possibilities of changing the energy based on fossil fuels for cleaner energies, this is not done because we do not want to affect the oil and coal industry.
Secondly, because of a materialistic consumerist lifestyle that is alien to the true essence of the human being. A harmful appetite for material goods that results in excessive ambition to have over being, basing its human quality on this parameter. It denatures people, uprooting them from their true essence, generating a harmful individualism alien to their true sense of life, which is found in sharing with a spirit of service to the community.
In keeping with the above, a nefarious business custom has been created of producing disposable articles, to accelerate the demand for their products, generating millions of tons of garbage, many times difficult to eliminate and degrade.
This model of production quickly and irreversibly depletes the non-renewable natural resources of the only planet we have.
It installs enormous inequalities between the people who have the best opportunities and capacities to generate resources, condemning an immense majority to poverty and a minority to scandalous, astronomically superior wealth. Thus, it segregates people into first, second and third class.
This model that everyone perceives as harmful resists disappearing, rather it tends to be exacerbated, given the intense promotional and advertising management of transnational economic entrepreneurship. Indeed, they do so by promoting through the media products that promise to bring us a lot of happiness. Cell phones, cars, trips to paradisiacal places, drinks, BBQs with friends and a long etcetera draw us a world of fantasy that is based only on pleasure, but as a mirage fade into tinsel that do not bring us what we promised.
Although we know that consumption does not bring happiness, but rather disenchantment and frustration for the majority, and that it leads to the destruction of our habitat by the environmental disaster it causes, we have not been able to change our model and we are still aboard a train that threatens to derail.
There is nothing more powerful in this world than business interests, with their publicity and lobbying on governments and parliamentarians to co-opt them, making them obscene with their interests, contrary to those of the populations.
People, through representative democracies, elect governments and parliamentarians to represent them and defend their interests, however, they have been unable to do anything in spite of the cry of the conscious citizens that demands effective measures against climate change and also the right to live in peace in a violent world. The rest live anesthetized by consumer fervour and their escape valves such as football and parties.
Despite the urgency of effective measures to curb climate change and the arms race, almost nothing has been done to contain them. This leads us to think almost without fear of being mistaken that the real power that handles the policies of governments is the business world with its economic interests. The evidence is obvious. Companies need to grow in order to generate profits that satisfy their shareholders, therefore, they need to make a strong promotion of their products and the model of life to which they lead, and a gigantic lobby on governments to generate policies that are in line with their commercial interests. It has already been demonstrated that when a government goes outside the norm and adopts a different model of life based on more equitable economic policies that better distribute income, withdraw their capital and disinvest, and when the interests in that place are very great given their natural wealth or geopolitical importance, they force the imperialist governments to apply sanctions and economic blockades. We see this clearly in the case of Venezuela.
This criterion is also applicable to the arms industry, in particular that which produces nuclear weapons, the other great threat hanging over humanity. This industry, like all others, needs to grow and for that it has to promote itself in order to sell more. The promotion in this case is even more harmful, nefarious, because it is based on tension and insecurity. A peaceful and calm world is absolutely contrary to those interests. The permanent threat of wars and conflicts in different parts of the world is the perfect scenario to sell more weapons. The governments of manufacturing countries are strongly pressured by this industry to authorize sales to countries with serious problems of crimes against humanity in contravention of all international rules and treaties including the Arms Trade Treaty. The most emblematic case is that of arms sales to Saudi Arabia by most producing countries. Human rights and human security are thus subordinated to commercial interests.
With governments co-opted by business interests, which can do little and nothing to reverse this order of things, it is civil society that is called upon to act by generating the critical mass necessary to generate, through intelligent actions, strong pressure on governments and congressmen to reconvert this industry that leads to our own destruction, for a sustainable industry at the service of life. It is a slow and difficult but indispensable process. Current conditions are unsustainable. A change of course is urgently needed.
There are laudable initiatives by many civil society organizations that undoubtedly need to be more massive in order to have a real impact on the course of events. Of note is the immeasurable work of Greenpeace on environmental issues, Amnesty International on Human Rights, ICAN promoting the ban on nuclear weapons. But also from organisations that work to end wars and the arms trade, through disinvestment in the arms industry such as Pax Christi, World beyond War, Stop War Coalition, World without Wars and without Violence, Veterans for Peace, International Peace Bureau and many others for the end of wars. I congratulate the activists of Greenpeace, of Codepink, of the Movement for the Protection of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington for their courage in defending the cause. We need thousands of them.
However, we need to unite more to generate more pressure. Unity is strength. We have to leave behind the organisational egos in order to generate a great World Movement for the defense of the planet, of human beings and their survival. We cannot remain immobilized by language barriers, distance or misunderstood nationalisms. We are all equal behind the same cause, which is the redemption of humanity for its survival.
The Movement for a World without Wars and without Violence is organising its Second World March for Peace and Nonviolence that will start on October 2, 2019 in Madrid and then circumnavigate the planet and finish in the same city on March 8, 2020. Everyone is called to participate in whatever way they want by highlighting the imperative need to end nuclear weapons, wars, the arms race, illegal arms sales, foreign military bases, and in general all forms of violence, physical, social, economic, religious, sexual, racial, etc.
More information can be found at www.theworldmarch.org
Also in the future we are all called to support each of the activities that organisations working on these issues. We can be one for all and all for one. Only in this way will we be able to create the critical mass necessary to produce real changes in human destiny.
Translation Pressenza London