The events that dominate the mainstream media and consequently, our exchange of opinions, have never been the ones that really count.
In this precise historical moment, despite very high levels of technology, a vast amount of the world population is without fundamental rights and access to water, food, medical care, and education. Never, despite the vast scientific knowledge available to us, have human beings affected the environment in which they themselves live, by polluting and plundering it, as much as in the present day. Both evident phenomena, which then create numerous other negative consequences, are exclusively determined by the will of a small number of human beings who, with physical, psychological, and verbal violence, impose their own profitable needs on the 8 billion inhabitants of the planet and on the planet itself. An even smaller number of people control our governments, our means of communication, and our financial and industrial corporations, while an increasing number of people see their living conditions worsen.
For decades, two gigantic disasters have continued to hit the inhabitants of the earth: the environmental crisis, which has resulted in different types of emergencies, from the climatic to the pandemic, and the social crisis, which has come to involve countries, sectors and professionals that until now, have only seen these hypotheses in apocalyptic films. And unfortunately, even cinematographic fiction is not able to properly reproduce these catastrophes because we do not deal with meteorites capable of sweeping away many living beings in just a few moments. Instead, we are in the presence of dramatic phenomena that cause growing suffering in prolonged and constant agony.
Nobody can be considered safe.
Not even those who are determining this state of affairs.
They too must surrender to the evidence of the true essence of our nature.
As Peter Kalmus says in his essay ‘Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution’, “our society is built around chasing happiness through consumption. But lasting happiness can never be found in this way“.
Peter Kalmus is 47 years old, he is a scientist, works for NASA, and has been dealing with data relating to climate change for many years. His desperate cry joins that of many other scientists around the world, who have lost all hope in the good conduct of the governments that is capable of stopping the heating of the earth, now at the level of emergency which is impossible to ignore.
And this observation generates the mother of all questions: why, in the face of this lethal crisis, social and environmental, and despite the daily evidence of it, we are not all focussed on trying to solve it and save ourselves?
It’s true, it’s a difficult question, and the answer is not simple at all, but we must focus on the most difficult issues to obtain effective solutions. As one of the greatest thinkers of our time teaches us, Jeremy Lent, we almost never have the right answers, because we’ve stopped asking the right questions.
A possible explanation is the firm will of very few individuals to preserve one’s economic state, and consequently one’s power within the company, continuing to pursue their interests and avoiding being distracted by a potentially dangerous situation due to their selfishness. A similar attitude is assumed even by those of us who have no economies or powers to be preserved, but want to maintain the status quo so as not to lose the automatic and uncontrolled flow of their existence, of which they would instead be forced to resume the domain in the event that they acquired effective consciousness of what is happening around them. Both are determined to leave the state of affairs unchanged so as not to see their illusions destroyed.
Here, therefore, the question above, is one of those right questions, containing in itself both the answer and the solution to the problem.
We are unable to put an end to this crisis, social and environmental, because the awareness of it, present in just a few people, blocks even those few people and prevents them from acting concretely to solve it. On the other hand, “conformism – Noam Chomsky tells us – is the easy way, and the way to privilege and prestige; dissent brings personal costs”.
In the face of this planetary crime, the majority made up of very few authors and many accomplices, seem to win over an important number of human beings, completely innocent but aware of the severity of the crime, who allow themselves to become overwhelmed by the limiting belief that things are the way they are and they cannot be changed.
Things are like this, however, precisely because they have changed. The human being part of the ecosystem has changed the system by standing out as Sapiens and making it first the illegitimate master and then the illegal exploiter. That changed system is proof of the fact that the system can be changed. The very essence of capitalism is the inspiring reason for its necessary reduction: a system that denies the priority of the natural world to prioritise artificial money, can and must be overturned.
As Pepe Mujica teaches us, “there has always been a traditionalist and conservative opinion that is afraid of change”, but it must not be frightening, far from it. One of the few advantages of consumerism that can come in handy is in fact the ease with which we can recognize whoever is affected, and whoever wants to or is moving away from it. In fact, consumerism overwhelms and distorts not only the exterior of individuals but also, and even more, their personal characteristics, and their being. The modern man has added to his weight by bringing new mourning, in addition to that linked to the loss of loved ones: the pain for the loss of their ability to consume, deriving from the exhaustion of the ability to produce. It is an unacceptable torment of these times and humans are willing to avoid it. The conservatives afraid of this sick system do not have the right to cure it: because they first can’t see the infected wound that is there before their eyes. They do not feel fear, they do not feel any pain because they deny pain, the primary and indispensable resource of any change. Without the pain of what is happening, there can be no awareness, and without awareness, there can be no remedy.
Oh right, the remedy… What can the remedy be?
Also, to this question, we must not answer in a clear and indisputable way.
Instead, we must talk about it, we have to deal with it, because too many seem to have easy solutions at hand, but reconciling climatic justice and social justice is very complicated. Not technologically, but morally complicated, as demonstrated by the high costs of renewable energy and by the exploitation of the communities that live close to the rare land mines.
The good news is that it is concretely possible, and even simpler, at the same time, to respect social and environmental needs, reducing the impact of human activities on the planet. It is not an operation of technological advancement that we need, but of consumer retreat. We need to have less need. In particular, those induced, unnecessary, superfluous, useful only for the increase in the profits of a few, and harmful to the rest of humanity.
For this reason we can no longer use the same mental and relational mechanisms, which led us here. We cannot replace a system that does not work with another system, but only with an ecosystem. We need a revolution that puts nature back at the center and that positions the human being once again inside and not above it. But so that it is effective we cannot let this revolution be conditioned by the haste dictated by events.
Acting immediately is in fact a necessity, not a mode.
Acting immediately must not mean acting, in any way, as long as it is immediate.
The revolution is a path that starts with a single step.
And it advances one step at a time.
The revolution is in the steps, not only in the destination.
At every step, we must recognise the merit of traveling to the place we want.
At every step, therefore we must give value, and be grateful every day for being able to walk them.
Decolonization of ourselves
Making personal gestures is not enough, of course, but it is essential to acquire an awareness of the ease of change and resolve for the desire not to see their sacrifices wasted. We must therefore first deprive ourselves of those impositions of capitalist colonialism that condition our choices, and do it for what we can, improving day by day and without blaming ourselves for what we cannot do.
Listening to local communities
At the forefront in emergencies, there are always the frontier communities, whether they are geographical or social frontiers, which first of all, undergo variation and any imposition. They are also places capable of rediscovering the value of indigenous cultures.
Connection with the scientific community
Scientists perceive because they study them, all the variations of our ecosystem that are in danger. Science is important not only in the search for solutions, but even more, and even before, in sounding the alarm to avoid the problem.
Support for the struggles that apparently do not belong to us
Compassion is an indispensable travel companion for those who want to arrive both far and together. Understanding the difficulties of others and helping them in the challenges that we are not living and experiencing ourselves, is social love.
Communion of struggles that appear different from each other
Protests that present instances other than those of which we are carriers can be made of ours and shared. Getting everything for everyone is easier than getting something for someone.
Radicalisation of struggles to not give in to compromises
Too often the claims of the movements, shiny and punctual to the dawn, softened due to the long time spent without results or for an interlocution with the institutions that have gradually turned, transforming into an ineffective compromise. Maintaining positions and profound requests is instead the way they can find gradual, practical implementation and encourage other people to take part.
Institutionalisation of struggles to translate them into laws
The requests for change, from their birth or even in an organic path of constructive growth, must find expression in terms of laws and must influence the life of the institutions in a proactive way.
Internationalisation of struggles and movements
It is the requests that have to be wide in order to contain the needs of all populations around the world, and the international nature of a movement can only facilitate this process, as well as its ability to network.
Availability to sacrifice
The start of a growth path, whether individual or collective, implies the abandonment of comfort areas, defeats, criticisms, resistance to adverse reactions, and the acceptance of pain, physical and mental, which will accompany the whole path.
The simplicity of language
Talking about injustices and methods to repair them is almost as difficult as listening, which will always fall victim to distraction or renunciation. Using simple words and concepts is not only inclusive but also effective.
Involvement of the media
The media can determine the success of a campaign or a struggle, but it is essential that they are involved in the interlocution of the struggle. Talking to governments through them will not work because the flow with which they move is opposite, it would be like swimming against a current.
Forced by numerous and determined movements, the institutions can give in to instances from the population to implement those changes that are requested and translate them into laws.
Creation of control and monitoring mechanisms
The achievement of the objectives of a campaign or a struggle is never a guarantee of the maintenance of what is obtained, nor a prevention of the future worsening of the situation. It is therefore essential that the same forces engaged in achieving the results take place for the future stability of the same and to prevent the return to the previous condition.
Enjoy your walk, and happy revolution!