This Sunday 5th June 2022 the International Humanist Party (IHP) transmitted live through its Facebook Live page (https://www.facebook.com/eci.phi) a Conversation on Universalist Humanism and the Environment.
This virtual space for joint reflection was attended by
- JOSE RAFAEL QUESADA (Costa Rica) of the Humanist Party;
- JORGE ROCHA (Argentina) of The Community for Human Development;
- IBAR ZEPEDA (Chile) from the Centro Estudios Humanistas Alétheia and PH;
- DANIEL ROCCA (Uruguay) International Coordination Team of the World Federation of Humanist Parties – PHI.
- Led by JUAN LUIS ORTIZ (Chile) of the International Coordination Team of the World Federation of Humanist Parties – PHI.
Positioning: Destructive Chaos or Humanist Revolution
The environmental disaster generated by a few requires the union of all the humanists of the world to overcome it.
Since 1978 the United Nations (UN) has been celebrating World Environment Day on 5 June.
In the theses that underlie the theory and practice of our federation, we affirm that human beings are born into a certain life situation that we have not chosen. We are born immersed in a natural and social environment, with physical and mental aggressions, which we register as pain and suffering. The tendency of our species is to mobilise itself against these aggressive factors by trying to overcome them.
We human beings expand our bodily possibilities by producing and using instruments, “prostheses”. In our action against painful factors, we produce objects and signs which we incorporate into society and which we transmit historically.
What we produce organises society and in continuous feedback, our societies organise production. We are in a natural, social and cultural environment that is very different from that of insects and other species that transmit their experience genetically.
We exist in an environment where our own body is part of nature and at the same time there is an environment that is not natural, but social and historical, distinctly human, where everything we produce and generate is “charged” with meaning, with intention, with what for.
The broadening of the time horizon that characterises us as a species, where past-present and future are concomitantly articulated in our consciousness, allows us to defer the responses we give to the environment, to choose between situations and to plan our future.
This freedom has allowed some human beings to illegitimately appropriate the social whole, to deny freedom and intentionality to other human beings, reducing them to prostheses, to instruments of their own intentions.
Therein lies the essence of discrimination, its methodology being physical, economic, racial, psychological and religious violence. Evidently, violent minorities have reduced humanity into natural objects.
This anti-humanist minority that promotes the catastrophe of the natural and social environment is strongly concentrated in the large private financial capital and in the chain of destructive industries and companies, very close to the military-technology-media complex.
To mention a few figures that illustrate the concentration of environmental disaster in the hands of a few, we know that between 1751 and 2010 only ninety companies were responsible for 65% of the accumulated carbon emissions.
The most critical current deterioration situations in the natural environment are in the cryosphere, with the melting of sea ice in the Arctic, in Antarctica and in the Greenland ice cap. In the biosphere, large-scale violence against the natural environment is evident in the devastation of boreal forests, the Amazon rainforest, warm-water coral reefs, plus the thawing of the permanently frozen permafrost and the alterations of Atlantic sea currents (between the Caribbean and the Sahara).
In the social field, humanists point out that there is no need for us to go into arguments when we emphasise that for decades the social environment has been in sufficient technological conditions to solve in the short term the problems of vast regions in terms of employment, food, health, housing and education. Only the monstrous speculation of big capital prevents this.
In the year 2020, a report by the NGO OXFAM stated that the 2,153 billionaires in the world have more wealth than the poorest 60% of humanity (about 4.6 million people). The concentration of wealth has accelerated with the pandemic.
This year the UN convenes under the slogan “One Earth”. It states that “the Earth is facing a triple planetary emergency: the climate is warming rapidly; habitat loss is leading to an estimated one million species being threatened with extinction; and pollution continues to poison our air, land and water”.
The UN concludes: “Breaking out of this impasse means transforming our economies and societies to make them more inclusive, more just and more respectful of nature. We must move from damaging the planet to healing it. The good news is that the solutions and the technology exist and are becoming increasingly affordable”.
Consistent with what was initially stated in our thesis, we disagree with the responsibilities attributed to humankind by the UN. We again point out that it is not the whole species that is responsible for environmental damage. Not even a majority, but a small oppressive minority that promotes a materialistic culture, which has placed the accumulation of wealth and power in very few hands and as the highest value.
In the present, after going through the worst stage of the Covid 19 pandemic, which exposed the inability of capitalism to provide comprehensive and satisfactory collective responses to humanity, we are now facing a war in Ukraine, between the Russian and NATO leaderships, with destructive consequences that may ultimately be devastating on a planetary scale.
In the spheres of international relations it is announced that we are heading towards food shortages and probable new famines in different parts of the planet, while an enormous amount of human and material resources are being destroyed and squandered absurdly. Powerful minorities, alien to the feelings of the people, are putting humanity and life on the brink of extinction, when the possibility arises that the escalation of war will lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
As a political expression of Universalist Humanism, from our Federation of Humanist Parties, we affirm that it is necessary to create a new vision of the future that drives collective actions in a revolutionary direction to overcome all these anti-humanist, anti-life and anti-nature expressions.
We need to advance in the construction of a Universal Human Nation, governed by personal freedom and social solidarity, where we establish a balanced relationship with the FORCE that is nature.
We propose a re-conceptualisation of human life and the relationship of human beings with their own natural and social environmental ecosystem, overcoming the conditions of violence generated by powerful minorities up to the present day. We propose the reorientation of the resources that today are destined to destroy life and depredate the natural environment, in order to resolutely put them to work for the pillars of the humanist revolution: integral health and education.
We face a choice between the destructive chaos that a few are leading us to, or the humanist revolution that the majority of us need to build. A profound human revolution is urgently required, one of the priorities of which is to change the conditions of existence in favour of forms that are in harmony with the natural environment and simultaneously produce a psychic, social and cultural revolution that will allow us to leave behind the present prehistory and enter into true human history.
A growing humanist people’s power is the non-violent force we need to oppose the tyranny of big capital. We need, in the broadest sense of the word, the unity of action of all the humanists of the world.