Every now and then, rational and humane representatives of all peoples of the world have had to make changes in their path. It was a matter of ensuring survival. Their concern was to examine what people had achieved so far with their thinking and working abilities in order to subsequently set the course for the future. In their Anthropocene era, they had always enabled further survival.
At present, humans can only be partially proud of what they have achieved. For example, 8.4 billion people are more or less well-fed, educated and provided with the basics of life. A visit to the moon and further trips into space have been achieved. The economy, provided with subsidies, has been able to essentially fulfill its task of meeting the needs of the community. The time has come again for a review. It should be examined without ideological constraints. It is about the possibility of survival of the human species in this one world according to its laws. The survivability of the growing number of humans, but with decreasing numbers of other biological species, and exhausted raw materials, must be considered as a future task in the 21st century, which has already begun. What are the chances and what do people have to do? Complex interrelationships increasingly determine the living conditions of the human species.
The agenda of the first consultation phase is initially limited to 2 problem areas for those who are capable of reason: Climate change and wars.
On the first problem scenario:
Scientists and their institutes have been admonishing politicians for many years, pointing to growing changes in the basic physical and chemical data of warming and changes in the air. Also to the reduction of biological biodiversity. The follow-up assessments by the scientific community forecast threatening scenarios for the coming periods of life. On the other hand, practical science and economics have contributed to the fact that humans, with their high energy demand and diesel engines for mobility, have themselves become the cause of climate change. Improved living and income conditions in the industrialized countries, accelerated mobility within and between states, and energy at any time from the socket were welcomed, as were the airplane and the private car.
However, an unrestrained economic growth of new things potentiated the negative factors of climate change. The growth that focuses on the replacement of used things, is directed at growing numbers of people, and enables innovations was no longer sufficient for the profit-oriented social order. Successful conversion investments require billions of dollars of investment; a primary point of contention at all UN international environmental conferences between the industrialized countries and the poorer developing countries. It is a dispute that has roots going back to the colonial domination of countries. As is well known, the colonies had to transfer tax money to London, Madrid, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Brussels. Their raw materials primarily served the European states. It is paradoxical that raw material exporting countries in Africa (Nigeria, Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, etc.) in Latin America (Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, etc.) are among the poor countries of the world. The UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) shows the sad record of poverty. The statistics of the World Bank, however, also show the concentration of capital wealth for the few.
The countermeasures and the efforts to maintain a climate that is compatible with human beings will hopefully succeed if all states implement measures to curb the earth’s temperatures and combustion processes.
The first responsibility lies with the industrialized countries, whose financial circuits have been the beneficiaries of excessive growth. The world economic conferences in Davos profess responsibility. But not the world’s big countries of the G7, which at their last summits in England, Germany, and Japan see the fight of their system, against Russia, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Nicaragua and other progressive countries as the first priority of their policy. But not to safeguard the climate.
This is the rough social summary of development up to the present.
What has happened to the environment?
Every year, square kilometers of arable land around the world disappear in the wake of the profit economy under new warehouses, factory sites, roads, railway lines and residential buildings. In Brazil and Indonesia, primeval forests are the victims of profit-making soya cultivation, oil palms, and the timber mafia. Fuelled by advertising, consumers litter oceans and land areas. Often without meaning to, the advertisements increase the consumption of energy and resources. Open-cast mines in Canada, Australia, Chile, and Peru shine like scars visible from space. The earth enjoys no legal protection, such as the indigenous peoples of Latin America grant to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth).
Catastrophe cannot be stopped with “business as usual”. The list of unusual climate events in the first half of 2023 is long. The USA, Canada, Italy, ex-Yugoslavia are affected. Spain suffers from drought, as do many countries in Africa. Forests are burning all over the world.
It is time for the humane and rational human species to make decisions beyond ideological barriers. Professional politics has seemingly lagged behind the rapid development of the economy, technology and science. It has only inadequately fulfilled its tasks of ensuring livable conditions for the population and the economy. Politics allowed two world wars to happen.
Wars as a second set of worries:
Here, too, the causes can be traced back to human interests and actions. Interests are what set the chain of effects of war in motion. The current state of deployable weapons could trigger a nuclear world catastrophe. Chemical and biological weapons are subject to bans but have been sufficiently tested. Bans are good ways to go, but the agreements have not been ratified by all governments.
The war in Ukraine is currently causing the greatest concern worldwide. People’s actions leading up to the outbreak of war in February 2022 can be clearly seen from a chain of dates:
1989: President George H. W. Bush’s promise to build a new security architecture is not kept. 1999: Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary join NATO, followed by 8 other ex Warsaw Treaty countries in 2004. 2008: At the NATO meeting in Bucharest, the decision is taken to admit Ukraine and Georgia without setting a date. Alarm bells are ringing in Moscow. In 2018, the NATO manoeuvre “Air Defense Ukraine” (Clear sky 2018) goes into planning. The USA withdraws from the “INF” disarmament treaty in 2016. 2020: Gorbachev publicly declares that he has been screwed by the US government (Berliner Zeitung 03.06.2020). He nevertheless dissolved the Warsaw Pact, agreed to the reunification of Germany and opened Russia to Western companies and banks. 2021: At the video summit between Biden and Putin, the US president clearly states that he does not recognise any spheres of influence of Russia, not even any restrictions on NATO (Berliner Zeitung 09.12.2021). The USA withdraws from Afghanistan and keeps its military forces in stand-by mode. The “North Stream 2” oil pipeline, which is nearing completion, is blown up.
The choice of actions by system rivals drives to the referendum in Crimea and military force in Donetsk, Luhansk, as well as Kherson regions with subsequent referendums as new people’s republics. Military actions are maintained throughout Ukraine, leading to the military fighting after 14 February 2022.
Interstate wars have been waged since colonial times. It is no longer about merely securing food grounds for one’s own people. Modern war motives are the power of disposal over raw materials (today oil, ores, rare earths, uranium), access to markets, financial gains. Colonial wars changed borders without regard to peoples. Larger states aim to expand their international power. Finally, wars are part of the military-industrial complex of developed states. Religious wars have not yet come to an end in the world. In addition, there is a political classification into bad and good governments/states, as seed forms for conflicts. They have a systemic background according to persecuted ideology.
In the history of mankind, wars have caused countless deaths and enormous material damage. The cries of “never again war” in 1918 and 1945 are based on terrible experiences. The hopes look back on long historical experiences all over the world. 228 years ago, the philosopher Emmanuel Kant presented his valuable book work “On Perpetual Peace” to the public. Kant and later other peace researchers found arguments on how wars are avoidable.
The war in Ukraine is a struggle between systems with different social values, such as after the French Revolution in 1789. Governments on both sides restrict the freedoms of the population, self-determination, the value of life, peace, and democracy in times of war. In the current text of the US Constitution, the imperative of peace does not appear, but the rights of Congress to prepare and conduct war do.
Thus, the value of peace is seen differently in systems. Germany sees war as an option to continue politics by other means (K. von Clausewitz, President J. Gauck, speech in Warsaw 2012).
Similar to climate change, those in power and politicians do not draw effective consequences for securing the future. Power-holding ideologues and politicians mostly persisted in their fatal positions. An epochal exception was the initiative of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who formed the anti-Hitler coalition with Churchill and Stalin in the already raging Second World War and prevented the total extermination of the Jewish people. Men and women of reason saved the Jewish people and ended WW2. The anti-Hitler coalition was a world-class achievement of Homo sapiens.
The recent Special Olympics in Berlin showed what politicians still have to do in other areas besides the big issues of climate sustainability and the abolition of wars, the meeting also made clear what emotions of solidarity people are capable of.
The end of the Ukraine war requires, as a priority, the highest efforts beyond ideologies and an immediate ceasefire.
Moreover, law and morality demand that Julian Assange be granted freedom, the highest good of the Western worldview.
The translation from German was done by Joachim Dyck of the Pressenza volunteer translation team.