The worst is yet to come

The major floods that occurred in Germany and Belgium in July—European summer—causing hundreds of victims, associated with an abrupt heat wave that in some places has reached more than 50 degrees, forces us to think and make decisions overlooking the balance of the Earth. 

Some analysts have even said that the Earth has not only warmed; in some places, it has become an oven.

This means that dozens of living organisms fail to adapt and end up dying. Currently, global warming increased in the last century more than one degree Celsius. If it reaches two degrees, as expected, about a million living species will be on the brink of extinction, after millions of years living on this planet.

We understand the resignation and skepticism of many meteorologists and cosmologists who claim that we are coming too late to combat global warming. We are not going towards global warming; we are already seriously inside it. Desolated they argue that there is little that can be done, since carbon dioxide is already excessively accumulated, since it remains in the atmosphere for 100 to 120 years, aggravated by methane, 20 times more toxic, despite remaining in the atmosphere for a short time. To general surprise, the latter broke in due to the melting of the polar caps and the permafrost that runs from Canada and crosses all over Siberia. Moreover, it increases global warming.

Being planetary, the outbreak of Covid-19 forces us to think and act differently. It is known that the pandemic is a consequence of the Anthropocene, that is, of the excessively aggressive advance of the prevailing system, based on unlimited profit. It has exceeded the bearable limits of the Earth, due to deforestation—in the style of Ricardo Salles / Bolsonaro in Brazil—due to the implantation of monocultures, and the general pollution of the environment, which have come to destroy the habitat of viruses. Without knowing where to go, they jumped to other animals, immune to them and from these they passed on to us, who do not have that immunity.

It is worth reflecting on the significance of the fact that the entire planet has been affected, on the one hand, making everyone equal and, on the other, increasing inequalities, because the vast majority cannot maintain social isolation, avoid crowds, especially in the collective transportation system and in stores. It has not affected other living things, like our pets.

We must recognize that the target was we, human beings. Mother Earth, recognized since 1970s as a living organism, Gaia, and recognized by the UN (on April 22, 2009) as truly «Mother-Earth», has sent us a sign and warning: “stop attacking all the ecosystems that constitute me; you are no longer giving me enough time to replace what you take from me in a year and regenerate myself ”.

As the current paradigm still regards the Earth as a mere means of production, in a utilitarian sense, we are not heeding its warnings. The Earth, as the living superorganism it is, gives us unequivocal signals, as now, with the great floods in Europe, the excessive cold in the southern hemisphere and the range of viruses already sent (Zica, Ebola, Chikungunya, Covid …) .

As we are hardheaded and a resounding absence of ecological conscience prevails; it is possible that we are traveling a path of no return.

Curiously, as others have already commented, “neoliberalism prophets are becoming promoters of social economy because, in the face of the current catastrophe, they think that it will no longer be possible to do the same as before, and thus it will be necessary to return to the social imperatives”. The worst thing that could happen to us is to go back to what was before, full of perverse contradictions, enemy of nature’s life, indifferent to the fate of large poor majorities and arming ourselves to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, absolutely useless in the face of the viruses.

We necessarily have to change, overcome the old sovereignty that made other countries hostile or subjected to fierce competition. The virus showed that the boundaries of nations do not count for anything. What really counts is the solidarity between all and caring for each other and towards nature, so that, being nature preserved, it does not send us even worse viruses. Now is the new era of the Common House, within which nations will be.

David Quamen, the great virus specialist, left this warning: either we change our relationship with nature by being respectful, synergetic, and careful, or she will send us other viruses, perhaps one so lethal that our vaccines cannot attack it and it takes great part of humanity.

By not stopping global warming and not changing the paradigm towards nature, we will know worse days. With the science and technology that we possess now, if we cannot stop the increase in global warming, we can at least mitigate its deleterious effects and save as much of the immense biodiversity of the planet as possible.

As never before in history, the common destiny is in our hands: we must choose between following the same route that leads us to an abyss or forcibly changing and guaranteeing a future for all, more frugal, with more solidarity and more careful with nature and the Common House.

I have been repeating this lesson for 30 years and I feel like a prophet in the desert. However, I do my duty, which is that of everyone who woke up one day. We must speak, and now shout.

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