Climate Change – Humans Remain the Same: From Durban, Of Nearly Everything

From Copenhagen to Durban, the conclusion remains the same: We need principles and accorded actions as this is the only way to tackle the grave problems of this planet. We are lacking the elementary consensus in the Bretton Woods institutions, on the WTO Doha Development round, on a nuclear non-proliferation (and NPT), in the IPCC, on the post-Kyoto negotiations, and finally on the alarming state of environment. Ergo, on a global scale we fundamentally disagree on realities of this planet and the ways we can address them[1].

I am neither moralizing nor idealizing. The world based on agreed principles and commonly willing action is not a better place. It is the only way for the human race to survive.

Already some years ago, I noted in my writings (and in my lectures) that the confrontational nostalgia and academic inertia keeps recycling the Cold-War rhetoric, although the Soviet Union has disappeared from the geopolitical map over two decades ago. Hence, if these practitioners and thinkers are so fascinated with the simplified either with us, or against us logics – let’s keep it then!

Adjusted to reflect our today’s realities (or as the grand Wiz of the EU, Jacques Monet used to say: if you have an unsolvable dilemma – enlarge the context), it would state as follows: either your socio-economic and politico-military policies and practices are for this planet and the very survival of human race or you are against the planet and every form of life inhabiting it[2].

What we have recently witnessed in MENA and elsewhere is highly disturbing and rather discouraging: as if the confrontational nostalgia, perpetuated by the intense competition over finite resources, in lieu of a real, far-reaching policy-making has prevailed again.[3]

We falsely believed, throughout the 20th century, that the nuclear holocaust will put an end to the entire human race. No! It will be a slow, nearly-unnoticed, gradual but steady construction of the global gas chamber (filled by the green-house gas emissions). The way we extract, produce, transport, distribute and consume, the way we keep all this running on a blind obedience to hydrocarbons, and finally the way how we do reflect, contemplate and study on all that, inevitably takes us right into the environmental holocaust.

Has the human race already passed the point of no return of its survival? Frankly, we do not know! Very sincerely, we do not care! In every OECD country, an ordinary plumber (with just a few years of formal education and of no expectation pressure) is of a considerably better income then the university professor or the hospital doctor with the higher medical specialization (both of the huge societal responsibilities and both with over two decades of studies through the rigorous selections).

Per average, the bank clerk (with under- or Matura level) of any banking entity in the EU states earns 14 to 16 salaries annually (basically, creating no new value for the society), but is nearly – per definition – protected by a life-long employment contract. At the same time, the majority of the EU double-PhD top researchers (per definition, creating a new value for the society) have comparably lower total annual pay, and many of them are just happy to win 2 to 5 years research contract with the murky hope that the funding might be extended.

Nearly all football players in the European Premier League as well as the Formula I drivers (essentially the modern age gladiators, usually with a little to no formal education whatsoever) have individually higher yearly income than the many key research institutes in the OECD states can afford annually to spend.

Besides the superficial entertainment (enveloped in the ovations of masses on a brink of collective orgasm à la Mussolini parades), it is actually a triumph of brutal competition or competing brutality (football) and a massive exhaustion of hydrocarbons (Formula I) – what added value do they create to be so disproportionately overpaid?[4]

Some may contra-argue by stating that the present-day football celebrates the sports and a healthy life though the triumph of the physical strength of a sportsman. The Antique Greece has celebrated its athletes, and nearly worshiped the contesters and winners of the Games paying a tribute to the all-mighty Olympus.

Equally, the old Greeks largely encouraged and celebrated, promoted and (financially) supported its philosophers and scientists. It was the age when the consciousness blossomed, wisdom flourished and knowledge triumphed – the theoretical basis of all essential technological breakthroughs, that occurred in the course of subsequent centuries up to nowadays, are in fact originating from the Ancient Eagan world.

Ergo, the Classic times knew about the important equilibrium between an intellect and human body[5]. Modern Age has forgotten, disregarded, abandoned, betrayed and tacitly ridiculed this evolutionary wisdom.

Irrespective of our wrongly placed priorities (and passionately sustained craving to re-channel and discourage, to derail and denounce any serious debate, far too often by hiding behind a superficial entertainment), of our obscure and encouraged greed and incompetence, of all our residual ignorance and arrogance, and of our paramount and loud anti-intellectualism, the real facts are immitigable and are inexorably defeating:

There is no a single peer-reviewed international journal that has published even one scientific article in last 30 years which reports on factual evidences that any organic (marine and conti- nental biota) or inorganic (soil, glaciers, water, polar caps, etc) system is doing better on this planet.

There has not been a single RE or UN report in last 30 years that credibly denies a worrying increase in severity and frequency of “natural” catastrophes worldwide. Finally, there is not a single internationally recognized medical journal that has not been constantly reporting on an alarming increase in skin-cancers, respiratory and allergy related diseases for the past 30 years.

We are drifting, dissolving and retreating on all levels and within each and every organic or inorganic system. For the grave, burning planetary problems, our human race needs an urgent and lasting consensus which presupposes bravery, virtue, vision and creativity. All this will not result from fear of coercion, or from further military (nuclear) confrontations, but from the universally shared willingness to accord our common planetary cause.

 

Note:

Based on (proceedings of) the author’s public lecture “The Hydrocarbon Status Quo and Climate Change”, at the Chulalongkorn University, Mahachulalongkorn/MEA Think-Tank; Thailand, Bangkok on 04th October 2011

 

 

Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic       

Vienna, 28 DEC 2011

anis@corpsdiplomatique.cd   

 



[1] Additionally, we fundamentally disagree on a role to be played by technology, even on a very definition on what should be considered as technology. Technology is not a state-of-art of science; technology is a state of mind! It is not a linear progression in mastering the natural science disciplines, but a cognitive, emphatic cluster- mastering of the critical insight.

[2] As H. G. Wells once said in a different context: It is clearly the universe or nothing!

[3] Sagan, the great Cosmic Fugue’s storyteller, claims: “Up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perception awaits us. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic, religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars”. /Sagan, C. (1980) Cosmos Random House, NY /Carl Sagan Productions Inc. (page: 109)/

[4] Finalists of different TV primetime tirades (so-called Reality shows) that mushroomed in the last decade are receiving generous paychecks and enormous media coverage. This is the way how these anonymous nobodies are overnight becoming prominent celebrities, societal roll-models with the wide influence, unquestionable authority and respect in the blink of an eye. In this constellation a subtle, yet message is clear: the education and to it related creativity innovations patents and discoveries – notably a regular career path based on a diligent creation of new value for the entire society appears as a choice for the misfortunate youth, as the last resort for the failed segments of society.

[5] As Plato claims, the famous philosopher from Miletus Thales’ saying Νοῦς ὑγιὴς ἐν σώματι ὑγιεῖ – Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body (or in Latin: Mens sana in corpore sano).

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