Humanity in Danger

Bharat Dogra

While there are several important issues that need the attention of concerned citizens of the deeply troubled world, there are two that cry out for very special attention on the basis of urgency.

Firstly, for the first time in human history, the basic life-threatening conditions of the planet earth are very seriously endangered. Hundreds of very senior senior scientists, including Nobel laureates, have already warned regarding this, individually as well as in groups. In addition there is broad agreement that this unprecedented threat is related to a number of very serious environmental problems, including climate change and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

 These factors can easily disturb, disrupt, destroy the life-nurturing conditions within a few decades (or even within a few days or hours under the worst possible scenarios relating to the actual use of weapons of mass destruction), humanity owes it to itself, its future generations, to countless other forms of life, to nature and to the once bountiful and beautiful planet to take timely effective action for preventing such a catastrophe. Such effective action must necessarily be within the framework of democracy, justice and peace, as the conditions of vast extended participative cooperation of humanity are only possible in such a framework.

However what is actually happening is very far from this and this brings people to the second most worrying aspect of this most critical juncture of human history. Briefly this second most worrying aspect relates to the fact that some very powerful forces, institutions and individuals have used these exceptionally difficult situations to most cynically and opportunistically try to impose an agenda of increasing pursuit of narrow interests and domination like never before. These forces include institutional forces-- overarching forces spread over several countries, some of the biggest ever corporate and financial interests as well as those in garb of philanthropy—as well as private billionaires (who are able to get away with more irresponsible deeds than governments and institutions).

Thus despite all the claims of progress of democracy, in reality people have a world dominated by a few extremely powerful individuals and institutions capable of more destructive (from a longer term perspective of protection of all forms of life) actions than some of the worst tyrants the world has seen in previous centuries.

One part of their agenda is to seek to dominate the sectors which matter the most to people, led by health and food. At another level, their priorities relate to latest weapons technologies including possibilities of space domination and warfare. All this is sought to be manipulated in such a way as to be accepted as a part of the discourse on progress, scientific advancement, national defence etc. Billions of dollars are at disposal to make this manipulation work and spread this agenda of not just narrow self-interest but also of control and domination.

Hence precisely at this juncture of human history when the most democratic, participative and cooperative actions are needed to best utilise the great human capabilities for the most urgent tasks of resolving the survival crisis, people instead see precisely opposing trends of dominance, control and narrow self-interest remaining on top by using their billions as well as their links with authoritarian forces.

This is really a time for the much greater unity and cooperation of all those who are committed to justice and equality, protection of environment and of all forms of life, peace and harmony, democracy and transparency, for unity and cooperation which can transcend all narrow divides and create the conditions for resolving the survival crisis within a framework of democracy, peace and justice. Time is fast running out, this should be achieved as early as possible.

[The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now with its SED Demand (demand for declaring the next decade as the decade for protecting earth). His recent books include A Day in 2071, Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and Earth without Borders.]  

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Vol 55, No. 7, Aug 14 - 20, 2022