Pope Francis Admitted that We are at War but He said, it is not War of Religion but of Environment and Climate
One world re-known genius scientist Albert Einstein defined environment as anything outside us. Today environment and human rights dominate global discussion due to variability in climate and weather patterns. This should not be a strange phenomenon. For centuries human kind has interfered with nature. In the pre-industrial time the communities of gatherers and hunters would rely on what nature could provide in order to survive. It was difficult, hostile, but the damage to the environment was minimal. In the Industrial era, things changed with industrial revolution of the early 18th Century. The development in science and technology brought about technical know-how and economy based on industrial production (capitalism).
It was a breakthrough as powerful European nation-states would venture into the world looking for raw materials to facilitate mass production of commodities in terms of goods such as cotton & oil. Actually, the producers had to look for market outside their countries and this is what brought about historic colonization and illegal occupation. This is also the time in which market economy or capitalism was at its best. Wealth was created very fast and accumulation of it was the order of the day. In the late 19th Century, scientists concerned with climate or the so called climatologists discovered increased and increasing amount of carbondioxide (CO2) in the natural atmosphere and rapid depletion of ozone layer that protects our mother earth from hostile solar radiation. Such were just like stories as the industrialists could not listen to climatologists and weather men. Little did we realize that such human economic activity would re-generate into catastrophic environmental disaster.
In the mid and late 20th Century, the world started to worry about human environment and how human activities, for the sake of economic development, would eventually compromise the natural environment (fauna and flora). The Stockholm Conference held in 1972 was the starting point of this debate. Two decades after, in 1992, another world conference known as Rio Summit took place with clear agenda on sustainable development and criteria of how to save the earth from ruin. Matters related to biodiversity and ecosystem were addressed by high ranking scholars and scientists from all over the world. Earth Summit as we know it was a clear starting point to put into action United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had already been set up to look into climate change issues. The panel is composed of high profile scientists of climate and experts of climate change. Little did the world realize that it was too late to reverse the harms caused to the climate by industrial activities. Excessive burning of coal, fossil fuel, use of pollutants… all the waste from giant industries were disappearing into the atmospheric environment causing untold damages to the climate. In 1995, the international community realized the urgency and put into effect annual conferences to address the plights of climate change. The Conference of Parties (COP) has been in effect since that time.
In 1997, the IPCC reconfirmed in its report that the major causes of climate change are human activities known as anthropogenic causes. Even though natural causes are not dismissed in this report, human activities such as burning of coal, fossil fuel, and industrial pollutants have caused the damage to the environment.
This blog is interested in revealing to you that there is war between mankind and nature today. The reality is seen in devastating weather patterns, unpredictable rainfalls, rising temperature of our planet, rising sea levels, heat waves, storms, hurricanes, cyclones, over flooding, droughts, land slides, soil erosion, infertility of arable lands, scarcity of safe water, acidity of rain and water, salinity of water, social mobility, scarcity of food, inaccessibility of food and so on. It is nature now fighting back the human encroachment. The serious weapon the nature uses is to cause humanitarian disasters to human life. Deaths, diseases, famine, stress, distress, conflicts, losses and damages.
It is in this perspective we can speak of climate justice. When we speak of human activities then we can impute loss and damages caused by climate change to some actors or agents. Somebody must be liable to the loss and damages (Warsaw Resolution). If it is true that climate change is anthropogenic then we must impute its loss and damages to some natural and legal personalities that can be sued and can sue.
Unfortunately, the reliable reports also reveal that poor countries are going to bear the brunt of the climate change despite the mitigation measures and adaptation policies in place. Some countries are counting losses in tune of billions of dollars. Africa is one of the worst hit scenarios followed by Asiatic countries and Latin America.
Bad news is that, this situation will not re-stabilize itself so soon. Another bad news is that world authorities are not willing to adopt mitigation measures and cut down on their economic appetite in reducing carbon emissions. Neither are they willing to share the burden with poor and un-industrialized countries that have not contributed to the violations of the law of nature. I am not amazed when the Wealthiest nations enjoy their casino while the poor countries swim in flood and get baked in the hot suns.
Human efforts to reduce poverty are going into ruin once again by the war of nature. It is the fight between man and nature this time. If man loses, then, that is it. Full-stop to our mother earth and all of us, will perish. The earth can as well turn into a lifeless planet just as the Mars. If nature loses, well, man will count on victory and continue occupying and enjoying the benefits of nature for more centuries to come. The sad truth is that the war will cost mankind so much effort and capital today and the future.
It is the human rights that can answer such difficult questions. The humanity must be seen as one. At war there are no winners nor losers but all will be losers. The collective effort emerging from the international community is a good sign. The rich and the poor can now share table while Africans and Europeans can speak together. Blacks and Whites must now come closer while the Gentiles and the Jews can now re-embrace one another. The rulers can now speak to their subjects while the believers and none believers must also seek a consensus. There is no discrimination based on gender difference as both men and women are equal players.
Climate change and its concerns on us has brought us all together once again in human history. African scholars and intellectuals can now speak out while Europeans comrades listen and take notes. Physical scientists can now dine with their social scientist comrades with no prejudice. In front of this war of nature we are all equal. This is the equality preached by the universal human rights. There is no more sense in separating ourselves. There are no colonized and the colonizer. There are no stupid and clever. We are all human beings sailing in the same boat. All we need is transformative knowledge that shall yield good outcome, change. But in order to do this, we must labour together for an inclusive system that can work for all of us. This message should go to all humans. It is not only addressed to policy makers, leaders, bureaucrats and technocrats. Even the illiterates have their own part of the story to tell and the so called literates must listen. Climate change is humanity’s burden.
Even some Biblists and religious people have also admitted that there is a serious war and God may not be quiet for too long. This time it may not be flood but something else. Perhaps the fire! Pope Francis I (Laudato si) has been the first religious leaders to address the international community on climate change and made moral appeal to the human conscience about the same…but…! May be Karl Marx had a point to make but nobody listened…to be continued.
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