We Are Living the Times of Noah
We are living the times of Noah. Having a premonition that a flood would come, old Noah asked people to change their lives. But no one would listen to him. To the contrary, “they ate and drank, got married and gave themselves in matrimony until the Flood happened that caused everyone to perish” (Lk 17,27; Gn 6-9).
The 2000 scientists of the IPCC, who study the Earth’s climate, are our present day Noahs. Their third and last report, of April 13, 2014, carries a very grave warning: we only have 15 years to prevent Earth’s climate from rising more than 2 degrees centigrade. If we exceed that, we will experience something like the Flood. None of the 196 heads of State has said a word. The great majority continue exploiting the natural resources, carrying on business as usual, speculating and consuming without stopping, just as in the days of Noah.
I discern three grave irresponsibilities: the general and also specific and supine ignorance of the Northamerican Congress that has rejected all measures against global warming; the manifest ill will of the majority of heads of State; and the lack of creativity to start preparing for a possible rescuing Arc. As a madman in a society of “wise men” I dare propose some initiatives. If they have any merit it is to point towards a new paradigm of civilization that could change the direction of history. They are:
1. To complement the dominant instrumental-analytic-scientific reason with emotional or cordial intelligence. Without this we will be unmoved on seeing the devastation of nature. Nor will we commit ourselves to rescuing and saving her.
2. To abandon the simplistic understanding of the Earth as a warehouse of resources, in favor of a vision of the living Earth, as a super living, auto-regulating organism, called Gaia.
3. To understand that, as humans, we are that part of the Earth that feels, thinks and loves, whose mission is to care for nature.
4. To proceed from the still-current conquest-domination paradigm, to that of caring and responsibility.
5. To understand that sustainability is only guaranteed if we respect the rights of nature and of Mother Earth.
6. To articulate the natural contract with nature, that presupposes the currently absent reciprocity with the social contract, that postulates the presently insufficient collaboration and inclusion of all.
7. El medio ambiente, the half-environment, does not exist, but the whole environment. The community of life is what exists, which has the same basic genetic code that establishes a relationship among all.
8. To abandon the obsession with growth/development in favor of redistributing the accumulated wealth.
9. We should produce to fulfill human needs, but always within the limits of the Earth and of each eco-system.
10. To keep under control the voracious productivity and limitless competition, in favor of cooperation and solidarity, because we all depend on each other.
11. To overcome individualism in favor of mutual cooperation, because this is the supreme logic of the process of evolution.
12. The common good for humans and nature must have primacy over the individual and corporate common good.
13. To move from the ethic of utilitarianism and efficiency to that of caring and responsibility.
14. To abandon individualistic consumerism in favor of shared sobriety. That which is more than we need, is what others lack.
15. To move from the maximization of growth to the optimization of prosperity, starting with the most needy.
16. Instead of permanent modernization, ecologize all knowledge and processes of production, seeking to protect the natural goods and services and to allow nature and the Earth to rest.
17. To replace the anthropocentric era, where the human being is a geophysical destructive force, with the ecozoic era, that ecologizes and includes all beings in the great earthly and cosmic system.
18. To value the infinite human/spiritual capital above the finite material capital, because the former carries the criteria for responsible interventions in nature and permanently nourishes the human/spiritual values of solidarity, caring, love and compassion, the bases for a society with justice, equality and respect for nature.
19. To combat the deception and depression caused by the unfulfilled promises of general well-being made by the culture of capital, by nourishing the hope-principle, the source of creative fantasy, of new ideas and of viable utopias.
20. To believe and to witness that, in the end, good will triumph over evil, truth over lies, and love over indifference. A ray of light will overcome the immensity of darkness.
Free translation from the Spanish by
Servicios Koinonia, http://www.servicioskoinonia.org.
Done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.