REGISTRATION is opened for participation in a new Ph.D. faculty (Science and Technology) COURSE at Uppsala University “Sustainability in Science & Technology”. As far as possible and if places are available Ph.D. researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences are also welcome to register.
The conflicting uncertainties regarding global warming and climate change is getting more and more real. It is not only a Chinese Hoax as described by the President of the United States (https://www.google.se/amp/s/time.com/5622374/donald-trump-climate-change-hoax-event/%3famp=true), it is also an European paradox causing social trauma (https://youtu.be/vGPU5SWV1DE) of two contrasting realities. A growing conflict and fear fueling collective social frustration about what we want in our life – Life Quality? or Life Standard? The Paris Agreement is now suffering from a new Hoax, a competition between two contrasting European (also global) interests, a comedian theatre 🎭 by the European Commission and the European Citizens. A blaming and shaming that is dividing Europe into two blocks. Whether you believe or not in global warming and climate change it is shame on you. Shame on you if you believe, though you want to protect and preserve the natural resources, as you are participating in the degradation of European standard of living. Shame on you if you do not, though you are concerned about promoting high economic living standard, you are not caring about the European life quality (also quality of life on planet Earth) by protecting and preserving our common natural resources and capital.
One example illustrating the European paradox and trauma what regards the Paris Agreement is the transport and air aviation sector. This also, applies globally. The transport and air aviation has huge emissions of greenhouse gases and contribute intensively in global warming and climate change. Still there are many other sectors that have more severe contributions (https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data). The standpoint of the European Commission what regards transport and air aviation is a comedian theatre 🎭 over global warming. On the one hand it supports the business-as-usual in transport and air aviation sectors (http://sorenandersson.com/aviation-a-climate-change-villain/; https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport_en; https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air_en; https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/aeronautics_en). The European Commission says “The Aviation Strategy is a milestone initiative to generate growth for European business, foster innovation and let passengers profit from safe, cleaner and cheaper flights, while offering more connections. This Strategy contributes directly to the Commission priorities of jobs and growth, digital single market, energy union and EU as a global actor. The Aviation Strategy of the Commisson will enable European aviation to flourish globally. So, despite the current economic crisis, global air transport over the long term is expected to grow by around 5% annually until 2030. While on the other hand the European Commisson supports the ongoing protests against business-as-usual in transport and air aviation (https://youtu.be/szdgJi2VKW8). The European Commission says, an air-flight from London to New York and back is producing carbon dioxide emission equivalent to the same emission that an average European citizen does by heating a home for an entire year.
Another important issue what regards carbon dioxide emission, is virtual emission. According to reports published by Our World Data Organization (https://ourworlddata.org) trusted by most reputed international Research and Media sources and institutions on “Carbon Dioxide and Greenhouse Gas Emissions” by Emissions” by Hannah Ritchie and Max Rose (https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions). The report clearly indicate that the global emissions in greenhouse gases are still increasing and “if we switched to a consumption-based reporting system (which corrects for this trade), in 2014 the annual CO￼ emissions of many European economies would increase by more than 30% (the UK by 38%; Sweden by 66%; and Belgium’s emissions would nearly double); and the USA’s emissions would increase by 7%. On the other hand, China’s emissions would decrease by 13%; India’s by 9%; Russia’s by 14% and South Africa by 29%”. This indicates Europe, and in particular Sweden, are doing very little for the rest of the world to decrease the global carbon dioxide emissions and to actively participate in the global mitigation of the impacts of climate change. It is indeed an inconvenient truth about the European paradox and trauma what regards following the Paris Agreement and taking international agreements seriously instead of blaming and shaming their citizens and the rest of the world.
Is Climate Change issue turning the world into an increasingly organized activism that can trigger global waves of new fanaticism. After the case of the Swedish 16-years climate activist ‘Greta Thunberg’ waves of mass global protests took and are taking place. Yet, new preparation of massive school protests against politics and politicians are on the way and more are likely to take place. In The Guardian we can read the following: What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools’, prime minister Scott Morrison yells after being asked a question about school students participating in a climate change strike. Greens MP Adam Bandt asked if the PM would ‘listen to these kids, who are demanding your government to keep coal in the ground?’ Morrison’s response was that they should stay in school and leave politics to those ‘outside of school’ (https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2018/nov/27/scott-morrison-tells-kids-going-on-climate-strike-to-get-back-to-school-video). Then the question to Morrison is why do you ask the citizens to vote? Would Morrison encourage people in the U.K. to stay at home and not participate in political elections or be engaged in political decisions and policies?
Scientistswarning.org, as is given on their home-page, is a Union of Concerned Citizens with a mission for protection and preservation of life on Earth. This organization is giving their total support for school protests (https://youtu.be/R6s8YgRH5T0). The essence of their mission is a protest against Consumerism, with its cast of advertising executives, bankers and economists, corporate CEOs, politicians, etc. It is all about the evolving of defective ‘operating system’ that insists on infinite, accelerating economic growth despite the ecological costs – namely the destruction of Nature. Many scientists have signed or endorsed what is displayed on the home-page of Scientistswarning.org to avoid the worst of ecological destabilization that we have inflicted on Mother Earth. We are all, as is said on their home-page “therefore de facto members of what we are calling the Union of Concerned Citizens of Earth”.
The ongoing school protests triggered by activists supported by international and national organizations are likely to expand to uncontrolled protests on diverse and global wider scales as there are million if not billions of less-privileged-people. Climate Change action is only one goal of the seventeen UN-SDGs. If our focus will continue to be focused on only one goal we are likely to run in huge trouble in the future. We can expect some sort of global civil wars that may include avalanches and waves of brutal activities around the world. That if things grow out of control. The Climate Change issue, though is certainly of global importance, is only a small part of the UN-SDGs (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/) with 17 goals and 169 targets that summarize the global defects in the socio-economic-environment systems around the world. The UN-SDGs is global comprehensive agreement that are designed by all world countries, they are shaped to mitigate and solve multi-layered disparities ranging from poverty, hunger, education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth for all, reduced inequalities, responsible production and consumption, acceptable global quality of life on land and under water, peace/justice/strong institutions and partnership for goals. By being signed by all countries around the world give the global citizens the right to protest and to be activist.
The ongoing school protests in the developed countries are primarily focused on solving the energy issue “the so-called Paris Agreement (https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/what-is-the-paris-agreement), i.e. moving away from fossil fuel and turning over to renewables. The withdrawal of USA “Trump Administration” from the Paris agreement (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_the_Paris_Agreement) and the silent/passive acceptance of the world community of the USA action has indeed caused massive latent anger of the world citizens. The same scenario that caused enormous tragedies in the MENA region because of the Iraqi war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War).
The school protests initiated by climate activists, initially by Greta Thunberg’s family are not taking in their consideration the whole web of the UN-SDG thus are likely to trigger new series of violent protests around the world such as those took place in the MENA region in 2011, the Arab Spring.
Much of the world attention ⚠️ is currently focused on the reduction of carbon dioxide in atmosphere primarily through replacing fossil fuel by the use of renewables. In theory this seems to be essential for tackling the ongoing global warming and thereby mitigating climate change impacts and the associated threats on all life forms on Earth. However, this alone in not realistic for several reasons and will not result in achieving the goals of the Paris agreement what concerns the Climate action.
Indeed, climate change and the sustainable development goals are inextricably linked. Despite this fact, there is no formal interrelationship between their designated international processes, namely, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This represents a major obstacle for the successful and inclusive implementation of the UNFCCC (http://17goals.org/paris-agreement-sdgs/).
Both the Paris Agreement and UNSDGs are not likely to be achieved if the growth of world population continue to accelerate as it is by todays rate (https://youtu.be/1sP291B7SCw). We have already serious global failing of housing policies (
https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/04/the-global-housing-crisis/557639/) which indeed is not related to further expansion of urbanization, more and more buildings but rather increasing economic imparities (https://youtu.be/IRs6B69z8Jk). We have still a global tabu what concerns to discuss the reasons behind the population growth and what policies and actions are needed to regulate the world growth in order to achieve the UNFCCC and the UNSDGs.
In science, it is all about validated facts and reliable knowledge, the so-called Scientific Theory (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory), no more no less. It is not about opinions (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion) and emotions but it is rather about facts (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact). Science is the main driver of validated knowledge as being deduced from validated hard facts (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact) and it is the very bases of any healthy democracy. Opinions come and go but the domain of science is always based on hard facts and remains to be an ultimate reference based on neutral knowledge. However, in social sciences there are no absolute global facts as such as human diversity can be quite complex depending on many parameters. In exact science such as mathematics, physics and chemistry facts can be universal, absolutely correct and exact with high quantitative precision which is not the same as non-exact and qualitative sciences that can not be directly measured with calibrated instruments. In the later case observations can be bases in best cases on comprehensive compilation and statistical treatments of intensive arbitrary data.
Both politics and science should inform the public about how democratic decisions are made and how the public taxes are used to settle conflicts and disputes in the society. If both the Canadian professor Peterson and the Swedish Foreign minister Wallström were, as they are indeed, citizens like us they would demand to know what are the hard facts behind their arguments. Professor Peterson did, to a great extent, explain by “validated” science his views, indeed he has, to large extent, the scientific community behind him. The Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström, on the other hand, did not raise any logic arguments and replied with an insult (https://youtu.be/7dJFa_cgero). The other members of the panel did not share the Minister views. I learned that “To think free is great, but to think rightly is greater”, this statement is written over the entrance of Uppsala University. Free thought and the right to express ourselves freely is absolutely fundamental but does not deserve insulation, it deserves free, ethical and fair debates. In this context, the question is, is the validated, or at least to large extent validated, science of Professor Peterson wrong? If so why? This was never explained by the Swedish Foreign minister and she even went on by insulting the people that listen, including university students around the world, to Professor Peterson. Well, the matter is so simple, if I was a politician, I would require an investigation about the facts stated by Professor Peterson. There are psychologists in Sweden and if professor Jordan Peterson is wrong then why the Swedish minister does not get a second opinion from the Swedish psychologists and just turn this matter to an open academic and social debate? That was much better than acting emotionally as she did. The same applies to Anne Lööf, the leader of the Swedish Center party, where she protested (https://youtu.be/Bv3ZNeoutjo) against Professor Peterson with a short statement by saying “WE” don’t agree with that? We, who is WE? Is it all the Swedish people? It is all the people of the Center Party? Or is it the liberals or the Alliance? This was not enough from her as she did not give any further explanations on why she does not agree on scientific facts and the reasoning of Professor Peterson? Even the host, journalist and leader of the Norwegian TV program, Fredrik Skavlan, did not do any follow-up events to find out which is which and why science and politics are in dispute? Unfortunately, any information that appear on the Internet spreads so fast and any corrections by experts my come with considerable delay. This was also the case here.
The topic of “Equal Outcome” and “Equal Opportunity” is very much discussed in literature and the basic definitions and explanations have been known for longtime (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_of_outcome). It turns out that there are great differences between the two concepts, i.e. “Equal Opportunity” and “Equal Outcome” in terms of politics (http://www.valuesandcapitalism.com/equal-opportunity-vs-equal-outcome/), i.e. to the left or to the right. As far as I know psychology is politically a neutral science and is always needed in democratic societies, it is the essence of healthy social fabrics. Psychology went through considerable advances, progress and developments and most of the content of modern psychology is still yet unknown to the public. Still the science itself is subject to several limitations by not being an exact science, as is the case in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Human behavior (psychology, sociology and anthropology) can not be modeled or parameterized, i.e. described by mathematical equations. The impacts of the two concepts, “Equal Opportunity” and “Equal Outcome” and their implementation, whether scientifically or politically based, on the society are enormous on several socio-economic and even socio-economic-environment levels. These differences should be explained to the citizens on every detail as at the end of the day the citizens should base their decisions and votes on what is what, why is why and how is how?
Definitely there is a big disagreement between science and politics on the highest levels (https://nyheteridag.se/swedish-foreign-minister-wallstrom-says-jordan-b-peterson-shouldve-stayed-under-a-rock/) though both are related. For us as citizens in a democratic society, we need to know what is the good science (correct and trustful news) and what is pseudoscience (bad and fake news). Science is always the main driver of healthy democracies and both science and politics are very much dependent on each other. Now, if politics continue to discredit science without validated facts then we will be in a very problematic situation for years to come. This will end up with an accelerating spiral of mistrust in science, research and education. It is a green light from politicians to the public to be suspicious about our education system. This is already taking place and it remains to see what type of society would be have in the future? Of course constructive criticism is very healthy for science and there is nothing wrong to question knowledge but this can not be on loose arguments, emotional opinions and definitely not through insulting the scientific community.
This said, there are still media-based concerns about Professor’s Jordan Peterson political argumentation (https://medium.com/s/story/a-field-guide-to-jordan-petersons-politicalarguments-312153eac99a). What concerns non-exact sciences, they have to be strictly validated and reproducible on several scales and levels as well as over very long periods of time. In this case, human science, they should be done preferably over generations. So, it is healthy to get a balanced debate of what is addressed by Professor Peterson but again through validated facts and fair debates from both sides, i.e. politics and science. Logically the scientific community should be more and more engaged in media debates as this in-fact one of the three duties and tasks of the universities and academies, i.e. research, teaching and outreach activities. Unfortunately, many universities and academies, if not all, are very passive in performing their third duty, and systematically ignore their third task, which indeed counterproductive what regards promoting and achieving sustainable societies. By being part of the scientific community I have to explain what science dedicates without mixing up science and politics. Then the citizens and voters have to take all these facts in their consideration to achieve more sustainable future for the coming generations as well. Very important questions in this context are: Do we need science? If, the political answer is yes, which indeed is, then we can ask is science a bad or a good compass for politics? Would “Equal Opportunity” or “Equal Outcome” be the best for promoting Circular Economy and sustainable societies.
There are no questions or doubts that we have serious conflicts and misconceptions around the world between Education and Politics. These conflicts are deeply rooted in the perception of the role of science and technology as essential and imperative drivers for sustainable developments and promotion of sustainable societies.
On the one side, politicians use (misuse) the outcome of science and technology to achieve, in best cases, short-term benefits not in favor of future generations. Also, politics is imposing restrictions on the mission of science and technology for the sake of improving the life quality of the global citizens. This has been the case for generations as it is evident from the great degradation in life quality on Earth in terms of air and water qualities as well as the accelerating abuse and decline of natural resources. These issues have severe impacts on future generations but also on current populations as well. Meanwhile, politics continue to contribute in the growing failure in education systems, in particular the higher education at universities (https://youtu.be/OReAF9qwMkY; www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6447626326525513728), including the associated mistrust in education to lead to successful long-term careers and real jobs. On the other side, it is also clear from how the citizens trusted, and still do so, that science and technology can bring better future for them, as they still go to schools and struggle day and night to join higher education. Of course, not all but the wealthy and lucky ones who have inherited advantages to support their education and to scape modern slavery of the imperatives of a failing growth economy. The citizens have also no other choice other than to follow political policies and growth economies that fail to meet their needs in particular to deliver security and safety for the future generations worldwide (https://youtu.be/Xwnqy51BJNM; https://youtu.be/GiD04TRwebQ). The perception of science and technology is dependent on what they bring to humanity and the society in terms of socio-economic opportunities with reference to the boundary conditions of life on planet earth, i.e. the environment and climate conditions on local, regional and global levels.
The political controversy on whether or not we need science and technology to run our societies is taking the same route as the classical conflict between the Church and science in the sixteenth’s century that resulted in a trial against Galileo Galilei and led eventually to his house arrest under the rest of his life. At that time, this was considered a generous punishment for his scientific work by being not along the mainstream catholic belief, i.e. that the earth was the center of the universe. The Church at that time was the political power that controlled the society, directed the track of science and even decided its outcome. The popular narrative would say that the Catholic Church feared Galileo’s truth and silenced him. Though all these restrictions, Galileo Galilei continued his scientific work which laid down the foundation for the successful work of Isaac Newton and his findings of a theoretical force (gravity) and a mathematical system (calculus) that when used together allowed astronomers to accurately predict the movements of our solar system. This all together gave us the hope that all natural occurrences are explainable in mathematics. Both Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton contributed in diverting the track of science in hybrid direction orchestrated by Albert Einstein.
These summaries illustrate the powerful role of conservative politics that restricts the scientific endeavors by being the collective outcome of the individual scientific works to the search for truth. But science always wins inspite of all political obstacles and restrictions. For the church to admit Galileo was right was to also say every other scholar for the past 1,500 years was wrong. This is the same for our politicians to admit that all life forms on planet earth are under huge threat. It is to also say that the current growth economy and the associated trends forced by business as usual in production and consumption are all wrong. Politicians even do more serious attacks on science as an excuse to go on with the same failing economic policies. If politicians continue to ignore science, as is currently the case, the mistrust in global education systems will face an increasing spiral of degradation. Also, politicians will force science and technology to proceed in supporting growth economies and halt many efforts to promote and implement circular economies as a consequence of an increasing mistrust in the role of higher education to support rapid transformation to a circular economy based societies.
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Since the end of the Second World War WW-II Immigration-Integration politics have been of importance for Europe especially during the early stages of the internal collective focus on building up a strong European economy. During this period, the foreign labor felt appreciation from the employers and the state by being an important part of an ongoing collective movement that will allow them to build their individual economies and to improve their future as well. Most of the foreign labor during this period came from other parts of Europe with great excitement and motivation to improve their economies and social status. A small part of the foreign emigrant came for the sake of education with great motivation to improve their own Career-Development-Plans. Later on, for the sake of creating social European integrity and during the formation of the European Union 🇪🇺, it was where most of success, or failure, in the integration process took place. Meanwhile, as Europe started to become economically strong and focused on the internal issues to form the European Union, the demography of the foreign labor and emigrants changed and shifted dramatically as a consequence of attitude changes in the labor market in Europe. Much sharper competition on jobs with new reforms of the immigration policies oriented more and more meet the new condition in the labor market. Along the way of these periods, there have been great variations in how individual countries in Europe succeeded in integrating foreign workers in their labor, social and economic structures (https://www.economy.com/dismal/analysis/commentary/258390/Europes-Biggest-Challenge-Since-World-War-II/).
Generally speaking, successful integration requires workable policies on anti-discrimination, family reunification, equal access to education, political participation, permanent residence, and above all, labour market integration. Other essential issues that were, and still, rarely considered include inclusive social participation and interaction in cultural, tradition and folklore activities. The last mentioned ones are typical engagement in free time, weekends and vacations where most emigrants, in countries with less successful integration, feel very much isolated from the rest of the society. The language that most emigrants acquire (especially during the first years of residence) is, not seldom, limited to integrating them in the labor market, as is the case in Sweden during the past decades. Here the state or the employers have, because of budgetary restrictions, very little resources to offer in this respect. Putting language learning and linguistic developments in practical and real social communication situations are, also, very important and can even be of central importance. Humans have natural explicit needs to express and understand feelings and to support social thinking and problem-solving for developing and maintaining relationships. This is where understanding and using the language is imperative to enjoy the deep social, cultural and folkloric roots in any society. This is how to turn “workers” to “citizens”, no one would really appreciate or like to stay a worker, a machine or a robot all his/her life. These are simple facts in sociology and psychology. This is the very reason why most foreigners/emigrants feel outsiders in new cultures even after relatively long time of residence. This can end up in gradual transformation of early stage cultural chocks of individuals to permanent and collective social trauma. It is, also, the core reason of the social segregation that took place in some places with minority groups in Sweden, in particular Malmö, Göteborg, Stockholm and Uppsala. This represents also obstacles and difficulties to enjoy working by being an essential path for complete social integration (sometimes understood as assimilation) and not only a wheel in the machinery of production and economy.
This said, the only way of integrating immigrants is that officials should recast the short-term threats into long-term benefits. It is a political and economic minefield and though immigration could stop the population decline of many European countries, including Sweden, integrating foreign workers will be costly, politically and socially sensitive. However, simple economic facts and basic rules of entrepreneurship tell us as that no gains without investment and the outcome and gains are always related to the level of investments assuming that proper planning, careful, tight and continuous management actions are being applied (https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/sites/futurium/files/jrc107441_wp_kancs_and_lecca_2017_4.pdf).
Ideally, there should be no marked difference between the unemployment rate of foreign-born and native-born workers, nor in their wages. This is true only in the Czech Republic, and to a lesser extent in the U.K. and Ireland. However, the unemployment rate of foreign-born workers exceeds that of native-born workers in nearly all EU states, especially in Sweden, Spain and France. In 2014 and beyond, Sweden had the widest gap between native and immigrant joblessness rates among OECD countries. But Sweden’s generous social policy, originally designed to help immigrants integrate, is partly to blame for widening the gap. The gap between domestic and foreign workers’ wages in Sweden was the second highest in 2014 after Luxembourg and still. While, Cyprus, Germany, and to a lesser extent the U.K. and Finland successfully integrated foreign workers into their labour markets, Greece, Spain and Sweden struggled. Indeed, the lack of political action by all political parties and for very longtime have caused draining on public funds and worsening social tensions.
Another aspect that did not get enough attention by Swedish politicians is proper management of the inflow of migrants as decisions should be driven by the structural requirements and the underlying needs of the host economy and, labor conditions as well as the social fabrics. Unlike the U.K. and the industry-oriented Germany, Greece, France, or the Nordic countries are, however, struggling to integrate emigrants into their service-driven economies. European leaders are focused on migrant quotas, but the social and economic integration of those already present is urgent. No simple and common solution fits all countries “one-size-fits-all”, but job-finding assistance, language and social programs would help (https://www.economy.com/dismal/analysis/commentary/258390/Europes-Biggest-Challenge-Since-World-War-II/kr).
Following the political debates in Sweden during the past decades and the culmination of the political situation that resulted in the emergence of “extreme” right, the Sweden Democrats SD, as a major political party with 20% of the Swedish population (about two millions of people) is a simple reminder of what needs to be done. During the same period the Immigration-Integration policies were being, and still, debated by all parties but with insufficient actions and measures to deal with the core reasons of the pile-up of the impacts that caused the emergence of the “extreme” right. Whether or not there are direct or indirect reasons for such shift (https://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/forskare-alliansen-och-finanskrisen-orsak-till-sds-framgang/; https://www.dn.se/debatt/repliker/sds-okning-drivs-av-invandringsmotstand/) there remain urgent and serious needs for collective political actions and solutions. So far, all political parties including SD are in agreement for partial solutions, i.e. increase of the number of police, that will not necessarily result in the final solution the Immigration-Integration dilemma in Sweden. There are much more to be done. Flighting “fire” 🔥 by increasing the number of “firemen” 🚒 will not simply remove the core reason for the existence and expansion of “fire”. At least the Immigration-Integration issue should be appropriately and carefully assessed and detailed on the national level with active involvement of research councils. So far, research councils have passive involvement thus leaving the politicians and policy-makers to act more or less randomly without clear and validated data of the underlaying reasons. Another important aspect is how to effectively involve emigrants in finding the best practices for long-term and secure Immigration-Integration policies.
This said, globalization and the UN-SGD are calling for strong partnership that can be developed in sustainable manner when all Immigration-Integration policies consider win-win “employer-employees-citizenship” appreciation. These issues will remain to be central and imperative in national and global socio-economies, they are without hesitation the core of any future healthy and wealthy sustainable society.
A very basic phenomena in many elections around the world 🌍 is the struggle between the left, the right politics and anything in between, on political power and the associated manipulations with arguments to get the votes 🗳. The economic issues are always of central importance in all global elections. On the other-side it is interesting to know how the political, and thereby socio-economic-environment, ideologies of different parties are being perceived by “WE THE PEOPLE”, especially in the short time window where all the competing parties are actively engaged in a common public debate, i.e. just before the end of the voting period. Another very strategic question, not yet central in many elections or even absent, is the impacts of political systems and debates therein on the public what regards Planet Earth itself. Indeed, Planet Earth 🌏 and its subunits have no possibilities (tools or means to empower it legal rights) to vote and the only means is to actively illuminate all the critical and central issues, about the natural functioning and metabolism on Planet Earth, to the citizens. In principle, such possibilities/rights are delegated to someone else, but is it delegated to the politicians? or to “WE THE PEOPLE”?, this is not clear or even unknown. Another issue is the quality, transparency, the will and knowledge of the politicians on the one hand and the political maturity and the socio-economic-environment awareness of “WE THE PEOPLE” on the other.
In any case, in political elections someone else is taking decision or has the VETO, on behalf of the Earth. As we are in the geological era of the Anthropocene we have to re-consider the role of politics on Planet Earth and its performance in this regard as this on the long-run will have serious impact on all future generations. This is logic as we are getting more and more dependent on a Planet Earth and not the reverse. A degenerating Planet with declining resources in terms of quantity and quality. Let us analyse these issues.
The functioning and metabolism of Planet Earth, or the Earth’s system, as a unique organism in the solar system, can be understood (on its own merits or alternatively with consideration of the interference of humans) in several ways depending on how it is divided into subunits, subsystems or sub-spheres (all of these involve climatic zones with geographical boundaries and thereby counties). Before doing this, we must appreciate the imperative importance of the solar radiation 🌞, in particular the “sunshine”, i.e. the light 🌈 and the heat 🔥from the sun, for planet Earth.
From the biodiversity point of view, The Earth, as it is, is mainly composed of living things with essential biological processes. Without living things our planet could be anything else, of an empty physical space (as other planets), other than a home 🏡 for living things. We would even not have realized its and our existence, as we wouldn’t be here in the first place. Yet, we wouldn’t exist if there were no living things other than us. So, the diversity of living things is a pre-request for our survival. As our survival is dependent on other living things then we can at least appreciate that other living things need each other for their survival as well. Now let us examine the other needs of living things, i.e. the biosphere. First of all our biosphere is ruled by several boundary conditions that are primarily driven by what we have around us in terms of quantity and quality as well as the processes regulating, or being involved, in their functioning, metabolism and ecology. The living things, as they breath, need air but not any air, it must be of the certain suitable composition and quality that can support the life of the living things on planet Earth. That is what we know as the atmosphere and it has really what is needed for all living things (in particular oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide) providing that its composition and quality are kept within the requirements to support and sustain the life of the living things. As the atmosphere has active interactions with other sub-spheres, subunits or subsystems of the Earth, therefore, there are no guarantees that its composition will remain optimal for living things in particular with consideration to the enormous interference of humans through manipulating all the existing natural resources on planet Earth and beyond (think about colonisation of space and intensive use of airplanes). This however, has contributed in changing the atmospheric composition is such away that the temperature of the Earth is increasing and started to surpass what can be considered for safe living on the planet. Also, the air quality available for world population is not any longer as good as before and for some parts of the world, in particular cities, it is getting worse and unacceptable.
The living things on Earth need water 💦(hydrosphere) as it is the essence of the generation, regeneration and the diversity of living things. The underlying process for life on planet Earth is photosynthesis (whether on land or in the aquatic systems of surface and marine waters). Water and carbon dioxide are the basic components for the generation and regeneration of living things on planet Earth through photosynthesis and by being fueled by the sun ☀️ . Yet, other elements/compounds must be available in water in particular nutrients but with appropriate amounts, not too little and not too much. Fortunately, water is a perfect carrier for such elements “trace elements” and the balance between the atmosphere and the hydrosphere (including global exchange processes of carbon dioxide) was so far appropriate for healthy photosynthesis on land and in aquatic systems. However, water is also a solvent for other harmful elements/compounds, so water through its journey in global environmental systems can be also a source of threat as well. Water like air, in this sense, needs to have certain content of life promoters, i.e. nutrients, to support and sustain life. The hydrosphere (including surface water, groundwater and the ocean 🌊) as the atmosphere has been exposed to serious degradation in quality because of the severe interference of humans with both the atmosphere and the hydrosphere through the three main revolutions, i.e. agricultural, industrial and rechnological. This has loaded, and for some regions overloaded, both the atmosphere and the hydrosphere with several pollutants and waste remains. The water cycle, in variable degrees and scales, has also started to deviate from what can be considered safe for our living.
For several reasons we need land (lithosphere) for our living, where else can we live? The survival of living things, in particular humans, need healthy ecosystems with suitable and appropriate living environments on the first hand. Modern urbanization including the vast expansion of cities that have developed very rapid on the expense of natural ecosystems such as forests, river and lake catchments, islands, oceans and marine coasts. Though cities are important form of living yet they generally need to be up-graded to fulfill modern sustainability requirements in terms of supporting the economic, environment and social needs of the citizens. In many parts of the world cities are either over-aged or mainly built (modern cities) to serve mostly (and in best cases) working and economic needs of the citizens with little consideration to the environmental and social needs of well-balanced mix of people of different ages, interests, origin and requirements, and in particular to support the diverse needs of families. This however, evolved with heavy price of mental instabilities, stress, segregation, social isolation, limited mobility, insecurity, loneliness, lack of transparency, ……….. etc. Most seriously is the growing lack of multi-layered integration of rural (villages, desert 🐫 and agricultural communities) and urbanized areas (cities and industrial centres) though the considerable advance of technology in particular transportation and ICT. The land, also, provide several other basic services, i.e. the same way ecosystems provide services, for humans. Mining, for example, of natural resources is among these services which also developed in such a way that it can produce enormous amounts of diverse waste and pollution. This is of course, in addition to draining the Earth in unsustainable manner, from its natural resources. In several parts of the world, the living conditions of the communities that are dependent on mining for their living are indeed not acceptable. Agriculture and land-use consume over 70% of our freshwater resources, yet food is becoming insufficient for the growing world population, also climate change and global warming can hit hard and further worsen the situation.
With this said, the political debates around the world are very much similar in one sense. In terms of sustainability they show how politics failed to manage Planet Earth and the needs of its future inhabitants. The situation as we have it today on Planet Earth, on any level from individuals to countries is to forget about the future generations, live now and take a “selfie”. To avoid to take responsibility for what went wrong or can be a threat for future generations and just blame it on others: it is simply not our failure; it is someone’s else. The same story we hear everywhere and at anytime. The politics now is about putting our world, including the global population, in competition (for more consumption) to see who is the best to make himself, a group of people, a piece of land, a culture, an ideology or ……. or …….. Great Again and for some populations it is to re-invent a future that brings back the Great distant past Again. This is done, unfortunately, with little consideration to the consequences to the rest of the world. “FIFA” did it good, again and again, and made our world happy, let us have politics a la FIFA’s model. Nature played it good according to Darwin, so if FIFA’s model would not work, let us do nothing and let the “natural selection” fix it all and for ever. In the world of politics, it would not work these ways, would it? It is getting confusing and the world politicians are in despair what to do, or precisely what not to do, as the problems we created for Planet Earth are by far much complex, larger and deeper than we can ever imagine.
The arguments of the coming politicians, or on their way to enter politics and take over, are the ones that say “those before us were not good and we can do it better”. It is all about new experiments of the same old versions but with different facade, who knows. We can only judge by the outcome after they leave the political theater and by that time it is late or even too late, this is how the state of Planet Earth as we have today developed.
What politicians did so far is to Take power over the citizens for the purpose to represent them. To represent them for whom? and for what? Is Planet Earth existing in the political equation of affairs? Take over our fate, Take over the management of all the natural resources on Planet Earth that were the result of billions of years of evolution with arguments to create jobs and multiply the economic gains. But this has resulted in an accelerating deterioration and degradation of Planet Earth. Has Planet Earth ever existed in any political managent model? , i.e. including Taking control over national capital and wealth and Taking decisions to shape the future of all coming generations, to form new pathway of competition for more consumption (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot). All of these created more and more barriers, frustrations, caused degeneration of planet Earth and stripped it out of its natural resources. At the same time degraded the quality of all life forms on Planet Earth. Humans on planet earth are reproducing themselves and generating new copies of the same old ones with politics that support and promote these trends. More of the same with increasing numbers where the typical route of success is to do like others, be part of a main stream culture to consume more and carry on to produce more and more waste and pollution.
The collective global results and the overall sum of all political transformations over the past generation, regardless how, where and when they were originated, developed and performed have definitely resulted in a major trend towards complete consumption of all the natural resources on planet Earth including enslaving its population.
We need a political well to empower Planet Earth against deteriorating the living conditions and the quality of life on Earth. Yes, it is probably late but definitely not too late as much of the human achievements on Planet Earth are indeed reversible with the help of innovation. It is all about one goal and one mission that can be summarized in one word “Sustainability” no more no less.
The final question to politicians (including capital based policy-makers, is: would the management of planet Earth empower OR enslave it? Is current and future politics and associated economic policies, are still tuned for an ever increasing unconditional consumption. If so who would promote and implement the UN-SDGs, if not how would the UN-SDGs be promoted and implemented? The UN-SDGs are currently looking like a huge vessel in a stormy ocean with little fuel and unorganized staff with no pilot on charge. It is hoped that the passengers on the vessel “WE THE PEOPLE” will anyhow and by any means navigate it peacefully to its final destination. May be or may be not who knows, those who constructed the vessel “THE POLITICIANS and CAPITAL OWNERS” are not actively and promptly prepared to revise and restore whatever goes wrong which unfortunately resulted in what we have today.
Many media sources are reporting severe and serious disasters around the world because of the emerging and ongoing threats of extreme weather events in the summers of the Northern Hemisphere, e.g. heat waves, forest fires, hurricanes, sandstorms, floodings, intensive haze and humidity events. If we still do not believe in what global research and predictions that are bring made during several decades by international climate expertise there are no other means to be convinced than experiencing the harsh and deadly consequences that we can not run away from them. Welcome to a planet heading to a definitive death. Photos @CNN