Are there ways to avoid the end of the world?

The human being is moved by hope and presents himself as a utopian being, that is, as an infinite project. You can always choose a path of salvation, because the desire for more and better life prevails over the desire for death.

In all times, from the most ancient times, like when fire was invented, images of the end of the world have appeared. Suddenly, fire can burn everything. But humans managed to tame the dangers and avoid or postpone the end of the world. Today is no different. But our situation has a uniqueness: in fact, unimagined, we can effectively destroy all visible life as we know it. We build the principle of self-destruction with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that, when activated, can eliminate visible life on Earth, safeguarding the microorganisms that for quintillions of quintillions are hidden under the soil.

In the face of this eventual ecological Armageddon, what can we do? We know that every year thousands of species of living beings, having reached their climax, disappear forever after having lived millions and millions of years on this planet. The disappearance of many of them is caused by the voracious behavior of a portion of humanity that lives in overconsumption and ignores possible ecological disasters.

Will it be our turn to be eliminated from the face of the Earth, either because of our irresponsibility or because we occupy almost all of Earth’s space in an aggressive but unfriendly way? Wouldn’t we have created in this way the conditions of no return and, therefore, our disappearance?

The entire planet, say some microbiologists (Lynn Margulis/Dorion Sagan), would be a kind of “Petri dish”: two plates containing bacteria and nutrients. Realizing the depletion of these, they multiply furiously and, suddenly, they all die. Wouldn’t the Earth be a Petri dish and our fate similar to that of these bacteria?

Indeed, humans occupy 83% of the planet, we have exhausted almost all non-renewable nutrients (the Earth’s Overshoot), the population has grown exponentially in the last century and a half and so we would enter the logic of bacteria in the ” petri dish”. Would we inevitably meet such an end?

As bearers of intelligence and technical means, as well as values ​​related to caring for life and its preservation, we would not be able to “delay the end of the world” (in the expression of the indigenous leader Ailton Krenak) or “escape from the end of the world “, expression used by me? Let us not forget the serious warning of Pope Francis in his encyclical Fratelli tutti (2021): “we are all in the same boat: either we all save ourselves or nobody is saved” (n.32). We have to change, otherwise we’ll find one unprecedented ecological and social disaster.

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I add some reflections that point to a possible safeguard of our destiny, of life and of our civilization. We find this recent statement by Edgar Morin encouraging:

History has shown several times that the appearance of the unexpected and the appearance of the improbable are plausible and can change the course of events.”. We believe that both – the unexpected and the plausible – are possible. Humanity has already gone through several crises of great magnitude and has always managed to get out and in a better way. Why would it be any different now?

In addition, there is in us what the Pope recalled in the aforementioned encyclical: “I invite you to hope that speaks to us of a reality deeply rooted in human beings, regardless of the specific circumstances and historical conditioning in which they live. ” (n.55). This principle of hope (Ernst Bloch) is the source of innovations, new utopias and saving practices.

The human being is moved by hope and presents himself as a utopian being, that is, as an infinite project. You can always choose a path of salvation, because the desire for more and better life prevails over the desire for death.

Generally, the new has the nature of a seed: it starts in small groups, but it carries the vitality and future of all seeds. The new sprouts slowly from it until it gains sustainability and inaugurates a new stage of the human experiment.

The new Noahs are acting all over the world, building their savings coffers, that is, experimenting with a new ecological economy, organic production, solidary forms of production and consumption and a new type of popular, participatory and ecological-social democracy. .

They are seeds, bearers of a future of hope. They will be able to guarantee a new way of inhabiting the Common House, taking care of it, with all the ecosystems included, living, who knows, the Andean dream of living well and coexisting or the biocivilization of Pope Francis.


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