UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said last week that humanity is facing a collective suicide. As The Guardian reported, “Guterres told ministers from 40 countries meeting to discuss the climate crisis on Monday: ‘Half of humanity is in the danger zone, from floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires. No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction.’ He added: ‘We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.’” Indeed, I would not be surprised if a cataclysmic fate were to find humanity. Our egos do not let us think about anyone else but ourselves. With this attitude of eating and drinking “for tomorrow we will die” (Isaiah 22:13), we are certain to bring death on ourselves.
But before we get there, there is plenty of upheaval on the way. Wildfires raged during the weekend across Europe, North America, and South America; record breaking heat swept the continent from Portugal to the UK; droughts in Africa, heatwaves in India and South Asia, and countless more simultaneous disasters that The Guardian did not mention are barely a prelude to what is coming. We are going to see the Earth turn inside out; people will look for shelters but there will be nowhere to run except into the Earth. Unless we pull together and rise above our egos, this is the certain fate of humanity.
Mr. Guterres also added that he believed that the solution lies in promoting renewable energies. He said, “As shareholders of multilateral development banks, developed countries must demand immediate delivery of the investments and assistance needed to expand renewable energy.” He demanded that banks “change their tired frameworks and policies to take more risk” and invest in renewable energies.
Here, we differ sharply. I have not seen one proof that renewable energy improves the climate. As I see it, the climate change agenda is intended to attract wealth from everyone else, and dole it out to its advocates. Other than transferring money to the champions of climate change, I do not see anything happening. What they are saying is basically, “Give us the money; we’ll know what to do with it.” It is a fixed game, a one lane road, and nothing good will come out of it.
We can switch to electric cars and oust gasoline, turn to solar panels for electricity and ban coal, but these will not reverse the climate change. The UN is a stage for words, but that is all that it is. It is a gathering place for secret agents from around the world, but it is not a place for positive actions that will help the world. So if anyone hangs his or her hopes on the UN or any of its proxies, they should not count on it; it will not do any good.
If we do not want to return to the stone-age, our only hope is to help each other rise above our egos. We cannot restrain ourselves by ourselves, but we can help each other do so.
The ego is the basis of human nature; nothing within us is more powerful. This is why people will prefer to die than to concede defeat. In the process, they will inflict on us a collective suicide.
However, if we manage to turn our anger not at each other, but at our own egos, which incite us against each other, then we stand a chance. We need to paint a clear picture of our future, without any filters, and realize what we are preparing for ourselves and for our children. Perhaps if we look at our future with sober eyes, we will have the determination to rise above, avoid the looming apocalypse, and turn toward a more sane, considerate, and therefore sustainable human society.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a signing ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey July 22, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas