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International Herald Tribune, France

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Will Humanity Allow itself to be Excized Like a 'Cancer'? (Carta Maior, Brazil)

 

"The earth can no longer withstand our all-out war against it. She needs a year and a half to replace what we extract every year. Global warming is the fever showing we are severely ill. .... Either we again begin to feel a part of nature and show respect for it and ourselves, or we will move into a paradigm of conquest and domination. We can live together and respect the natural rhythms and exist within the limits of our ecosystems, or prepare ourselves for the bitter lessons that Mother Earth will teach us."

 

By Leonardo Boff*

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Translated By Brandi Miller

 

December 4, 2013

 

Brazil - Carta Maior - Original Article (Portuguese)

Either we begin again to feel a part of nature, or prepare for the bitter lessons that Mother Earth will teach us.

 

There are deniers of the Shoah (the elimination of millions of Jews in Nazi extermination camps), and there are deniers of climate change on earth. The former receive the disdain of all of humanity; the latter, who up until recently bore cynical smiles, now see their convictions refuted daily by undeniable facts. All they can do, which is regularly denounced by serious alternative media, is continue coercing scientists not reveal to the world what they know. It is madness to try to accumulate wealth without any other consideration.

 

Recently, we have experienced extreme weather events of ever-greater severity: Katrina and Sandy in the United States, horrific typhoons in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the typhoon in Japan that dangerously damaged the Fukushima nuclear plants, and most recently, devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which resulted in thousands of deaths.

 

We now know that temperatures where major typhoons begin in the tropical Pacific is historically below 66.5F. These oceans have been warming: in 1976, average [surface] temperatures reached about 78F; and starting in 1997-1998, they reached 86F. This produces a tremendous evaporation of water. Extreme weather events generally occur starting at 78F. With global warming, typhoons are occurring with greater frequency and wind speeds. In 1951, winds reached 150mph; between 1960 and 1980 they rose to 170mph; in 2006 they reached 190mph; and in 2013, wind speeds reached a terrifying 225mph.

 

In recent months, four official reports from U.N.-related organizations issued vehement warnings about the severe consequences of increased global temperatures: with 90 percent certainty, this is demonstrably caused by the irresponsible activities of human beings and industrialized countries.

 

In September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], which consists of over 1,000 scientists, confirmed this, as did the U.N. Environment Program. The International Program on the State of the Oceans report denounced increased ocean acidity, which results in less CO2 absorption. And finally, on November 13 in Geneva, the World Meteorological Organization followed suit. They are unanimous in asserting that we are not "headed" toward global warming - we're in it. If, at the beginning of the industrial revolution, CO2 levels were 280 ppm (parts per million), in 1990 that had risen to 350 ppm, and today it is 450 ppm. This year it was reported that some parts of the planet have already breached the 3.6F warming threshold, which can cause irreversible damage to living things.

 

A few weeks ago, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, during a press conference, burst into sobs while reporting that countries have done almost nothing to adapt or mitigate global warming [video below]. Philippine representative Yeb Sano, at the 19th U.N. Climate Change Convention in Warsaw held Nov. 11-22, also wept in front of representatives from 190 countries as he recounted the horror of the typhoon that had decimated his country, including his own family. Most failed to hold back the tears. [see video in photo box].

 

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SEE ALSO ON THIS:
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Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippines: The Unfair Typhoon 'Blame Game' of CNN and the Rest
The Daily Tribune, Philippines: New York Times Joins CNN in Shaming Aquino Typhoon Response
Cebu Daily News, The Philippines: Without CNN, Desperate Filipinos would be Forgotten
The Daily Tribune, Philippines: CNN Rightly Shames Aquino Government Over Typhoon Response

 

For many of those present, these were crocodile tears. Representatives already had their government's instructions when they arrived, and for the most part, the larger countries make it difficult to reach a consensus. There are also the holders of great influence around the world, shareholders and owners of coal mines and coal- or oil-powered facilities in steel, auto manufacturing, and others. They all want to keep things the way they are now. This is the worst thing possible, because our path into the abyss becomes more direct and fatal. Why this irrational opposition?

 

Lets get right to the central question: the present ecological chaos is attributable to our mode of production, which devastates nature and encourages a culture of unlimited consumption. Either we change our paradigm of relations with the earth and toward nature's goods and services, or we'll inevitably confront the worst.

 

The current paradigm is governed by this logic: how can I use technological innovation and greater competitive power to make something with the lowest possible investment in the shortest amount of time? Production is pure and simple for a consumption that generates accumulation - that is its main objective. The devastation of nature and the impoverishment of ecosystems are mere externalities (they dont enter into business accounting). Since neoliberal economics is strictly guided by competition rather than cooperation, a war of markets is established - of all against all. Those who pay the bill are human beings (social injustice) and nature (ecological injustice).

 

It so happens that the earth can no longer withstand this type of all-out war against it. She needs a year and a half to replace what we extract every year. Global warming is the fever showing we are sick and severely ill.

 

Either we again begin to feel a part of nature and show respect for it and ourselves, or we will move into a paradigm of conquest and domination. We can live together and respect the natural rhythms and exist within the limits ecosystems, or prepare ourselves for the bitter lessons that Mother Earth will teach us. One cannot exclude the possibility that she no longer wants us, and will free herself of us like one seeks to excise a cancer cell. She will go on, covered with cadavers - but without us. God forbid such a tragic fate.

 

*Leonardo Boff, a theologian and philosopher, is author of Protect the Earth and Care for Life: How to Escape the End of the World (Record, Rio de Janeiro, 2011).

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS:  

DNA, France: Obama Hits on the Greatest Danger: The Way We Live  

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany: At Brandenburg Gate, Victory Column Haunts Obama    

The Tribune, India: Developing States Demand 'Climate Equity' from Wealthy    

Guardian, U.K.: Break the Grip of Corporate Power to Secure Our Future    

De Morgan, Belgium: Rio Climate Flop: An Exercise the World Can Ill Afford  

El Espectador, Colombia: U.S. Climate Change Deniers Threaten Other Nations  

DNA, France: The Men and the Mermaid  

El Pais, Spain: 2009 - The Year Earth Outgrew Nation States

El Watan, Algeria: The 'Madness' of Copenhagen

Le Quotidien d'Oran, Algeria: Fiasco!: West Bets Climate Change Will Hurt Poor

Der Spiegel, Germany: German Press Concludes: 'Copenhagen Was All-Out Failure'

The Telegraph, U.K.: British Leader Says China and U.S. to Blame for Summit Failure

The Telegraph, U.K.: There'll Be 'Nowhere to Run' from New World Government  

Liberation, France: Global Cooperation - Gone Like a 'Mirage'

Le Monde, France: Copenhagen Climate Talks - 'Failure and Disappointment'

Le Figaro, France: The Climate and the Challenge of Governing a Planet

Der Spiegel, Germany: Gunning Full Throttle Into the Greenhouse  

Estadao, Brazil: The Rich Show Their Hand at Copenhagen

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia: Gorbachev Presses World Leaders to Deliver on Climate

Kurier, Austria : Potentially Negligent Mass Murder: Climate Change Must Be Faced

Guardian Unlimited: Climate Summit in 'Disarray' After Leak of 'Danish Text'  

Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: 'Grotesque Behavior' of Climate Powers

Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: Beijing Instead of Copenhagen  

Hurriyet, Turkey: History's Judgment of Our Generation Depends on Climate Summit  

Rossijskaya Gazeta, Russia: Gorbachev: Dialogue Only Way to Resolve Korea Crisis  

 

 

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