The Roman Philosopher Lucius Anneaus Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE) was perhaps the first to note the universal trend that growth is slow but ruin is rapid. I call this tendency the "Seneca Effect."
Showing posts with label nation states. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nation states. Show all posts

Friday, April 21, 2023

A new dichotomy: nation states vs. the "one planet" movement

A new dichotomy is emerging in the current debate: the contrast between the view of the world as composed of nation-states in relentless competition with one another and the “one planet” movement, which emphasizes human solidarity. These two trends are on a collision course. Up to now, the "one planet" approach seemed to be the only chance to set up an effective strategy against the degradation of the planetary ecosystem. But now, it seems that we'll have to adapt to the new vision that's emerging: for good or for bad, the world is back in the hands of nation-states, with all their limits and their idiosyncrasies, including their large-scale homicidal tendencies. Can we find survival strategies with at least a fighting chance to succeed? Daniele Conversi, researcher at the University of the Basque Country, has been among the first to pose the question in his recent book "Cambiamenti Climatici" (UB)

By Daniele Conversi (University of the Basque Country)

The climate crisis is one of the nine "planetary boundaries" identified in the Earth Sciences since 2009. The critical threshold for climate change (350 ppm) has only recently been passed. Other boundaries, such as biodiversity loss, have been overrun — and we are reaching other critical thresholds as well. The global environmental crisis signals the likely entrance into the most turbulent period in human history, requiring unprecedented creativity, force and adaptive skills to act quickly and radically in order to curb the global crisis. But which are the main obstacles arising in front of us?

Historians of science and investigative journalists plus some social and political scientists have studied in detail the way the fossil fuel lobbies hampered governmental action via disinformation, misinformation, and the "denial industry". However, these studies do not generally consider in detail the institutional scenario where lobbyists act, namely the nation-state.

My research explores a different set of variables originating in the current division of the world into nation-states powered by their own ideology, nationalism. In an age in which boundaries cannot halt climate change, nationalism fully engages in erecting ever higher boundaries.

Thus, we need to ask: if nationalism is the core ideological framework around which contemporary political relations are articulated, is it possible to involve it in the fight against climate change? I explore this answer via a few case studies arising within both stateless nations and nation-states. Riding the wave of nationalism, however, makes only senses if, at the same time, non-national solutions are also simultaneously considered, as condensed in the concept of "survival cosmopolitanism": Effective results can only be achieved when considering the plurality of possible solutions and avoiding fideistic responses such as 'techno-fixes' centred on the magic-irrational faith in technological innovation as the ultimate Holy Grail, which can easily be appropriated by nationalists. Salvation may come, not as much from technology, as from the abandonment of an economic system ruthlessly based on environmental destruction and the expansion of mass consumption.