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This war that hides another one

While the war has been raging for more than two weeks now in Ukraine, occupying daily - and we can understand it - our minds, but also the entire media coverage, let's be careful not to let our guard down in front of other threats, no less dangerous, which weigh just as much on the stability of our world, starting with the environmental crisis. For while humanity is once again finding ways to tear itself apart as in the darkest hours of its history; week after week, month after month, year after year, the environmental situation itself continues to deteriorate unabated. Insensitive to the suffering of a humanity on the brink of the abyss, doped by the blindness, irresponsibility and stupidity of some, global warming, like a predator slowly but surely crawling towards its now weakened prey, is progressing. Let's be careful that Vladimir Putin's war does not divert the gaze of humanity from this other enemy, a real one (as opposed to Ukraine, which did not threaten or ask for anything from anyone); an enemy common to all humanity, to all countries, posing a threat so great and so dangerous that it should have pushed humanity to a sacred union a long time ago. This shows the absolute stupidity that characterizes these war-mongers who, even in this period, when humanity is on the brink of the abyss, find nothing better than to initiate a new world war.

Three battles that Humanity has no choice but to wage head on.

"One news item chases another". Never has this expression been so much in resonance with the period we are living in. The subject of the environmental crisis and global warming, after having been partially overshadowed by the pandemic over the last two years, itself almost crushed over the last two weeks by geopolitical news, has almost entirely disappeared from the media and even, in the case of France, from the presidential campaign. Even though this subject should be at the center of our concerns, it has virtually disappeared from the campaign themes, already necrosed before the war, by subjects such as the question of immigration "coming from the south" (to use the terms of a candidate that everyone will recognize) as opposed to that which arrives from the east I imagine.

Some people will say, "Yes, but if there is a priority, it is the war".

I would be tempted, as many are, to answer yes, of course. Faced with the threat of a military skid leading to a third world war, faced with the urgency of providing a response to a people under the bombs who are being exterminated; it is obvious that we must mobilize, and immediately.

Unfortunately, in our misfortune, it is likely that we no longer have the luxury of choosing among the threats of the moment. These three wars that do not say their name, military, sanitary and environmental*, all three threatening the stability of our world and putting at stake our very existence on Earth, we have no other choice today than to fight on these three fronts simultaneously.

Imagine a city under siege on three fronts (which is the case for Kiev at the time of writing). It is easy to understand that it would be suicidal for the army defending it to concentrate its energy on one front in particular, and to neglect the other two to deal with them later. Such a strategy would obviously lead immediately to the fall of the city.

In the same way, humanity has no other choice today than to fight simultaneously to resolve the 3 major crises we are going through simultaneously; the armed conflict initiated by Russia at the gates of Europe, the pandemic crisis (which, despite what some may say, is not over yet) and the environmental crisis to which we have already been so late in providing answers worthy of the name.

The loss on only one of these fronts could indeed lead to the collapse of our contemporary civilization, or even, in the case of a conflict that would become nuclear or of a runaway greenhouse effect, to the potential end of life on Earth as we know it today. For it is not the planet that is threatened and that we must save. The Earth will survive us. On the other hand, as far as humanity is concerned, nothing is less certain. Not to mention that such scenarios would have every chance of dragging most of the current living species in its macabre wake. This shows the obligation that we have to stand up on each of these fronts and the weight that now rests on our shoulders: We must not only do everything to avoid military escalation, but also not let our guard down with regard to the pandemic with a relaxation that would come too soon while new variants are emerging, and continue more than ever our efforts to limit global warming, and in a more global way to increase the protection of our natural environment, the climate problem being once again only one part of the environmental crisis that humanity has initiated.

Glimmers of hope in the heart of chaos

If the continuous flow of information that the media pours out on a daily basis biases our view, hiding those other threats that need our attention and interest, they also have the unfortunate tendency to make us focus on only one part of the news. The darkest news, the bad news, the crises, the tragedies, often overshadow the positive, constructive, hopeful news, often preventing us from taking the necessary distance to face reality with objectivity and especially constructiveness. Because the purpose of the media, beyond informing the public, should also be to help everyone to take part in the resolution of these crises and tragedies which they report.

What would be the use of being informed in a world that would collapse? Information must be the breeding ground for a future revolution, for a refusal by the greatest number of people to accept fate. Information, by allowing us to better understand the world, by helping us to better apprehend the stakes, must also allow us to imagine solutions, to pool energies, to boost inventive, committed, and proactive spirits throughout the world in order to stand up against the resurgent obscurantism and to design another future, by drawing new paths, by offering new opportunities by implementing solutions.

More than ever, we need hope and, above all, concrete action.

Lamenting and being indignant about a world in bankruptcy will not bring anything if this indignation is not transformed into concrete and especially constructive action. Because being satisfied only with demonstrating and criticizing (fields where the French excel) is not enough anymore. Let the grumblers take each other by the hand. It's up to everyone to act now. It's up to everyone to become a force of proposal, to get involved, to ask themselves concretely how they can contribute to the building. If there were more actors of change than spectators and critics of the world we live in, the situation would probably be very different from the one we know today.

While the world may seem to be plunging a little more into chaos every day, let's not make the mistake of allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by a total pessimism that would mask several very real hopeful signals.

First of all, in terms of war, since it is the subject that generates the most concern among the population in the immediate future: let's not forget that almost all of humanity has clearly declared its opposition to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. It is enough to surf on the NET to see every day demonstrations sometimes very impressive mobilizing millions of people all over the world to ask for the cessation of the fighting. Even Russia's historical allies (with the exception of the Venezuelan, Syrian and Belarusian heads of state, who have long since lost all credibility in the international community), such as China, have shown a certain caution regarding the ongoing conflict. Even within Russia, let us not confuse the extentionist and genocidal policies of a President who still lives in the age of the Soviet Union with his people. A significant part of the population is in total opposition to Vladimir Putin's policy, and does not hesitate to oppose it, bravely braving the repression and the threats of imprisonment that the government makes. As for the part that supports him, let's not forget that it is subjected to a real intellectual training, a continuous disinformation and manipulation set up since years and which, if it does not excuse, can allow at least to understand. Of course, let's not embellish things either. Some Russians support their President knowingly, and in the world, humanity is being torn apart in other parts of the globe where the emergence of new conflicts cannot be excluded, whether in the Middle East or in the Pacific, and some may even see the Ukrainian conflict as an opportunity to seize in order to advance their pawns. But it is an undeniable fact today that the vast majority of humanity does not want war, even less to be drawn into a new world conflict that everyone knows would be devastating for all.

On the pandemic level, humanity will have succeeded thanks to medicine, but also to adapted behaviours to contain the worst sanitary threat it will have faced for decades. Of course, this has not been done smoothly, that's the way humanity is. The anti-vax or affiliated movements were not without making some people despair. But the fact is that humanity has proved its capacity to mobilize globally to put an end to this pandemic, even if the threat is still smoldering and the fight is not yet won in my opinion, with probably many months of deprivation and precautions necessary to be able to hope to live again one day without sanitary restrictions.

Finally, on the environmental level, if humanity has had a hard time in the last decades to put itself in order of battle to limit its impact on the degradation of the environment and the ecosystems, one should not hide the growing mobilizations everywhere in the world, all generations included. As someone who works specifically on these issues, I can only testify to the incalculable number of solutions and innovations that have emerged in recent years to support a real transformation of our society towards a model of sobriety, responsible, sustainable, respectful of its natural environment and its ecosystems. Just look at the thousands of solutions labelled by my friend Bertrand Piccard's foundation in recent months, highlighting economically viable and immediately available solutions to change the world. The climate protests that have multiplied in recent years should also be seen as a hope for a change in mentality. Let's keep in mind that change is extremely difficult, for each of us. To question oneself, to find the strength to rethink one's way of functioning, to abandon one's habits is already not easy for an individual, so what can we say about a people and even an entire civilization? And yet, this is what humanity has begun to initiate. Of course, the road is long, but the glimmers of hope are countless, and this, on the 5 continents. The revolution is possible, and even already in progress (do not see any political message in this sentence). For sure, it is a totally different world that is taking shape for humanity now. The latter being no longer viable, this is not a bad thing... on the contrary. Nothing has been decided yet and everything can still happen. The worst... but also the best.

In conclusion...

Each of these crises, taken separately, could have seemed insurmountable to humanity. And yet, on each of these fronts, dynamics are being put in place to stem these threats. Humanity has not yet said its last word. The dark destiny that some prophesy has not yet come true. There is still room for manoeuvre, even if the window of opportunity has been considerably reduced in recent months and weeks. But everything is still possible. Everywhere in the world, voices are being raised in this sense, men and women are uniting, conscious of their responsibility, of the need for each one to act at his or her own level, with his or her own means or, on the contrary, by uniting, in common actions and projects, making good use of the intelligence with which nature has endowed us, no longer to destroy and ransack, but to rebuild and protect.

As I regularly say in my books and speeches, given what is at stake, we cannot afford to fail. On each of the three fronts, we have no choice but to succeed: we must end the war, get humanity out of the pandemic and stem global warming without further delay. We must then go further, even if it may seem premature to address this aspect today, by ensuring that we do not relapse. Contrary to the policies of rearmament generated by the fear of a worsening of the current geopolitical situation, it appears more than ever indispensable that humanity banish its weapons of mass destruction, starting with its nuclear weapons. This humanity must also draw the consequences of the pandemic that has just struck it, by preparing itself much better than it was to face the possible and probable emergence of other viruses in the future, as has been the case regularly in our history. A humanity that must finally take the measure of its environmental impact to implement all the necessary policies to limit the degradation of the balance of our planet, to protect the incredible biodiversity of our world, and with it, humanity itself. Each of these three tasks taken separately may seem immense, and a challenge without common measure in the past history of our world. But these are challenges that are still possible to take up, we have the undeniable capacity, and now the will. It remains to transform intentions into concrete actions.

We can do it.

We must do it.

Spes Manet

Yannick Monget


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