The climate and ecological breakdown, political action and the foundations of the humanities

We, the people living on this wonderful planet, are confronted with an existential climate crisis and a human-made sixth mass extinction through an ongoing destruction of the earth system; with catastrophic consequences, happening already now, and in need of bold action. At the same time, this economic and political way of treating the planet and one another is not able to cope with the social needs and a life in dignity for all, producing instead suffering and disconnection.

We need new rules. And a new way of thinking. We need another compass guiding and leading the decisions, in education, politics, economics.

There are three big questions linked to this.

1 Which rules do we need for our societies, even globally?

2 How do we get them into place?

3 Which compass, norms, values and which way of thinking should lead this process?

These inputs here will focus on the third question and its consequences for the first and second.

If you are interested in the second question about organizing the “big transformation”:

This is linked to activism as done by the young school-striking people of #FridaysForFuture and by the rebels of #ExtinctionRebellion.

You can find my ideas and contributions on my twitter-account, including links to articles I wrote about and from within the movements since they started in august 2018.

Link: https://twitter.com/DavidFopp

If you are interested in the second question about organizing and the first question about the new rules: my thoughts and proposals about them are sketched in the project which I call “One people, one planet/Planet-A” (because there is no planet B), a result of interviews with leading activists and researchers. The main idea is linked to the concept of a global political movement for a life in dignity for all within the planetary boundaries (https://medium.com/@davidfopp/the-core-of-a-united-global-movement-reacting-to-the-ecological-and-climate-crisis-aeaea45c4108) and a shared way of taking care of the natural resources.

Now, to the third question about the new way of thinking.

I will present here some basic research done as assistant professor at Stockholm university, and written down in my PhD. But the work with finding a new way of thinking must be open for all citizens, including the youngest ones and cannot be just a task for the university-researcher or think-tanks. In this sense, the following inputs are directed to a broader audience.

This said, what is the role of universities?

First, there should be a big excuse. Especially the faculties of humanities, philosophy, education, economics and politics have in the last thirty years been a big part of the problem, seldom of the solution, with lacking and inadequate reactions to the climate and social crisis, and theory-building ignoring the most basic facts about our place in nature. And even now, when thousands of climate-scientists and researchers of the natural sciences back up the school-striking children, the humanities remain, with a few exceptions, silent. These inputs trie to contribute to change this.

Second, a next step consists of getting rid of the idea that humanities, arts, economics, politics and natural sciences can remain disconnected. A new image of our place in nature has to be developed, by all of us. I call that: the search for a humane energy system.

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