Man, Still at the Crossroads

סיכום כנס  Climate180 2022 – האם הטכנולוגיה תציל אותנו?

I’ll share with you my conclusion from this week until now: we are in big trouble.

And: the contemporary financial/governmental/technological ecosystem will not be able to produce effective solutions in time.

That’s because everything we knew until now is not enough to help us out from our upcoming future. We, the modern humans, are great at accelerating – accelerating growth, profits, producing more and faster with only limited awareness of our by-products. But doing the other way around: producing less, understanding and managing our negative by-products – this is completely out of our current capability.

And, adding to that as an ever existing painful truth, we – humans of all times – were always really bad at thinking beyond the visible line of sight and internalising the conclusion of those thoughts.

A wise Intelligence officer told me once that he went over the yearly intelligence assessments reports from the past decade and found that “we were always right in our projections”. Except for when there was a change of trend that year, and then we were always wrong. And with that conclusion he taught me – you’d better ask yourself “what if” questions as opposed to just “if” questions. So let’s ask ourselves these what If questions together:

What if hundreds of million human beings will lose their homes because of sea level rising

What if hundreds of millions will start the great migration in search of food

What if nations will fight to death for living space – that old painful concept that ruined the first half of the 20th century – but now not motivated by fanatical ideology but moved by starvation, floods and disease.

And the quick answer to those what if questions is – in that case the climate crisis will not be of secondary interest but the most important national, and multi-national security issue in our upcoming era. And we should say boldly – maybe we are already there. It’s about time.

And therefore we need people of vision – in all systems, to start advancing alternative futures because that’s where we’re heading.

We were touring New York during the summit and explored the fascinating history of people and organisations pioneering the use of energy in modern city life. We explored the many critical experiments: in railways, elevators and other means of urban electricity use. Other cities in the world duplicated what was invented in New York and New Jersey. And New York – which set the rails to modern urban life, can and should be the pioneer of the new era – implementing visionary, systematic solutions that will later be duplicated around the world.

We started our tour at Diego Rivera’s mural “Man at the Crossroads”, later named “Man, the Controller of the Universe”. It was painted on the Rockefeller center lobby walls at the request of the Rockefeller family. If you are in NYC don’t look for it – the Rockefeller’s destroyed it because of socialist symbols embedded in it and requested Josep Maria Sert to paint over the ruins.

The original mural displayed man in the crossroads – between the material front, and the ethical front. The Climate crisis intrigues us to rethink humanity’s situation: still caught in the crossroads between the material and ethical fronts. We have given up the modern perspective of man as the “controller of the universe”, but we know for sure that our impact on our little planet is dramatic for bad and maybe for good. And it’s up to us to choose – if we want to let Sert’s modern dystopia rule whether we can mobilise a new fusion of the ethical and material front and explore new solutions that might save the future of humanity.

Featured Image is shared with license: Gumr51, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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