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From Port-of-Spain to Paris

Published: 
Monday, November 16, 2015

When I sat down to write this column, I was not yet aware of the Paris massacre. I had Paris on my mind though. It’s in Paris that at the end of the month world leaders and climate negotiators meet, at the COP21 climate change conference. The aim is to agree to a new and legally-binding planetary pact to fight climate change. 

Scientists say it is our last chance to mitigate destructive climate change. 
IAMovement, an environmental advocacy NGO, has organised the Port-of-Spain to Paris Climate March on November 29. It is part of a global event, hundreds of thousands of people participating all over the world. It has the support of the United Nations, the French Embassy, the European Union; and the Papa Bois Conservation, Sustain T&T and Global Shapers NGOs.

I thought I would write a humdrum bit about how threatened human existence is by climate change and how hopeful we are that ten of thousands of people will show up to the Climate March in Port-of-Spain. Policy makers will be influenced and inspired by public support. With global vision and resolve we will do what needs to be done. 

It doesn’t seem right though, to take that tone, while the host city suffers and grieves. Without watching the news, I know the COP21 conference will take place as planned. It will not be cancelled. To do otherwise would be giving in to terror. I know that France will stand firm.

I thought about causes for the savagery that divides us, the unreasonableness that rules us. We knowingly destroy our planet and fight our brothers and sisters. 

History is full of conflict and atrocities. Maybe it is what drives us forward as a species. Violence evolved with us. At one time it benefitted our species, now it threatens us. Revenge, spite, hatefulness and anger must have all had some evolutionary advantage. As do love, kindness, cooperation and forgiveness. The good and the bad, they have both made us what we are. 

Our evolution is not complete. It is not clear what traits will win. Which genes will be seeded, and which ones weeded? 

Will it be the traits that give us reason, cooperation, kindness or will it be the genes that make us greedy, selfish, destructive, divisive and depleting? 

There are three types of future civilizations: Type I, II and III. Type I civilizations harness all their planet’s energy, Type II is able to capture and use all its neighbouring star’s power and Type III that of its galaxy. 

A Type II civilization is near indestructible. There is so much power that just about any threat known to science can be dealt with. It is the ultimate sustainability, the guarantee for life. Earth is a type 0 civilization. We use dead plants and animals as fuel. 

We are on our way to Type I status. Some thinkers believe we can achieve this in 100-200 years. The  splanetary system are being formed. Globalisation. 

Technology advances exponentially. Global trading blocks and treaties are causing nations to work together towards common goals. Human kind is becoming more united in language and global culture. These are all prerequisites for the planetary system. Reason and science are the tools that make all this possible. Violence has little use here. 

Some people do not want the transition towards a planetary system. They fear it because they know it will destroy their way of life. They cling to their old ways, their beliefs. They are bound by what benefits them personally rather than what benefits us all. They want nothing to do with a Type I civilisation. These are the terrorists. There is also hope. Parisians reached out to strangers offering a place to sleep to stranded and scared commuters and tourists. 

No planet has made the transition to a Type I as yet. We have no evidence that this is the case. No energy bursts, no attempts at contact. Mathematically there should be thousands of Type I, II and III civilizations but there are none. Maybe they are hiding. Maybe they self-destructed. 

We have made tremendous advances in thought and technology, but we also have weapons of mass destruction, industrial scale destruction of ecosystems and human caused climate change. 

We are in the danger zone. We have no guarantee that we will reach planetary safety. We must master ourselves and unite if we are to heal and secure our planet. We must embrace reason, kindness, cooperation, resolve, unity and care for our environment.

The Port-of-Spain to Paris Climate March is one way to say no to the terrorists, honour the lives that were lost and send a strong message to our government and negotiators that we are all in this together.  We demand real CO2 reductions. Not token amounts that place the burden for change on somebody else. 

Say yes to life. Yes to global unity. Yes to change. Yes, do what needs to be done.

No we do not want life on our planet to perish in a climate-induced inferno. We want to be a Type I civilization but we will not get there unless we reduce our carbon footprint.

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