IT IS imperative that another column be written on sustainability as there were outpourings of questions from those who have read the article previously written and published by this amazing paper.
If the present socio-economic and ecological scenario portraying a scenario of doom that have imprisoned humanity in poverty bringing forth the twin evil of climate change and violent extremism brought forth by the contemporaneous growth-at-all cost development paradigm, so materialistic and consumerist in essence, in one voice they asked, what then should be the alternative?
Well, good question. It is not just enough to narrate the painful realities on poverty, ecological degradations, hunger, gross inequities and social injustice as the world is heading towards the tipping point described in the biblical John’s Revelation as the coming of the four horsemen of apocalypse.
I often heard from some religious leaders that the end is near and the four horsemen of pestilence, famine, conquest and war are now in the offing. Well, this seems to be in consonance with some scientific analyses, in fact, such is the horrible conclusion by some 97% of the scientists and environmentalists worldwide, that for every one Celsius degree increase in global temperature, there will be a corresponding ten (10) per cent reduction in food production.
If that be the case, then where shall we get the increasing demand for food of the world’s increasing global population estimated to increase to 9.3 billion earthlings by 2050, based on the estimate of UN demographers. As the earth warms, the insect bites will become more rabid and fatal so that those living in Bhopal for example have to leave and seek refuge in nearby Calcutta which is predicted then to be under water when that time comes. As predicted, there will be one billion human being refugees in the coming years due to climate change and violent extremism.
Climate change will mean shortages in food and water as the monsoon season in India, Africa and the Middle East is shrinking that is giving rise to terrorism. It is predicted that the next world wars will be on food and water.
These scenarios are horrible even to contemplate. Don’t you know that these scientific predictions are in consonance to what great religions are saying in their respective Holy Books. The scenario is well stated in John’s Revelation, also in holy book of Koran and in Bhagavad Gita of the Hindus.
While time is running out but it is not yet that hopeless. There should indeed be a collective movement to change course. That movement is calling for a robust following that will effect a paradigm shift to heal the blighted land back to life, to restore ecological integrity, to advance spirituality, to advocate for earth democracy that follows the principle that life is sacred, that we are all inter-connected and all of us are one with the universe and with all of God’s creation.
The DNA is that of being members-owned, value-based and sustainable. That is the very essence of Cooperativism that is transformative for people, planet, prosperity and peace. The time-honored and universally accepted cooperative principles are what the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals are all about: stop poverty, stop hunger, stop gross inequities, stop social injustice, protect the ecosystems, advance gender and development, and prioritize the health of the people, among others.
The one billion members of some one million cooperatives worldwide are now standing to the call of Mother Earth (GAIA), that there must be prosperity for all, that spiritual values be the order of the day – i.e. good governance, industry, service commitment, dedication; and that all must be to serve the least of our brethren for the greater glory of God. Indeed, “what would profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul.”
That call has become imperative amidst the denigration of collective action and the veneration of profit motive that has already engulfed those in the universities, governments of the world, the media, our very souls because humanity has been so enamored in self-promotion having been reduced to just being self-gratification machines, immersed in superficial appearances and trivialities.
Is there still hope? Yes, the self-aggrandizement paradigm is now crashing down, like a giant off-balance. So as not to fall, it has to run, and in running it wreaks havoc to everything on its path – the ecosystems, the communities, and even transforming religions to dwell on trivialities not on deep spirituality.
The leading edge paradigm is one that harnesses the collective power of the people, developing fully the human potentials to advance prosperity for all while advancing the integrity and sacredness of God’s creation. That is the essence of cooperativism – paglilingkod and pagmamahal!