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  • I don't know.

  • I worked at the United Nations, and for the past couple of years I have served as the head off the UN's development program.

  • When I first walked into the U.

  • N.

  • Headquarters in New York City many years ago, the first thing I noticed was a sculpture standing outside under the flags of the nations of the world.

  • It's called the Knotted Gun, and it still stands there today.

  • To me, that sculpture symbolized exactly what the U.

  • N was created to do 75 years ago to build peace out of the ashes of war war that had been defined for so much of human history as the struggle of nations against nations, or the kind still raging in countries like Syria and Yemen that the United Nations works to end every day.

  • That's what I imagine that not a gun to represent.

  • But now another kind of war is brewing, one that increasingly defines the 21st century with a dominant risk.

  • Tow.

  • Our own survival is ourselves.

  • A few years or even months ago, if I had suggested that we're all at war with ourselves, it may have felt strange, especially when according to so many metrics, humans are, on average, healthier, wealthier and more educated than at any time in history.

  • We have more knowledge, more science, more choices today than the founders of the United Nations could have ever imagined.

  • But somewhere along the way, we lost our balance.

  • In fact, think about this.

  • Scientists are considering whether, for the very first time in human history, instead, off the planet shaping humans, humans are knowingly shaping the planet.

  • It's called the Anthropocene, and it represents a new geological era.

  • Today, humans literally have the power to alter the atmosphere on the biosphere in which we live.

  • The power to destroy on the power to repair No species has ever had that kind of power before.

  • With it, we humans have achieved incredible things together, from closing a giant hole in the ozone layer to preventing nuclear proliferation to eradicating smallpox.

  • But we have also taken the earth and all the people on it to the brink.

  • It's not a rational nor fair what we're doing today.

  • One third of all the food produced on the planet goes to waste, while one in 10 people go hungry.

  • Inequality has become extreme.

  • 26 people on the same wealth as half off humanity, based on recent data.

  • Today, seven million people die from air pollution each year, all about seven million trees.

  • The very things that keep our air clean are cut down every few hours.

  • We spend over 10 times more on fossil fuel subsidies alone than we do on all investments in renewable power, prolonging our carbon habit like a drug running through the economy's veins.

  • You don't have to be an economist like me to know that these numbers just don't add up, that our economic paradigm is neither sustainable nor equitable.

  • Climate change, rupturing inequalities, record numbers of people forced from their homes by conflict and crisis.

  • For all of our power, these are the weapons we have built less tangible than a gun.

  • But just Israel, just as deadly, add an epic pandemic.

  • And this year, for the first time in 20 years, global extreme poverty is projected to rise, and global human development, a measure of the world's education, health and living standards, is set to decline for the first time since the measure began 30 years ago.

  • Covered, 19 has not changed the future yet, but It has revealed thes deep flaws in our present, bringing clarity to the fact that ending this war against ourselves is not about tradeoffs.

  • It's not about choosing between people or trees between poverty or progress.

  • It's about choosing to do things differently in the midst of tragedy.

  • The pandemic has also given us a glimpse of what peace could look like, where we can see the snow cap of a mountain for the first time because the smog has cleared.

  • That's what happened in Nairobi, my home of many years, and one of the cities were air pollution plummeted as human activity slowed down, where it takes 10 days and not 10 years for a government to get support to those in need.

  • That's what happened in Togo, which set up a digital system in record time to get cash to people unemployed or unable to work because of covert 19 lockdowns.

  • The idea of a green economy that is fair and just where people and planet live in balance is not new.

  • But this moment is, and if I have learned one thing since starting out as a young economist years ago, whether I was working with Patan elders to improve the lives of farmers in Pakistan or navigating the controversies of building colossal dams.

  • It's that systems don't change systems, people change systems.

  • And whether you're a prime minister, a paramedic or a protester on the street, you can choose to change this one.

  • The people who are choosing to build forward better from covert 19 build on growing momentum.

  • The momentum of people coming onto the streets in protest from Beirut to Bogota, Keto to Cairo or New York to New Delhi against racism and discrimination, climate change, the price of petrol or the cost of a train ticket, all united in a deep and rising frustration With this war we have been waging against ourselves.

  • This moment builds on the choices of leaders I met as I traveled with the United Nations before lock down leaders who choose to do things differently.

  • Costa Rica made a choice to abolish its army and redirect military spending to education, health and the environment.

  • Today they pay people to protect the trees, and as a result, forests have regenerated and now cover over half of the country, or consider Denmark.

  • It has chosen to produce all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and has already passed the halfway mark.

  • One of many countries moving in this direction 30 years ago powering our economy with renewable energy.

  • Waas SCIENCE FICTION 10 years ago, it was considered too expensive.

  • Today, renewable energy costs less and creates more jobs than fossil fuels in many parts of the world and offers the potential to put power quite literally back with the people.

  • I saw this in Kenya to youth football teams playing their final match in the Mathare is settlement at night who kept the game going thanks to solar powered led lights?

  • I saw this change these better choices with His Majesty.

  • The King of Bhutan just turned 40 years old, who chooses to measure progress based on gross national happiness, not gross domestic product.

  • And I saw it on a rooftop in her tomb with the young people who led the revolution in Sudan in 2019 young women and men who came out onto the streets with everything to lose, who spoke up for political change with conviction and courage and who ultimately changed the course of their country.

  • These are the people the first generation of the Anthropocene who are writing the next chapter for people and Planet in this unprecedented moment and with each choice they make with each choice we all make, the future we want gets closer, just like the not a gun.

  • There is another piece of art at the United Nations that I think about a poem by a great Persian poet, Saadi.

  • The poem is embroidered on a giant carpet that hangs on the wall inside the U.

  • N.

  • Building beneath which diplomats and start from all nations work together every day towards that future.

  • We want Saudi wrote that all the people on the planet are like different parts off the same body, different but united as if limbs off each other.

  • It was that idea that led the generation before us to come together in the wake of war to create the United Nations 75 years ago.

  • The idea that though we are different, we must choose to be united.

  • But now it's our turn.

  • Our challenge is to come together to preserve our collective self interest and humanity rather than tearing ourselves asunder.

  • People on planet in balance building lasting, sustainable peace.

I don't know.

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B1 TED planet united people war renewable

Humanity's planet-shaping powers -- and what they mean for the future | Achim Steiner

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/05
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