Can we achieve sustainability?
“This cursed war gripped the planet just when it seemed to be finally taking the path of sustainable development. But instead of the third industrial revolution, of the digital age, we are now forced to talk about the third world war: yet we must do everything we can to solve climate change that causes irreversible damage."
The mantra of Jeremy Rifkin, economist, sociologist and activist, is "never give up". His latest book, "The Time of Endurance" is the summary of a long journey through worthy causes: Rifkin began in 1967 with the marches for Vietnam, then the flagship of the Volunteers in Service of America (the anti-racist movement founded by John Kennedy ), and finally a reference point for the environmental movements of the whole world.
"In the era of sustainability - he explains from his office in Washington - we will have to develop antibodies to survive in the changing Earth, instead of waiting for the Earth to adapt to us. And in the meantime, play the place that this change come to an end. The end of the human race would not be the first mass extinction in the hundreds of millions of years of the planet's life. It would be the sixth, to be exact."
Avoiding tragic scenarios, what is your message?
We operate at a time when progress and efficiency must be achieved at any cost. Everything we do is finalized with the best possible result without worrying about the context. Until the pandemic, natural disasters, even Putin's horrifying war, taught us that we must develop resilience, that our commitments must be finalized by stabilizing a form of adaptation, flexibility and empathy to live. We must learn to maintain existential standards and relationships, even through indescribable suffering. And in the meantime, let's work to ensure that disasters don't happen again. This is sustainability."
It is not always possible.
Sometimes yes, as for climate change causing increasingly destructive phenomena: it is man-made and man must fight to stop it. This is the spirit of my book: to instill awareness, but also knowledge, so that no one is caught unprepared in the face of the "renaturalization" of the planet, in short, nature's revenge. But this mine is not just another essay on the protection of nature.
Let's take the implications of Covid. The crisis of chips used in phones, cars, washing machines or computers: without them, which are made in China, the world does not move forward, but since the West recovered earlier from the pandemic and China was still in quarantine while it was occupied by a demand too high, the entire world production car was destroyed. And the prices went crazy. The lesson is: however much they may have saved from cheaper prices in China, what possessed Western companies to rely entirely on Chinese manufacturing?
Profesor, në çfarë mendimesh ju fusin përmbytjet e javëve të fundit, nga Pakistani në Italinë qendrore?
Italia është një vend që e dashuroj, por nga pikëpamja hidrologjike është një tokë delikate sepse ka hapësira të ngushta mes detit, malit dhe fushave. Aty përforcohen problemet e zakonshme që po ndodhin në gjithë botën. Le të marrim konsumin e dherave. Pjesa e sipërme, pjesa "e ecshme", kufizohet dhe degradohet gjithnjë e më shumë nga kultivimi intensiv, neglizhenca, thatësira. Nuk ka më hapësirë që toka "e gjallë", ajo pjesë që qëndron në brendësi dhe është e pasur me lëndë ushqyese dhe përbërës aktivë, të japë kontributin e saj në ekuilibrin natyror. Toka e zhveshur ka nevojë për kujdes, si çdo gjë e gjallë fundja. Unë e quaj biofili.
A new consciousness?
To put life at the center of our actions. The economy should no longer be conceived only to seek profit, but to save the very human essence. This change that requires a review of the rules of teaching and intellectual formation to embed them in the new educational model between human beings and the environment that surrounds them. It is the only way to guarantee the inalienable right of every being to a dignified life.
*Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist, theorist, writer and activist. Author of 22 books on the impact of scientific and technological change on the economy, the workforce, and the environment. His latest books are "The Green New Deal", "The Zero Marginal Cost Society", or "The Empathic Civilization". This interview was translated by Erjon Uka.