For humanity to survive, it must unite

To stabilize the climate and reverse the current extinction event, humanity will have to discard some very bad habits that have developed over the last few millennia.

Like a very sick patient who hasn’t come to grips with an unhealthy lifestyle, our species has to make radical changes in order to survive.

In a phrase, humanity must unite. Here is what I mean by that and how this breaks down:

(i) Humanity will have to truly cooperate. This means discarding bad habits like imperialism and wars. For thousands of years, it has been okay and accepted for countries to invade other countries, take their resources, and exploit their populations.

But to solve the climate crisis, and to reverse the current extinction event, people will have to work together, cooperatively.

Technologies and resources will have to be shared.

This will require a different type of thinking than one of exploitation and dominance.

It will require trust amongst different countries.

Imperialism, and the wars of imperialism, are behaviors that are just not in line with the thinking we will need to cooperate and trust one another.

The great powers will need to use the international system to really work together to solve complex, planetary wide problems.

If they don’t, there is no real solution to the problems ahead.

(ii) The reality of people movement will have to be accepted. Our species has moved across the planet since its inception. For 200,000 or longer, humans emerged out of Africa and found their way to every nook and cranny on Earth.

In many ways, our species was designed to move, designed to migrate.

Migration is in our blood. We need to accept that reality.

This means we will need to create a global society that permits generous and dignified people movement.

If we work together to build a truly livable planet, then economic refugees and climate refugees will be a thing of the past. People will probably want to stay where they are, close to friends, family, and native culture.

But if we fail to work together, there will be a Great Refugee Crisis that will dwarf every other refugee crisis in the past. People will flee unlivable conditions to rich countries, to cooler places.

Whether or not we like it, migration is a part of our species. We need to build the infrastructure to create a livable planet, everywhere, and also permit the ability of people to migrate in a way that is beneficial to them and to the place they want to move to.

(iii) We will need to defend democratic traditions and freedoms or else find ourselves confronting tyranny. As the world warms, there will be growing chaos caused by the strains of ecosystemic collapse.

As societies start to shake, it will be too tempting for people to seek a dictator or strong man to maintain order. This is entirely predictable. And it would result in a terrible fate for our species.

Humanity must unite and work together. And it must also do so in a way that protects and defends precious democratic freedoms.

The path we walk today, collectively, is a path of species annihilation, and growing dictatorship.

We must walk a different path. A path of cooperation, of unity, of harmony with the environment, and a path of enduring democracy that ensures that all people can live a dignified life on this fragile planet.