Overpowering New Decade Challenges

Libyan rebel fighters perform the Friday prayer near the Eastern Oil Port City of Ras Lanuf on March 11, 2011 as rebels battled troops loyal to Moamer Kadhafi out side  Ras Lanuf a day after the regime recaptured the key oil town. - Source Getty Image.

 by Ram Kumar Shrestha
(March 29, Kathmandu, Sri Lanka Guardian) With 2010 heralding the dawn of a new decade; this decade offers many challenges and opportunities. Global warming, political instability, recession, terrorism, disaster were the major problems of the decade and the ultimate source of these problems is not external - it is us and only us, our current lifestyles, our historical choices, our way of thinking and doing with full of selfishness and our future ambitions. We ourselves, therefore, must be the solution. Now the world is already in very crucial moment and this provides opportunity as well to the world leaders, scientists and humanitarian activists to show their capability and broadness and prove themselves as historic persons. One of the most important questions we are facing today due to the reality we are facing in the name of development is: “Do we really love our generations or not?” This is already clear that just the continuation of existing development trend without drastic changes could destroy the world very soon and we, hence, must have new perspectives to bring everything in the right track. 

Every single day our world spends more than $4 billion on war. However everyday, 20,000 children die of hunger, poverty and a lack of treatment and medicines and millions of people are suffering a lack of their basic needs like food, clean water, clothes and shelter. If only a certain percentage of these funds were used for the benefit of the people worldwide, struggling to have an education, minimum health care, food and housing a lot could be done.

Nuclear power was developed in the name of establishing peace and now this is threatening the whole human race. Current existing amounts of nuclear power are enough to destroy not a single earth but dozens of equivalent earths. What will happen if the nuclear power will get into terrorists’ hand? This is today’s one of the biggest concerns for world leaders. So where are we now? Irrespective of interest everybody has to read, see, watch and listen to unwanted news full of violence, crime, rape, hunger, accident, war, epidemic, disaster etc in everyday life. However, dedicated persons and organizations are still optimistic for a better and peaceful globe.

Since the late 1800's, the global average temperature has increased about 0.4 to 0.8 degrees C. Current pollution trends put us on a path to 6°C of warming this century when 4°C or more would trigger the breakdown of civilization as we know it. To be closer to 2°C than 4°C we need to make global emissions start to decline before 2020. Scientists worry that human societies and natural ecosystems might not adapt to rapid climate changes. As an ecosystem consists of the living organisms and physical environment in a particular area, global warming could cause much harm. Countries throughout the world, therefore, drafted an agreement called the Kyoto Protocol to help limit it. Politicians and scientists agree we must limit global warming to less than 2°C to prevent runaway climate change. The coming decade will see whether humanity is capable of overcoming a complex web of environmental problems that pose an existential threat to civilization.

Political instability, recession, terrorism and disaster appeared dreadfully in the last decade. Without sorting out the existing recession, the world is facing the forecast of another recession. All these predicaments and social, religious and cultural problems are interrelated. The combination of these problems could be one of the reasons especially for political instability and terrorism and could catalyze them. By nature these problems are very complicated and hence must be in priority not to give birth to new and new problems. And without broader way of thinking of leaders, scientists and social activists solving these dreadful global problems could not be possible.

Due to the nature and extent of problems until the last decade we could have piles of suggestions, however; clutching the indispensable of problem suggestions and strategies could not be a lot. To overcome all the challenges of the decade these could be fundamentals:

1. Responsibility Vs Duty: Problems do not arise from those who do not know, but from those who know and pretend not to know. Due to this attitude, the world is in crisis. Until we purge ourselves of these problems nothing will happen on the journey to create a wonderful and safe world for future generations. Most people think seriously about their responsibilities and rights but not about their duty to others. So many use their freedom to violate others and deny them of their freedom. This attitude could be the result of mediocre thinking, selfishness and not respecting others. Only dutifulness creates beautifulness and, hence; needs respectfulness on it.

2. Individualism Vs Broadness: As Malcom X exclaimed, “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. And, as Albert Einstein said, “Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; for every man to present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.” The attitudes to use own freedom to rape others and deny them of their freedom could be the result of not having broad thinking and not respecting others. Ultimately this results in missing our goal of attaining world peace.

3. Generations Vs We: Even though people claim to love their generations, many are irresponsible when it comes to making the world a better place for them. Instead of taking action, they blame others and defend or hide their irresponsible behavior due to egoism and selfishness. They just want others to do the things. This is very interesting and sad. As human beings we are accountable for this deteriorating situation, as well as being responsible for improving the situation and saving our own children. So which way will we go? Will we be blamed as slaughterers, or kind and wise by our own children and grandchildren? This decision is in our hands. Currently, it is not too late, however, tomorrow it could be.

4. Local and Regional Development Vs Balanced Development: Social, religious, economical, political, environmental and cultural problems are interrelated in different ways. Development variation and economical discrepancy could cause these problems in many ways. Balanced development, therefore, could play very important role to minimize all these problems. Undoubtedly, balanced development concrete strategy, therefore, must be in world leaders’ high priority list if they really want to solve the global problems.

5. Disarmament Slogan Vs Strategy: Arms could not be the source for a secure feeling. This always creates knowing or unknowing pressure both to the owner and the other party. The United Nations Security Council Summit’s resolution calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons was its first resolution dedicated to nuclear proliferation and disarmament and the first chaired by a U.S. President. In addressing the Security Council’s members, President Obama declared: “The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.” Building on the extraordinary leadership of Presidents Obama and Medvedev, (who in April committed to working together to eliminate all nuclear weapons), this resolution is a significant step toward an international consensus on this goal and a stirring moment for so many who have worked on this issue for so long. World leaders are recognizing that whatever stability nuclear arsenals may have provided during the Cold War is now outweighed by the growing risks of proliferation and nuclear terrorism; and the only way to eliminate the nuclear threat is to eliminate all nuclear weapons. They have resolved to work together in the common interest of security to achieve this goal. 

Only the US has spent more than 5.5 trillion dollars in developing their nuclear arsenal and France has spent about 1.5 trillion dollars; these figures do not include the costs of testing, fissile material production, storage and disposal. As these figures are larger than many developing countries’ annual budget, we can imagine how much the situation of the world would improve if these funds were used for the benefit of the people worldwide who are currently struggling to have education, minimum health care, food and housing. Eliminating all nuclear weapons will require people from around the world to get involved in different ways and levels. Signed by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev last April, the treaty commits the two nations to cut the number of their deployed strategic (i.e. long-range) nuclear warheads to 1550 each -- a reduction of 30 percent in the number of these weapons of mass destruction. By providing for both a cutback in nuclear weapons and an elaborate inspection system to enforce it, New START is the most important nuclear disarmament treaty for a generation. Undoubtedly they would be historic world leaders if New START will not be limited in document but will be implemented with concrete strategies to bring real change in the world creating favorable environment to the future generations to live in.

6. Conversion: The basis of any problem and solution is the individual. The present world situation is the result of our way of thinking. Some people are using their maximum effort to divide people and to control others to be so called powerful. If everybody thinks about each other we would not have problems, but we are habitual in our thinking and define everything according to ourselves or group or community or country. Religious persons are also dividing people in the name of religion. The basic of every religion is the same – love. Religion is religion if it unites people and not if divides people. We therefore, need conversion from leaders to masters, religious persons to spiritual persons to achieve a level of World Peace.

7. Good deeds network: Undoubtedly a peaceful world is everybody’s yearning and dream and many philosophers and humanitarian activists are optimistic that we will get there, however; every day results make it seem that we are not making much progress. The world peace mission has been complicated because of the divergence of people involved and their ways of thinking. This suggests to us that we need to work in different ways to coordinate and cooperate with each other to achieve this goal. Although this mission is very difficult, it is not impossible if we are serious about bringing change.

Self-discipline is inevitable for the continuation of nature’s beauty and not to disturb it and that most be in high priority to keep our generations’ safe and present generation not in pressure. Disturbance starts in the natural system due to the lack of self-discipline. The entire problem in the natural system is only due to the pandemonium activities. If the sun asks why to give heat and light and plants raise question why to give oxygen, what could be in the nature? – No one can imagine. They are just fulfilling their duties without any expectation and, thus, natural system is systematized. So within dutifulness there is beautifulness. Obviously the challenges to be faced in this decade are very dreadful and challenging, however; after summarizing above mentioned points the basic of all problems seems the way of thinking. If we, therefore, change the way of thinking, all the problems will be sorted out without any difficulty. The only way to make the world livable for our future generations, hence, is the revolution in way of thinking.

The writer is a Global Coordinator, Kapilvastu Day Movement. He can be reached at omram2002@gmail.com 

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