Imagine an already crumbling big building housing about two hundred families in a coastal area which has suddenly been exposed to even higher risks due to increased frequency and intensity of sea storms. Surely in such a situation protecting the safety of the building should become the topmost common priority of all the inhabitants of this building.

But imagine a situation in which instead of getting together to protect the building with unity-based work, several families living in this building increase their mutual fighting. Some of them fight openly and some others use proxies to fight their bigger rivals, although in the process the danger of an open and no-holds barred fight breaking out between the biggest and most powerful rivals also remains. As this urge for defeating and dominating all others grows stronger among the more powerful occupants of this building, they stock their homes with more and more weapons and explosives to make their position stronger in comparison with their rivals. Hence while the danger of the crumbling building collapsing on being exposed to high intensity storms remains, at the same time the danger of the building being blown apart by these explosives is also added to this in a very dangerous and non-rational way.

However a question can be raised here—how can anyone act in such a non-rational way? This can happen when some persons are so infatuated with the pursuit of dominance over others that they stop thinking in terms of welfare and safety of other people and think only of dominating them. Actually in this irrational and aggressive quest it is quite likely that those who seek dominance over others may themselves also perish along with others in the blasts and collapse of the building, or in other ways, but being blinded by aggression they cannot see this.  What is more, when the inhabitants of this building are engrossed all the time in either fighting or escaping from this, they will never be able to either give the necessary time and attention to carrying out the necessary repairs or to organize the cooperation so necessary for this.

Most of the nearly 200 families or units living in this building—some big, some small—may be actually willing to attend to the most important priorities of safety, but they are so caught up in the web of a different agenda of aggression (or escaping from it) set up by the most powerful inhabitants that taking forward their own priorities of safety becomes very difficult for them.

This badly endangered building can be used as quite a realistic symbol to describe the present-day situation of our entire planet earth. At a time when the life-nurturing conditions of our planet are threatened by several serious environmental problems led by climate change, instead of trying to check these with unity, there is an increase of war-mongering, most dangerous wars are being fought and discussed, including the possibility of the Third World War and a nuclear war. In the process the safety of all humanity and life-forms, in fact the basic life-nurturing conditions are being threatened more and more.

Despite its complete irrationality bordering on insanity, this is happening at world level because of the quest for dominance by some which has blinded them not just to the welfare and safety of other people but even to the survival of basic life-nurturing conditions on earth. Thus we have the mad, insane situation of the most dangerous wars breaking out or planned or discussed at the time of existential environmental crisis, or the most attention and resources being devoted to the race for most destructive weapons.

To carry the comparison with the imaginary endangered building further, this is happening despite the fact that most people do not want this. In fact over 95% of the world’s people do not want this, the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries do not want this, but still this is happening in our deeply endangered world.

Surely checking this ruinous path of destruction should become the biggest priority for more and more people. There is a famous Hindi poem which says—when sorrows have become as huge as the Himalaya, then surely a river of hope too must arise from this source. As more and more people realize the enormity of the catastrophic risks towards which this disastrous path is leading, they will make more efforts to find some ways and means of stopping this disaster while there is still time to do so. So the task ahead is to take the message of the seriousness of these high risks to more and more people as well as the reasons and the forces behind this. Secondly, efforts linking local and global initiatives must emerge at many levels to check this drift towards disaster, strengthening the unity of the movements of peace with justice and movements of environment protection with justice.

Note—Those interested in reading this writer’s novella titled ‘We Shall Overcome’  based on an endangered housing complex being used as a metaphor for a badly threatened planet can read this at or else in the author’s recently published book A Day in 2071. The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and Earth without Borders.

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