Thursday, June 18, 2015

dialogue won't save “Our Common Home”



The Anthropocene results from everyone's ancestors. Its future belongs to everyone's children. Obviously: One Earth, one ultimately shared horizon.

The Vatican's Encyclical last month on climate change—"On Care for Our Common Home"—urges dialogue (35 instances of the term), whereas vital need is for trans-continental leadership between governments, which has been too slow for decades. It's nice, though, that the Encyclical was issued on Habermas' birthday, June 18. Happy trails, J├╝rgen!

The encyclical is complex. I won't give a knee-jerk reaction like some "experts" have done, a day after its publication. (I have in mind a particular philosopher's self-undermining view of the Vatican on carbon credits).

Anyway, the distance between pastoral appeal (urging, argument, critique, and recommendations) and mechanics of public policy is large. (I think that the Vatican duly appreciates that.)

Fortunately, a 1970s-level call for revolution was inching ahead 30 years ago, now reaching binding commitments in the UN Climate Change Convention.

But the UN is powerless against the veto of mafia governments. A healthy planet depends on regional leadership, which depends on community leadership, which depends on leading lives that are leading locally. 

Generally speaking, healthy communities should need to show strong solidarity for progressive elected leadership that ensures UN leadership. We have to continue to articulate what is intolerable, what matters, and how development will become sustainable. The ultimate locus of “ministry” here is the entire global enterprise of higher education.

Pervasive interdisciplinarity is required, in research and in the manifold interfaces of practice. Jeffrey Sachs shows best, perhaps, how the mechanics of progressive political economics can go. We must appreciate the difference between (1) necessary technological sophistication for community-based, regional leadership that shapes humanistic international governance; and (2) avoidable technocratic tendencies.

Progressive political philosophy has struggled to effect leadership through curriculum for decades. Higher education generally has sought to effect progressive leadership. The philosophical mission might be, ideally, to compose and excellently employ good constellations in truly progressive directions. Generally, that's the Event of appropriating the future to our humanity, which must be done by comprehensively interdisciplinary design.

Imagine: a UN that really leads inter-continental sustainability because regional citizen leadership will not allow nationalist mafias to prevail.