A few days ago, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko warned that he might expect a monster evacuation of millions of city residents if the Russians continued to destroy the electricity and water supplies. While Washington urges Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to at least maintain the claim that he is interested in negotiating with the Russians, Putin’s army continues to inflict innocent victims every day. Klitschko’s statement should encourage the West in particular to take more action – Belgium’s immigration numbers are already staggering. The Ukrainian winter threatens to become a real horror.
We live in a multiple crisis and our brain doesn’t quite know how to deal with it.
On the other side of the world, Beijing is “steadfastly” adhering to its policy of no virus spread, which locks up millions of Chinese in lockdowns. Last weekend, a representative of the National Health Commission spoke of “imported infections” and a situation that is “more complex and grim” than ever before. There is no doubt that the Chinese government is exploiting the epidemic to control the Chinese population more than usual. But in Belgium too, we still know how devastating the Covid-19 virus was.
In Egypt, the 27th Climate Conference kicked off the same weekend, amid a barrage of ominous numbers and forecasts. A new report from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization indicates a 10mm rise in sea levels since January 2020. The years between 2015 and 2022 are the warmest years on record. Glaciers are melting faster than ever.
The war in Ukraine, the effects of Covid-19 and the climate crisis are the three biggest stories of recent years, and all three interact to this day. It’s a condition that seems relatively new to anyone born after World War II: not one big crisis, but several major crises at once. French philosopher Edgar Morin coined a word for this kind of world: “multiple crisis.” In 1999, he and co-author Anne Brigitte Kern published a manifesto in which he spoke of intertwined and overlapping crises, or – with the French Battle – a “complex unit” of problems, contradictions, and uncontrollable processes.
Those who do not want to bury their heads in the sand today, but also do not want to plunge into depression, must be able to change perspective intelligently.
British historian Adam Toze picked up the word a few weeks ago in his column for The financial times. It quoted Larry Summers, a former US Treasury secretary, who recently spoke of “the most complex, disjointed and intertwined challenges” of the past 40 years. The devil lies in that last trait: it’s not the scale of the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, or carbon dioxide emissions that together are causing a multiple crisis, but the fact that they interact in such a way that the knot is nearly impossible to untangle.
To stick with the recent news, the constant bombing of Kiev is only serving to harden attitudes toward Russia, leaving less Russian fossil fuels than what was already there. This shortage is fueling the frantic search for fossil energy elsewhere in the world, brutally pushing the climate battle into the background. As a result, more greenhouse gases are released into the air, causing sea levels to rise faster. The war in Ukraine, along with disrupted supply lines in the course of the Covid crisis, also contributed to the biggest price hike in decades. The fact that China continues to adhere to the policy of non-proliferation of the virus only exacerbates the economic crisis. As a result, in Belgium, for example, more wood is suddenly being burned, which is the worst energy option for our living environment.
It’s a frustrating vicious cycle. We live in a multiple crisis and our brain doesn’t quite know how to deal with it. Interacting disasters leave no room for hope, and it is hope that provides the energy to solve problems. Those who do not want to bury their heads in the sand today, but also do not want to plunge into depression, must be able to change perspective intelligently. Shifting from the very small personal happiness or misfortune, to the macro level of global politics, with a good understanding of how one affects the other. It’s a promise talentfrom today in a new design that has been working on for months, to help you with that as much as possible.
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