Forty years. More. However you count it, from whichever moment this started, our so-called leaders have been aware that we are living on borrowed time for decades. And what have they done?
For forty years we have known that this big blue ball, our planet home, the Earth, the natural and human systems which function in it and on it and form all that it means for us to exist, our home is suffering. We, the people of the World, are steadily and inexorably brutalising our home, and now the foundations are trembling.
Now we know, our intelligence and science and experience shows us, our victim, our much-beaten servant Gaia, has a fever. This fever is the warming climate to which we are already committed and which will continue to rage for many decades to come.
We know, as our ‘leaders’ know, that for decades we have been borrowing from the future to pay for our present prosperity. Our capacity to exploit the resources of nature and the resources of our poorer neighbours has now extended to include our ability to exploit the resources of time.
And so the time has come round once again, when our leaders will gather together for the 21st time to talk about what is happening, what might happen, and what might be done. To talk, yet not to act. To argue, yet not to decide. To show us, their citizens, their mandate, that they are ‘taking this problem seriously’, and yet, in making the face and making the noise, doing too little, too late.
If we let them, they will go away from these talks, like all the others, with no agreement, no commitment, no decision to take action. They will set aside the urgency of our problems once again and pass the problem on for future generations.
We need to let them know, in clear terms, that we will not tolerate their indecision any longer. Not in our name, not with our mandate. We are no longer just concerned, no longer worried, we are angry.
In our human history, there have been crimes so brutal, so appalling, that even now, many years after slavery has been abolished and so nearly eradicated, many decades on from the abomination of the Holocaust, these crimes still resonate so strongly that we are reluctant to recall them, we are almost afraid to mention their names. Yet here and now we must.
The evil that is slavery costs the lives of millions of people, and the liberties of millions more. The evil that was the Holocaust, six million Jews and five million more human lives.
And we see the figures, the statistics and the estimates of those who will be displaced, whose lives will be cut short by disease, famine, drought. The lives already lost and yet to be lost. The dead people, the innocent victims of our polluting, destructive, acidifying, climate changing ways.
Hundreds of millions.
Hundreds of millions.
If we do not demand action to prevent this now, we are signing up, in advance, to another, most brutal, most evil of crimes against humanity. And we should shout this out loud and clear for all to hear:
Not in my name.
Not with my consent.
We must make it clear to our leaders that we hold them to account. This appalling future of suffering, this crime against humanity, can be resisted. It can be reduced. Millions of lives can be saved. But only if we act now. The time to talk is done. We have heard the talk. We are sick of the talk. They must act.
Our leaders have on their shoulders the heavy burden of responsibility for the well-being of us all. But let us be clear; doing nothing, at this point in time, with the cost so transparent, is a conscious decision to permit evil. And so we say to you our leaders; by this measure we will see your true worth. By your decisions we will see the colour of your souls, and pray that they are not as black as oil.
And we must tell them, again, and again – not in my name. Not with my consent. Not with my mandate.
You are not our masters, you are our representatives. We have entrusted you with the power and the means to act for us. If you will not act, we will judge you, as history will judge you, and we will see you as you truly are, to the depths of your souls. And you will lead us no longer into darkness.
We want you to take action now, in our name and in the name of generations to come. We want you to turn away from the path of evil and fight with us and for us to protect our fellow citizens, our brethren.
This is our World, our home, these our lives, and we are angry. And if you resist us, we will bring you down. In all the nations of the Earth, we the people will stand for what is good and what is right. You can stand against us, or you can stand with us.
This glorious, magnificent, vital, big blue ball that is Gaia, the Earth – this is our World, and we will fight for it. This planet is our home, and we will defend it. These children are our children, and we will stand before those who threaten them and cherish and protect them. We are the citizens of the World, and we want action. We sisters and brothers, parents and children, rich and poor, we call you now to account, and say to you; we are your justification, your voters, your mandate, and we are telling you our will.
We want you to take action to protect us all against the ravages of exploitation and the abuse of the planet and our climate.
We want action, and we want it now.