Are you concerned about the increasing levels of inequality, intolerance and disinformation in today’s world?
Are you worried that neo-conservative and libertarian views are undermining democratic government and the welfare state?
Are you fearful about the effects of climate change, pollution and loss of bio-diversity?
Then the moral values of Eco-humanity should appeal to you.
We read so often about the world’s problems that we fail to realise how much we have to be thankful for. In the West, from the end of the Second World War until about 1990, people experienced the greatest increase in health and wealth that the world has ever seen. Improvements in medical techniques and the introduction of the welfare state have added 15 years to life expectancy. Access to new technologies has enabled the less well-off and most women to enjoy a much more life-fulfilling existence. There have been no wars between major powers and European nations have lived in peaceful co-existence. We have been able to unite behind a common set of moral values based on the liberal principles of freedom and equality, together with humanist, scientifically inspired rationality. We have become a much more tolerant, gentler and more caring society.
Since 1990 life in the West has taken a step backwards, climate change, new technology and globalisation have all altered the way society operates. The divisions between rich and poor have begun to grow again. Liberal humanist values have come under increasing attack from the disaffected. Libertarian and neo-liberal attitudes have celebrated the success of the rich and marginalised those living in penury. There has been an increase in national and racial intolerance, known as populism.
When society changes there are always two options; either retrench, rally round the flag, try to prevent change and look after one’s own, or reach out and co-operate and try to make the new society work for the good of everybody. Right now, everything seems to be pointing towards the first alternative. Populist politicians are rejecting the rational approach of liberal humanism. Global warming change is not happening, according to the populists, even though records prove that average temperatures are rising inexorably every year. America has already elected a President who denies climate change and a Vice-President who denies the scientific truth of evolution.
Liberal humanists have become complacent and unused to confronting those in power bearing false messages. All people, that believe in the principles of freedom, equality and rationality, need to unite and reject tribal, nationalist policies. They need to trumpet the virtues of the liberal humanist philosophy of life and actively support its principles. However, this alone is not enough. In this materialist age, there appears to be little more purpose in life than the acquisition of wealth and the raising of children. The unrestricted pursuit of wealth is destroying Earth’s biosphere and is threatening our children’s future. We need to adopt an eco-friendlier lifestyle if we are to continue to thrive as a species. Unless we humans modify our self-centred drive for material acquisition, our offspring will suffer. We need to enhance our liberal humanist values by embracing an ecologically sustainable lifestyle. Only then can we save the planet for our children.