Let me start by wishing everyone the very best for a new year and the decade we have just started.
This one is going to be different folks. Like I wrote here, this decade begins with fundamentally different challenges and opportunities compared to any other decade that preceded us. Because, before this, all the challenges we faced were of a localized nature – for individual nations, for businesses or families.
We enter this decade with the kind of issues that have never faced humanity. Our planet itself is endangered. And the response requires a kind of trans-national foresight and leadership that has no human precedence.
We endured through Copenhagen. The rich nations were condescendingly miserly in what they offered; the poor constrained hopes of their development. And Earth continued its march to slow but steady warming.
Its a double whammy really – just waiting to happen. India and China with its 3 billion people finally getting opportunities for dignity and affluence. The earth warming up. And the rich western world, with all the wars and aging populations – not having the financial wherewithal to devote anything more than 100 billion dollars to countries that would be asked to thwart at worst, or redirect at best, their growth plans.
In the larger historical and global context, the 100 billion dollars don’t make any sense. For a country like the United Kingdom that owes its wealth predominantly to its colonial exploitations – to devote 1.5 billion euros borders on being egregious – especially when it involves the developing nations re-purposing their developmental agendas to remedy the damage caused by development primarily in developed nations. The complication is of course, this is the only planet we have – and humanity has no choice.
And then there is religious extremism that is exploding across the world. There are intractable political issues, there are issues on sharing natural resources. There is the growing world population. Of fulfilling global energy needs. And so much else.
As we get ready to face the next decade – one thing is certain – we are on the verge of tumultuous and transformative times. This decade shall be of immense challenges and also immense opportunities. All we can hope for is for sense to prevail. For the sake of our beautiful planet. And ourselves.
Happy New Year everyone.