The example that you gave of SYMUN tries, to a certain extent, to reflect these values. It is a United Nations simulation, organized by university students from the Carlos III University of Madrid on their own initiative, with some linked to the Common Action Forum.
Each year about three hundred high school students participate, united in their interest in interactively learning about how the system of negotiations between countries in the United Nations functions. Ultimately, a small group is selected to attend a seminar program and participate in another simulation outside of Spain.
The main objective is to demonstrate the importance of curiosity and dialogue, as well as to bring awareness to the fact that young people are capable of reproducing certain faults that are currently present in certain prestigious organizations, faults which prevent us from moving towards a common goal.
Therefore, if they want to change the world, it is important that they understand the authenticity of the cause, rather than confuse it with the status that comes with prestigious membership.
A.L: In the recent essay Where to land, the French sociologist Bruno Latour suggests that the explosion of inequalities and denial of the climate situation are the same phenomenon. According to Latour, the new climate regime is seeking the deregulation of markets and migration flows. Should we approach these conflicts as the same problem? I ask because climate concerns seem to have a scientific answer, and the regulation of markets seems more to do with taming financial globalization.
R.H: Bruno Latour is one of the most interesting thinkers of our time, and I sympathize with him even more because he seems to avoid playing into ambition, refraining from representing a given flag or political group.
What he does is offer a system of thought that breaks with traditional epistemological conventions and puts us before a complex, dynamic and contradictory world. Now that is profoundly political!
To begin answering your question, the philosopher Isabelle Stengers, close to Latour, already bluntly posed it in a publication called The cosmopolitical proposal. The issue is not that capitalism ignores climate, but rather that climate ignores capitalism.
I can say that my first scientific specialty is climatology and since I started studying it, my first point of departure was to focus less on statistical averages and learn to observe the linking of climatic elements and their rhythms of operation.
The main consequences of global warming take place exactly in the phenomena of these rhythmic peaks. But also, in a less abstract way, urban data already seemed convincingly responsible for this change in behavior. This topic is not new. The London air almost ended Churchill’s government.
When cities are transformed into merchandise and grow without limits, the effects on the atmosphere are immediate: pollution, change in rainfall, imbalances in the absorption of energy and an increase in temperature. It is notable that when we look up the temperature for a certain place and time, for example, 45 degrees Celsius, that this temperature is measured by a sensor in the shade and two meters above a lawn.
The sensation at street level is inhuman. Moreover, in order to maintain the consumer society, it is necessary to modify environments and areas that should remain preserved. There is no doubt that we are damaging the planet on different levels, and that a great deal of the world population no longer has access to clean air.
But hey, this is the admirable part of capitalism, in how it manages to turn its problems into merchandise and maintain its own state of affairs. They call this particular issue the lovely name of “socioenvironmental entrepreneurship.”
The positive side of all this is that there is already a consciousness about effecting change that, although is not hegemonic, is not marginal either. Additionally, in terms of the economy, more possibilities are opening up for growth of gross domestic product to cease to exist as a value of universal measurement.
Instead, it could be replaced by a more holistic and sustainable notion. The question that no one can answers is whether we will have enough time to make all these advances. If we continue with reformism in reformism, I tend to be pessimistic.
A.L: The philosopher Peter Singer applies the utilitarian philosophy in an effort to remedy the problems of the world. For this Australian thinker, the greatest good for the greatest number of people means that we should fund NGOs before theaters or cinema.
Singer prefers to donate money to NGOs rather than to scientific research, which is a safe, but long-term remedy. What do you or does your organization propose to promote the arts and sciences, without that meaning forgetting about poverty?
R.H: It is difficult to disagree with the position of Peter Singer, especially when the scenario of causality is quite limited. The problem is that history is not flat and this discourse feeds on social realities affected by the interests of power.
Thus, many governments deceive their population, making them accept that to recover the economy, they need to sacrifice culture, education, health and the State itself. It is fundamental to exercise a certain relativism, or else the ends justifying the means will always be legitimized, and the aegis of economic logic will be accentuated to the detriment of all others. The end result is more inequality and a more restricted horizon for change.