What next, Europa? An Open Letter from Gaia (as seen by Prof Alex Warleigh-Lack)

Dear Europa,

Now then, Europa dear, I hope you’ve got over that nasty business with my grandson. I’ve always thought he went too far, too often. I hope you’ll be prepared to see my point of view sympathetically despite the lines of kinship between me and Mr Can’t-Keep-It-In-His-Pants.

 You see, Europa, as the Earth goddess, I am locked in a symbiotic relationship with all humans, and indeed all of Nature. And I’m getting very concerned at how your species is causing this balance to go way out of kilter. You’ve got to stop emitting the gases that heat me up. And you’ve got to stop destroying so many other species.

It’s becoming impossible to keep the balance right, and if that goes, then, as I think you young people say, it’s game over. Not for me. For you. And my friend from the inter-Pantheon club, Shiva, gets to do his purify-through-destruction thing.

 Now, I know it’s not all your fault. And I know that you’ve been doing a fair bit to help.  But somebody has to take the lead, and given that we’re family – sort of – I’m looking to you. My time cycles are much slower than yours, but even I am getting very worried by how slowly your species is responding to my signs of crisis. And yes, I know – I’m a Greek Goddess, remember – how prone to in-fighting and selfishness human politics can be.

So I won’t ask for everything at once. But do please do your best to make sure the next set of your leaders take me seriously. And in particular, could you make sure of the following?

The next leaders of your continent must think inter-generationally. They must see the Big Ecological Picture: if your species is to have a civilised future, you can’t think only about today, but instead you must weigh up the consequences of your actions and choices for generations to come. And don’t think you can just rely on technology to clean up after making bad choices. Take it from me, you can’t.

They also need to think much more about social justice as part of the transition to a sustainable economy. This European Semester and six-pack regime is the wrong way to go. Ask your leaders to focus instead on fair shares for all – within my carrying capacity, of course.

Finally, could you make sure that your next leaders are charismatic and able to put the case for all these measures both powerfully and repeatedly? People who are prepared to use the system to change it – perhaps by taking Article 11 of the TFEU at is word, and doing all they can to turn your continent into an Ecological Union?

Europa dear, do please try your best. It’s getting so tiring holding Shiva back, and I’m not as young as I was.

With love

Granny Gaia