The Right to Fresh Air

Natella Speranskaya

Continuation of the article Man and Planet: the "Anthropocene Virus".

Of course, there will be people who see the idea of giving our planet a name as utopian and ineffective. However, even if we take severe measures to protect the planet's ecosystem and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will gradually switch to renewable energy sources, but we will not change our way of thinking. All our efforts will be in vain. Time will pass, and we will find ourselves standing on the same precipice, looking into the same abyss. This is why Hares Youssef attaches such importance to the initiative to provide the planet with a name and recognise it as a living being. It’s more than just a symbolic act. It is an attempt to arouse the environmental consciousness of humanity.

Our thinking is the source of the emergence of social, economic, political and other projects. Everything we possess today, calculating damage and trying to predict every risk, is a product of our mentality. Unless we change our mentality, we will be doomed to tread on the same rake.

Unfortunately, the make-up of humans is such that they only appreciate the value of something when they lose it. We’re prepared to sacrifice anything for a glass of water if the water suddenly disappears. However, we can live without water for around 10-14 days, but how long can we live without air?

Hares Youssef believes that fresh air is the highest value, and every living being has the right to breathe fresh air from birth. We have now lost that right however, and it seems we are doing everything to secure a future where we will have to spend our days under glass domes. In addition to natural forms of air pollution, such as floods, tornadoes, forest fires and other natural phenomena, the anthropogenic factor plays a huge role: the chemical industry, oil production, motor transport, nonferrous and ferrous metallurgy, the building materials industry, and power plants.

750,000 Chinese die annually from smog poisoning. India, where high levels of unsanitary conditions have led to soil degradation, annually emits 2,480 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Pakistan, the third most polluted country, is known for its increased lung disease and cancer. Experts have found that, as a result of the harmful effects of fine suspended particles that enter the air when various types of fossil fuels are burned, 40,000 children die every year, even before they reach the age of five. The pursuit of economic growth is too costly for us, and if we do not stop, then, in the words of Hares Youssef, we are sure to find ourselves under glass domes, forced to find clean air for ourselves to survive. The right to clean air must be part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This action is vital.

Hares Youssef says: “Throughout the history of humankind, poets and philosophers have treated our planet as a Mother. Aren't we, as living organisms, the flesh and blood of this superorganism? We are created from the same elements as our Mother. We inhale the same air, and we drink the same water. And even if we stop treating the planet as our Mother, we will always be its children. We breathe its love like fish in the ocean.

“We shouldn’t forget that we live in an integral energetic living organism, and are part of a common ecosystem. We don’t appreciate that our negative influences on this ecosystem have a direct impact on our soul. Before too long, the consequences could be irreversible.

“What are we to do and where are we to start? The formation of eco-awareness, which will completely change our attitude to the planet, should begin with its acquisition of the name Gaiia, which is consonant with the name of the ancient Greek Goddess of the Earth Gaia, the creator of all living things. Gaiia is the soul of our planet. By giving the Earth a name that will become a symbol of the Mother, we will proceed to a new stage of our development. This will raise us, as the human species, to a higher level.

“The ground you walk on is Gaiia's skin, and your activity is, in a sense, a massage. It’s important to understand that your well-being and health are a reflection of Gaiia's health. Gaiia feels like leaves on trees that react to the air quality, corals that measure its temperature. Gaiia drinks water with its breathing soil; she absorbs the dirty rain from mining pipes, oil refineries and metallurgical plants, mills and factories, whose fury arises from insane greed, frenzied desire. Surely you must understand by now that your illnesses are the symptoms of Gaiia's ailment? Surely you have been able by now to connect the cause of these unknown diseases with the result of your unbridled economy? Hasn't the coronavirus revealed to you the nature of Gaiia?”


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