A for Animals

1. Shaping a Sustainable  Future

It is time to shape a sustainable future that respects all life on earth.

With its formidable creative intelligence compared to all other known species, humanity has realized many of its dreams. A big dream was realized in 1968 with the ‘Apollo 11’ moon landing and two people walking on the moon’s surface. From the moon mission, the astronauts sent images back to Earth of the globe they had left. Planet Earth appeared in the universe with a hallucinating beautiful array of colors characterized by the color blue, and the iconic images of ‘the blue planet’ were greeted with joy and enthusiasm by people everywhere on the globe.

2. A Changing  Earth

Today, 55 years later, several astronauts report that a gray veil of pollution is beginning to lay over the globe.

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This gray veil in the biosphere, created by toxic gases in a heated atmosphere, is a tangible visible image and symbol of the great challenge that humanity now faces to prevent the development of climate disasters and the already catastrophic mass extinction in the diversity of species. The goal is to recreate a sustainable climate and species diversity that re-evokes the color spectrum of the blue planet and ensures both the survival of species and the planet.

3. Rethinking Our Relationship  with Nature

For too long, civilizations on the globe have been built on the assumption that they stand above nature, just as the human being by science was seen in a duality of soul and body and not as an organic unity. Nature is still perceived as dead matter that one could and can intervene in for one’s purposes without major consequences – an apparently inexhaustible pantry.

4. Human  Superiority?

Impressed by their own creative intelligence – as the crowning glory of creation – homo sapiens still believe they stand above all other species and underestimate the crucial importance that species diversity has for continued life on Earth.

5. Acknowledging  the Reality

The waste products in the broad sense and the displaced or unforeseen negative side effects for the climate and life on the globe have now become so numerous and destructive that we now face a new reality that cannot be denied. This requires us to tell a new story about who we are and what needs to be done to ensure a sustainable and colorful, diverse life on the globe.

6. Seeking Guidance  from the Past

The question we must ask as the starting point for this narrative is the one that American marine biologist and poet Rachel Carson already asked in 1962 with her epoch-making book ‘Silent Spring’: ‘Can a civilization wage relentless war on life without destroying itself and without losing the right to call itself civilized?’ Then she was almost alone in a storm of great opposition from business, agriculture, and the political establishment to ask the question.

7. Our Current  Impact

Over half a century later, it is a reality that we, with climate scientists Adriana de Palma and Andy Purvis’ words, ‘today use fossil energy as fuel in almost all sectors of our economy, and we produce carbon dioxide much faster than ecosystems can absorb it’. Our footprint on about 75 percent of the land surface is visible even from outer space, and many regions are facing direct threats. We now cultivate over 30 percent of Earth’s land area increasingly intensively, and livestock alone occupies an area the size of North and South America combined.

8. Questioning the  Status Quo

All these interpretations created not least as a justification for a raging industrialization with ecosystem dominance and a modern digitalization, which has removed man more and more from the natural basis and created a rigid thought contrast between culture and nature, are now being questioned decisively in light of the ongoing and increasingly visible degradation of the biosphere, ecosystems, and biodiversity.

9. Facing Reality and  Recognizing Errors

A completely necessary recognition that despite much economic success and many technological, scientific, and resource-based achievements, there has been and still is something fundamentally wrong with the way civilization and human societies, especially in the so-called Western world as a kind of role model, have built up their wealth and prosperity is emerging. It is difficult to penetrate the sound barrier in favor of the new and re-establishment of the natural values that concern us all.

10. Impending  Climate Change

Climate change caused by temperature increases with either extreme weather events such as drought or heavy rain followed by sea-level rises, flooding, or storms are a reality in many regions of the globe. An accelerating thaw of ice formations in the poles is a reality. That a quarter of all animal and plant species are threatened with extinction is also a reality, as well as two-thirds of 20,000 examined animal species have disappeared. At the same time, it is a reality that climate change and the loss of biodiversity affect each other in a vicious circle.

11. The Interconnectedness  of Life

The loss of diversity of animal and plant species makes it difficult to find clean drinking water, diseases more easily jump to humans, and generally the global carbon for growth with a reduction of plant species – the carbon that causes the climate crisis. Ecosystems that have lost biodiversity store less carbon and are worse at withstanding extreme weather events and other climate changes.

12. Crafting a  New Narrative

In the new narrative about who we are and what we can do about both the climate crisis and the catastrophic decline in biodiversity, the word cohesion must play a crucial role. We must quickly leave our outdated and destructive position as the masters of nature and a neoliberal ideology that places us in an increasingly individualized competitive position towards each other. In a way, both positions draw on the same distancing and alienating driving force both in relation to nature and our fellow species.

The Danish Natural Philosopher  H.C. Ørsted and Electromagnetism

The Danish natural philosopher H.C. Ørsted, with his discovery of electromagnetism, spoke of ‘the spirit in nature’. Without us as romantics of the time needing to idealize nature, either the grand nature or nature in the individual, we can be inspired by these nature romantics. These romantics, who were also practical explorers of nature, help us understand that we too, each and every one of us, are part of nature and its ecosystems. If we inflict violence on nature, we also, in a certain sense, inflict violence on ourselves and our fellow human beings. By harming nature, we become mentally poorer and one-dimensional like the nature around us.

Inspirations from Philosophy  and Poetry

The Chinese Tao philosophy, with its idea of unity between nature and man, can inspire us in relation to the thought of increased unity. Buber’s mantra is to transform the ‘it’ relationship into the ‘you’ relationship. The English poet Shelley paints a vivid picture of the intimate unity between man and nature through the inspiration from natural phenomena: ‘The airs and streams renew their joyous tone; The ants, the bees, the swallows reappear’.

International Agreements  and Declarations

It would be a significant societal, political, and cultural advance if society, through its legislation and practice, began to place mankind as part of nature. Moving away from one-sided pragmatic economy and utilitarian thinking in relation to nature is essential. The Paris Agreement of 2019 and the Montreal Agreement of 2022 set forth goals for climate change mitigation and biodiversity preservation.

The State of Nature in  Denmark

In Denmark, the value orientation in relation to climate and species diversity needs drastic change. Denmark’s record in preserving biodiversity is alarmingly low, with only 2-3 percent of its land designated as nature parks compared to the Montreal declaration’s 30 percent. More than a simple change of attitude is needed. Policymakers must act decisively to reverse the impoverishment of nature caused mainly by intensive farming. This agricultural practice has led to a decline in many species, disrupted food chains, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Given the magnitude of the challenge, political hesitation in initiating reforms in agriculture is a significant concern.

Pesticides and  Their Effects

Rachel Carson, in her groundbreaking book ‘Silent Spring’, warned of the devastating effects of pesticides on the ecosystem. Over half a century later, intensive farming remains the primary cause of nature’s impoverishment in Denmark. The excessive use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers is decimating insect populations, leading to a decline in bird numbers as their food sources disappear. The resulting damage to the ecosystem is profound, and the need for change is urgent.

A Call to  Action

The decline in biodiversity and the uniformity of nature is a grim reality that many choose to overlook. However, advocating for sustainability, climate restoration, and the revitalization of nature is a noble cultural endeavor. This effort encompasses both small daily actions and larger national and international initiatives, all aimed at preserving the rich diversity of life.

SHAPE Your  Future Life

At SHAPE Your Future Life, our mission is to inform and inspire. We provide evidence-based information to guide individuals in shaping a sustainable future. By crafting a new narrative for our collective identity and aspirations, we can ensure a brighter future for ourselves, future generations, and all life on Earth.

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