The creation of a sustainable, environmentally friendly and community-respecting development model is beyond any doubt the most urgent challenge humanity will be facing in the following decades. As hundreds of scientific studies have shown, contradicted only by a meagre group of greedy and selfish men on the payroll of oil and automobiles corporations, the unrenewable, fossil-based production model that was adopted in industry and transportation ever since the first industrial revolution has failed: the indiscriminate usage of such resources, together with the destruction of immaculate regions of our planet for farming, has dramatically damaged the fragile equilibrium that made the Earth suitable for life.
At present times, the consequences of such a wicked industrial model can be witnessed in every country of our world: a significant increase of the average global temperature, desertification, rising sea levels, droughts, increasingly hot summers as well as heavy rains causing floods and snowfalls. Despite someone arguing global warming is fake news because he felt the weather was colder from his skyscraper in NYC, more and more local communities are being affected by this completely man-made phenomenon, with droughts in south California, floods in central Italy, wildfires all over Australia and more.
All things being the same, the predictions of the effects of climate change are far from reassuring: at the current rate, global average temperature should increase by 2 °C by 2050, with some regions of the planet being affected more than others. In particular, temperatures will rise more in Africa, which will then be threatened by weather phenomena damaging the economy and population. Between 350 and 600 million people will experience severe food and water shortage and it is very likely that, if nothing is done to prevent such changes, a massive wave of climatic migrations and social upheavals will burst all over the Earth. In the worst possible scenario, such catastrophe would turn into a class struggle, with the wealthiest part of the population, by then a ridiculously small percentage of the whole humanity, taking over the remaining sources of water, food and energy, securing themselves in the remaining safe regions of the planet, while the poorest half is starving to death.
Global warming is no longer a spooky, far possibility, but rather an incumbency that needs to be addressed by solid, irreprehensible policies by the national, European and global authorities. Many have tried to depict climate change as a worry of the wealthy, while the working class is oppressed by far worse issues: job insecurity, social safety, delocalisation of industries, migrations and so on and so forth. According to many right wing politicians, global warming is not as pressing for the poor, but only for the wealthy, since they will no longer be able to spend their holidays in their Caribbean islands, submerged by the sea. In my opinion, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest lies ever spoken. As scientific research has shown, the effects of climate change will hit harder those who are already in greater need of food, water and energy. Global warming could be the cause of an unprecedented social struggle for resources and this is precisely why the progressive parties of every country should focus their efforts on preventing the worst scenario to happen.
The current members of the S&D group are the parties or the political heirs of those parties who were born in the XIX century to defend the working class against the exploitation of the early capitalistic industry: their success was linked to their presence and their support to the last ones, to the victims of an ill system increasing the power of the few on the shoulders of the many. It was only thanks to the passionate struggle of the leftist parties in defence of the working class that many of the social rights we benefit from now were conquered. However, history repeats itself and a strikingly new scenery has created: the big corporations are the only ones benefitting from the current industrial model, trying to gaining as much as possible before it is too late. On the other hand, not only the poorest, but everyone who does not benefit from this insane exploitation is being deprived of the basic human rights: our planet, our common house is being destroyed by a handful of people; our health is being threatened by the exposition to dozens of dangerous chemical substances; many are witnessing the destruction of their homeland and cannot to anything against it. If the progressive parties want to reconquer the support of the people, of their electoral basis who has left them for the unrealistic promises of the right wing extremists, they have to start fighting again for them. The struggle against climate change is the greatest threat to a future of equality, justice and liberty and therefore the greatest chance for the progressive family to come back on the side of the many, not the few.
As a participant in the School of Democracy organised by the S&D group, I could realise how the fight for a sustainable economy and the need to regain the people’s support are the most urgent challenges for the European progressive parties. I do believe that is it possible for our family to combine such issues together in a successful fashion. The S&D group parties all over Europe should focus on those communities that are already affected by the consequences of global warming or by the side effects of the current industrial model. They should invest their resources in sensitize people of such communities about the need to change our development model, convincing them that the greatest struggle of our times is not the migration wave, but rather the serious threat created by our industries. We should make them see that the enemy is not the refugee or the economic migrant, but rather the big corporation that falsifies the data on the carbon emissions of its cars or the factory that releases carcinogenic substances in the air, the subjects that the right wing and conservative parties all over the world have successfully defended against strict, environmental-friendly policies.
The progressive parties should focus their agenda on environmental issues, on the shared goods such as natural resources, landscapes and collective health. They should propose regulations on the environmental-dangerous activities of corporations and industries as well as promote an alternative, sustainable economic and industrial model by increasing national and European investments in innovation. The interests of local communities threatened by the action of big companies should be protected by the governments, inverting a tremendously sad trend that characterised the modern era. The safety and the health of citizens should be preferred over the creation of few jobs and possible damages to the environment.
The destiny of humanity as a whole is likely to be determined in the following decades. It is beyond any doubt the greatest political struggle that progressive parties have ever fought: the struggle against the model that led to an apparent increase of global wellness, but only improved the already optimal conditions of the few at the price of the basic rights of the many. Progressive parties have to act in defence of those they were born to protect, remembering the meaning of socialism: to bring forward those who were born behind.