On June 23rd UK voters will have the responsibility to decide whether the UK stays part of the European Union, or retreats into being an individual nation state. It is clear that the majority of young people recognise the need to be part of something bigger than ourselves, but there is a grave danger that older voters will vote to leave the E.U. as a reaction to things they do not like. However much we are fearful of the changes that are happening in the world, we cannot turn back the clock and I believe the main challenges that face us in our hyper-connected world can only be addressed by international cooperation, not by retreat into competing nation states.
The five major challenges are:
- Climate Change.This is by far the largest challenge facing not only our human species but all of the biosphere which supports us and which we share with many thousands of other living beings. It is now accepted by 99% of scientists that Climate change is direct result of human pollution and that the threat is still getting worst. We have a very limited window before the affects will trigger larger runaway cycles of consequences which will be irreversible. Only radical international action can prevent the worst of global warming and increased climate disasters.
- Economic and social inequality. It is clear that we cannot solve the issues of climate change without also addressing the growing inequality between the world’s richest and poorest. In the last 50 years many humans have been lifted out of poverty, but the gap between the world’s richest 5% and the world’s poorest 50% gets bigger and bigger. WE now live in hyper-connected world where the poorest know what the richest are getting and want it for themselves. This will continue to fuel international migration, war and conflict.
- Terrorism, War and Security. Small groups of Human beings who feel unrecognised, badly treated or humiliated can now quickly develop the power to terrorise those with whom they are angry Only international cooperation on security surveillance can contain the impact of global terrorism. This needs to be increased and leaving the EU will negatively impact progress.
- Climate change, economic inequality and wars will continue to drive international migration. Leaving Europe will not limit those seeking to come to the UK, it will only decrease international cooperation to address the issues and make us more prone to either ever increasing numbers or inhumane border control.
- A Global Economic System that needs regulation. There has been increasing exposure of how global companies and super-rich individuals can avoid paying their fair contribution in taxation by moving their assets internationally. Now that we have a globalised economy we need international regulation to ensure that banks, businesses and the powerfully rich are all properly regulated and contributing to the benefit of the whole human family and the ‘more than human world’. We do not need less bureaucracy, just more intelligent bureaucracy that is internationally created and adhered to.
Now is not the time for nations to retreat to isolated self-interest. Indeed, self-interest requires us to collaborate internationally as this is the only way we can address these issues that will continue to affect each and every one of us. Yes, the European Union needs reforming, so does the United Nations and the British Parliament. The only sensible and responsible course of action is to stay an active and reforming part of all of them. For the sake of my, and all our grandchildren, I therefore would ask all fellow voters in the UK to go out on June 23rd and vote to remain an active member of the European Union. If you do not live in the UK, please contact someone who does and convince them that their vote to stay part of the E.U. matters.