By Siggy Raible
We live in unsettling and uncertain times, during which our world is confronted with existential threats to our life on this planet. We are battling an invisible enemy that has claimed the lives of over one million Americans and millions more worldwide, while also facing the invisible forces unleashed by the interactions of greenhouse gases that are threatening all life on our pale blue dot of a planet…our home, Earth.
At the same time, we are awash in violence both at home and abroad. I read my hometown paper daily and was wondering when the violence in Ukraine, which had been front page above-the-fold news for three months and four days, would become an item mentioned below the fold. Well, it happened on Saturday, May 28, 2022. The war in Ukraine became a second-place horror story to the murder of twenty-one students and teachers in a small-town grade school in Texas.
It took one horror story to replace another as the top tragedy of the moment. The motto of my paper is “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” Well, I beg to differ. This news is not fit for human consumption.
The murderous rampage in Uvalde occurred over one hour; the war in Ukraine has been ongoing for more than one hundred days, with no end in sight. (Actually, the war in Eastern Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014.)
The US is awash in automatic weapons built solely to kill other human beings. Ukraine is awash in every known weapon—including missiles, tanks, and armored personnel carriers. These weapons indiscriminately rain down on the civilian population; the death toll will never be fully known. The Russians, the aggressors, are also losing men in the unprovoked assault unleashed by its leader. How many Pushkins, Einsteins, or other great thinkers are we losing to these horrific events?
Nearly all the ailments that afflict our world, what we call existential threats—the changing climate, wars, the violence exhibited toward one another—are man-made. If we are the cause of our own destruction, perhaps we are smart enough to find within ourselves the ability to amend what has crippled our psyche and in turn is destroying our home.
We cannot solve these problems if we continue to travel down the same road which led us to the present impasse. It is past time for people and the nations of the world to find solutions. We need more than prayers; we need action. For to continue with business as usual will certainly lead to a cataclysmic end.
So, let’s hunker down and begin the arduous job of ridding ourselves of violence toward one another, and finding the common thread that binds us to each other. The thread that will allow us to find the solutions to the damages we have wrought to this place we call home, because there is no other home—there is no Planet B.