Friday 12 January 2024

Ecological Emergency and Christian Universalism in the Era of Polycrisis (DIALOP, 12 January 2024)

I was honoured to be able to present the DIALOP Conference on Integral Ecology for a Social Ecological Transformation Sophia University Institute in Loppiano (Florence-Italy), 11-13 January, 2024. The title of my presentation: Ecological Emergency and Christian Universalism in the Era of Polycrisis.

In the framework of the refugee and migration crisis, the pandemic, and the wars, we have entered an era of overlapping crises, or polycrisis. The failures of liberal democracy opened the way of authoritarian right-wing populism, which on the one hand remained integrated into the neoliberal capitalism and on the other hand dismantled the legal basis of constitutional democracy. To mitigate the effects of the global ecological and climate crisis, we need the instruments of exceptional governance measures under democratic control. At the same time, we are witnessing that the authoritarian populist right (especially in Hungary) has started to use the tools of exceptional governance measures in a manipulative and undemocratic way. My position is that in order to tackle the ecological and climate crisis, we need to stop the continued authoritarian use of exceptional government measures. As Laudato si’ pointed it out very sharply: “Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest… We require a new and universal solidarity.”  It is only through extraordinary measures of governance under national and supranational democratic control, established within the framework of Christian universalism and solidarity, that we can prepare for the era of polycrisis. The exceptional measures must be wrested from the hands of the authoritarian right, and this requires a political consensus that sees neoliberal capitalism as the root cause of the climate and ecological crisis.