Default Image

One Life Course Week Five: What We Owe Each Other

Central London Humanists

14th May 2021 - 3 min read

On Thursday 13 of May we held the fifth session of the One Life Course that Central London Humanists are running on Zoom which draws from Humanists UK’s One Life Introduction to Humanism course. In session five we delved into the part that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights plays in improving the well-being of the peoples of the world whilst protecting the planet's ecology. The two are very much linked because without a healthy habitable planet to live on, human rights become irrelevant.

During the session, the presenter spoke about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to which participants generally agreed. Some said that they would have possibly added happiness, although recognising that this could be achieved by attaining the other goals. Some discussion groups noted that government and religious action and inaction was perpetuating poverty. The Nomadland film was cited as showing that happiness could be achieved while having less, but this would not appeal to everyone.

Other groups focused on reducing inequalities because they underpinned all other goals. Via education, small business loans, universal income and medical care we could create a foundation from which to move out of inequality and poverty. Particularly for women. Some participants noted that the wealthy need to understand that they also benefit from a more equal world in terms of geo-political stability, less aggression and crime.

During the second part of the session, some participants agreed that poorer countries were likely to disproportionately bear the impact of climate change because they are less able to protect themselves from flooding, drought and extreme weather. It was also noted that minerals mined in Africa would go to the highest bidders with little or no benefit to the wider population of those countries.

Climate change negatively impacts mostly poorer countries and poorer groups in richer countries and these people tend to be non-white, however, activity causing climate change is predominantly economic in motivation. Unfortunately, a group said, money used to mitigate the effects of climate change such as flooding and extreme weather damage is often given to the wealthy (i.e. holiday resort infrastructure, high priced residential developments) and this leads to social/racial injustice.

Excellent presentation by Lola. Some attendees expressed that the talk was well structured with very interesting presentation and discussion. One participant said that they particularly liked what Lola said towards the end: during lockdown, she had learnt so much about nature and how this awareness made her rethink her approach to sustainability.