Sunday, 26 April 2015

We Have An Obligation to Change The World

PGS Model United Nations Secretary-General, Ross Watkins, made this keynote speech at yesterday's PGS Model United Nations Conference:

In a world of supposed peace and prosperity there is also untold misery. Capitalism in its current state is not working. Hard work and innovation should pay…but not at the expense of others. Over the last 200 years, in tandem to the growth of capitalism, global inequality has soared. This has been particularly bad since the 1980’s where reckless free market ideologies where given the given the chance to operate.  This can be seen in the states where in 2013, CEOs at major U.S. companies earned an average of 296 times their typical worker's salary, according to research from the Economic Policy Institute. Struggling to afford food at one end……struggling to afford that second private jet at the other. We need to work together to try and find a new system. A system which will allow everybody to prosper and create a world for every living creature.

The human race is not the one in anguish from human greed. The planet, the home of millions of different species of plant animal and of course us, is also suffering. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. However regardless of the position you take on whether it is the fault of humans the climate is warming and it is an issue that need to be dealt with. To quote the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” Are we dealing with the issue? No we seem not to have taken the steps to avoid the impending and inevitable tragedy.  Why? We have global responses to financial crises, outbreaks of disease and anything else that threatens the global economy…………………We do not respond because of greed. Greed of large multinational co-operations lobbying governments to safe guard their large profits at the expense of the environment. They do not act for fear of losing their vast profits. This is issue which can only be solved if we put the planet and the average person first over those who only look out for themselves. 

Recently I have been horrified by two news stories which have drifted towards me on social media. The first was the story about Trophy Hunters and their exploits. The attack on these sick individuals led by Ricky Gervais quickly gathered support and rightly so. The nature of these killings were horrific. Rich people exploiting there wealth to bribe corrupt governments to kill these beautiful creatures. What for? So they could get a thrill …. So they could see these elegant creatures die ? To boast about it on social media ? ….. We know many of the creatures they hunt, especially the larger mammals, have nearly identical emotions to us. Should they be sacred, killed and mutilated all in the name of sport?

The second is that of Katie Hopkins…. a columnist for the Sun Newspaper. Recently she stated, hours before 800 migrants lost their lives, “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches.” Let us think what she is saying there. She is comparing these human beings who are fleeing torture, war and the Islamic State to pests. She is using the same language as before the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 where hundreds of thousands of innocent people were butchered. Where free speech turns to hate speech. These comments should not be forgiven and when people incite hatred in this way we need a common response. The United Nations has since condemned the Sun Newspaper for issuing the statement and said that UK newspapers should respect International Laws on curbing hate speech. This is how we should respond standing together in the face of animosity towards innocent people.

I hoped I have not scared too many with this pessimistic view about world. I do believe we have achieved great things and that we have the potential to move forwards. Rapid advances in technology have improved life expectancy and also the quality of life for many. We are in the most peaceful time in the whole of human history. All this has been achieved through collaboration. Effectively we need to work together to try and find a new system. A system which will allow everybody to prosper and create a world for every living creature. 
The United Nations has helped us reach the world we are in now. It has allowed countries to collaborate and reach a consensus on world issues. It has helped us move away from world policy being dominated by a few key players. But of course we can do more. We have allowed countries such and the United States to take aggressive actions of foreign policy which have destabilised whole regions. We have failed to act when ethnic minorities have been slaughtered in Africa. Instead on dwelling on this past failures we should make sure they should never happen again.

Never happen again… what an overused phrase. It seems to come hand in hand with looking at the past. So often let down by politicians and people acting in their own self interests. However, I believe as the world evolves, as we become more knowledgeable… using technologies such as the internet which has made the world more aware than ever allowing us pressure politicians towards the correct decision ….   we can eventually make this utopian idea a reality.

So this is all very well and nice but how does it relate to you. It is very easy to feel disconnected to the problems that the world is facing. We should not feel guilty for doing so. We have a very comfortable life and experience opportunities many could only dream of. However what we can do is be aware. We can gather knowledge and try and find solutions so that we can move toward this ideal world. What we are doing here is just that. Seizing the opportunity life has given to us we are debating, throwing ideas back and forward at eachother. We are developing ideas forming and reforming conclusions. This is the: creation of your way of thinking, a way of respect for others and their opinions, and a forum for intellectual innovation.
We do not know whether ideas and opinions formed today could shape the future. You all have a part to play, we have a responsibility to use our privilege and opportunity we are so lucky to have to make better the world for everyone.

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