- This was the perfect philosophical foundation for industrial development, unrestrained progress at the expense of animals and the landscape. The idea that animals have no feelings, deserve no empathy, comes from this historical context, says Matteo Giusti.
"Our only chance is to change"
Up until 200-300 years ago, slave trading was widely accepted, says Matteo Giusti, slaves were used and abused and were not considered as human as other people.
- We need to undergo the same kind of cultural change, where we will consider animals as equal and as important as all other forms of life. The life of trees, plants and rivers need to have the same rights to exist as like human life.
And this is something that is now happening, in New Zealand, the Whanganui River has been granted personhood in 2017. In Ecuador, the right of ecosystems to exist was written into the constitution, soon followed by Bolivia.
- We live on a small planet with limited resources. The diversity and richness of all life on Earth is the fabric of life that ensures the regeneration of these resources. If today we make holes too big in such fabric of life, tomorrow that fabric will not be able to support the next generations of people.
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The researchers' report, published ahead of the UN summit in Stockholm, argues that all the ingredients for change are in place, from growing public support for structural change to the faster-than-expected development of clean technologies.
Change can come by making sustainable lifestyles people’s default choice and by promoting business models that ensure the long-term health of communities, not short-term financial gain.
- There is only one way to ensure long-term sustainable development for our grandchildren. We must change how we look at progress and development. Human progress is only what ensures the health and resilience of all life on the planet," says Matteo Giusti.