A Silent Spring

Last spring, the world came to a halt. The sky above me was empty for weeks, so were the streets and the trains. Restaurants and movie theaters were closed. I thought this could happen in the context of a nuclear disaster. I had also dealt with the consequences of a computer virus, but I did not expect a biological virus to stop the world.

In 1972, the Club of Rome published its report The Limits to Growth. The book was the product of an international team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They found five factors that determine and, in their interactions, ultimately limit growth on this planet: population, agricultural production, non-renewable resource depletion, industrial output, and pollution. Since then, the ecological footprint of people is increasing every year.

The 2020 report by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists begins with, “Humanity continues to face two existential dangers, nuclear war, and climate change.” Both dangers are “compounded by a threat multiplier, by the

cyber-enabled information warfare, that undermines society’s ability to respond.”

Weeks before the outbreak of the global pandemic, U.S. novelist Jonathan Franzen wrote in “What If We Stopped Pretending,” published by The New Yorker: “If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth — massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought.”

At the beginning of the year, only a few people probably thought that a virus would be enough to bring economies to near collapse. If it takes so little to destroy the world’s balance, how will we handle much more significant problems like rising temperatures?

While climbing to the top of a mountain, I realized one thing — whenever I buy a device, the manufacturer provides me with a warranty for one year. Yet, there is no such thing for a good life

The world is darkening.





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