Climate Change – The Clear or the Weedy Path?

The clear or the weedy path?
Article at Kathimerini Sunday Magazine, New Year’s Edition, 2021
Thomas Doxiadis, Architect - Landscape Architect doxiadis+, Project Landscape Manager for Landscape in "LIFE-IP AdaptInGR -   Boosting the implementation of adaptation policy across Greece" for Greece’s adaptation to the effects of climate change, member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Society for Environment and Culture At some point in their lives many ancient heroes had to make a crucial decision.  In front of them their path split in two.  One choice was paved, clean, easy, the other was steep, weedy, difficult.  The ending is well known.  Only the demanding path leads to a good place.
The photos are beautiful.  They bring to mind one of the positive side effects of COVID, nature re-emerging where people have faded away.  And it's true, nature recovers when we don't disturb it, and when conditions are right.  Even these beautiful photos however create a certain discomfort, reminding us that our creations and we ourselves are transient, and that nature can consume us.
From the beginning, humans survived by demarcating nature.  Wiping out predators and competitors, harnessing the seed, the soil, the river.  Bringing ever larger parts of nature under our control, until today, in the Anthropocene, 77% of the Earth's surface is used by us, only 23% remaining natural, and even this will have completely disappeared by the next century.  The same is true of our impact on other organizations, our fellow travelers in the story of Life.  By estimates we are responsible for the extinction of over 5,000 species per year, while by the end of the 21st century 50% of all species on the planet will be endangered because of us.
We are now at the crossroads.  The coronavirus crisis seems to be on the way out, but the big problem is lurking, and is already showing its teeth.  Climate change, they say, will make COVID look like child’s play.  Exponentially accelerating species extinction, the degradation of landscapes, hunger, poverty, war.  For Greece alone, the economic impact is estimated at between 700 billion and trillions of Euros, while the geopolitical implications can be much worse.  We're almost on the brink, but we don't have to continue on the same path.  Everything can change at any point, even for the better coronavirus proved it.  So now we are given a unique opportunity to choose a different path.
The theme of the Venice Architecture Biennale for 2019-2020 is, prophetically, "How will we live together".  Before unprecedented global isolation forced us to rethink our relationships with our fellow humans, the Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning Hashim Sarkis asks us the meaning of Symbiosis, not only among humans but also with our trillions of other siblings, the living beings of our small planet.  As one of the international offices participating in the main section of the Biennale, our answer is the following.  We are part of the planetary fabric of life, we came from it, our survival depends on deep understanding, real respect, and inventive solutions.  Choosing the Symbiotic path, we go from the destruction of Nature to cooperation.  We heal the most precious of all goods, the soil, and with it we bind huge amounts of carbon dioxide.  We phase out industrial agriculture and go to sustainable, we create natural infrastructure in cities and the countryside, we revive streams and rivers, we reforest extensively with indigenous plant communities, we reduce wasteful consumption of resources, food and energy while greening it, we use our own power for travel, and most important of all, we change our mindset.  From Antibiosis, we have to go to Symbiosis.  To the protection and enhancement of Life and our connection to it, and through this to the improvement of the human condition in ways that really matter.
It is said that the definition of paranoia is to do the same things over and over while expecting different results.  If we continue on our present course, we will destroy not only our Earth, but also ourselves.  After coronavirus we can continue to change our habits, this time consciously, with aim, strength and enthusiasm, with individual participation and responsibility, towards a balanced relationship with our Earth.  We can take the weedy path.  
Jonathan Jimenez aka 'Jonk', Theater, Abkhazia.

Jonathan Jimenez aka 'Jonk', Theater, Abkhazia.