It is four in the afternoon when he returns from the clinic where he had been for tests.
The rest of the family has not yet returned home.
The apartment is immersed in a silence that is surreal for him as he is used to returning late from work.
He wanders for a while, through the empty rooms, before falling into his favourite armchair, feeling a sudden wave of tiredness that was unknown to him because he’d always avoided observing it.
He remains sitting, motionless, his gaze lost in the void, looking for the right words, but even those are foreign to him.
When the rest of the family returns, throwing open the door and bringing noise, shopping bags and laughter, he is still there.
And before anyone can ask him what has happened, the words escape him: “I have lung cancer”.
They sit around him and he continues: “It is aggressive and at an advanced stage”.
From then on, we can all imagine what will happen to that family, and everyone, whether we have lived through this experience directly or not, if we were in that family and if we were in front of him, we would say the same words: “we will do something, we will defeat this evil, we will do it”.
And from then on, that would become the priority. The top priority.
But with Planet Earth we behave in a totally different way.
We ignore the clear and direct words spoken to us by scientists.
“Life on our planet is in danger. Plants and animals are constantly threatened by humanity, to the point that even humans are in danger, and in a relatively short time, could become extinct. And not in a short moment, but over centuries, during which we will experience extreme suffering, physically as individuals, and collectively as a society.”
These are the words that have been periodically addressed to us in recent decades by the doctors of the Planet.
It happens every time we take the Planet to the clinic for tests and examinations.
What perhaps changes, in reality, is the tone of concern that comes from the doctors:
“We don’t know how long you have to live…” has become “You don’t have much time left”.
And yet, we stand there, continuing to lead our lives as if nothing had happened, as if nothing had been said to us.
Take the latest data, for example, that has come to us in recent days.
An in-depth research by The Australian Academy of Science has raised yet another alarm: the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C set by the Paris Agreement has now failed.
The Paris Agreement is the first universal and legally binding agreement on climate change, adopted at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015, which “binds” each state to the agreement to limit polluting emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between emissions and absorption in the second half of the century.
According to the report published on March 31 by the team of Australian scientists, this goal has become “virtually impossible”, that is, impossible if we continue at this same pace with the same environmental policies.
Other scientists have contested this impossibility of reaching the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C, but have nevertheless confirmed the extreme gravity of the situation, highlighting that we are close to reaching the point of no return.
And in fact, another dramatic official report was published a few days ago, on April 7, by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Scientific Agency that, in particular, studies the conditions of the oceans, major waterways and the atmosphere.
The research only just published shows, unequivocally, that on Saturday 3 April in one of the observatories, that of Mauna Loa, in the Hawaiian Islands, the record for CO2 concentration in the atmosphere reached: 421.21 PPM, the highest in the history of humanity.
The high concentration of carbon dioxide, we all learned (uselessly) at school, causes the greenhouse effect, consequently determining the increase in temperature in the Planet and the increase in extreme weather phenomena ranging from drought to floods as well as aiding in the disappearance of some animal and plant species.
Sure, the trend was already swirling up, but the scientific data shows another puzzling truth: the economic recession caused by the pandemic resulted in a 7% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in 2020.
Therefore the numbers, which are already dramatic, would have been even more tragic.
The problem is that the slowdown in production was only momentary and, above all, has ended up producing a greater propulsive thrust of consumerism.
Now go back to the scene of that man in his house, standing in front of his family: Would you offer him a cigarette?
So why do we continue to offer cigarettes to a planet with lung cancer?
Why do we continue to contribute to its death?
Capitalism, as we have all been able to see with the pandemic, enjoys the lack of freedom because it forces human beings to undertake a few and controllable, daily actions, all attributable to consumption induced by the only contact with the outside world: the screens of televisions, computers and smartphones in fact, which dictate the agenda of terror and the shopping list.
The more fearful we are, the bigger the capital of large corporations becomes.
The smaller our rights become, the more we lack air.
For now only on those screens, but soon also on the streets, all over the world, it will be time to start a new course of social and environmental policies, considering them united, as whole and as an urgent priority.
And in order to do this, it will be necessary to put our governments into lockdown.
A lockdown that lasts until the virus of capitalism they feed, is defeated.