US President B. Obama’s Nobel Talk and Climate Change

Upon reception of his Nobel Peace Prize on Dec 10, 2009, US President Barack H. Obama held a remarkable lecture on many accounts, e.g. his references throughout what he said and his willingness to discuss hope and religion. What he said will most certainly draw very diverse reactions, particularly his willingness to face squarely the reality of war as inevitable under certain circumstances, as well as the rules to wage war.

Here, I just want to focus on two aspects of the talk that seem important amidst environmental challenges such as global climate change. He addresses the issue directly in a small paragraph that relates to the security issues involved with development, food, water, medicine, education and job availability. B. Obama says: “And that is why helping farmers feed their people – or nations educate their children and care for the sick – is not mere charity. It is also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and activists who call for swift and forceful action – it is military leaders in my country and others who understand that our common security hangs in the balance.” B. Obama emphasizes the security issues regarding climate change. I agree that is an important element in the discussion, and I have not seen many military issues discussed at COP15, although obviously amongst the consequences of climate change we will find great societal and social disruption and unrest. One could argue that B. Obama does not point out that there is an even much larger security issue facing us: the security of the planet itself is at risk and the consequences of climate change concern the very survival of the human race and of life on the planet as a whole.

The second aspect I want to highlight in B. Obama’s address is his clear focus on his responsibilities as head of a state and, therefore, as responsible for his nation. This is most understandable, of course, but one keeps wondering how the responsibilities of a head of state relate to the concern and the care for the planet as a whole. There is need for worldwide leadership beyond national leadership. This tension is very present in the Bella Center: nations, diplomats, ministers and heads of state stand for their own nations’ interests and needs and they enter into economic and political competition as planetary resources are concerned. The poor and weak who suffer the consequences of a lack of worldwide leadership, remind us of the necessity and urgency of a broader scope than the mere nation.


One response to “US President B. Obama’s Nobel Talk and Climate Change

  1. Stefaan Hublou Solfrian

    Barack Obama. Who is he? From watching his video’s, the White House Photostream on Flickr, from reading his two autobiographies, listening to his great speeches, monitoring his facial and body language and that of his wife and children… and comparing his evolution as a human being and his multiple identity to my own story, and to that of other great human beings like Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Jane Goodall and Charles Darwin, I can see some light.
    Is he not a great “Friend in the White House” to all people on Earth (Inauguration speech, Washington DC, 2009)? Is he not a living testimony of a deep lover for deep Truth?
    Is he not doing Prophetical Labor, that consists of developing a road to a good future out of elements of today’s reality in a language that can be understood by all?
    Is he not in love with the sick (Health Care Program), with the grassroot people?
    Is he not able to face death (the incoming coffins with dead soldiers from Afghanistan at Dover)?
    He has the courage to call upon everybody’s duty and task, he is not pointing at himself all the time.
    He is true. He is honest. He is merciful. He is intelligent. He is critical. He speaks out loud. Wise.
    He has all the self control we can demand of a human being, a son of a mother and a father.
    Now, what is your conclusion?
    I just hope that not only ordinary people see the Great Man, bringer of Hope in him; like the millions that have cried tears of hope and recognition on February 20th and November 4th.
    My hope is that the Roman Catholic Church will be able to see him as the new savior of Humanity that he is. That Rome will not be held back by the tons of the rich tradition, the focus on her own history, the focus on the Jewish Messiah of two millennia ago. And the lack of focusing on God the Creator, on The Eternal and always mysterious Father, on the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, the active Spirit underpinning biological Evolution and Cosmic history.
    My hope is that we will all together offer Hospitality to a savior like this, and engage in working along his side. Is this dream a possible reality for today? Did humanity make progress since the Roman era? When the Jewish Messiah was mocked, tortured, killed?
    Allready in 2009, being in the position of the US of A’s president, head of State, and military Supreme Commander, Barack Obama has shown to be able to take up the role of a Father to Humanity, like nobody else in history. Maybe his greatest years, his greatest significance will come later, after his presidency years. I hope the world community will give him a leading & responsible role. As head of the United Nations, or so. Let us read this Man’s identity now. And start helping him help the world back on track. Too much suffering has occurred. Too much injustice, too much trampling in the Dark. Too much aggression has brought people down, whether this aggression was directed at their brothers, human or natural, or towards themselves.

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