The world population has grown from 1 to 8 billion people in about a century. Human life expectancy reached 72 years in 2019, 9 more than 30 years earlier. We are many; we live longer; we live better. Yet our tumultuous economic growth is now crashing against its own contradictions – climate change, migration flows, demographic imbalances – thus threatening the planet’s very existence and raising critical sustainability issues. More technology and more efficiency are not the answer, however: instead, we need to bridge a cultural gap and increase our awareness that all living beings are interrelated. Science says so, and religions have always said so: only by establishing meaningful relationships with others do we achieve our authentic selves and enjoy true freedom – not in an extractive or predatory way but rather in a transitive and generative manner. This logic presides over personal and collective human life and can lead us to a free, fair, sustainable society.
Chiara Giaccardi teaches Sociology and Media Anthropology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and is chief editor of the academic journal “Comunicazioni Sociali”.
Mauro Magatti teaches Sociology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan and is a columnist for the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”.