Conference on Cosmic Perspectives and Big History in London

The famous Earthrise photo of the Earth and parts of the Moon’s surface taken from lunar orbit in 1968
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Presentation on global identity and “the other”

Democracy Without Borders’ Executive Director Andreas Bummel came to London to speak at a two-day conference titled “Expanding Worldviews: Astrobiology, Big History and Cosmic Perspectives”. This event was organised by Ian Crawford, a Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck, University of London, and a supporter of a UN Parliamentary Assembly (the full program and abstracts can be found here).

Andreas spoke on “The political implications of a planetary worldview”, addressing the emergence of global identity, and the consequences for the role of national sovereignty in global governance. Based on his 2018 book A World Parliament he argued that in today’s highly interdependent world nation-states are no longer autonomous and unable to cope with global challenges.

Picture of Andreas’ talk tweeted by Bartu Kaleagasi

He explained that the formation of a global polity as a next step in socio-political evolution is particularly difficult because, unlike the growth of the polity from the village to the city to the nation, there is no external “other” that would help unite humanity as a whole. However, Andreas argued that more and more people across the world nevertheless do identify as global citizens and support the idea of a supranational global organization (based on surveys such as this). In his opinion the main stumbling block is national governments clinging to the illusion of national sovereignty. Judging by the number of questions provoked, the presentation was a great success.

As Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins said in a 2009 interview: “I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles their outlook could be fundamentally changed.”

Whilst in London Andreas met with the Trustees of One World Trust, a UK NGO that plans to bring the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly to the UK. This project is at an early stage, and will be developed in close coordination with the global campaign.

2-3 November: Battle of Ideas

Andreas will be back in London 2-3 November 2019 to join a panel at the Battle of Ideas festival. This festival is built on the premise that “In a rapidly changing world, debating ideas matters more than ever”. The idea which Andreas accompanied by Ian Crawford, Mary Kaldor and Tara McCormack will be debating is whether “the world needs a government?”

With 400 speakers and 3,500 attendees, this promises to be a vibrant and stimulating event. You can get tickets here.

John Vlasto
John is an Associate of Democracy Without Borders in the UK
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