Scientists and celebrities say “No To A Return To Normal” to avoid future ecological disasters

Read Time:   |  18th May 2020

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200 high-profile scientists and celebrities have signed a letter calling on world leaders and society to make changes to our lives to avoid future ecological disasters


Life as we know it has been turned on its head with the coronavirus pandemic sending the world into lockdown. Whilst many are hoping for a return to normalcy, a group of over 200 scientists, artists and well-known celebrities from around the world have urged world leaders and society to make changes to our lives to avoid future pandemics.

The group, which includes actors, singers, and Nobel Prize winners, signed an editorial published in French magazine Le Monde which implores the leaders and members of society “to undertake a profound overhaul of our goals, values, and economies,” following the coronavirus crisis.

The opinion piece, titled “No To A Return To Normal“, was initiated by French star Juliette Binoche and astrophysicist Aurélien Barrau, and asks the reader to reconsider our “new normal” going forward with a focus on being more thoughtful, less consumer-driven and healthier.

The letter was signed by various high-profile celebrities including Joaquin Phoenix, Cate Blanchett, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nathalie Baye, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara and Alfonso Cuaron.

“No To A Return To Normal”

The letter in full reads as follows:

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a tragedy. This crisis is, however, inviting us to examine what is essential. And what we see is simple: “adjustments” are not enough. The problem is systemic.

The ongoing ecological catastrophe is a meta-crisis: the massive extinction of life on Earth is no longer in doubt, and all indicators point to a direct existential threat. Unlike a pandemic, however severe, a global ecological collapse will have immeasurable consequences.

We therefore solemnly call upon leaders — and all of us as citizens – to leave behind the unsustainable logic that still prevails and to undertake a profound overhaul of our goals, values, and economies.

The pursuit of consumerism and an obsession with productivity have led us to deny the value of life itself: that of plants, that of animals, and that of a great number of human beings. Pollution, climate change, and the destruction of our remaining natural zones has brought the world to a breaking point.

For these reasons, along with increasing social inequalities, we believe it is unthinkable to “go back to normal.”

The radical transformation we need – at all levels – demands boldness and courage. It will not happen without a massive and determined commitment. We must act now. It is as much a matter of survival as one of dignity and coherence.”

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