More than 200 prominent public figures—including Hollywood celebrities Penélope Cruz, Adam Driver, Robert De Niro, and Cate Blanchett—have signed an op-ed calling for a “radical transformation” of society amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The editorial, entitled No to a Return to Normal, was published in the French paper Le Monde last week. Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche and astrophysicist Aurélien Barrau penned the letter.
A lengthy list of notable artists, musicians, directors, scientists, athletes, and actors lent their signatures to the op-ed. High-profile celebrities Barbra Streisand, Joaquin Phoenix, Wim Wenders, and Madonna signed the piece. Other signees include the former president of the National Museum of Natural History, Gilles Bœuf; Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard; pianist Khatia Buniatishvili; and French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy.
The letter reads: “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.”
It goes on to warn of how the “ongoing ecological catastrophe” will “have immeasurable consequences.” The letter explains one of these consequences would be “the massive extinction of life on Earth.”
‘The World Is at a Breaking Point’
The group of signees urges world leaders and citizens “to leave behind the unsustainable logic that still prevails,” and says a complete overhaul of the world’s “goals, values, and economies” is needed in order to prevent mass extinction.
“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. The radical transformation we need–at all levels–demands boldness and courage,” the op-ed states.
The signees conclude that for these reasons—as well as for ever-increasing social inequalities prevalent around the world—going “back to normal” after the coronavirus pandemic ends is not an option.
To read the op-ed in its entirety and see the complete list of signees, click here.
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