The upshot of the Aspen Ideas Festival climate-change track was it’s in the hands of big business to come up with high-tech solutions (carbon scrubbers and nuclear power) and politicians (carbon tax) to save the human species. But will these solutions simply tackle the symptoms rather than the disease by not demanding a philosophical shift in societal values in one key area: religion? 

Looked at closely, religion has traditionally been the biggest boys club on the planet, with an agenda that controls the human means of production — namely women — by espousing nonsensical, ingrained values such as being spiritually duty-bound to “go forth and multiply.” Unless women have complete control over their bodies, and childbearing decisions are divorced from religion and sociocultural mores, the planet will continue to experience unsustainable population growth (10 billon by 2050). Even if everything ran on nuclear fuel today, without a philosophical shift, we’d need twice as much in five years’ time (and it wouldn’t solve our water and land pollution problems). More people need more of everything, leading to more overheating of the “Earth Machine.” We need to have the uncomfortable conversation, and understand that any philosophy, law or advancement that does not give women complete control of their bodies is inherently anti-environment. 

Dipika Rai