The world is the place where life, in all its diversity, first emerged. It is the place where—subsequent to a long process cloaked in the mysteries of evolution—the human species as we know it today first came into being. It is also the place where that species built societies and the specific cultural model of the individual that makes them up. Thus the relationship between individuals and society, and the planet, is a relationship of origins—of communicating vessels that communicate internally as well as with one another. At times the relationship has been understood as external. We—all of us—often speak of “man’s relationship to nature” or “society’s relationship to nature,” yet perhaps without realizing that life and conditions on the planet are an internal part of societies and individuals alike. 

What makes us human beings is not merely the relationship between our soma, psyches and society. Nature plays its part in human configuration as well. Some of our basic processes come from nature as, for example, when we eat, drink or breathe. Some of our basic economic processes—such as energy generation—are derived from the natural world. The places where we live were inherited: soil types and composition, lakes, lagoons, oceans, rivers, mountains, jungles and forests, etc.

A human-centered nature and natural world emerged from this relationship, along with certain “natured,” “world-based” societies and individuals. It is a normal, necessary process. But humankind’s actions have greatly (though not exclusively) altered this relationship, such that modes of human existence as we know them are in serious jeopardy, to a degree that goes beyond mere alarmism. Climate change—to name just one of this century’s important environmental challenges—now constitutes a “red alert” for human destiny. That is why we at the Fundación Pensar place special emphasis on climate issues—both in our actions and our thoughts—as well on the locus where we believe strategic actions to fight climate change can be realized: cities.