"Everyone should care. Everyone NEEDS to care. Because if democracy and culture can be attacked in one part of the world, it can be attacked ANYWHERE in the world," - Supriya Verma, Founder, The SustainabilityX® Magazine
I don't usually write such statements or letters - I'm usually bogged down with publishing and editorial duties - but what's happening in global geopolitics right now warrants it. I hope you take the time to read what I have to say on behalf of our team. We work really hard to bring you only the very best in quality content that sparks your intellect and intentionally provoked you to think differently. This has been one of SustainabilityX®'s hallmark founding principles from Day 1, on May 8, 2016. Please kindly share our message so that everyone can benefit.
Every month, The SustainabilityX® Magazine changes its cover video on its website to reflect the current state of the world. This month, we feature the Verkhovna Rada in the capital of Kyiv in Ukraine, the sole body of legislative power in Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada is the unicameral parliament of Ukraine, composed of 450 deputies, who are presided over by a chairman. Yes, I agree, it's very beautiful - but that was before the bombardment and shelling started.
North of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, the country is known as the breadbasket of Europe. But now, economically, wheat prices are skyrocketing (not just energy). With an area of 600,000 km², it is the second-largest country in Europe after Russia, twice the size of Italy or slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas. Ukraine is bordered by Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia. Ukraine is subdivided into twenty-four oblasts (provinces) and one autonomous republic, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.
Independence Day of Ukraine is the main state holiday in modern Ukraine, celebrated on August 24th in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of 1991. Ukrainian, previously also called Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language of the Indo-European language family. It is the native language of Ukrainians and the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because as the world watches Russia invade Ukraine, we must understand that Ukraine is not just a piece of land that is being attacked. Ukraine's culture is being attacked. Their people. Their language. Their traditions. Their history. Their independence. Their freedom. Their democracy. Their human rights and dignity. Their hard-earned homes and savings. Their loving families. Their sweetest childhood memories. Everything is under attack. The only element that has not succumbed is the Ukrainian spirit, which has grown in strength and unity since the invasion began in the hours before sunrise at 5AM on February 24th, 2022.
As described in our previous article, A War On Democracies: The Ukraine-Russia Crisis, Ukrainians have taken cover in underground metro stations as bomb shelters with little to no food. Foreign students are scrambling to get flights home while any are available despite airspace restrictions due to heavy air combat. An Indian student was killed outside a government building in Kharkiv in a missed missile attack originally aimed at the building. Civilians are dying, many missing and unaccounted for. Thousands of locals have crossed borders into neighbouring countries such as Poland and Romania. With men between 18-60 required to stay in Ukraine to fight, the majority of these migrants are women and children, some of whom were personally and tearfully escorted by their husbands and fathers, not knowing when they will meet the next time, or if they will ever meet again. Casualties are mounting, with low official counts and thousands yet to be officially tallied. The nation's key internet backbone was damaged, leading to a loss of connectivity across entire regions. Upon request, Tesla's Elon Musk swiftly reconnected them via his Starlink satellite systems. Oil tanks and gas pipelines have been attacked and burn away as we speak, setting the stage for an ecological disaster for years to come. The Chernobyl nuclear facility, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, particularly Reactor #4, is now reporting higher levels of radiation due to the presence of heavy military vehicles on the surrounding soil. While no nation in the world would ever be keen to engage in nuclear warfare, Putin's latest warning has sparked international concern, increasing the possibilities of a nuclear attack.
I'm shocked reading posts and comments online about putting the blame on Ukrainians. Please, take this opportunity to educate yourself and be on the right side of history! And please stop sharing disinformation! If you want to make change, please try to be a part of the solution - not the problem - and you can start by reading and sharing verified information about Russia's attack on Ukraine. More information is provided at the end of this letter statement.
Everyone should care. Everyone NEEDS to care. Because if democracy and culture can be attacked in one part of the world, it can be attacked ANYWHERE in the world.
At SustainabilityX®, this is what we stand for. Because sustainability is not just about the environment and cute animals, or businesses trying to ward off climate risk via sound ESG strategy. It's also about just governance, one of the four pillars of sustainability upon which our magazine is based (just look at our header), collectively powering the achievement of the UN's SDGs, which again, has been one of SustainabilityX®'s hallmark founding principles from Day 1. Good governance matters - you can see the results of bad governance before your eyes.
As I always say, it's part of the larger, complicatedly intricate web of sustainability, which is why you can't approach any issue in the world through a single silo of a discipline. Everything is connected, and so is everyone.
The war's consequential sustainability challenges in Ukraine will linger for years to come as they rebuild after the war. Rules-based law that protects and saves our democracy through responsible governance and politics (i.e. good governance) is the only way to restore world order, peace, and safety amidst random attacks of horrific naked aggression through the manipulation of one's power and position to satisfy one's ego.
The last thing anyone would ever want in any part of the world would be having to wake up to nuclear warfare. The risk is rising as Putin shifts his family to a Siberian underground facility to sheild them from nuclear attacks, and Europeans scramble for iodide pills amisdt fear of a nuclear attack in Ukraine.
A nuclear attack could cause substantial fatalities, injuries, and infrastructure damage from the heat and blast of the explosion, and significant radiological consequences from both the initial nuclear radiation and the radioactive fallout that settles after the initial event. Besides the immediate destruction of cities by nuclear blasts, the potential aftermath of a nuclear war could involve firestorms, a nuclear winter, widespread radiation sickness from fallout, and/or the temporary (if not permanent) loss of much modern technology due to electromagnetic pulses. Recovery would probably take about 3-10 years, but studies note that long term global changes cannot be completely ruled out. The reduced ozone concentrations would have a number of consequences outside the areas in which the detonations occurred.
As we mark the beginning of #WomensHistoryMonth, we recognize, applaud, and salute the brave women who've picked up weapons fighting with the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian invaders, and the courageous women giving birth in underground bomb shelters and weathering the exhausting trips crossing international borders leaving their lives, homes, and husbands behind for the protection of their children.
As the world watches, unquestionably, Ukrainian women will be the ones hardest hit, with 660, 000 people having left the country, and over 1 million being internally displaced from their homes. In addition to that, civilians are now being openly attacked with grenades on the streets as we speak instead of the stated "military-installations-only" approach.
This is not good for the future of sustainability and humanity. We strongly condemn Russia's brutal actions, barbaric invasion, and unprovoked, senseless violence. We #StandWithUkraine, strong and united.
For more verified information and what you can do, you can also visit the Government Of Ukraine's official website with more action points and what you can do to help. For more real-time verified news updates, you can also check out The Kyiv Independent doing a fabulous job covering the invasion by the minute. And, of course, our team at The SustainabilityX® Magazine will keep you updated in our traditional, award-winning, magazine-style content.
With Utmost Love, Respect, Care, Empathy & Compassion,
- Supriya Verma
Founder, The SustainabilityX® Magazine, Global Sustainability Advocate, Award-Winning SDG #7, #11, #12 Champion & Canada's Top 30 Under 30 In Sustainability Leadership | Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn: @TheSupriyaVerma
As our founder, Supriya Verma, always says, sustainability is all about teamwork. Show your support for independent, high-impact publications. Consider donating to The SustainabilityX® Magazine to help us continue our vital work bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue. Or consider becoming a member for less than US$2 a month and help power international conversations that matter. Cheers to a sustainable world!