Few things bring people together than joy or grief, excitement or fright or danger. Yes, these can be experienced, enjoyed or borne individually, but are best shared. And so people will come together to celebrate a happy event or achievement, comfort one another in times of grief, or seek protection in moments of danger. This, of course, is really an instinctive mode of survival among animal species, but which humans have perfected and made part of their social organisation. This month, two events are bringing the world together for these very reasons. One is already underway in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where the COP27 meeting on climate change is taking place. The alarm has been sounding for quite a while that the earth we know is in danger of disappearing and an inhospitable one creeping on us. The thought of the inevitable destruction of the earth unless we do something about it urgently is very frightening. And so world leaders, environmentalists, scientists, climate change activists, and a lot of other interested groups are meeting in Egypt, as they have done in other places for a generation now, to try to avert this doomsday scenario. Will the common threat to our existence prod them to act with more urgency and decisiveness? Probably not. Trust humans to erect hurdles even in their battle for survival. We seem to love controversy and will create it even in the clearest of situations. And so in this matter of climate change, not all see the danger as imminent or in the same way. Some even dismiss it altogether. But of one thing we can be sure. At Sharm El Sheikh, they will arrive at some arrangements after a lot of negotiation and haggling. Whether they will see them through is, of course, another matter. They will also agree to keep talking and searching for solutions. Small steps, yes, but they offer some hope and lift the pessimism that little bit. When COP27 is done, not far away from Sharm El Sheikh, another event will bring the world together, not to lament the imminent demise of our earth but to celebrate our common existence on it. The Football World Cup will kick off in Qatar in celebration of youth, talent and skills and our common humanity. And so for the duration of the tournament we will forget that the earth is burning or being submerged, leave behind our petty and big differences, big and small wars, and all enjoy the beautiful game. But even this celebration is not without controversy. A lot of noise has been made about Qatar not being a suitable host for the football world cup. It will probably only stop when the first game kicks off on November 20th. First, there were accusations of corruption, that bribes were involved. Then complaints were raised about the extreme heat if the games were played in the traditional summer time. That was resolved by rescheduling them to the cooler November and December months. But that was not enough. There was another big one – mistreatment of migrant workers working on stadiums for the games and other human rights violations. There may have been something in the concerns raised. But then it is always like this when major world sporting events like the World Cup or Olympics, are not held in the old world, by which means Europe with a colonial past, or the new one, North America. What do they call the rest that do not fit into these two? Those they cannot dismiss find a way to accommodate the industrialised world. The rest of us are third world. Anyhow, those other worlds, except, of course, the third, always have something to complain about. When South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010, it was a crime. In Brazil, it was the Zika virus. In Russia in 2018, human rights and political repression. In the end the events take place, largely without incident. The world does not come crashing down. Everyone enjoys the spectacle. Still they will sound all these dire warnings about the hosts being unsuitable. Qatar 22 is only twelve days away. When the tournament gets going, all those fears and denunciations will be forgotten. We are sure to be treated to some scintillating football and keen competition and very strong passions. We will cheer ourselves hoarse, even those whose teams did not make it to the World Cup finals. They usually adopt one and support it as passionately as if it were their own. Aging stars will shine for one more time before finally fading into memory. New ones will be born and dazzle and hopefully keep at it for many years. Scouts from the old world will be out looking for new talent from the third and other worlds to lure to their clubs. That is how it always is. It ends well. What does this have to do with climate change, you might ask. Well, this is part of what we might lose if the earth becomes too hot or is completely submerged. The World Cup might be a useful reminder that if we want to enjoy and celebrate our life as it is, we must save the earth on which all this takes place from destruction. Perhaps the joy we derive from such sporting spectacles and the fear of losing it forever might jolt our leaders into action on climate change? Just a thought.