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Stars and scientists call for world not to 'go back to normal'

They said the pandemic was a tragedy but it was a chance for humanity to "examine what is essential".

FILE: US pop singer Madonna. Picture: AFP.

PARIS - A host of celebrities and scientists including Madonna, Robert de Niro and a clutch of Nobel Prize winners have called for radical change in the world rather than "a return to normal" after the coronavirus lockdowns.

Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett, Jane Fonda, Marion Cotillard and Monica Bellucci also added their names to the open letter published in the French daily Le Monde pleading for an end to unbridled consumerism and a "radical transformation" of economies to help save the planet.

"We believe it is unthinkable to 'go back to normal'," said the letter which was also signed by Nobel laureates for medicine, chemistry and physics as well as peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus.

They said the pandemic was a tragedy but it was a chance for humanity to "examine what is essential".

"Adjustments are not enough. The problem is systemic," the letter added.

"The ongoing ecological catastrophe is a meta-crisis. Unlike a pandemic... a global ecological collapse will have immeasurable consequences," it said.

The 200 signatories said it was time for leaders "to leave behind the unsustainable logic that still prevails and to undertake a profound overhaul of our goals, values, and economies.

"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," the short letter added.

"Pollution, climate change, and the destruction of our remaining natural zones has brought the world to a breaking point."