Sunday, 12 October 2014

Capitalism vs the climate

Better late than never! -  I'm posting my video of the climate march in Manchester on 21st September, which I attended with friends from the Green Party. The Green Party had a really good turnout on a demo which was disappointingly small in numbers. The march, which was part of a global protest, coincided with the publication of one of the most important books of the year, if not the century so far. "This Changes Everything" by Naomi Klein puts across a powerful but simple message - it's turbo-charged, deregulated capitalism which is driving global warming and if we're going to prevent catastrophic climate change we have to stop extractivism - end of. And that means moving to a new, post-capitalist economy which will inevitably be more locally based with de-centralised energy production.

This is a message which a lot of people don't want to hear, and strangely, as Naomi Klein points out, many of those people are on the left of politics and in the green movement. What's more, those on the right, the capitalists and their cheerleaders, have a much better grasp of the connection between dangerous climate change and the economic activities which they promote, which is why they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars funding climate change denial, something which Naomi Klein documents very well in her book.

I've posted about the climate change deniers before, and although its easy to understand their motives its harder to understand why so many who want to fight climate change are reluctant to point the finger at capitalism. It could be something to do with the fact that in our western culture the idea that mankind has the right to dominate and control nature runs very deep, coming as it does from a Judeo-Christian tradition which pre-dates capitalism by a thousand years and more. That means we can cut down forests, extract all the ores and fossil fuels on the planet, and empty the seas of fish if we want to. Add to that the fact that we are addicted to consumption, and that the mainstream left has been weak on real economic alternatives and you may go some way towards explaining this conundrum.

I started this blog around the time of the Great Economic Crash of 2008. Much of the reason behind it was to try and understand what was happening, and to talk about it. Blogging as therapy for me, but also as a way of finding solutions to the ongoing economic and environmental crises we are in. In many of the posts on this blog I've written about ideas which point the way towards dealing with capitalism and climate change, from Transition to the growth of renewable energy, to the Green New Deal, to the growth of locally owned and controlled co-operatives, we do have the means of living and building prosperity in ways that are much less destructive environmentally, economically, and socially than capitalism. 

There is much cause for hope, we can still keep warming below 2C, but we need to engage and energise the majority who can't see an alternative to capitalism and the endless 'growth' we hear about every time politicians talk about the economy in the media. We need to convince that majority that a socially just, collective response to climate change is viable and can provide the jobs, houses, education and healthcare that they need. People want change but they have yet to be persuaded that its possible. That is a huge task but its one which we can carry through successfully if we continue to campaign and push for political change through the Green Party.