Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Hell on Earth Day

 “Our demands most moderate are – We only want the earth!” - James Connolly

Another of those special annual events, a special designated to mobilise public opinion and it was first observed in 1970 - now over half a century ago. Its longevity is a sign of its lack of success. Or planet is not ruled by sentiment nor social  justice but by power. Capitalists control presidents and parliaments. They ignore the opinions of the peoples of the world. They neglect organisations that have been established to protect the Earth. Their end determines their actions; their economic laws supersede all others. We need to recognise that we're fighting capitalism.

 On this Earth Day and in the year of the upcoming COP26 summit we are faced with perhaps the most serious problem ever to confront the human race and yet most scientists are still continuing to support a system of society which is the basic cause of the problem. If these experts were forced to sit down and apply their techniques of scientific investigation to human society and its evolution. they would come up with only one answer: the establishment of a system of society where production will be for direct use, goods and services will be free to all, and where all will have a direct democratic input because we are all social equals. Yet for them socialism is unthinkable, something utterly impracticable and unjustifiable but placing ones faith and trust and hope in the very agency that created the climate crisis is not at all illusory.

They turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the words of the visionary and humanitarian scientist, the late Carl Sagan:

Humans have evolved gregariously. We delight in each other's company; we care for one another. We cooperate. Altruism is built into us. We have brilliantly deciphered some of the patterns of Nature. We have sufficient motivation to work together and the ability to figure out how to do it. If we are willing to contemplate nuclear war and the wholesale destruction of our emerging global society, should we not also be willing to contemplate a wholesale restructuring of our societies?”

The scientific world full understands the consequences of no change and business-as-usual. Climate change will wreak its havoc on the basics of life: vital resources that include food, water, land, and energy. This will be devastating. the future effects of climate change to predict the following with reasonable confidence. Rising sea levels will in the next half-century erase many coastal areas, destroying large cities, critical infrastructure (including roads, railways, ports, airports, pipelines, refineries, and power plants), and prime agricultural land. Diminished rainfall and prolonged droughts will turn once-verdant crop-lands into dust bowls, reducing food output and turning millions into climate refugees. Extreme weather events, severe storms and intense heat-waves will kill crops, ignite forest fires, cause floods, and destroy critical infrastructure. No one can predict for sure how much will be lost as a result of this onslaught. But it is already clear that we are now heading to-wards a world of chaos.

Countless corporations have co-opted Earth Day for their  PR messages. It has become just another marketing opportunity for “ethical capitalism” by “going green.” The sad truth behind this laudable concern for the environment, is it is the only way capitalism can think of doing anything and that is by making loads of money out of it. Green capitalism's basic idea is that if we just price the environment correctly, traded carbon credits on the stock-exchange  creating new markets for techno-fixes and monetarising “Nature” itself then everyone and the environment will win. Capitalist culture has ridden rough-shod over biological and cultural diversity and has impoverished both people and the environment and yet we are to believe it is the solution to global warming. Pricing something is not the same as valuing it. Monetarising something does not express its use value, only its exchange value. Capitalism is bound to come into conflict with nature. It cannot go green because no business will take action which endangers their profits, just as no government will pass legislation that puts their capitalists at a disadvantage to its foreign rivals. True, it might be argued that international measures have been and can be taken to solve the worst environmental problems, from the banning of the pesticide DDT to the reduced the use of CFCs. However, energy production and global warming are far different, being integrated as closely as they could be in capitalist production in general. Combating them would not be a mere matter of disrupting the manufacture of aerosols or weed-killers, but of changing something which is part and parcel of the capitalist system and on which all companies depend.

Capitalism encourages competition which results in conflict not co-operation. Socialism will ultimately be a steady-state, zero-growth system of production and distribution and therefore can remain more in balance with the natural environment. Production will be for use, not for buying and selling on the market and needs will be determined by people and fulfilled by people.

We want the Earth - and we want it now


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