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Tag Archives: Environment

Living in Two Worlds: Capitalism Pretends All Is Well While the World Is Burning

Those of us who are lucky enough to be living somewhere in the world where there is enough food to eat, water to drink, and security for us and our loved ones, are living in a bubble.

If we are paying close attention to escalating changes to the climate and the biosphere of Planet Earth, we know that it is only a matter of time until we or our descendants, too, will have our lives turned upside down, or even ended, by catastrophic climate disruption impacts.

Increasing numbers of us are living with the knowledge that it is already far too late to avert a global environmental catastrophe, yet the dominant culture of global capitalism continues to pretend there is still time — or the crisis isn’t actually that bad, or that geoengineering or some other mythically miraculous human technology will save us.

https://truthout.org/articles/living-in-two-worlds-capitalism-pretends-all-is-well-while-the-world-is-burning/

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Posted by on October 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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‘You broke our glacier’: the Mont Blanc resort on the climate frontline

Like millions of their compatriots around the globe, the children of Courmayeur marched last Friday to protest against the climate crisis. The group of 160 or so pupils, some as young as six, turned out with banners and slogans, repeatedly shouting: “Ban plastic, save our planet.” But their most prominent placard message showed that for the youngsters of this small Italian resort town at the foot of Mont Blanc, the threat of climate change is particularly close to home. “You broke our glacier”, it read.

The activists were referring to Planpincieux, a glacier on the nearby Grandes Jorasses peak that is changing so rapidly that experts warned last week that a huge portion of ice was in danger of breaking away.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/28/courmayeur-you-broke-our-glacier-mont-blanc-resort-climate-frontline

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2019 in European Union, Uncategorized

 

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This isn’t extinction, it’s extermination: the people killing nature know what they’re doing

During the carnage of the first world war, the poet Wilfred Owen revisited the biblical story in which God tests Abraham by commanding the sacrifice of Isaac, his son. In Genesis, Abraham dutifully prepares the lad for slaughter before God relents and tells him to offer a ram instead.

Owen’s bitter poem rewrites the ending:

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.
The parable illustrates global warming just as well as war – except, with CO2 levels higher than at any other time in human history, it’s a planet rather than a continent now under the knife.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2019/sep/20/this-isnt-extinction-its-extermination-the-people-killing-nature-know-what-theyre-doing

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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For the sake of life on Earth, we must put a limit on wealth

It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musicians and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by giving other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every great fortune lies a great crime. Immense wealth translates automatically into immense environmental impacts, regardless of the intentions of those who possess it. The very wealthy, almost as a matter of definition, are committing ecocide.A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a worker at a British private airport. “I see things that really shouldn’t be happening in 2019,” he wrote. Every day he sees Global 7000 jets, Gulfstream G650s and even Boeing 737s take off from the airport carrying a single passenger, mostly flying to Russia and the US. The private Boeing 737s, built to take 174 passengers, are filled at the airport with around 25,000 litres of fuel. That’s as much fossil energy as a small African town might use in a year.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/19/life-earth-wealth-megarich-spending-power-environmental-damage

 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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I have a dream that the powerful take the climate crisis seriously. The time for their fairytales is over

My name is Greta Thunberg, I am 16 years old and I’m from Sweden. I am grateful for being with you here in the USA. A nation that, to many people, is the country of dreams.

I also have a dream: that governments, political parties and corporations grasp the urgency of the climate and ecological crisis and come together despite their differences – as you would in an emergency – and take the measures required to safeguard the conditions for a dignified life for everybody on earth.

Because then – we millions of school striking youth – could go back to school.

I have a dream that the people in power, as well as the media, start treating this crisis like the existential emergency it is. So that I could go home to my sister and my dogs. Because I miss them.

In fact I have many dreams. But this is the year 2019. This is not the time and place for dreams. This is the time to wake up. This is the moment in history when we need to be wide awake.

 

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2019 in Reportages

 

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The Dawn of Climate Fascism

Organizers are expecting huge numbers to turn out for the Global Climate Strike, beginning on September 20 and continuing through September 27. It builds on the first global climate strike, which took place on March 15, and attracted an estimated 1.6 million young people, who walked out of class at schools on every continent.

But this week’s strike will be different. This time, young organizers have called on adults from all walks of life to join them in the streets. So in addition to schools in over 150 countries, almost 1,000 workers at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle have pledged to walk out, as have some faculty unions, Britain’s Trades Union Congress, and many others. There is a plan to shut down Washington, D.C. on September 23.

This diversity of the groups involved may well prove to be a new stage in the climate movement, with many more movements and constituencies seeing themselves in the struggle against climate breakdown — as well as in the emerging vision for an intersectional justice-based Green New Deal.

And it’s a good thing too, because as Donald Trump spews racist hate at Bahamian refugees fleeing the wreckage of Hurricane Dorian and growing numbers of far-right killers cite environmental damage as a justification for their rampages, there is a pressing need to confront the ways in which the fires of climate breakdown are already intersecting with the fires of white supremacy and surging xenophobia globally.

These are themes I explore in-depth in my new book, “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal,” from which this essay is excerpted.

https://theintercept.com/2019/09/16/climate-change-immigration-mass-shootings/

 

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in Reportages

 

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What’s in a Trump Straw?

 

Watch as Naomi Klein explains why the overpriced scraps of pre-landfill known as Trump Straws can actually tell us a whole lot about why our planet’s on fire.

So many environmental responses have just been minor tweaks to an economy based on endless consumption — take your electric car to the drive-through for an Impossible Burger and a Coke with a paper straw. Of course it’s better than the alternative. But it’s nowhere close to the depth of change required if we hope to actually pull our planet back from the brink. Restricting plastic straws is great. But we also need a ban on those significantly larger cylindrical sucking things. And electric cars are nice, if you can afford them. But what we really need is free, zero emissions public transit with energy-efficient non-market housing and health care steps away. We need new ways of thinking, beyond Trumpian temper tantrums or the dangerous incrementalism of the supposedly serious centrists.

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in North America

 

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The Misogyny of Climate Deniers

Climate skeptic Bjørn Lomborg has built his global brand on keeping his cool. “Cool it,” his best-selling book told those worried about the warming planet. For some reason, however, he seems to have difficulty sticking to the blasé tone when it comes to a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden.

Lomborg has repeatedly mocked and criticized Greta Thunberg, the prominent young activist who has been sailing across the Atlantic to attend the UN’s Youth Climate Summit and other meetings in the U.S. In June, he tweeted out a cartoon that implied Greta was only useful to climate activists because being young made her unassailable—in four years, it joked, she’d be replaced with someone younger still. Earlier in the year, he’d asked why the World Economic Forum was listening to her at all, and approvingly shared a Quillette article which called Thunberg a fanatic and “absolutist” and which argued adults had a duty to correct her childlike naiveté.

https://newrepublic.com/article/154879/misogyny-climate-deniers

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Welcome to the US, Greta. With your help we can save the planet and ourselves

Dear Greta,

Thank you for travelling across the Atlantic to north America to help us do the most important work in the world. There are those of us who welcome you and those who do not because you have landed in two places, a place being born and a place dying, noisily, violently, with as much damage as possible.

It has always been two places, since the earliest Europeans arrived in places where Native people already lived, and pretended they were new and gave them the wrong names. You can tell the history of the United States – which are not very united now – as the history of Sojourner Truth, the heroine who helped liberate the enslaved, as that of the slaveowners and defenders of slavery, as a place of visionary environmental voices such as Rachel Carson and the corporate powers and profiteers she fought and exposed.

Right now the US is the country of Donald Trump and of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of climate destroyers and climate protectors. Sometimes the Truths and the Carsons have won. I believe it is more than possible for Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal to win, for the spirit of generosity and inclusion and the protection of nature to win – but that depends on what we do now. Which is why I’m so grateful that you have arrived to galvanize us with your clarity of vision and passionate commitment.

https://www.theguardian.com/global/commentisfree/2019/aug/29/us-greta-thunberg-climate

 

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: ‘Hope is contagious’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enters a boardroom at her constituency office in Queens, New York, after a short delay which, a political aide hopes, hasn’t been caused by a constituent waylaying her in the corridor. (“They can get really excited to meet her.”) Greta Thunberg is in her home in Sweden, her father testing the technology for the video link while the teenager waits in the background. The activists have never met nor spoken but, as two of the most visible climate campaigners in the world, they are keenly aware of each other.Thunberg, now 16, catapulted to fame last year for skipping school every Friday to stand outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against political inaction over the climate crisis and sparking an international movement, the school strike for climate, in which millions of other children followed suit. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district is, at 29, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, whose election over a well-funded incumbent in 2018 was a huge upset to politics-as-usual. She has been in office for less than a year, which seems extraordinary given the amount of coverage she has generated. In February, Ocasio-Cortez submitted the Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives, calling for, among other things, the achievement of “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade and “a full transition off fossil fuels”, as well as retrofitting all buildings in the US to meet new energy efficient standards.

The Green New Deal, while garnering support from Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, was mocked by speaker Nancy Pelosi (“the green dream or whatever they call it”), and defeated in the Senate by Republicans. Like Thunberg, however, Ocasio-Cortez gives every appearance of being galvanised by opposition, and has the kind of energy that has won her 4.41 million Twitter followers and makes establishment politicians in her path very nervous.

In the course of their conversation, Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg discuss what it is like to be dismissed for their age, how depressed we should be about the future, and what tactics, as an activist, really work. Ocasio-Cortez speaks with her customary snap and brilliance that, held up against the general waffle of political discourse, seems startlingly direct. Thunberg, meanwhile, is phenomenally articulate, well-informed and self-assured, holding her own in conversation with an elected official nearly twice her age and speaking in deliberate, thoughtful English. They are, in some ways, as different as two campaigners can get – the politician working the system with Washington polish, and the teenager in her socks and leggings, working from her bedroom to reach the rest of the world. There is something very moving about the conversation between these young women, a sense of generational rise that, as we know from every precedent from the Renaissance onwards, has the power to ignite movements and change history.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/29/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-met-greta-thunberg-hope-contagious-climate

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2019 in Reportages

 

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