26 Oct 2012

Three approaches to the eco-crisis

There are broadly three points of view on the ecological crisis. The political mainstream of Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour recognise it and hope to deal with it one day but not now while we are in difficult economic times which require us to create growth and jobs in the traditional way.

Next are the Greens who maintain that the juggernaut of our globalised economy can be turned around in time to avert ecological catastrophe. Measures such as the Green New Deal or One Million Climate Jobs, for example, can solve the economic crisis in a way that is environmentally sustainable.

The third point of view is that it is already too late to avert the most important ecological problem, which is global warming or man-made climate change. So, for example, there is nothing we do now can stop the polar ice caps from melting into the sea. Some projections are that this will happen in decades, some in centuries. Estimates are that sea levels will rise by several metres if the Arctic melts and by several tens of metres if Antarctica melts. Coupled with projections about extreme weather and storm surges, the worry is that islands, low-lying countries and coastal cities will all be flooded and uninhabitable. The nuclear power stations that are by the sea, as most of them are, will be under water along with their radioactive material, contaminating marine life and the food chain.

Many people, I'm sure, worry about this and say nothing. For how do you prepare for a post-catastrophe world? Don't have children? Flee to high ground? Learn survival skills? Enjoy what we have while it lasts and let tomorrow be damned?

Where are the leaders with ideas and strategies about what to do? By promoting traditional growth, the mainstream is just setting us up for a bigger crash when it happens. As to the Green New Deal, etc, I don’t know if it will make any difference: If you fall out of a plane and someone has given you a parachute that is fine, but if all they gave you was an umbrella, it wasn’t worth having.  I'm still looking for what people are saying about how to prepare future generations for a post-catastrophe world.

To end on a positive note, Rupert Read www.rupertread.net has a helpful outlook based on optimism of the will over pessimism of the intellect, while Joanna Macy www.joannamacy.net has a helpful philosophy of The Great Turning. That is what keeps me going for now. Any other helpful thoughts, please let me know …

1 Oct 2012


Austerity is not working, so why are we still being promised years of it to come? The truth is that the leaders of all the major parties are committed to austerity, not because it’s good for us, but because it’s good for them and their wealthy friends.  The highest earners are making a killing while the rest of us face job insecurity and cuts to pay, pensions, services and benefits.
The millionaires in government and the media want us to focus on the ‘lazy’ unemployed, lone parents, immigrants, and disabled people. But even their own figures for benefit fraud are infinitesimal compared to tax avoidance and evasion – and the vast sums spent on bailing out the banks.

from Brighton Benefits Campaign