There will be no future on a dead planet, socialist or otherwise. If the left is to seize power and bring our planet into the rational egalitarian age we envision, we will need to simultaneously tackle a host of environmental crises. Failure to do so will mean that our project is doomed from the onset. Even the most firmly grounded socialist society will not survive an ecological collapse, throwing the planet and its people back into the barbarism we are working so hard to overcome. Or worse.
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Less of What We Don't Need
Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.
In June, the author was invited to speak at the eight annual Breakthrough Dialogue, an annual invite-only conference where accomplished thinkers debate how to achieve prosperity for humans and nature. The Breakthrough Institute, an ecomodernist think-tank, apparently welcomed his presence as a provocateur.
Without more rigorous news coverage, few indeed will know that Nordhaus and Romer are epitomes of neoclassical economics, that 20th century occupation isolated from the realities of natural science. Nordhaus and Romer may deserve their prizes for economic modeling, but each gets an F in advanced sustainability.
Some scientists say it’s necessary to save the climate. An indigenous-led opposition says it will only save the fossil fuel economy.
In today’s America, random mass murder has merged with ecological devastation.
To usher in a new way of living, the core dynamic of ever-greater production and consumption of goods and resources must be broken, coupled with a societal focus on environmental repair. Systemic interventions are needed that unleash dynamics to push society towards a new mode of living. Two increasingly discussed ideas may do just this.
The UN report demands radical change, but all encapsulated within a seemingly unquestionable assumption: that economic growth will and must continue. The report authors, says Heinberg, “don’t explicitly mention the possibility of ditching growth as a primary policy objective, presumably because government leaders might then be moved simply to dismiss the whole raft of recommendations.”
Of course, the idea that we can continue endlessly growing our economies while reducing our energy consumption, known as ‘decoupling’ in the technical literature, is attractive.
But it has been increasingly rejected in a number of recent studies, including one published earlier this year in Science of the Total Environment, in which economists find that the dependence of global economic growth on natural resources has not decreased, but increased by over 60 percent over the last century.
On June 15, 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines blew its top in an eruption of staggering proportions. It sent an ash cloud 28 miles high, filling surrounding valleys with deposits 660 feet thick and destroying almost every bridge within 18 miles. Over 800 people lost their lives.
Referring to cultural Marxism, especially the Frankfurt School, Noam Chomsky once said, “I don’t find that kind of work very illuminating… The ideas that seem useful also seem pretty simple, and I don’t understand what all the verbiage is for.” While I think there’s much of value in the so-called Western Marxist tradition—for instance, I’m partial to Georg Lukács (more so than to Adorno and others in the Frankfurt School)—I have to admit I strongly sympathize with Chomsky.