Climate change is a different prospect of calamity—not just elementally but morally different from nuclear exchange in a manner which has not been properly dealt with. The first difference is that it’s definitely happening. The second is that it’s not happening to everyone. For anyone who grew up in the Cold War, the apocalypse was a simple yes-no question: either it was coming, or it wasn’t. Many people I know who grew up before the end of the nuclear arms race describe this as oddly freeing: there was the sense that since the future might explode at any point, it was not worth the effort of planning. Climate change is species collapse by a thousand cuts. There will be no definite moment we can say that yes, today we are fucked, and yesterday we were unfucked. Instead the fuckery increases incrementally year on year, until this is the way the world ends: not with a bang, not with a bonfire, but with the slow and savage confiscation of every little thing that made you human, starting with hope.
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Less of What We Don't Need
Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.
Are you confused about climate change/global warming: is it real or is it fake news? And if it is real, what can be done about it?
I gave a talk on March 18, 2017 at the free speech forum in Chicago called The Open University of the Left, where I discussed this and what we could do about it. The program was video-taped and is now available on-line for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iga7rWXp0VY .
According to the latest YouGov poll, more than one in four of us work longer hours than we want to. The UK tops the European long hours league, and research published by the TUC in 2015 revealed that the number of people working over 48 hours a week had increased by 15 per cent since 2010. In a culture of overwork (and, in an increasing number of cases, underpay) most of us feel that we have no choice but to work longer and longer hours.
But across the world a growing number of people, organisations and even countries are bucking this trend and recognising the value of a shorter working week.
Prior to the 2016 US Presidential election, a New York-based Earthcare Coalition of organizations drawn from African Diaspora nations asked, “What would it take to mount a concerted move toward relocalization of food production and sovereignty among marginalized people of African descent as climate disruptions become the norm?”
Both capitalism and electoral democracy impede effective climate action. But while we have to defend and transform democracy, there is no possibility that capitalism can be made compatible with either global climate mitigation or social and economic justice.
Last month, the social-media giant Facebook announced plans to build a new data center near Odense, Denmark. The expansion of server capacity was needed, the company said, to support "richer content" such as live-streaming and virtual reality.
The Facebook executive who made a public announcement of the decision (live-streamed, of course), noted that the new facility would have the "smallest footprint possible" and be "powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy." Well, not exactly.
A Lakota prophecy tells of a mythic Black Snake that will move underground and bring destruction to the Earth. The “seventh sign” in Hopi prophecy involves the ocean turning black and bringing death to many sea-dwelling creatures. It doesn’t take an over-active imagination to make a connection between these images and oil pipelines and spills.
For 4000 years since the breakdown of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, almost every major societal collapse has featured five trends: spiralling migration, state collapse, food shortages, epidemic disease and climate change. What makes the present era distinct is that whilst previous collapses have been geographically contained, the globalisation of carbon-intensive industry since the 1800s and particularly over the last four decades means that the relationship between cause and effect has been obscured. Many of the people worst impacted by human-caused climate change today are also the least responsible for it. The Climate Stories project believes that averting further damage and building a different future means being led by those who are the first to hear the earth rise up in protest, have considered the causes and are innovating solutions. In this spirit, this article documents reflections from a series of conversations with members of the Kurdish movement on climate change.
Is degrowth, or the reduction of material and energy uses for human use, a valid and viable strategy for the Global South, i.e. countries and populations that have not reached an excessive or even acceptable level of prosperity? Perhaps not. What is needed is for these regions to find their own home-grown visions and pathways of change. Ecoswaraj or radical ecological democracy (RED) is emerging from practical and conceptual processes prevalent in many parts of India.