Climate Change vs. Capitalism?

Jerry Manders, author of the 1991 book ‘ Absence of the Sacred’ writes about the hypocrisies of national leaders who must meet the world demands and obsessive need  for economic growth while making commitments to cap accumulating damages to the environment that result directly from growth of the economy. It is because of a trade-off. While we cannot understand Obama on his contradictory position on energy conservation and stimulus growth spending, we cannot blame him alone, as it is seen within many governments who have felt public pressure towards environmental protection. On the other hand, recent global recessionary forces have frightened many of us, who feared losing their jobs, having taxes raised, and just worried about the general health and future of their assets- the answer to this: we need to create demand,  expand growth, create employment. The contradiction resides amongst civilians as well as our political bodies.

As Manders puts it ” They speak about our economy as if it were a separate entity, its own ever-expanding universe, unconnected to any realities outside itself, not embodied within a larger system from which, actually, it emerged and can’t escape. Nature cannot be left out of the discussion. (…) Here’s the point: never-ending growth on a small planet with finite resources is a profound impossibility. It’s an absurdity. A fantasy.”

So how can we, as nations, end this perpetual cycle of fantasizing in spite of nature’s slow demise? “( … ), advocating less production and less consumption of energy and materials, less global export shipping, “powering down”. Less globalisation and more localisation. (…) Such moves would require economic transformations that few corporate powers, bankers, heads of state can accept.”

Bolivian president Evo Morales can be seen as a role model for other nations to follow. Six months after Copenhagen, Morales met with to the 30000 protesters who had been ignored at the UN Climate Summit, and had quite a lot of support from other South American countries in formulating a climate strategy. Ecuador was one of them, and has long “been been arguing in favour of such concepts as “the inherent rights of nature”, which was recently added to Ecuador’s national constitution amid great fanfare”

‘Morales proposed three ideas: 1) nature should be granted rights that protect ecosystems from annihilation, under a Universal Declaration of Mother Earth Rights 2) poor countries should receive compensation for crises they face but had little part in creating and 3) there should be a continuing “world referendum on climate change”, open to all people.’

Sanders lists a few of the issues and changes that need to be addressed and implemented in order for climate negotiations to succeed and a chance for nature to reach a ‘steady-state’. Some of these points are:

  • Adoption of an international “oil depletion protocol” for an orderly, equitable decline of fossil-fuel use.
  • Universal emphasis on conservation and efficiency in all activities.
  • Introduction of “steady state” (no-growth) economic models.
  • Emphasis on localisation not globalisation.
  • Less long-distance shipping, not more.
  • Development of local participatory democracies.
  • Ban privatisation of the “natural commons”
  • Legal confirmation for the inherent rights of nature, with a coda and enforcement standards.
  • End legal “personhood” for corporations; introduction of “site here to sell here” policies.
  • Introduction of new standards of economic measurement. Elimination of GDP as a measurement of societal success.
  • Advocating for standards of “sufficiency” rather than wealth accumulation.
  • Development of a formal process for the transfer of green technology.

Read original article here



1 Response to “Climate Change vs. Capitalism?”

  1. 1 rogerthesurf November 16, 2010 at 20:53

    “Introduction of “steady state” (no-growth) economic models.”

    Care to share with us all what that means and how “Steady State” will benefit us?



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