Green politics in a nutshell

Green politics is not seeking worldwide Socialist government. Sure, social justice is common to both (hence people like James Delingpole can write stupid books like Watermelons) but, Green politics is also about promoting grassroots democracy and the empowerment of the people; not a top-heavy autocratic government. The four pillars of Green politics (as per the German Green Party in the 1980s) are as follows: 1. Ecology – acknowledging that humanity is part of nature not superior to it. 2. Social Justice – acknowledging the all humans deserve to be treated fairly. 3. Grassroots democracy – acknowledging that globalisation may not be such a good idea. 4. Non-violence – increasingly difficult to sustain because of our failure to adopt the above. Instead of which, the last 50 years have seen a strengthening of the dominance of free-market economics and global Capitalism, the four pillars of which may well be: 1. Anthropocentrism – we are masters of our Environment and can defile it with impunity. 2. Growthmania – blind faith that economic growth will eventually bring prosperity to all. 3. Unrepresentative democracy – power is vested in business and political elites. 4. Natural violence – economic progress will always trump nature (habitat) preservation. It was the seventeenth century Enlightenment that convinced us we could be masters of our environment, but this was a dangerous fallacy and a delusion. It was always going to be exposed as such eventually: No civilisation that made this mistake has ever lasted very long (e.g. the inhabitants of Easter Island) and, in the case of modern civilisation, it is very clear now that the clock really started ticking with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. We have been burning fossil fuels in ever-increasing amounts for over 200 years. Physics told us that the effects will take time to become obvious. However, those effects were all predicted and now, sure enough, they have become obvious. If so, why do people continue to claim we are making a fuss about nothing? Leon Festinger and David Aaronovitch have provided the answer – It makes them feel better. May be it does, but the laws of physics do not cease to apply just because they choose not to like them. I have been very fortunate to trek to Everest Base Camp from the world’s scariest airport at Lukla (in Nepal). One of the things that struck me most forcefully on that trek was the clear evidence that below an altitude of about 4000 metres, there was no sign that any valleys had ever been glaciated. That is to say that U-shaped valleys are only present above that level; the lower valleys are over-incised V-shape and/or filled with fluvio-glacial deposits. This is a very clear indication that the glaciers in the Himalaya have been fairly static ever since they first developed millions of years ago. However, since first observed and photographed by ‘Westerners’ less than 100 years ago, there have been huge loses in mass (i.e. the depth and length of valley filled); and most of this melting has happened in the last 30 years. Therefore Green politics is not a socialist conspiracy; it is a logical response to the reality that humanity is treating the environment with contempt. You may choose to take it or leave it but, if we don’t embrace it soon we will be faced with a very unpleasant reality: — Herman E Daly called it uneconomic growth. — William Ophuls called it overshoot and collapse (as a result of ecological scarcity). — Meadows et al called it running “…out of the ability to cope [with pollution] long before we run out of… resources”. — Stephen Hawking called it the reason why Aliens will not be friendly! Whatever you want to call it, this unpleasant reality is not going to go away just because we wish it were not so. But first, I guess, you must be convinced that we are the primary cause of climate change we now face… If this is where you are still at, see this excellent new summary (posted on the Skeptical Science website on 20 January 2012): A Comprehensive Review of the Causes of Global Warming (emphasis mine).

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About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Climate Science, Cognitive Dissonance, Economics, Environment, Ethics, Growthmania, Limits to Growth, Modernity, Politics, Scepticism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Green politics in a nutshell

  1. Pingback: Nature is not your enemy (but it may bite if you are unkind to it) « Anthropocene Reality

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