We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, February 9, 2017

We need to talk about the Anthropocene

Click here to access article by Gabriel Levy from People and Nature
It is surely axiomatic for all socialists that the impacts of human activity on nature need to be understood as products not of undifferentiated humanity, but of hierarchical, exploitative social systems – and, mostly, of capitalism, that has dominated the world economy since the industrial revolution.

But I get the sense that some socialists, in their rush to reject the ideologised, neo-Malthusian Anthropocene narrative that environmental impacts are the fault of all humans....
Along the same lines, you might be interested in a review of a book entitled Anthropocene or Capitalocene by Ian Angus in which he joins the debate and criticizes the author's point of view:
We live in a time when decaying capitalism is destroying our planet’s life-support systems. To prevent political changes that would end their destructive rule, powerful corporations and politicians are actively promoting misinformation about Earth System science. Ignorance and obscurantism are on the march around the world.

But we are also seeing huge advances in scientific understanding of the Earth System and growing awareness that change is urgently needed. Realization that we have entered an unprecedented and dangerous epoch has triggered international discussions in which almost all participants agree that business as usual is a road to planetary disaster. Ideas once held by only a few radical environmentalists are increasingly accepted by scientists worldwide and are creating the possibility of a powerful science-based challenge to the present social order.

In this situation it would be a tragedy if straw-person arguments and fears of ideological contamination were to prevent the Left from engaging with scientists and joining the global discussion.

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