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 Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I hate Earth Day II: the road to hell in baby steps

by Sharon Astyk from Casaubon's Book. She makes some very good points about the distortion of news and commentary re the issues of environmental devastation, climate change, and peak oil from mainstream media and that the problems are more hidden in Western societies because capitalist enterprises have outsourced most of their polluting industries to the other countries. 

Unfortunately, she fails to make the fundamental connection to the source of the problems--the capitalist system which cannot deal with the problems. Until we, the people, make this connection and change the system, nothing of consequence will change with regard to halting the slide toward catastrophe.
The central message of most Earth Day celebrations is that if we all do a little, we'll make the world a better place. But the fact is that that's not true, and as much as we like to hear such a friendly, fuzzy message, we can't make it factual just by wanting it to be true. The blunt reality is that unless we all do an awful lot, very fast, we're facing disaster. We use the word "sustainable" casually, to mean "well, we can probably do a little more of this if we cut back a little now." But we are facing a sustainability crisis in the deepest sense - if we don't make massive changes and quite rapidly, our children's future is in question - and the children of billions of people around the world.