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environment

John Bellamy Foster: Is China building an 'ecological civilisation'?

Air pollution in China's major cities is among the world's most severe.

By John Bellamy Foster

June 12, 2015 -- Monthly Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- China's leadership has called in recent years for the creation of a new "ecological civilisation". Some have viewed this as a departure from Marxism and a concession to Western-style "ecological modernisation".

However, embedded in classical Marxism, as represented by the work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, was a powerful ecological critique. Marx explicitly defined socialism in terms consistent with the development of an ecological society or civilisation -- or, in his words, the "rational" regulation of "the human metabolism with nature".

Hijacking 'Anthropocene': Anti-green ‘Breakthrough Institute’ misrepresents science

By Ian Angus

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,
“it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

May 19, 2015 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- What can lobbyists do when science contradicts their political messages? Some simply deny the science, as many conservatives do with climate change. Others pretend to embrace the science, while ignoring or purging the disagreeable content. That’s what the Breakthrough Institute (BTI) is doing with one of the most widely discussed issues in 21st century science, the proposal to define a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

Australia: ‘People are capable of running society themselves’-- socialist councillor Sue Bolton

Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level and for more on the Australian Socialist Alliance

April 23, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne, Australia.

* * *

You were elected to the Moreland City Council for Socialist Alliance in October 2012. Many of the themes and issues raised in your campaign struck a chord with a wide range of people. There was also a fair bit of accident and luck: you headed up a ballot with 24 names on it and the ALP ticket was split.

There were two main reasons why I was elected. One was that our campaign theme, “community need not developer greed”, struck a chord with residents who didn’t know either Socialist Alliance or me because many residents are directly effected by developer greed.

'Extractivism' debate continues: Beyond lithium (and other poisons)

The Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia are home to over half the world's lithium deposits.

By Don Fitz

April 17, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Policies that expand “extractivism” in progressive Latin American countries bring up a host of contradictions: How do the short-term benefits of financial gain from extraction compare to its long-term destructiveness? What options are available for reducing poverty without increasing mining, logging and GMO monocultures? Could the climate change effects of extraction actually hurt the world’s poor more than helping them? How can struggles against extractivism chart a path to economies based on human need rather corporate profits?

The lithium fantasy

Socialist Resistance on the rise of the Green parties in England, Wales and Scotland

Greens' Westminster MP Caroline Lucas.

Click for more on the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Greens.

By Terry Conway

April 8, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Membership and support for the Green parties across Britain – the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) and the Scottish Green Party (SGP) – has surged dramatically.

The membership of the GPEW has doubled in the past year and currently stands at 54,500, making it the fourth-largest party in Britainbigger than the Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party. It has also been rising in the opinion polls, topping 10% recently, well in advance of the Lib Dems, which has led the broadcasters to propose its inclusion in the TV debates.

Paris COP21: Seattle-style shutdowns or another climate cul de sac?

400,000-strong climate march, New York, September 21, 2014.

Click for more on the struggle against climate change.

By Patrick Bond, Tunis

March 29, 2015 -- originally published by TeleSUR, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Looming ahead in eight months’ time is another "Conference of Polluters" (technically, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP). The last 20 did zilch to save us from climate catastrophe. Judging by early rough drafts of the Paris COP21 agreement recently leaked, another UN fiasco seems inevitable

This changes some things: Jodi Dean on Naomi Klein's 'This Changes Everything'

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

By Naomi Klein
Alfred A. Knopf, 2014

By Jodi Dean

March 17, 2015 -- I Cite, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- How do we imagine the climate changing? Some scenarios involve techno-fixes like cloud-seeding or new kinds of carbon sinks. Cool tech, usually backed by even cooler entrepreneurs, saves the day -- Iron Man plus Al Gore plus Steve Jobs. In green.

Other scenarios are apocalyptic: blizzards, floods, tsunamis and droughts; crashing planes; millions of migrants moving from south to north only to be shot at armed borders. The poor fight and starve; the rich enclave themselves in shining domed cities as they document the extinction of charismatic species and convince themselves they aren't next.

Mining, energy, climate, capitalism: Why don’t NGOs connect the dots?

Alternative Mining Indaba Feb 2015

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

March 14, 2015 -- Despite making powerful criticisms of multinational mining corporations, an NGO-organised conference in Cape Town ignored essential links with related struggles.

In southern Africa, the Zulu and Xhosa word Indaba is used for important gatherings or conferences. February’s Alternative Mining Indaba, challenging a pro-corporate conference held at the same time, was organised by the Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa, in assocation with  Norwegian Church Aid, Oxfam, Benchmarks Foundation, Diakonia and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.

* * *

Intersectionality missing-in-action at Cape Town’s Alternative Mining Indaba

By Patrick Bond

Greece: ‘Another energy is possible’ -- SYRIZA committed to ‘ecological transformation’

For more on SYRIZA, click HERE

By Sean Sweeney

February 18, 2015 -- Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (USA), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- During its first days in office, SYRIZA has taken actions that suggest it is willing to confront the European Union’s neoliberal approach to energy and to embark on a new course. New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has also stated his government will restore collective bargaining agreements and stop 300,000 planned layoffs.

The SYRIZA government has said it will stop the proposed sell-off of the Public Power Corporation (PPC), which is 51% publicly owned but had been targeted for full-on privatisation in 2016. “We will halt immediately any privatisation of PPC”, energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told Greek television a few hours before officially taking over his portfolio. “There will be a new PPC which will help considerably the restoration of the country’s productive activities”, he said.

Cuba: The 'solarisation' of Granma province

By Laurie Guevara-​Stone

January 14, 2015 -- Rocky Mountain Institute, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- US President Barack Obama’s recent announcement that he wants to begin normalising relations with Cuba generated news around the world. But the Cuban province of Granma may soon be making headlines for another reason: its embrace of renewable energy.

While Cuba is an island full of sun, rivers and windy coasts, only 4 per cent of the island’s electricity is generated from renewable energy. The island hopes to soon change that, with a goal of generating 24 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030, and Granma is leading the way.

'Une planète trop peuplée?' Preface to the French edition of 'Too Many People?'

Une Planete Trop Peuplee

December 17, 2014 -- Capitalism & Climate, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Québec publisher Les Éditions Écosociété has translated and published the book that Simon Butler and Ian Angus co-wrote, Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket Books, 2011).

The French edition, titled Une planète trop peuplée? Le mythe populationniste, l’immigration et la crise écologique, features a new preface by Serge Mongeau, who is the founder of Écosociété and was a candidate for Québec solidaire in the 2008 Québec general election.

Below is a translation of that preface, followed by the original French text, both published with permission from Les Éditions Écosociété.

Preface to the French edition of Too Many People?

By Serge Mongeau, translated by Ian Angus, with assistance from Richard Fidler

GMOs, pesticides, climate, nuclear energy: How capitalism controls science

By Don Fitz

December 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, submitted by the author; a version of this article first appeared at Truthout.org -- Did you ever think that investigation of the potential dangers of putting genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into food would be based on objective research? Or that unbiased reviews of research by academic journals would chart a steady march toward scientific truth? If so, you would be very wrong. Through all of its phases, scientific research is subject to repression, manipulation and more insidious forms of control that push it toward a profit-based consensus.

Three well-known GMO studies form a pattern of authors' being harassed, intimidated and even having their findings "retracted" or withdrawn by a scientific journal after being published.

Suppression of GMO research

Lima climate agreement fails humanity and the Earth

Protesters at the People's Climate March in Lima.

December 14, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Late in the night, 194 countries of the UN framework convention on climate change finally reached agreement. Far from satisfactory, this deal jeopardises any “historic agreement” in Paris. The climate justice NGOs and movements, including Attac France and the Friends of the Earth France, have released this first analysis.

* * *

No justice in Lima outcome

The world faces a planetary emergency: climate change, caused by a system that puts the pursuit of profit above the needs of people and the limits of nature. It is already devastating millions of people across the planet. Climate science predicts we will soon breach critical tipping points and could be locked in to 4-5°c of warming with catastrophic impacts for us all.

The Lima Conference should have been a milestone that marked out how governments will take urgent action to tackle climate change and to support vulnerable people across the world to adapt to its locked in impacts.

Climate activism: 'It's not enough to criticise. Build movements that confront the crisis'

Gemma Weedall addresses Socialism 2014 in Malaysia.

By Gemma Weedall

[This is based on a presentation Socialist Alliance's Gemma Weedall gave to Socialism 2014, a conference organised by the Socialist Party of Malaysia. ]

November 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat facing humanity today. We are seeing global temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate, with 13 of the 14 warmest years on record having occurred in the past 14 years.

In fact, if you are under 37 years of age, you have never seen a year of below average temperature.

Last year in Australia, over 150 weather records were broken, including experiencing our hottest day, week, month and year on record. It is likely that these records will not be long-standing, with all signs indicating they will be broken again this coming summer.

There are predictions that at current rates of emissions increases, the Arctic will be ice free in summer as soon as four years from now, but in the best case scenario, in about 20 years.

This represents a dangerous tipping point that will take us into uncharted territory from which we may not be able to return.

Why greens must be red and reds must be green

November 16, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In these videos Ian Angus argues for a movement based on socialist and ecological principles, to save humanity and the rest of nature from capitalist ecocide.

Angus is editor of Climate & Capitalism, a founding member of the Ecosocialist International Network, co-author of the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration and editor of The Global Fight for Climate Justice. The presentation, delivered in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 16, 2014, was organised and co-sponsored by Ottawa Ecosocialists and Ottawa Socialist Project. It was recorded and edited by Albert Dupuis.

In part one, Ian Angus’s talk is introduced by Richard Fidler, who writes and blogs at Life on the Left. In part two, the question and answer period is chaired by Peter Gose, professor of sociology at Carleton University.

Climate: Are US-China announced emissions cuts enough to halt global warming?

By Maxime Combes

November 14, 2014 -- MediaPart, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An unheard of agreement. Seen by some as historic, taking the words of US President Barack Obama and not putting them into perspective. On November 12, the media and commentators welcomed almost unanimously the joint US-China announcement on greenhouse gas emissions. But what is it really?

On November 12,  Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping announced their targets for cuts to their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The US announced a 26-28% reduction by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. While China envisages a peak in its GHG emissions around 2030, or if possible before.

Are these announcements really unheard of?

What will it take to go beyond 'extractivism'? Federico Fuentes replies to Don Fitz

A miner in Bolivia.

For more on the "extractivism" discussion, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

October 31, 2014 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal, a version of this article appeared first at TeleSUR English -- In recent years, a number of important discussions have emerged among and between environmentalists and solidarity activists. None has generated quite as much heat as the debate over extractive industries, particularly in South America.

This is perhaps unsurprising given what’s at stake: South America is home to some of the world’s largest and most important natural resource deposits. It is also a region dominated by progressive governments that have taken strong stances internationally in support of action on climate change, while facing criticism at home for their positions on extractive industries.

‘Socialism or barbarism’: An important socialist slogan traced to its unexpected source

Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg.

By Ian Angus

October 21, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I think I have solved a small puzzle in socialist history. Climate & Capitalism’s tagline, “Ecosocialism or barbarism: There is no third way”, is based on the slogan, “Socialism or Barbarism”, which Rosa Luxemburg raised to such great effect during World War I and the subsequent German revolution, and which has been adopted by many socialists since then.

The puzzle is: where did the concept come from? Luxemburg’s own account doesn’t hold water, and neither do the attempts of left-wing scholars to explain (or explain away) the confusion in her explanation.

Fred Magdoff: Some suggestions for an ecologically sound and socially just economy

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. Click HERE for more on Marxism and ecology.]

By Fred Magdoff

September 2014 -- Monthly Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Two weeks ago I returned from my fiftieth class reunion at Oberlin College in Ohio. The brief discussions I had there with environmental faculty and students left me feeling a bit dazed. So many good and intelligent people, so concerned, and doing what they think and hope will help heal the environment—this college has one of the best environmental education programs in the country.

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