environment

Video: The Malthus myth: Population, poverty and climate change

May 30, 2010 -- Capitalism and Climate -- Most of what you've heard about Robert Malthus is wrong. He didn't predict a population explosion, and he didn't think we should control our population. His real goal was to convince people that society cannot be improved, that most people will always be poor. "The Malthus Myth: Population, Poverty and Climate Change" was a talk presented by Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism and a contributing editor of Socialist Voice, at Socialism 2010 in Toronto, May 22, 2010. Many thanks to Pance Stojkovski, who recorded this presentation and edited it for Socialist Project's LeftStreamed.

Bolivia’s mining dilemmas: Between Mother Earth and an ‘extraction economy’

A Bolivian tin miner. The Huanuni tin mine has now been returned to full control by the state-owned Comibol.

By Federico Fuentes, Cochabamba

May 15, 2010 -- The tremendous success of the April 19-22 World People's Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, has confirmed the well-deserved role of its initiator — Bolivia's President Evo Morales — as one of the world’s leading environmental advocates.

Since being elected the country’s first Indigenous president in 2005, Morales has continuously denounced the threat posed by the climate crisis and environmental destruction. Morales has pointed the figure at the real cause of the problem: the consumerist and profit-driven capitalist system.

(Updated May 12) Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and texts from the People's Conference on Climate Change

The following documents were also adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22, 2010, in Bolivia. The Bolivian government will submit them to the United Nations for consideration. The main document, the People's Agreement, is available HERE.

For more coverage of the historic conference, click HERE.

They are: 1. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth; 2. Shared Visions document; 3. Structural causes; 4. Referendum on climate change; 5. Document of the Working Group on Agriculture and Food Sovereignty; 6. Document of the Working Group on Climate Debt; 7. Document of the Working Group on Climate Finance; 8. Indigenous Peoples' Declaration; 9. International Tribunal of Climate and Environmental Justice working group; 10. Dangers of the carbon market; 11. Working Group No. 10 on the Kyoto Protocol and greenhouse gas emissions reduction; 12. Working Group 13: Intercultural dialogue knowledge sharing, knowledge and technology; 13. Final conclusions of Working Group 2: Harmony with Nature to Live Well; 14. Working Group 6: Climate Change and Migration; 15. Working Group 14: Forests; 16. Working Group 11: Adaptation -- Confronting Climate Change; 17. Strategies of Action; NEW: 18. Declaration of the "unofficial" "Working Group 18. [More will be posted as they become available.]

Can capitalism fix climate change?

By Simon Butler

April 14, 2010 -- Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It has taken capitalism about 250 years to generate enough waste and pollution to press dangerously against nature’s limits. With such a damning record, there should be no grounds to expect a different outcome in the future.

Yet the mainstream discussion about how to tackle the climate crisis still assumes that, this time around, capitalism can be made sustainable.

In an April 3 Sydney Morning Herald piece arguing for capitalists to take a leading role in resolving the climate crisis, Paddy Manning said it “was an article of faith for this column” that a free market could respond effectively to the challenge of climate change. But, struggling to come up with Australian capitalists responding positively to the challenge, he was forced to admit: “Faith is needed, because climate change is proof of colossal market failure.”

Photo essay: `Stop the coal rush!' -- people's blockade halts exports from world's biggest coal port

Ship movements cancelled at the world's biggest coal port, Newcastle (Australia) -- March 28, 2010 from jagath dheerasekara on Vimeo.

Photo essay and story by Jagath Dheerasekara

March 28, 2010 -- Newcastle, Australia -- A mass community protest at the biggest coal port in the world, Newcastle, succeeded in preventing coal ship movements all day. Hundreds of peaceful protesters occupied the harbour from 10 am.

Capitalism and food: Let them eat junk

An interview with Rob Albritton

March 2010 -- Rob Albritton’s Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity (2009), published by Arbeiter Ring Press in Canada and Pluto Press in the UK, offers a welcome and urgently needed analysis of “how the profit fixation of capital has led us deeply into a dangerously unsustainable system of food provision, a system that totally fails when it comes to distributive justice and to human and environmental health” (p. 201). His analysis takes us inside capitalism and shows how its “deep structures” manage our agricultural and food systems in irrational ways.

Socialist Project’s Relay magazine recently asked John Simoulidis to interview Robert Albritton about his book and current global struggles to address the failures of our agriculture/food system. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

Why James Hansen is wrong on nuclear power

By Renfrey Clarke

April 8, 2010 -- “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Attributed to economist J.M. Keynes, that retort has always been good advice. Now that carrying on with “business as usual” greenhouse gas emissions has been revealed as a road to disaster, should environmentalists change their minds on nuclear power?

To be sure, the dangers of the nuclear industry have not gone away. A major nuclear war, by creating “nuclear winter” conditions, would end most life on Earth. Humanity, however, has managed the threat of nuclear war in the past, and the chances are that we will continue to do so.

If thousands of nuclear power reactors were in operation, reactor accidents would be frequent enough that they would almost stop being news. But deaths would probably be few, and other losses would be relatively minor compared to the dead oceans and scorched grainlands of the greenhouse future.

Fourth International: Mobilisation for the climate and anti-capitalist strategy

[The following documents dealing with capitalism's climate crisis were presented at the 16th World Congress of the Fourth International, held in Belgium in February 2010.]

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By Daniel Tanuro

February 2010 -- Three billion human beings lack the essentials of life. The satisfaction of their needs requires increased production of material goods. Therefore increased consumption of energy. Today, 80 per cent of this energy is of fossil origin, and consequently a source of greenhouse gases which are unbalancing the climatic system.

However, we can no longer permit ourselves to unbalance the climate. We are probably no longer very far from a “tipping point” beyond which phenomena which are uncontrollable and irreversible on a human timescale are likely to be set in motion, which could lead to a situation that humanity has never experienced and which the planet has not experienced for 65 million years: a world without ice. A world in which the sea level would rise by approximately 80 metres compared to its level today.

After Copenhagen: Can we save the world? Video: Is the climate sick of us?

Ian Angus interviewed by Esquerda.net during the conference O Clima Farto de Nos? (Is the climate sick of us?), held in Lisbon, March 26-27. The three questions, shown in text in Portuguese, are: Is the climate sick of us? What must be done internationally about this situation? What message would you like to give to the Portuguese people?The video, which is in English with Portuguese subtitles, has also been posted on the website of Portugal's Left Bloc, and on the Esquerda.net channel on YouTube.

 

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Bolivia creates a new opportunity for climate talks that failed at Copenhagen

 

By Pablo Solón Romero

March 19, 2010 -- http://pwccc.wordpress.com/ -- In the aftermath of the Copenhagen climate conference, those who defended the widely condemned outcome tended to talk about it as a “step in the right direction”. This was always a tendentious argument, given that tackling climate change cannot be addressed by half measures. We can’t make compromises with nature.

Bolivia, however, believed that Copenhagen marked a backwards step, undoing the work built on since the climate talks in Kyoto. That is why, against strong pressure from industrialised countries, we and other developing nations refused to sign the Copenhagen Accord and why we are hosting an international meeting on climate change in Cochabamba, Bolivia, from April 19 to 22, 2010. In the words of the Tuvalu negotiator, we were not prepared to “betray our people for 30 pieces of silver”.

TAKE ACTION! Help Copenhagen climate change activists falsely accused of terrorism

Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss with the incriminating evidence.

By Kieran Adair

March 23, 2010 -- In Copenhagen, Sydney-based climate justice advocate Natasha Verco, as well as US activist Noah Weiss, faces charges under Denmark’s “terrorism” laws. Verco faces up to 12-and-a-half years' jail for her role in organising protests against the United Nations Copemnhagen climate summit in December.

The two activists appeared in court on March 18 (see report below).

Verco was arrested while riding her bike on December the 13 ahead of a national day of action she was helping organise the following day. She said: “A plainclothed police women jumped out at me and ... took me to an unmarked police van. I asked them, ‘Are you randomly picking me up?’ and they said ‘No, we hunted you’.”

Venezuela: New moves to build workers' power; Revolution in the electricity industry

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

March 22, 2010 -- The free, sovereign and independent homeland of our dreams will only come true if we radicalise the process and speed up the transition to socialism”, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wrote in his March 14 weekly column “Chavez Lines”.

The Venezuelan government has launched a number of initiatives in recent weeks aimed to tackle threats to the revolutionary process — including from elements within the pro-Chavez camp that seek to undermine plans to deepen the revolution.

Central to this are new measures aimed at speeding up the transfer of power to organised communities.

Chavez wrote in his February 21 column: “The time has come for communities to assume the powers of state, which will lead administratively to the total transformation of the Venezuelan state and socially to the real exercise of sovereignty by society through communal powers.”

Participatory democracy

The previous day, Chavez announced the creation of the federal government council in front of thousands of armed peasants that are part of the newly created peasant battalions in the Bolivarian militia.

South Africa: Momentum against climate-destroying World Bank loan grows

By Patrick Bond, Durban

March 16, 2010 -- In an indication that the climate justice movement is broadening, deepening and going local, there is now intense opposition to a climate-destroying energy loan for South Africa. The campaign is led by community activists in black townships allied with environmentalists, trade unionists and international climate activists.

The World Bank is trying to lend nearly US$4 billion to the Johannesburg-based state-owned electricity utility Eskom, the world’s fourth-largest power company and Africa’s largest carbon emitter (with 40% of South Africa's total emissions). The loan is mainly for constructing the world-s fourth most CO2-intensive coal-fired power plant, Medupi, in the ecologically sensitive Waterberg area north of the capital of Pretoria.

The World Bank also aims to finance privatised power generation, notwithstanding the abject failure of public-private partnerships in South African infrastructure, including in electricity and water. More than 200 organisations have signed up in protest.

Why global capitalism is tipping towards collapse, and how we can act for a decent future

"Random events, those happenings that nobody could foresee, always have a huge impact on historical outcomes."

March 15, 2010 -- This is an excerpt from an essay that forms the entire contents of the March 2010 edition of UNITY, Socialist Worker New Zealand's quarterly Marxist journal for grassroots activists. Following editions of the journal will expand on the crises which are converging to tip global capitalism towards collapse. To subscribe to UNITY journal, email Len Parker at office@sworker.pl.net. UNITY is posted to your letterbox four times a year. Price: $25 for NZ subscribers, NZ$40 offshore fastpost. This excerpt has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

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By Grant Morgan

Part 1: History lessons

The fable behind the stereotype

Women’s rights, population and climate change: The debate continues

March 7, 2010 -- Climate and Capitalism -- Should climate activists and feminists support campaigns to slow population growth? Laurie Mazur says that alliance will strengthen the movement. Ian Angus strongly disagrees …

Introduction

Climate and Capitalism recently published a debate between Betsy Hartmann and Laurie Mazur about campaigns that promote family planning and reproductive health programs as means of slowing population growth and fighting global warming.

The site subsequently published a reply to Laurie Mazur in which Ian Angus argued: “The combination of population reduction and women’s rights was already like oil and water. Adding CO2 reductions to the mix only makes things worse.”

John Bellamy Foster on `Marx's Ecology' and `The Ecological Revolution'

John Bellamy Foster interviewed by Aleix Bombila

John Bellamy Foster is editor of the US socialist journal Monthly Review and author of Marx's Ecology and The Ecological Revolution. Aleix Bombila writes for En Lucha (Spain).This interview first appeared in English at MRZine.

En Lucha: In your book Marx's Ecology you argue that Marxism has a lot to offer to the ecologist movement. What kind of united work can be established between Marxists and ecologists?

Climate change: Has the IPCC passed its use-by date? Time for new independent climate science body

By Renfrey Clarke

February 21, 2010 -- The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an organisation whose time has passed. Preferably within the next year or so, it needs to be dismantled.

As verdicts go, that might seem to have been plucked from the mouths of the climate-denialist right, of the Herald-Sun’s far-right columnist Andrew Bolt or the flat-earthers at Rupert Murdoch's Australian. After all, right-wing media outlets in recent months have run a lurid campaign against the IPCC. The UN body, which coordinates thousands of volunteer scientists in assessing and reporting on research into climate change, is accused of making gross errors and of systematically exaggerating the dangers of global warming.

Mauritian socialists' open letter to Greenpeace -- `Don't help cover up colonialism's crimes on Diego Garcia'

Diego Garcia from a satellite. The US base in visible in the top left of the atoll. Photo from NASA.

By Ram Seegobin, Lalit de Klas

February 8, 2010

Dear leaders of Greenpeace [UK],

We understand that your organisation has taken a position in favour of the British government’s outrageous plan to create a “marine park” on territory which is not its own, thus tricking ill-informed people into supporting the British state on rather vague grounds of “the environment”, while they are in fact banishing the people who lived there and flaunting the Charter of the United Nations.

Michael Lebowitz: `The Four Rs' of global capitalism

By Michael A. Lebowitz

February 19, 2010 -- Correo del Orinoco -- In Venezuela, people know what the 3Rs stand for: revise, rectify and re-impulse. Like Karl Marx, who stressed that the revolution advances by criticising itself, President Hugo Chavez has argued that it is necessary to recognise errors and to go beyond them in order to advance.

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