Eco Crises: Doom & Gloom, Truth & Consequences

Published on Friday, October 26, 2018 by Common Dreams

by   Kristine Mattis

The truth is, we must all take the lead. We must eat, sleep, and breathe with our environment in mind. In doing so, we will have to support one another in a battle against the rich and powerful who resist – with more fervor than any other type of resistance – all of the changes necessary that might stand half a chance of making this world more equitable and ecologically sound. We should do so not because we will necessarily save the world, but because as moral, ethical, rational, human beings, how can we not do so? And we do so because, unless we are mere sociopaths, we are clear about the truth of our situation and the consequences of not doing so.

The climate crisis, as many other environmental issues, isn’t a scientific problem; it is a social, political, and economic one. As they say, “it isn’t rocket science.” It is greed. A Green New Deal will not cut it because it leaves capitalism, corporatism, imperialism, and consumerism in place. We aren’t going to “science” our way out of these crises. We can’t advertise or market our way out, shop our way out, sing and dance or entertain our way out, fundraise our way out, engineer (and genetically engineer) our way out, protest our way out, text, tweet, snapchat or instagram our way out, pray our way out, or even vote our way out. Our way out is to dramatically alter much of our way of life. It is to prioritize ecological concerns and do our best to conduct every aspect of our lives sustainably, rather than just pay lip service to our belief that climate change is real or that plastic pollution is a problem or that fossil fuel use is unsustainable. In many, if not most ways, we just simply need to stop. Our way of life is incompatible with the continuance of life.

While Trump overtly admits placing the importance of economic values over social and environmental ones, the rest of us do much the same every day as we go about our “normal” lives and activities without considering their proximal and distant repercussions.

Nearly all of the changes that can potentially help mitigate our environmental crises will also mitigate our social crises and our misery. So exactly why are so many people so reluctant to change? The mega-rich generated their massive fortunes by exploiting the environment and all of us, so clearly they are averse to change. For them to change, the rest of us will have to work together to force their hands. But what is everyone else’s excuse, given that we are all so unhappy and unsatisfied? Why can’t we seem to give up our palliatives (shopping, driving, television, social media, selfies, online gaming, etc.) that wreck our ecosystems as well as our physical and psychological well-being?

Some potential goals to help avert environmental calamity:

  • Remember that the economy is a human construct which does not have to exist
  • Prioritize the environment, humans, and ecosystems over economics
  • Drastically reduce all production and consumption
  • Drastically reduce or eliminate extractive industries
  • Localize economies
  • Eliminate new production and consumption of fossil fuels
  • Eliminate production of arms and weapons
  • Drastically reduce or eliminate plastics
  • Eliminate advertising and marketing
  • Reduce offspring to one-two children at most
  • Make housing a human right and eliminate housing as a market commodity
  • Own no more than one (modest-sized) home per person
  • Own no more than one (functional, modest) car per person
  • Drastically reduce all automobile travel, air travel, boat travel
  • Drastically reduce entertainment production and consumption, such as replacing film, television, and video games with more local forms of entertainment, art, and leisure play
  • Drastically reduce the production and consumption of fashion and apparel
  • Produce only long-lasting products of high quality, mainly necessities (food, clothing, shelter)
  • Drastically reduce or eliminate superfluous, excess, unnecessary, disposable, and low-quality products
  • Eliminate industrial agriculture, monocultures, and industrial livestock operations replacing them will small scale, organic multi-crop farms and abundant public and personal food gardens. (i.e., Agroecology)
  • Drastically reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides
  • Drastically reduce the consumption of meat and animal products
  • Compost all organic materials, including human bodies
  • Utilize our engineering expertise for only sustainable production
  • Eliminate waste with cradle to cradle production of goods
  • Utilize reclaimed, refurbished, recycled, and/or biodegradable materials for production and for art
  • Eliminate all unnecessary medical procedures, over-diagnoses, and overmedication
  • Drastically reducing the size of or eliminate multinational, global monopolistic corporations such as Google, Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc.
  • Permanently halt the roll-out of 5G and the Internet of Things
  • Drastically reduce our use of computers, tablets, smart phones, and electronics
  • Overhaul education, prioritizing sustainability in all disciplines at all levels and eliminating unsustainable fields
  • Drastically reduce or eliminate computers and internet from schools
  • Have corporations automatically account for and pay for all detrimental externalities that result from their products
  • Drastically shorten political campaigns, eliminate all private funding for campaigning, and divide public funds equally among all candidates
  • Eliminate useless jobs

Three important means to facilitate these goals:

  • Raise the marginal income tax rate for the rich to 90%, as it used to be
  • Provide a universal basic income (at a level higher than the proposed $12K per person per year)
  • Provide universal, single-payer, government-subsidized medical care for all

We must eat, sleep, and breathe with our environment in mind

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