Indian finance minister P.Chidambaram once claimed that his government’s policies were pro growth and pro equity (1). He talked of alleviating poverty in India ‘in our lifetime’ by implementing the type of development policies currently being pursued. The minister envisages 85 percent of India’s population eventually living in well-planned cities with proper access to water, health, electricity, education, etc. Based on today’s population size, which is set to continue to rise, that would mean at least 600 million moving to cities. He stated that urbanisation constitutes ‘natural progress’. Continue reading this...
The new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that the impacts of climate change are likely to be ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible’. Impacts include droughts, floods, heat waves, endangered species, crop failure, food insecurity, famine and even war.
An epic struggle is currently taking place that will determine the fate, and perhaps the survival, of our species. It is a collision between natural limits and rational awareness of the need to respect those limits, on the one hand, and the forces of blind greed, on the other.
Tassos Tsakiroglou: How urgent do you consider the necessity to develop an understanding of the interconnections between the deepening impasse of the capitalist economy and the rapidly accelerating ecological threat?
Some recent evidence in the contest between capitalism and the earth:
In October, the U.S. officially edged past Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, an achievement largely due to the great increase in natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing of shale (fracking). Inasmuch as the process puts into the ground (and groundwater) 40 gallons of up to 600 chemicals in every well, no one doubts that it is one of the dirtiest and most polluting industries ever created.
Steve da Silva (SD): Over the last decade you have emerged as a leading thinker in synthesizing radical ecology with the Marxist tradition. From Marx’s Ecology (2000) to The Ecological Rift (2010) and everything in between, you’ve carried out the much needed intellectual work of recovering the overlooked ecological content of Marx’s original thought, presenting us with a side of Marx that many Marxists may not have been aware of. Continue reading this...
The devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has led to heart-wrenching scenes of human suffering, with the death toll now put at over 5,000 and likely to rise still further. Yeb Sano, the head of the Philippines climate delegation, gave a moving speech at the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, linking the typhoon to global warming, and then went on a hunger strike which would last, he said, ‘until we stop this madness’.
When a senior UN climate official warns that the world is ‘heading for a heart attack’ (The Times, September 23, 2013), there is clearly no time to lose in taking the radical action necessary to avert disaster. But we also have to understand why it is that no matter how many scientific warnings and ‘wake up calls’ are issued, we are still headed for climate chaos.
The reality of and the outward toll inflicted by greenhouse gas engendered Climate Change is clearly evident (to all but the corrupt and devoutly ignorant) e.g. increasingly destructive and deadly tornadoes and hurricanes, destruction of marine life, severe droughts and rapacious wild fires — landscapes of death, scattered debris and shattered lives.
NSA Prism is motivated in part by fears that environmentally-linked disasters could spur anti-government activism
Top secret US National Security Agency (NSA) documents disclosed by the Guardian have shocked the world with revelations of a comprehensive US-based surveillance system with direct access to Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants. New Zealand court records suggest that data harvested by the NSA’s Prism system has been fed into the Five Eyes intelligence alliance whose members also include the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.