Capitalism’s ‘gift’: climate change:
The serious catastrophe looming for the ecosystem and indeed life itself on Earth due to climate change and its effects has finally gripped the imagination of millions throughout the world, especially the youth. This year’s protest marches against climate change included Pakistan. While the protestors are largely focused on the malign effects of global warming and climate change, there is a need to understand the real causes of this phenomenon.
The remedial measures advocated by ecosystem activists include replacing high carbon footprint fossil fuels with renewable energy, afforestation, preventing the destruction of the land, rivers, seas and oceans, i.e. the Earth, by modern life’s waste, especially plastic. While these ideas are not bad in themselves and reflect the conscious idealism of the protestors, they are unlikely to be a sufficient condition for halting the destructive effects of climate change unfolding before our eyes at a frightening pace. The world has reached the tipping point where contemporary society is causing global warming at an unprecedented pace. The result is melting polar ice caps and glaciers, which will cause a rise in sea levels inundating low lying coasts, cities, and even whole island states. Devastating changes in the seasons and weather will affect agriculture, food security, human safety and security.
The reason why Brazil’s rulers think nothing of cutting down and clearing the ‘lungs of the Earth’, i.e. the Amazon forest, is because they want cleared land for agricultural expansion driven by the profit motive. The reason why climate change and global warming have gone unchecked is because these are the consequence of unfettered capitalism’s rapacious hunger for maximising profits. Nothing must be allowed to stand in the way of this holy crusade, not human poverty, hunger, misery, exploitation, not even nature. In some circles, contemporary times have been dubbed the Anthropocene Age. This is actually a misnomer since it implies mankind as a whole is responsible for the destruction of the world’s ecosystem. In fact the real culprits are 20-25 multinational corporations and the rich one percent who in their unrestrained pursuit of profit and its maximisation are dooming Earth and life on it to uncertainty and possible tragedy.
The solution therefore does not lie in applying band-aids such as renewable energy and afforestation (although these goals are desirable in themselves) but in overthrowing this rapacious system called capitalism before it destroys us all. In its stead, the urgent task if mankind and its only home are to be saved is to institute a just, equitable society in which the filthy rich cannot wring their wealth from the exploitation of the poor and weak, a society that shares the bounties of Nature in a nurturing and sustainable manner. The climate change challenge cannot adequately or fully be met, let alone overcome, unless capitalism gives way to a system based on social and economic justice.