Friday, September 20, 2019

Why the Green New Deal is Our (Only) Brighter Future

Our Living Planet

An article (“Only a Green Deal Can Douse the Fires of Eco-Fascism;“ September 16, 2019) , by Naomi Klein, in The Intercept, speaks clearly about the importance of the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan that makes perfect sense if you view that the current (non-renewable) fossil-fuel economy is harming our planet and every living thing which lives on it. I certainly do, and so do most scientists with close knowledge of climate change.

Klein writes:
ORGANIZERS ARE EXPECTING huge numbers to turn out for the Global Climate Strike, beginning on September 20 and continuing through September 27. It builds on the first global climate strike, which took place on March 15, and attracted an estimated 1.6 million young people, who walked out of class at schools on every continent.
But this week’s strike will be different. This time, young organizers have called on adults from all walks of life to join them in the streets. So in addition to schools in over 150 countries, almost 1,000 workers at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle have pledged to walk out, as have some faculty unions, Britain’s Trades Union Congress, and many others. There is a plan to shut down Washington, D.C. on September 23.
This diversity of the groups involved may well prove to be a new stage in the climate movement, with many more movements and constituencies seeing themselves in the struggle against climate breakdown — as well as in the emerging vision for an intersectional justice-based Green New Deal.
And it’s a good thing too, because as Donald Trump spews racist hate at Bahamian refugees fleeing the wreckage of Hurricane Dorian and growing numbers of far-right killers cite environmental damage as a justification for their rampages, there is a pressing need to confront the ways in which the fires of climate breakdown are already intersecting with the fires of white supremacy and surging xenophobia globally.
Yes, these issues are related, although on first glance they seem separate. Nativism is nothing but old-fashioned hubris on a collective scale; fascism uses violence and cruelty, among other measures, to enforce its totalitarian and exclusive thinking, one fed on mythology and stories of historical power and supremacy. In this case, the unusual marriage of white supremacy and environmentalism has resulted in eco-fascism, an online ideology which is as bad and hateful as it sounds. It is a blood and soil (blut und boden) movement, mixing Nazism and Norse mythology (North Germanic origins). Eco-fascism is just another fascist thought masquerading as concern for the environment. It is nativist and its concern is exclusive to white people of certain “origins.” (For more on eco-fascism, go here and here.)

Its existence is worrisome, but its existence is not surprising, considering the right-ward tilt politically in many of the world’s wealthy nations. When things get bad, and turn from bad to worse, it is expected that nationalists and fascists will clamor to shut their nations’ borders to migrants fleeing cities, nations and large geographical land-masses that have already been damaged by extreme weather (i.e., floods, hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc.), and who have nowhere else to go but to the wealthy nations, which have better infrastructure and more resources to stay afloat. 

Survival of the fittest is not a good model for a modern humane society to follow, that is, unless cruelty and callousness are acceptable, which it is not for most people. Do not the wealthy nations have a moral responsibility to those migrants?  The answer depends on where you stand, not only on climate change, but also on how you view and value other human beings. We are much more interconnected than some believe or acknowledge; borders are human-made constructs, which will become meaningless (and likely impossible to control) in a future where extreme climate disrupts the lives of most of the people residing on Earth.

This is why the Green New Deal (along a Marshall Plan for Climate Change) is so important. The perceived consequences of not having such plans in place are so great that it is something that most of us would rather not think about. There are better ways, better scenarios, buy if only we act prudently and purposefully. There is a good purpose, after all, an end goal. A habitable planet.

We will collectively have to make changes to our way of life, to our habits and especially to our consumption of fossil fuels. As for halving carbon emissions by 2050, the ecological, social and economic benefits are many, and I plan to write about the decided advantages of a net zero carbon economy in a future post. It is always good to point out and remember that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth. It is the only place that all of us can call home.

For more, go [here].