discussion forum

Capitalism vs. Ecology: We need to change everything! resistance and alternatives

Niloofar Golkar, Greg Albo, Jodi Dean, LeftStreamed, Jul 12 2015 - 09:00

It is no longer plausible to propose incremental solutions to the ecological crises of our time. The numbers are clear: to avoid a trillion metric tons of cumulative carbon emissions by 2039, and an increase in global average temperatures of 2°C, it is necessary to stabilize immediately Greenhouse Gas emissions. The ecological scars of desertification, coastline loss, species extinction, destruction of habitat, and much else is evident for all to see.

The main culprit of runaway climate change and environmental degradation, as Naomi Klein points out in her new book, is the economic system itself: capitalism. This is a class system that requires endless growth and is incompatible with sustainability and meaningful climate action. Market solutions from the last decades of neoliberalism have miserably failed. The tactics of even "Big Green" environmental groups have too often pursued immediate reforms that fail to address the real sources of the crisis in the unequal relations at work, the need for endless consumption, and the hollowness of democracy today.

But what might serve as an alternative political program for an ecological transition? Where might new radical political movements emerge to carry forward such an ecological revolution? Is "Blockadia" enough? Or is there even more needed to, as Klein suggests, "build the world that will keep us all safe"?

Moderated by Lana Goldberg. Presentations by:

  • Niloofar Golkar is a Toronto-based activist with Rising Tide Toronto and a graduate student in the Department of Political Science at York University.
  • Greg Albo is a professor of Political Economy at York University, co-editor of the Socialist Register (recent volume: Transforming Classes), and director of the Centre for Social Justice.
  • Jodi Dean is a professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York State. She has been active in the We Are Seneca Lake anti-gas struggle and is the author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (2009), Blog Theory (2010), and The Communist Horizon (2012), among others.

The forum was sponsored by: Centre for Social Justice and Socialist Project.

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