Humanity today is confronted with what might be called the Great Capitalist Climacteric. In the standard definition, a climacteric (from the Greek klimaktēr or rung on the ladder) is a period of critical transition or a turning point in the life of an individual or a whole society.
We are now officially living amid the sixth great extinction, according to scientists, but the global economy has still not shifted to prevent climate change's existential threat to human civilization and much of the biosphere.
(Contrary view, but worth the read - see critique of Jeremy Rifkin: Digital ridesharing centers, which turn all of us into taxi drivers, advertise with appeals to community, too. But it is mistaken to claim — as Jeremy Rifkin does in his newest book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society — that the sharing economy has sounded the end of capitalism and inaugurated a communally-oriented society in which sharing is valued more highly than owning. The opposite is the case: the sharing economy ultimately leads to the total commercialization of life.)
In April 2014, two different teams of American glaciologists, specialists in the Antarctic, reached - by different methods, based on observation - the same conclusion: because of global warming, a portion of the ice sheet has begun to dislocate, and this dislocation is irreversible.
The crisis of capitalism isn’t just about the gap between rich and poor. It’s about the gap between what’s demanded by our planet and what’s demanded by our economy.
By now, it’s no secret that French economist Thomas Piketty is one of the world’s leading experts on inequality. His exhaustive, improbably popular opus of economic history—the 700-page Capital in the Twenty-First Century—sat atop the New York Times bestseller list for weeks. Some have called it the most important study of inequality in over 50 years.
The word Anthropocene, unknown twenty years ago, now appears in the titles of three academic journals, dozens of books, and hundreds of academic papers, not to mention innumerable articles in newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs. There are exhibitions about art in the Anthropocene, conferences about the humanities in the Anthropocene, and novels about love in the Anthropocene. There is even a heavy metal album called The Anthropocene Extinction. Rarely has a scientific term moved so quickly into wide acceptance and general use.
Here, Michael Ware and Joost Kricz make a compelling case why the climate justice movement should re-appropriate the language of "Just Transition" for a more radical confrontation with capitalism. Ware presents four versions of Just Transition, argues that first three most commonly expressed are woefully lacking in critical content, and only a concept of transition tied to an ecosocialist vision can adequately respond to the challenge. An excellent theoretical and pragmatic discussion of ecosocialism. Listen to it!
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.