Faith that environmental catastrophe can best be avoided by technological gadgetry rather than a change in social relationships received a big shot in the arm with the May 2018 publication of Energy: A Human Historyby prolific author Richard Rhodes.
I agonized on what to title this short piece, designed to highlight the grave problems facing humanity. Is it too late to reverse the direction of global warming and the inevitable catastrophic effects of climate change, and all the other existential threats to the biosphere? In my opinion, the clock is near midnight, and a blunt assessment and recognition of what the people of the world are now facing, is way overdue. Are we productivist or anti-productivist?
Environmental justice activism is to this age what the workers’ movement was for the industrial age - one of the most influential social movements of its time. Yet, despite its consistent progress since the 1970s, environmental justice protests seem to get lost in the morass of information on broader environmental issues.
Capitalism is front and center in this forthcoming book about the effects humans have had on the planet they inhabit. The authors, a geographer and a climate scientist, are not radicals, but their ambitious analysis of all of human history in these terms should play an important role in the ongoing debates over what is to blame and what is to do done. We eagerly await the book.
-- SCnCC editors
Our best hope now is an immediate return to the flow. CO2 emissions have to be brought close to zero: some sources of energy that do not produce any emissions bathe the Earth in an untapped glow. The sun strikes the planet with more energy in a single hour than humans consume in a year.
By Nic Beuret, Anja Kanngieser, and Leon Sealey-Huggins, Red Pepper, December 20, 2017
The most prominent global conference on climate change – the UNFCCC 23rd Annual Conference of Parties meeting – recently closed with much fanfare, talk of success and ‘being on track’. There was little to indicate that any significant headway had been made to curb the predicted catastrophic levels of global warming however.
World climate negotiations concluded in Bonn, Germany recently after two painstaking weeks. Whilst many parties to the UN convention and other commentators choose to highlight any small steps forward in the talks, no matter how inadequate, Friends of the Earth opts to speak truth to power.
Asia Pacific is the region where the most people are already feeling the impacts of changes in the climate and Meena Raman of Friends of the Earth Malaysia spoke out in Bonn, saying “Every COP feels like a broken record. We are sick and tired of talkshops. Act!”
Aside from the stipulation that nature follows certain laws, no idea was more central to the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, and to the subsequent development of what came to be known as modern science, than that of the conquest, mastery, and domination of nature. Up until the rise of the ecological movement in the late twentieth century, the conquest of nature was a universal trope, often equated with progress under capitalism (and sometimes socialism). To be sure, the notion, as utilized in science, was a complex one.