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Capitalism and climate change: two sides of the same coin

Capitalism and climate change: two sides of the same coin

Post-capitalist society must be based on the values ​​of equality, solidarity, social justice, and must be deeply environmentalist. It must summon the future, building new social relationships, in which the human and not the merchandise mediate us, generating local solutions to global problems, building collective consciousness where the welfare of society is the main thing.

The world gives us signs. It warns us. It shows us, in different dimensions -social, political, economic, cultural, environmental- that we are going through a Crisis.

Who dares to say that the situation is calm? Who denies that the world is in a boiling moment? We will focus here on analyzing the global environmental crisis and the form assumed by some of the struggles and mobilizations across the globe.

We are going through, within the capitalist system, its financial-global phase, where the ruling class, personified in the "Modern Financial Aristocracy", has as its objective the maximization of profits, at the expense of the unlimited exploitation of nature, of the workers and of the workers.

This phase is characterized by the concentration and centralization of capital on a global scale, with the main protagonists of financial cities (Wall Street, London, Shanghai, etc.), investment funds and banks, and internet platforms as computers. of an economy articulated in a network. Some of its key tools are the management of speculative money on a high scale, the digitization of capitalism, investing the surplus in the development of technology, such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), etc. .

According to Oxfam data, in January 2017 only 8 men had the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people, who make up the poorest half of humanity. 82% of the world's profit remained with 1% of humanity, while 1% controls 50% of that wealth in the same period.

We tend to believe that when we talk about global warming or climate change, we are referring to the distant future. The reality is that we are living a time of global environmental crisis, produced by the unlimited exploitation of our Mother Earth.

It is no longer news to see glaciers that year after year lose large amounts of surface, hurricanes and tsunamis that take away huge portions of territory, outbreaks of fires in the most important forests, intense droughts in places where previously they were humid regions. The problem is in naturalizing these facts or reading them as part of an unchangeable apocalyptic destiny.

When we delve into the analysis, the following questions arise: Who are responsible for this worrying environmental situation that we are experiencing? How did this deterioration of our Earth come about and is it still getting worse? What is the way out to get it back?

There are different views on this, and therefore several answers to these questions. Some will say that it is everyone's fault equally, that the accumulation of individual acts and the lack of environmental awareness is what threatens the Earth. Others will want to explain it through productive technical questions about how to reduce environmental impact, carbon footprint or by arguing overpopulation. We affirm that there is a culprit, and that that culprit has a name and is called Capitalism.

The data is devastating and distressing: according to Visual Capitalist, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increase at a record level every year (at a rate of 1.7% year-on-year), with China (27.2%) and the United States (14, 6%) those that contribute the most percentage of greenhouse gases globally. These gases are generated mainly by large industries and the millions of automobiles that exist in the world.

As greenhouse gases increase, the area of ​​forests and jungles decreases. At the beginning of the 20th century, we had 50 million km2 of forested area and it was reduced to 40 million km2. To be able to size this data in some way, we are going to give an example: the 10 million km2 lost is equivalent to the surface of the entire European continent. Now, how are jungles and forests lost? For deforestation at the service of AgroBusiness, demonstrating the lack of balance of this exploitation system and the slaughter of our home: Mother Earth. The equation is simple, the more CO2 is produced, and the fewer forests there are, the greater the global warming.

Iman Ghosh, in a study carried out for Visual Capitalist, says that for every hour in the world 55 million plastic bottles are wasted; this would form a higher mountain than the Brazilian statue of Christ the Redeemer from Brazil. Per day there are 1,300 million plastic bottles, forming a mountain of approximately 324 meters.

According to UN data, due to air, water and chemical contamination, approximately 12.6 million people die in the world each year.

Situation in Latin America

The fight for the defense of the environment in Latin America is being repressed in a scandalous way. Global Witness, presented a report that revealed that Latin America is the most dangerous region for environmental and land defenders, since it claims to be the region with the most murders in 2018, reporting 83 deaths for that year. Colombia leads the statistics with the figure of 24 murders, followed by Brazil with 20, Guatemala 16, Mexico 14, Honduras 4 and Chile 2.

A separate paragraph deserves the fires that occurred in the Amazon, a territory that generates 20% of the world's oxygen. Since the arrival of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil, environmental control operations have been reduced in addition to a 34% decrease in fines applied by the IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment) allowing freedom of action to companies that exploit the Brazilian land, without state control.

Bolsonaro in nine months of government launched 353 pesticides that put the Brazilian population at risk, poisoning the land and thus also the food that is produced. According to Gerson Teixeira, former president of the Brazilian Agrarian Reform Association, Bolsonaro launched more agro-toxic products on the market for 200 days than those approved by the European Union (EU) for said substances in a period of eight years. It is easy to see how much our green lung matters to Mr. President.

And the recent case of Argentina is also to highlight. At the end of August of this year, President Mauricio Macri modified the Hazardous Waste Law through a decree, which allows the flexibility of permits for the importation of garbage in a context in which the United States needs to find a new destination. for its waste, as China closed its doors to import US and European waste earlier this year. In this way, we will become, as many have said, the “garbage dump of the world”.

Thinking the militant tasks

Capitalism is essentially a dehumanizing system. It defines nature as "natural resources", tools at the service of a capitalist society; defines workers as "human resources", disposable, where our life is only worth if we work for them. But neither people nor nature are "resources", they are not mere means at the service of a system of accumulation. For this reason, the reconstruction of the social fabric and the relationship of human beings with Mother Earth is urgent, and for this, no system that divides society under the concept of property will achieve that relationship.

Capitalism is essentially a dehumanizing system. Defines nature as "natural resources", tools at the service of a capitalist society

The Environmental Movement has crossed the borders of the Nation States, generating gigantic mobilizations in the same day throughout the globe. According to Global Climate Strike, during the week of September 20-27, 7.6 million people were mobilized around the world, mostly students. And 6135 events were held in 185 countries.

As Giménez (2019) says “There is a reality that leads us to two possible paths: either we go towards a world with greater exclusion and exploitation, or we move towards a de-commodified world, with the capacity to develop resilience, globally integrated -from the local to universal and from the universal to the local-, communally, with a social perspective and for the benefit of the majority. "

The Environmental Movement must be understood in revolutionary terms. This means that it has to fight to destroy the capitalist system, it must fight against the enemy of the people that is 1% of the World Elite, guilty of the Global Environmental Crisis and the evils of society, and at the same time develop a society that is built by the interests of the majority, from the People and for the People. Generating new production relationships using science and technology available for sustainable production without pollution.

Post-capitalist society must be based on the values ​​of equality, solidarity, social justice, and must be deeply environmentalist. It must summon the future, building new social relationships, in which the human and not the merchandise mediate us, generating local solutions to global problems, building collective consciousness where the welfare of society is the main thing, a society of equals, without oppressors or oppressed.

Bibliography:

- Oxfam (2018). The richest 1% of the world's population accounted for 82% of the wealth generated last year, while the poorest half did not benefit at all. Recovered from: https://www.oxfam.org/

- Gimenez, P. (2019). Reflections on the new Argentine scene in Caciabue, M. and Arkonada, K. (comps.) Beyond the monsters. Between the old that does not finish dying and the new that does not finish being born. Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Argentina: UniRio Editora.

- Global Climate Strike. Global Climate Strike: September 20-27, 2019 Retrieved from: https://globalclimatestrike.net/

- García Linera, A. (2017). Environment and social equality. Recovered from: http://www.resumenlatinoamericano.org/

- Global Witness. Enemies of the State? Recovered from: https://www.globalwitness.org/

- Ghosh, I. All the World’s Carbon Emissions in One Chart. Recovered from: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/

- Pirotta, I. The authoritarianism of Jair Bolsonaro and the consequences of his environmental policy. Profile. Recovered from: https://www.perfil.com/

- Routley, N. This is how humans have impacted the world’s forests. Recovered from: https://www.weforum.org/

- Ghosh, I. Visualizing the Scale of Plastic Bottle Waste Against Major Landmarks. Recovered from: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/a 12. Recovered from: https://www.pagina12.com.ar/

By Ailín Piuquén Umpiérrez Varela: [email protected]

Video: Francois Balloux: climate of fear on Covid is dangerous (November 2020).