Monday 8th August 2005
When I was younger we used to talk about how capitalism prevented people living fulfilling lives and how we needed to break the system in order to liberate humanity. Those reasons haven't gone away, but the choice is now much starker: capitalism is destroying our environment, and we must break with it in order to have a chance of survival as a species, never mind anything else!
The basic problem is that massive cooperative action is essential if we are to prevent runaway global heating. To give one example among many, a study just published shows that a vast area of Siberian permafrost is now melting and releasing millions of tons of methane in the process. This type of positive feedback loop will accellerate the warming process, leading to more and more climate instability, extreme weather, crop failures and dramatically rising oceans. The Day After Tomorrow was a fictionalised and sensational account of the possible consequences, but it was not totally wide of the mark. We really are heading for a precipice, and more and more people are acknowledging this fact.