Wednesday, August 23, 2006

hypocrites of the world unite

Great concise piece in today's Guardian about the Camp For Climate Action by Claire Fauset. It takes several of the great punchy points made in the assorted propaganda and recent writings about the camp and issue and sets them in her fantastic straightforward, intelligent and vibrant way.

There's something of a groaner in the way they changed her original title ('Hypocrites of The World Unite') to 'Good intent can prevent climate change catastrophe'.

Er, the central point of the article and the whole point of the Camp for Climate Action is that good intent and even personal lifestyle changes can't prevent climate change catastrophe, that it requires swift radical collective action and if we're to have any chance of seeing that happen, we've got work to do, and now.

Nonetheless, the piece is a corker. No more blogging from me till next week cos, well, you know where I'll be. See you down the front.


Do you think you're doing enough about climate change? No, seriously, who genuinely believes they've managed to craft themselves a lifestyle which is sustainable? Even the most "eco" people I have ever met - people who grow their own food, generate their own energy and don't fly - harbour guilty secrets about eating out-of-season avocados or have wet dreams about SUVs. As a good friend of mine is fond of saying, if you don't break your principles every now and again then you're not setting them

But what is unquestionable is that on climate change there is always more we can do - whoever we are and wherever we live. And the longer we wait, the more our options - along with the species on which our life-support systems depend - will disappear.

We all know the problems and we know the changes that are necessary, so what exactly are we waiting for? Are we waiting for the government to force us to change? For the oil companies to stop drilling? For the airlines to stop flying? For the power stations to stop burning coal? Or are we going to make changes that we know are needed? What will it take to make us work together to live within the environmental limits of the Earth while meeting everyone's needs?

Of course, personal changes are essential, but more than that we need to act collectively to stop the climate criminals who are causing the worst emissions. That is why a group of people have come together to put on the Camp for Climate Action, which is being held in "Megawatt Valley", near Leeds, from August 26 to September 4.

Alongside workshops on every aspect of climate change and what we need to do - personally and politically - to tackle it, there will be a day of mass action to shut down Drax power station, the single largest emitter of CO2 in the UK. For one day, we want to demonstrate the kind of radical change that is needed to maintain this planet as a place where we all can live.

The operator of Drax wants to paint itself as environmentally conscious, but it is currently attempting to sue the EU over a reduction in its emissions quotas. The bottom line is that coal has no part to play in a sustainable future. That some people are willing to describe the 20m tonnes of CO2 a year emitted by Drax as clean energy production goes to show how insane PR has become.

The future embodied by the likes of Drax is one where dwindling resources will go to ever higher bidders, while everyone else fights like cats in a sack for what's left over. We can instead choose the positive low-energy future that the Camp for Climate Action is trying to create.

The science is clear: we can avoid catastrophic climate change with massive emission cuts now. The world has changed so much since I was born, but it will be transformed out of recognition before I die - climate change guarantees that. Whether that is for the better or for the worse is down to all of us, and the Camp for Climate Action is a place to start building a better world. What better than to have been one of the people who helped to turn this situation around?

It's time to accept your inner hypocrite and take action all the same. So put down your copy of the Guardian and come to the camp.

· Claire Fauset is a researcher for
Corporate Watch.


2 comments:

Paul said...

Hi Merrick. I just came across this:

http://soundsfromthespring.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_soundsfromthespring_archive.html

and thought you might be interested.

Anonymous said...

I believe any hope that the problem of climate change can be solved within the existing economic framework of Neo-Liberal Capitalism will prove to be utterly unfounded. To try to put this right without rectifying the clapped out global financial system won’t work and environmentalists doing so will carry on coming up against a brick wall. They need to look at the way this system works and intellectually grow beyond the conditioning that economics and finance can only be understood by economists and financiers. Of course its true that they are doing something very useful in highlighting to the unaware the “elephant standing in the corner” but we’re all locked in to an international economic system that most effectively blocks substantial change. **New Para**
Let me try to explain. The two main cornerstones of Western economies are usury and speculation. Usury in that the vast majority of money in circulation has been electronically created by the commercial banks, is called by them “credit” and is lent to Governments and individuals for quick profit not for a particular motive of world betterment. No-thing moves when electronic money circulates when you use your debit card, direct debits, cheques etc and when Governments borrow money- all that happens is that the drawer’s account data entry is debited (decremented) and the payee’s is credited, (incremented). So this money can be created at negligible cost to the banks because it is created and exists only as a DATA entry in our electronic bank accounts and is exchanged between them as such only. The stuff in your wallet/purse created by the Royal Mint for the Bank of England (whose revenue DOES accrue to the state) represents a tiny fraction of all the ‘money’ that exists, the vast majority originated as loans mostly created- yes, out of thin air- by the commercial banks under this “fractional reserve banking system”, circulates electronically between banks’ computers and the vast profit (interest) levied on all of us accrues to bankers not Governments. For more information on how this amazing system has evolved (which one could be forgiven for thinking has been deliberately designed with a main aim to enrich private financial elites) in the UK and many, many countries I refer you to the expert writings, monetary reform proposals and how you can protest- at www.moneyreformparty.org.uk and www.jamesrobertson.com. I think most people fondly imagine that when they press 'Balance Request' on the cash machine, the computer figure that comes back represents the amount of notes, coins and/or precious metals their bank holds for them in some vault somewhere! Even pretty low corporation tax is often avoided by the use of foreign tax havens, (At least £20 Billion total in the UK per annum avoided at 2003 figures- War on Want ‘Tax Havens Briefing’- www.waronwant.org/?lid=5441). The need for the continuing increase of the assault on the world’s resources substantially stems from the imperative of “economic growth” which is necessary to keep up with the ever spiralling overall interest payments due on the explosion in recent years of different types of loans created by commercial banks and other private interests. I read that this enormous growth in private credit has been allowed to occur with all its wanton increase in the consumption of resources and debt hardship because of outsourcing by corporations of huge amounts of skilled & unskilled jobs to developing countries with cheap labour and minimal regulations under globalisation (“corporate flight”). With the generally decreasing availability therefore of properly paid quality jobs, to make ends meet governments, public services (eg using PFI) and individuals in the richer (developed) nations have all had to be allowed to borrow more and more; Its only this explosion of credit that has been plugging the gap in our economies. I recommend the reading of the website and books by the US professor of economics Ravi Batra who has a lot of hard hitting and extremely interesting things to say on this matter, www.ravibatra.com. **New Para**
I refer to the ‘cornerstone of Speculation’ in that National economies and their populations are utterly dependant on the $2 Trillion or so (equivalent) that changes hands electronically every DAY- untaxed- around the world on the “financial markets” in search of speculative quick profit unrelated to any exchange of real goods or services. Utterly dependant because National Governments create hardly any of the money that is in circulation as I have already explained and they need to compete internationally to keep on attracting this privately created & transmitted globally mobile electronic money which has become the lifeblood of all our economies. Financiers and corporations increasingly trade IN money not WITH money, since deregulation in the 1980s- eg Removal of foreign capital exchange controls (and credit controls) which happened then. Why did we multi-nationally give up so much control over our economies then to those which to many might seem like a load of locusts? Are the ones (within the IMF, WB?) who pushed our nations’ leaders to do this still in positions of influence? In this “liberalised” regime why create, innovate and trade in cumbersome goods when one can make far more far quickly and with far less risk just by moving money (data) and money instruments between computers around the world? Almost all the global financial institutions and even many corporations are at it, a parasitic activity. A “monstrous global casino” in the words of sustainable economics columnist Hazel Henderson. Any government that even publicly SPEAKS of restricting it, or taxing it, or significantly environmentally regulating the stock market listed business that it invests in, or getting off the absurd merry-go-round of competing with other nations to clamp down on corporation tax so as to attract employment and capital, or creating their OWN electronic (credit) money, or even threatening tax havens, faces economically disastrous capital flight to nations NOT doing so within hours on the trading computers on the stock markets and the derivatives computers of the international corporations and banks. You see how the financier oligarchy has got us all over a barrel? No Government dare even publicly consider democratically demanded change to the status quo. No corporation dare significantly reduce the current quick profit return to its international capital investors by SIGNIFICANT investment in alternative forms of energy & transportation as to do so invites a declining share price and capital flight to corporations not doing so. The intellectual economist Lyndon LaRouche in Executive Intelligence Review (see below) actually uses the term “Financier Oligarchy” referring to the way our ‘democracies’ are going under the economic & corporate globalisation model I have already described. If you think carefully about it you might realise that under neo-liberalism what we have is a global financial tyranny where essential human needs come second to nations being forced to compete with each other to make often fabulously wealthy owners of international capital- grow even richer- for no effort. Before anyone pulls the “pension funds” ‘old chestnut’ on me, let me retort that I recently heard on a BBC financial programme that only 20% of shares are owned by pension funds. A POSSIBLE SOLUTION to re-gain control over international capital and corporations by electorates and governments is proposed by “The Simultaneous Policy” at www.simpol.org and I believe progressives might feel their strategy warrants participation. **New Para**
Most mainstream media outlets are owned by stock market listed corporations. Does anyone believe such a corporation will allow SERIOUS debate in its pages or TV stations, of reform to the international financial system when it is this system that is the investment hand that feeds it, both owning the shares and placing the corporate adverts? Does anyone seriously believe that one example tabloid and TV/news station owning international corporation that currently pays no corporation tax in the UK by the use of tax havens will seriously allow such debate in its media outlets? I’m not suggesting columnists and editors are directly told what to say and what not to, but they know there are limits which they must not cross if they are to retain their jobs which are mostly in the form of shortish term renewable (or not) contract posts. And most of them seem never to have asked themselves what money really is, who creates it, who administers its circulation, who profits from it and why no Government of left OR right credentials strangely refuses to reinstate fair corporate taxation and environmental regulations ONCE IN POWER despite the obvious dire financial state of our public services, worsening annually, and the developed countries still paltry overall help to the developing ones whose populations are starving to death in their millions monthly for the want of the huge surplus of food per capita that exists worldwide (Some 10%- look up UN Statistics). It should be obvious surely that there’s a CHRONIC lack of money for foreign aid and public services for all our government’s sorry obfuscation that the latter need more “modernising”, ie. another round of cuts. The neo-liberal free movement of capital & corporations is leaving the competing nations’ governments with a chronic lack of cash for public spending on virtually everything- from palaces to prisons. **New Para**
I believe that "Planet Earth [environment] is in a sad and perilous condition while each day brings it nearer to the critical... [and] that even the most dire prophecy falls short of the calamity facing the world today. Few there are who see the immediacy of the threat and the urgency of the steps needed to counter it", (this quote from www.share-international.org). Anyone who seriously believes that humanity can burn off gigantic amounts of carbon into the atmosphere daily over what will total to some 200 years (in the form of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels) that had been gradually accumulated beneath the earth over hundreds of MILLIONS of years, and while annually cutting down tens of millions of acres of atmosphere purifying tropical forests- all of this without incurring MAJOR upheaval and destruction to the earth’s life supporting natural climate systems- is conditioned and deluded indeed. **New Para**
I believe that only a total and systemic collapse of the world’s financial system will bring humanity to its senses and- (even though I know this itself would cause major trauma for a while because we have allowed stock market listed corporations to take over most food and energy production and distribution worldwide)- it is my belief and hope that this is coming to pass. (I refer again to the writings of economics professor Ravi Batra). The men of money’s selfish greed and competition is over-reaching itself at long last and the frantic efforts to prop up the system behind the scenes are at long last crumbling. “The REAL economy has fallen out from under the markets which have been artificially propped up by accounting tricks, enormous and unpayable debt loads, and mass delusion on the part of the markets and the public” (John Hoefle banking columnist, and refer also to the writings of economist’s Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review for more information, www.larouchepub.com). The signs of the oncoming collapse are obvious for those who look beyond their own narrow interests and look below the surface at powerful people’s MOTIVES- not what they SAY but what they DO and WHY that might be- with objectivity. People who make the effort to READ & STUDY widely. Anyone who thinks that substantially unrestrained powerful people in today’s out of democratic control globalised capital/corporate world have not been manipulating to retain and enhance their own selfish interests, and who denounces those who highlight this as “conspiracy theorists”, is deluded and conditioned indeed. They have just not reflected seriously on the sad condition of greed and fear of loss as well as spiritual poverty and poverty of intellect that dominates the natures of many, many of our fellow human being financier oligarchs in power. We live in a competitive economic culture which makes a VIRTUE out of consumption and greed and it's essential that more & more of us realise it, detach from it and protest peacefully against it. If we want to survive un-decimated as a species, we’ve surely got some major waking up to do- and quickly.