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Umair Haque is one of the leading thinkers of our time. Some people think that we eat too much meat. We travel by plane; we travel by car. And so, you need to strive for self-restraint. And the more selflessly you do it, the better. This is how we save the planet. However, the truth is that 70% of CO2 EMISSIONS are generated by just the 100 largest corporations on the planet.
Transnational corporations, sucking air, oceans, forests and mountains, turn them into hard currency. In such a huge amount of money and so fast that they literally don’t know what to do with it. And you can’t do anything, so they just accumulate, creating enormous inequality in the world, destabilizing even such strong societies as America and Great Britain, creating whole new classes of modern beggars. This is the reason why society simply does not have the resources to deal with problems such as climate change.
Capitalism recycles nature into insane, unnecessary, pointless profit, destroying democracy, the planet, and life itself as we know it. This means that there is nothing you personally can do to stop climate change just by changing your lifestyle.
Climate change is a ‘collective action problem’. This is a problem of corporations, institutions, economies, conclusions, goals, objectives, that is, Systems, how they are organized and for what.
Reflecting that huge imbalance of power between individuals and corporations, corporate profits have never been higher than they are today. Just as extinction is happening on the planet, faster than ever in history! This is not a coincidence; this is a causal relationship. It is the modern system of profit maximization, exploitation, and abuse by all means in the name of more, even more money.
At the same time, Amazon, for example, does not pay taxes. Walmart pays minimum wages to its employees, so they barely have enough to live on. So where does the money come from to fill the skies, oceans, and forests with the life that corporations devour?
What are the corporations and capitalists of the world doing with all this money, the most money in the history of mankind? Absolutely nothing. That’s why you can’t do anything with them. They have so much money that there is literally nowhere to put it.
Basically, they buy up shares and pay their managers indecently large salaries, which, in turn, are again hidden offshore. Do you understand all this nonsense? And we, instead of comparing causes and effects, and drawing conclusions, reproach ourselves for an extra cutlet or a car trip.
Wherever capitalism reigns, China, America, emissions skyrocket and a gulf yawns between rich and poor. Because social democracy is not (only) capitalism. The main value of communities is not the profit of mega-corporations when everything around them ceases to dust and ashes.
What I call the ‘collective action problem’ is building systems with metrics for the common good, estimating how much it has been damaged, a tax system where organizations have to pay damages to communities in order to restore their well-being is the challenge of this century. Social democracies are already beginning to develop such approaches.
‘When there are no cows left, we will grow artificial meat and milk and eat it.’ The logic of techno-utopianism is the logic of regression.
We can stop eating meat. We can stop using deodorants, we can stop shaving, and we can stop reading books. We can go back to the Stone Age. But this is not a solution to climate change. It’s just stupidity, adding a regression to a disaster. It’s not about turning back into peasants and serfs hunting by torchlight in the woods of the lords.
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If you want to be more environmentally friendly, be. But don’t fall for the American illusion that individual behaviour replaces collective action and systemic change. If it makes you feel better, no problem, eat less meat. But collective action is a step far beyond that behaviour. This world doesn’t need heroes. He just needs working systems: Umair Haque Source
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EXCLUSIVE: Food shortages magnified by string of destroyed food processing facilities
Last Thursday, firefighters contended with a massive blaze at California’s Taylor Farms plant. That same day, an airplane crashed into Idaho’s Gem State Processing facility. Source
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