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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #241 - Radical Ecology: Attack the problem at its root (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:23:33 +0300


Faced with major ecological crisis that already exists, ecology accompanying the system, to ask a few patches on the most obvious problems is not enough. A radical ecology, offering another organization of society is more than ever necessary. ---- The present era is characterized by a major environmental uncertainty. With global warming, the global depletion of fossil fuels and metals [1], the destruction of soil associated with intensive agriculture and increasing urbanization, pollution and dwindling supplies of fresh water, accelerated biodiversity, among other festivities destruction, those are the conditions (of) life of humanity, and thousands of species that are critically endangered. ---- Against the logic of growth ---- But the capitalists benefit, opening new markets juicy in renewable energy and some industrial restructuring, establishing markets for pollution rights, and creating new financial products based on environmental risks [2]. And behind, the logic remains the same: growth, thus overproduction, programmed, consumerism, social and environmental dumping obsolescence. With the backdrop of the increase in the commercial sphere to public goods such as water, air, genetic life (patents on plants, restrictive catalog of tradable or marketable seeds), which extends the generalized movement international commodification of public services (education, health, culture, transport). And to maintain the illusion that the system is healthy, it blames the ecological crisis on individuals, that would take too long showers and do not trieraient waste. However, awareness of the impending ecological crisis, and proposals to avoid it, have a long history. By the mid-nineteenth century, scientists noticed that industrialization creates the disappearance of species, climate change (especially with deforestation), chronic pollution, and immerses the proletariat in a health disaster. Reclus (1830-1905), renowned geographer and anarchist activist, is one of the first to articulate this growing environmental awareness with a social vision. It emphasizes the responsibility of the social organization of our society (capitalism) in environmental issues and the need to rethink our relationship with nature to build a society based on cooperation and complementarity within and between species, the only way to preserve nature and give meaning to our lives.

This global vision (ecological and social) will be at the heart of political ecology. It actually emerges as a movement from the 1960s and condemns intensive agriculture, the technocratic logic symbolized by nuclear, predation on natural resources, loss of sense of work, creating artificial needs by capitalism for maintain growth, the confiscation of the political debate by technocrats, etc. The analysis is radical: to solve the problem at the root, leaving capitalism and technocracy that administers it. For as long as the production is controlled by an elite to the increase in its profits, it can not get out of the ecological and social contradictions that prove more disastrous every day. The actions are also radical, with the use of direct action to occupy sites or sabotage of machinery, like the Greenpeace ships sent in the 1970s in the South Pacific to prevent nuclear testing.

But the proposed solutions, the overall vision of the place of man in nature, and priorities differ between currents of radical ecology. The most obvious division is seen in the United States in the 1980s Some proponents of deep ecology have a tendency to idealize a virgin and pure nature that man parasiterait, up to cheer from famine the AIDS epidemic then raging in Africa. They attract the ire of advocates of social ecology, developed by Murray Bookchin and libertarian streak, pounding the problem is not the man but the social organization of human society. Besides, other movements focus on issues of environmental justice, highlighting the specific exposure of poor people, especially African Americans, to the evils of industrialization (pollution, forced displacement).

The betrayal of compromise

Beyond these theoretical and strategic differences, radical ecology has been gradually perverted from the 1980s with the institutionalization of ecology. On the one hand by the parties 'green' which, in one compromise to access instances of power, will abandon any radicalism. On the other hand, by environmental NGOs, many of whom have chosen to support the system to limit its harm to him surviving. The case of the WWF or the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, are emblematic: sponsored by multinationals, they mediate campaigns for the protection of endangered species, or the establishment of nature reserves, while these same multinationals continue to use excessive men and planets. And finally by capitalism's ability to adapt and absorb claims emptying them of their meaning, with the rise of "green capitalism" and its political counterpart, the sustainable development.

Fortunately, many social movements reject this manager ecology crisis, firmly oppose the deadly logic of capitalism on shale gas, large and imposed unnecessary projects, seeds, or experimenting with alternative lifestyles. And most anti-capitalist political organizations increasingly integrate the environmental dimension into their demands and their vision of society. Because the ecology of snake swallower like Europe Ecology Green is not sufficient, and we must return to a radical ecology as conceived by a Recluse, a Bookchin or André Gorz. An ecology that defends an egalitarian, self-managed decentralized social organization, cooperative, ensuring within the natural limits of ecosystems meeting social needs of individuals empowered and free to choose their productive activities and leisure. working to strengthen these dynamics, and distribution of this radical ecology, to free the world, men and women, from all forms of domination!

[1] See P. Bihouix and X. Guillebon, What future for metals?, EDP Sciences, 2010

[2] R. Keucheyan, "When finance connects to nature," Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2014
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