Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Occupy Wall Street? Occupy Earth! Nature is in the 99%

Remember how Bill McKibben of 350.org gave a short speech at Wall Street lately? He's not the only one connecting the dots between the socially unjust financial crisis and the environment. When I went to Occupy Copenhagen last time I think most of the speakers were mostly going on about the bank bailouts - but I was chatting to the guy next to me about... socially unjust exploitation of natural resources.

In case you missed Bill's speech, here are some highlights for you:
"[...] the company building that ["Keystone XL"] tar sands pipeline was allowed to choose another company to conduct the environmental impact statement, and the company that they chose was a company was a company that did lots and lots of work for them [... in his campaign Obama said] "It’s time to end the tyranny of oil.” [...] “I will have the most transparent government in history.” We have to go to DC to find out where they have locked that guy up. We have to free Obama, because there is some sort of stunt double there now. [...] The reason that it’s so great that we’re occupying Wall Street is because Wall Street has been occupying the atmosphere. That’s why we can never do anything about global warming. [...] The sky does not belong to Exxon. They cannot keep using it as a sewer into which to dump their carbon."

More dots are connected in Chip Ward's How the 1% Pillage the Environment:
"[...] when there’s money to be made, both workers and the environment are expendable [...] If you are a CEO who skims millions of dollars off other people’s labor, it’s called a “bonus.”  If you are a flood victim who breaks into a sporting goods store to grab a lifejacket, it’s called looting. If you lose your job and fall behind on your mortgage, you get evicted.  If you are a banker-broker who designed flawed mortgages that caused a million people to lose their homes, you get a second-home vacation-mansion near a golf course. If you drag heavy fishnets across the ocean floor and pulverize an entire ecosystem, ending thousands of years of dynamic evolution and depriving future generations of a healthy ocean, it’s called free enterprise.  But if, like Tim DeChristopher, you disrupt an auction of public land to oil and gas companies, it’s called a crime and you get two years in jail. [...] The 1% are willing to spend billions impeding democratic initiatives, which is why every so-called environmental issue is also about building a democratic culture. [...] Tearing apart wildlife habitat to make a profit and doing the same at a workplace are just considered the price of doing business. Clearcutting a forest and clearcutting a labor force are two sides of the same coin. [...] The desperate effort to grow the economy to solve our economic woes is what keeps Timothy Geithner at the helm of the Treasury and is what stalls the regulation of greenhouse gasses.  It’s why we are told we must sacrifice environmental quality for pipelines and why young men and women are sacrificed to protect access to oil, the lubricant for an acquisitive economic engine. [...] we have built an all-encompassing economic engine that requires unending growth.  A contraction of even a percent or two is a crisis, and yet we are embedded in ecosystems that are reaching or have reached their limits. [...] Like so much else these days, the crash, as it happens, will not be suffered in equal measure by all of us. The one percenters will be atop the hill, while the 99% will be in the flood lands below swimming for their lives, clinging to debris, or drowning. [...] Degrading the planet’s operating systems to bolster the bottom line is foolish and reckless. It hurts us all. No less important, it’s unfair. The 1% profit, while the rest of us cough and cope. After Occupy Wall Street, isn’t it time for Occupy Earth?"


And finally: According to Grist / Green issues and greenbacks: Occupy Wall Street connects the dots [VIDEO] the #OWS themed environmentalism Sunday!
"Every bank which you are down here protesting finances extreme energy -- fracking, tar sands development, mountaintop removal, deep water drilling."
- Gasland documentary director Josh Fox
[Update 31st December 2011 via Naomi A. Klein] Occupy sustainability: the 1% are blocking the transition to a renewable energy economy
"To make our society sustainable, we have to deal not just with environmental issues and climate change, but with the economic crisis, and resource depletion. The most effective responses will deal with all three aspects at once.  While climate change response has mostly been blocked, Occupy has gotten traction, channeling public outrage at the bailouts, the debt crisis, and rising unemployment. Occupy supporters should think about putting the transition to a renewable energy economy, which addresses all three aspects of sustainability, at the core of their agenda. The 1% absolutely does not want us to realize how urgently this transition is needed.  Their power depends on keeping the unsustainable fossil fuel economy running as long as possible. They’re heavily invested in it. Of the 10 largest global corporations, 6 are oil companies. To continue making as much money as they can, they would have us wait until it’s too late to make a successful transition."
Follow links to read the full articles.

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