November saw the last of the climate action carnivals taking place in Hereford. These carnivals–and other national actions–have again pushed climate change to the forefront of many people’s minds, and we feel that the organisers should be praised for that. Protests such as Climate Camp, Plane Stupid and the climate change carnivals have created greater awareness of the issues, but have they offered any real solutions?
The green movement is dominated by wealthy middle class people. The solutions offered by the movement seek to solve environmental issues while still preserving the privileges that many of these people enjoy. Lobbying politicians, voting Green, telling people not to fly or shutting power stations. None of this tackles the real cause of climate change.
As anarchists we see capitalism as the biggest problem standing in the way of building a sustainable society. The capitalist system of mass production, mass consumerism and unlimited economic growth will always put profits before the environment. Many environmentalists want to work within the current system and push for laws to combat climate change, but this means working with an authoritarian state that increasingly interferes in our lives. These laws would be unlikely to achieve a great deal as the state doesn’t want us to change. It certainly doesn’t want us to stop being good consumers who perpetually buy new cars, shop at supermarkets and keep voting for things to stay the same. It is naive to believe that top-down state control will combat climate change.
The goal of stopping climate change is vitally important, but so is radically changing society and we believe that you cannot do one without the other. But we also believe the only way to accomplish this is through working with the whole community, by inspiration, example and education. By organising together within our workplaces and our communities, environmentalists and anti-capitalists, can make real lasting change to both our society and our environment. The recent involvement of Climate Campers in the Vestas* dispute is an example of this.
With the inevitable disappointment of the upcoming Copenhagen climate change summit there is hope for closer ties between the green and anti-capitalist movements. Maybe this could go some way to opening up these campaigns to society as a whole.
See savevestas.wordpress.com for more information.