Climate change is a crime being perpetrated against us

Just a day after 300,000 people participated across Australia in the September 20 Climate Strike, PM Scott Morrison was meeting with mining boss Gina Rinehart and US President Donald Trump.

A sophisticated greenwashing industry has emerged over the past few decades to not just mask the environmental destruction of corporations while blaming consumers, but to also present the climate crisis as a neutral and natural disaster, disconnected from a system of inequality.

In fact, climate change is a crime being perpetrated against us.

Intimately intertwined with economic injustice and the resource plundering of poor countries by transnationals, the climate crisis shows the wrong people are running the world.

The scalping of forests, the distortion of oceans and the humiliating lack of clean air and water are the results of choices made by CEOs and their political lackeys.

Coca Cola, for example, has decided to use 1 million litres of water a day in its Chiapas, Mexico plant, to produce its morbid beverage, while leaving locals without water.

Pepsi, Nestle and Coca Cola are responsible for polluting the oceans with their product packaging.

Halliburton was found guilty for its role in a giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and chose to profit from mass murder and make US$39 billion from the Iraq war.

The CEOs making these calculated decisions are parasites with a fetish and who treat wealth as a game. They declare themselves winners for having more zeros in their bank balances than entire countries have, while destroying magical habitats in their race for wealth.

They are selfish, silver spoon-fed elitists, who are so white, male and wealthy that they are not touched by the problems they create.

They are songless vessels, incapable of making decisions in the interest of humanity and the planet.

But they are not incompetent due to a lack of intelligence. Rather, they are not qualified to make these decisions because they do not have a desire, nor life or educational experience, to plan the use of resources for the benefit of everyone.

We live in a parody of a democracy that allows such irresponsible and corrupt gluttons to make globally important decisions. The current global system is putting the worst people in charge. That is why we face a climate crisis.

We have become accustomed to the fact most of the world does not get to live in dignified housing or have time for a meaningful and creative life.

We are shamefully nonchalant at the fact that 46% of the world's population lives on less than $5.50 a day because we have been led to believe that the world is naturally unjust.

We have been taught that the plunderers, colonisers and mining corporations that loot entire continents of their natural resources, then laugh at the poverty wreckage they leave behind, are heroes.

The climate crisis is slowly wrenching us out of such stagnant, suffocating apathy and giving us a deadline.

Most people have seen by now that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of carbon dioxide emissions.

If there were mechanisms for holding the worst global criminals accountable, these and other companies would be hauled in front of a court and charged with mass crimes against humanity and the planet.

But, while some such court cases exist — for example against oil companies for their impact on rising sea levels and against the US government for failing to protect children against climate change — we all know that these will not go very far.

Meanwhile, the overall ransacking of the planet remains legal.

There is no democracy when you cannot do anything about the companies polluting rivers and air. The unbridled power of big corporations is despotic. That is what is standing in the way of positive change.

We can tackle the climate crisis, because the resources and intelligence exist. It is totally feasible to replace coal power with solar, build functioning public transport systems and provide free public healthcare mainstream.

Ending state subsidies for fossil fuels — $5.3 trillion globally — would free up funds for a complete transition to renewable energy.

Only the songless vessels stand in our way.

[Tamara Pearson is a longtime journalist based in Mexico, and the author of The Butterfly Prison and The Beauty Rules of Flowertown. She blogs at Resistance Words.]