Conference to discuss social change to stop climate change

John Bellamy Foster

It can sometimes feel like we’re losing a race against time to avoid environmental catastrophe and social collapse.

Climate change is already extinguishing species, destroying essential food production and forcing thousands of people to flee their island homes.

People are directly affected by more wars than ever before in history.

While the underlying causes of the recent global financial crisis remain, governments are imposing vicious austerity policies on the majority of people in the Global North and South to pay for the capitalists’ greed.

But recent events show that there is great reason for hope and inspiration. Ordinary people in their millions have shown they are determined to fight for social justice and human survival, even if most governments aren’t.

When peoples of the Arab world rise up to overthrow dictators; when the revolutionary government of tiny Bolivia refuses to bow down to the rich countries’ attempts to impose fake solutions to climate change; when hundreds of thousands of workers, students and unemployed take to the streets of Greece, France and Wisconsin saying “enough is enough”; when asylum seekers in Australia’s refugee prisons won’t stop protesting despite severe repression; and as WikiLeaks reveals more of the global elite’s moral bankruptcy for all to see, we have proof that it’s possible to rescue and change our world.

How that possibility can become a reality will be the main theme of discussions at the “World at a Crossroads: Climate Change Social Change Conference” to be held in Melbourne in September-October.

The event, which is sponsored by the Office of Environmental Programs at Melbourne University and organised by Green Left Weekly and the Socialist Alliance, will run from Friday, September 30 to Monday, October 3 at Melbourne University.

The discussions at this conference will be enriched by the participation of one of the world’s foremost radical ecologists, John Bellamy Foster. A well-known economist from the United States, Foster is also an editor of Monthly Review and the author of The Ecological Rift (with Brett Clark and Richard York) The Ecological Revolution, The Great Financial Crisis (with Fred Magdoff) and Marx’s Ecology..

Also leading the conference discussions will be Canadian ecosocialist writer and activist Ian Angus.

Angus co-founded the Ecosocialist International Network and is the editor of Climateandcapitalism.com. He is the author of the forthcoming book Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis (with Simon Butler) and has also authored Food Crisis: World Hunger, Agribusiness and the Food Sovereignty Alternative and edited The Global Fight for Climate Justice.

Alongside feature talks by these and other special guests, the conference program will include panel discussions and dozens of workshops to consider and create action plans around a wide range of issues, including: food security and survival; imperialism, war and oil; refugees and internationalism; the nuclear threat; Indigenous resistance and sovereignty; the market versus social ownership; revolutions, people’s power and democracy; the dirty record of carbon trading; and the “overpopulation” debate.

This is a conference not to be missed by anyone who sees the urgent need for fundamental social change, and wants to be part of it.

To register or receive more information, visit the conference website, email climatechangesocialchange2011@gmail.com, ph (02) 9690 2508 or write to PO Box A2323, Sydney South 1230.

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