Save the planet - make capitalism history!

Issue 

The following statement was issued by Resistance, a socialist youth organisation, on November 16.

In Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, he called global warming "the greatest threat humanity has ever faced". James Hansen, senior climate scientist with NASA, has said the world has ten years to make severe cuts to greenhouse emissions or else face a bleak future.

We know what the problem is: the relentless burning of coal and oil to fuel the profits of the big corporations. A business-as-usual scenario where emissions are allowed to spiral uncontrollably will cause an ecological catastrophe. Melting ice sheets, destructive weather patterns and increasing desertification will create hundreds of millions of climate refugees.

And while demand for fossil fuels is rising, oil supplies are becoming increasingly scarce. The US, in an attempt to control the world's remaining major reserves of oil, has embarked on barbaric energy wars in Iraq (which has killed more than 650,000 Iraqis) and Afghanistan. The US is also threatening military action against other oil-rich countries, Iran and Venezuela.

Isn't it time the world quit its fossil-fuel addiction?

Cuba's example

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Cuba faced the loss of a large percentage of its food imports as well as 70% of its petrol, pesticides, fertilisers and machinery parts, which propped up Cuba's main export, sugar. Cuba faced possible starvation among its people.

Cuba was able to overcome this crisis by converting to organic, low-energy-input agriculture. Oxen replaced petrol-driven tractors, bio-pesticides replaced synthetic pesticides and organic fertilisers replaced oil-derived artificial fertilisers. By 2003 Cuban food availability was at a level recommended by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, and in 2006 the World Wildlife Fund rated Cuba as the only country in the world to achieve sustainable development.

Cuba was able to achieve such progress because its economy and political system is not run by and for capitalist-owned businesses seeking to maximise corporate profits, but is largely run by publicly owned businesses directed to a nationally decided-upon plan that aims to maximise the wellbeing of working people.

Cuba's example shows that major change is possible - but only if the world's working people are actively involved in creating and implementing the solutions, rather than relying on the profit-driven capitalist corporations for answers.
Venezuela is undergoing its own struggle for people power — the Bolivarian Revolution — and is attempting to go the same way as Cuba. It has implemented a program called Mission Tree, which aims to plant 100 million trees in the next five years.

Change the system, not the climate!

To force PM John Howard to take meaningful action to stop global warming, we need to build a movement that this government cannot ignore. The destruction of our environment affects all young people, and we need to be at the forefront of this movement — to fight for our future.

Young people and students have a huge role to play in inspiring, activating and organising the broader community to take up the fight to save the planet. We should link up with young environmental activists from our neighbouring region and around the world, and share ideas and lessons for effective action.

We can build the campaigns on our schools and campuses that demand administrations use clean energy; and we can also take initiatives that bring the issue into the streets.

Ultimately, we need to build a people power movement strong enough to replace the system that has created this mess - capitalism — with a system based on social, economic and environmental justice.

As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told 10,000 young participants at the World Federation of Democratic Youth and Students in Caracas, 2005: "We don't have centuries in front of us, it could be decades at most that are left for the peoples of this planet to make a decision … we say now a new, renovated socialism of the 21st century, or we decide that life finishes on this planet. Each one of you needs to be an importer of this idea, go and repeat it on the street corner."

So don't just get angry, get active and join the struggle to save the planet! Join Resistance!

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