1. Profit maximisation is the iron rule of capitalism, setting limits to ecological reform. A profit-based economy that requires continuous economic growth makes ecological catastrophes inevitable. 2. Voluntarism, technological fixes and market incentives as they have been constructed cannot achieve even the weak greenhouse gas targets governments have committed to. Even so, many governments, such that of the US, haven’t even initiated these market mechanisms like carbon taxes or cap and trade.
Fred Magdoff co-author, with John Bellamy Foster, of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism: A Citizen’s Guide to Capitalism and the Environment, spoke to Scott Borchert of Monthly Review Press. Foster is a featured speaker at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne over September 30 to October 3. * * * Why did you decide to write a book like this, and why now?
With less than a month until the 2nd Climate Change/Social Change conference, around the theme “World at a Crossroads”, in Melbourne, the list of confirmed speakers and sponsors is growing. The conference is being organised by Green Left Weekly, Socialist Alliance and Resistance at the University of Melbourne over September 30-October 3. It aims to promote recognition that in order to solve the global climate crisis, radical social change is required.
Dick Smith’s Population Crisis: The Dangers of Unsustainable Growth for Australia Allen & Unwin, Sydney 2011, 228 pages Those who say today’s big social and ecological problems stem from there being too many people on the planet face a special difficulty. As the Australian ecologist Alan Roberts once said, populationist authors need “to persuade their readers that the main thing wrong with the world was the existence of those readers themselves”.
Renowned Marxist economist and ecologist John Bellamy Foster is a feature guest speaker at the World at a Crossroads: Climate Change Social Change conference, which will take place in Melbourne over September 30 to October 3. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Peter Boyle about capitalism’s growing economic and environmental contradictions. * * *
Ian Angus is a veteran of the socialist and environmental movements in Canada and internationally. He is a featured guest speaker at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference, which will take place in Melbourne, from September 30 to October 3. Angus is the founder and editor of climateandcapitalism.com, an online journal that focuses on capitalism, ecology and the ecosocialist alternative.
In an exciting development in the South Australian climate action scene, a range of groups have united to campaign for Australia’s first concentrated solar thermal power plants in Port Augusta, about four hours north of Adelaide. The Adelaide Moving Planet Organising Collective includes representatives from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Conservation Council of South Australia, the Climate Emergency Network of South Australia, the Young Greens, the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
More than 100 community supporters, environmentalists and trade unionists assembled on the steps of Trades Hall in Melbourne to launch the “100,000 Australians” campaign. A project of the Earthworker co-operative, the campaign seeks to build a cooperatively-owned factory making solar hot water systems in Morwell, Victoria. The project is hoping for 100,000 Australians to join the Earthworker Cooperative at $20 a member to raise the $2 million needed for the “Eureka’s Future” factory machinery, fit-out and finish.
When the right-wing press isn’t hacking the voicemail of murdered teenagers, much of its energy goes to denouncing “green extremists”. You know, the ones who’d destroy our economy just to claw back a few tonnes of greenhouse emissions. So what would Rupert Murdoch, Andrew Bolt and their whole tribe prefer be done, in practice and in the near term, to stop global warming? Let’s be honest — nothing. Cutting emissions, they implicitly argue, will inevitably cost more than if society lets carbon polluters get on with what they do best.
More than 200 people rallied outside the State ALP conference at the Country Club Casino in Launceston on August 6. Health workers, teachers, child protection workers and police protested against public service budget cuts. TAP into a better Tasmania protested against the pulp mill while Code Green called for the protection of native forests. The premier and other Labor ministers came out to talk to the crowd but did not back away from their plan to make drastic cuts to essential services.