Life During Capitalism- one history student's perspective on life during capitalism

"To omit or to minimize these voices of resistance is to create the idea that power only rests with those who have the guns, who possess the wealth, who own the newspapers and the television stations. I want to point out that people who seem to have no power, whether working people, people of colour, or women-once they organize and protest and create movements-have a voice no government can suppress." Howard Zinn

Monday, June 11, 2007

Apocalypse Now?

Apocalypse Now?

Climate change. The two words that just will not go away. They may come to mean in this century what Auschwitz and Stalag meant last century.

I don’t want to frighten anyone. No seriously. Don’t panic. Whatever you do, do not panic. The future of civilization itself rests on the fact that as many people as possible do not panic in the coming years. This may very well be the last five minutes of game time. Just like any sports match we cannot lose sight of the goal, even though the odds may be stacked against it.

Since the industrial revolution the amount of carbon dioxide that we are emitting into the atmosphere has increased astronomically as we pump huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through everything from cars to fireplaces and fridges and petrochemical use. Gases such as methane, emitted by fertiliser use and animal flatulence help speed up the greenhouse effect. Due to the heat trapping blanket effect of the earths atmosphere the heat of the earth from the sun will be trapped inside the atmosphere unable to be naturally lost into space. The result: the climate will change- it will warm- global warming.

We have reached a critical time with climate change. Either we see what is staring us in the face, act now and attempt to do as much as possible to avoid catastrophe or we go on with our normal lives continuing to treat the earth as an infinite resource and as an infinite garbage can.

The facts we need to see are in the newspaper, on television, on the Internet, in movies, books and in the world around us. Most of them are by now widely known. They include say the makers of the film An Inconvenient Truth; in 25 years 300,000 people will die from global warming a year; global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide; heat waves will be more frequent and more intense; droughts and wildfires will occur more often; the Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050; and more than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.

However, the worst effects of climate change can be avoided if the world responds quickly. The global future of this problem means that a global movement will have to develop to confront the issue. At all levels of society we must act now to tackle the root cause of climate change; the global addiction to fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, CFCs and water vapour.

Around the world the emergence of a mass movement is beginning. In businesses, governments, schools, communities and wherever humans are found living together people are trying to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and fast.

People are planting trees, riding bikes and reusing, refusing and recycling in their communities. Organisations are taking the message to the streets; they are reusing those old tactics of non-violent direct action that have been around since as long as people power. Across the globe people are occupying, marching, picketing, sitting in, dancing in the streets, locking down and rallying for a world safe for humanity and our eco-systems. People are waking up to the fact that climate change will radically affect our ability to live on earth, and the people who are to suffer the most, of course are the most marginalised; poor and indigenous peoples in developing countries, such as our Pacific neighbours.

In New Zealand the Save Happy Valley Coalition have been occupying a remote South Island valley on the west coast since January to stop it being mined for coal, which would be mostly sent to be burnt in China to fuel industrial growth. The pollution caused by the proposed mining of 500,000 tonnes of coal from the mine each year for 10 years by government owned corporation Solid Energy is unnecessary and short-sighted when Aotearoa has such abundant amounts of renewable energy; wind, solar and hydro-electric. On the North Island Greenpeace New Zealand is campaigning to stop another government owned company, Mighty River Power from opening a coal fired power station north of Auckland at a never used power plant called “Marsden B”. The plant if opened would release over 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.

In Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland, climate change group, ClimAction, has taken to the streets in a Carnival Against Climate Change on Queen Street and protests at petrol stations. Across the city, people are realising the immensity of the situation and organising to change it by supporting cycling, planting trees, developing community gardens, raising awareness and promoting recycling among many other initiatives.

If you do nothing else this summer then do this. Join the movement against climate change! Without you and everyone else like you, then we have little hope of more than a bleak future beyond this century.

Get clued up and roped up for humanity’s most pressing task:

www.Greenpeace.org.nz

www.SaveHappyValley.org.nz

www.Climateimc.org

www.4million.org.nz/climatechange/

www.greens.org.nz

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1 Comments:

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No tragedies now apocalypse now just wont work to many other serious situations are happening and they take patience not anger to solve. I would however like you to tell racheal your mom hi from jodene in seattle. And that I want to know what is going on in her life. Thanks for relaying the message. Send to my address or find it on the internet. Thanks best wishes to you your mom and your sister anna. Jodene in seattle

 

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