The depth of the planetary crisis
Few people in power circles seem ready to accept the depth of the planetary crisis, of which the Great (and increasingly dramatic) Fires of the early twenty-first century, from Chile to California, and from the Amazon to Australia, are but one of the most striking manifestations. ‘Paralysis above, movement below’: this was climate-justice activist Patrick Bond’s apt summary of the inability of governments, corporations and most organisations to get to grips with the climate crisis, in his 2012 book, Politics of Climate Justice, written at the time of the failed 2009 Copenhagen Summit, COP 15. A crucial aspect of the ‘movement below’ is the profound, albeit unsettling, realisation at which many climate activists are arriving regarding the massive fires of the last few years in so many places on earth, beyond their clear connection to climate change: that all regions and countries in the world are engaged in a senseless and irrational mode of living that can only sustain the unsustainable. This structural unsustainability has gone on largely unhindered for at least 200 years, gaining speed and intensity during the past seven decades of development and globalisation. Everywhere one looks, one sees instances of life being destroyed, the planet being wounded, and its peoples being exploited and damaged.
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