Thursday, December 05, 2013

Social justice and care for the environment are interwoven

More from the debate on a Green Party email list

If it is erroneous to say "if you care for people, you care for the planet", 
might it at least be true to say "if you care for the planet you care for the people"?

When the generality of humans wake up and start to address the ecological problems that the old anthropocentric ideologies have created, we are going to have to accept that we are truly "all in this together". We are going to have to act  at every level to to save he situation - individual, community, free associations, businesses, national governments and international institutions. Everyone.

This necessarily means a convergence between rich and poor. The rich are going to have to lose their tax havens in order to contribute to investment in the energy transition, housing etc. The unemployed poor will lose their unemployed status as they join in the work of the green economy. This will increase their wealth. The availability of cheap public transport will help the poor with their mobility. I will not detail here the many other changes that will bring us all together and actually make our lives happier to compensate for the loss of the expensive high - energy content toys that are beguiling us at present.

Similarly, there will be a convergence between rich nations and poor nations. Rich nations will have to rein back on their over-consumption, clutter and waste, while poor nations will move to a more secure average lifestyle where the birth rate and child death rate both fall.

Third, inter-generational equity will increase, so that our succeeding generations will not suffer poverty because we have consumed all the available resources.

A green society is intrinsically a happier and therefore more equal society. 

In short, the transition to a green society and sustainable economy will actually bring about the best of what Green Left and others wish to achieve. Good ecology means not just good human relations with the non-human part of the biosphere, it also means a good relation between individuals and the human society of which they are a part.

So, viewed from the ecological perspective, the apparent dichotomy between "environmental" and "social justice" is a non-problem, a result of false initial assumption that they are two separate issues. 

As ecologists we see them as seamlessly interwoven.

Do we not?

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