The fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, on April 22nd 2020, should have been a time for us all to reflect on the state of the environment and the global movement for its, and our preservation but, humanity was preoccupied with a more immediate existential threat: the pandemic. “We’re All In This Together”, the hopeful slogan often repeated to encourage socially conscious behaviour, has been applied to both crises. But it’s not true. In both cases, poor and oppressed communities and individuals suffer to a far greater extent than do the rich and privileged. We are not all equally exposed to risk and harm. The irony has often been pointed out that the economic shutdown in the beginning of the pandemic, is possibly the most helpful thing that we’ve managed to do for the environment over these last fifty years.
It has been seven years since Naomi Klein published This Changes Everything in which she "challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems." Greta Thunberg went to great effort to avoid adding carbon to the atmosphere on her trip to speak to the United Nations. But will world leaders make the changes that are necessary? Do they even have the power. Many would say no. The United Nations is a democratic organization representing mostly undemocratic states. How can we expect it to speak for the people of the world. The Green New Deal is an excellent start at changing the way humans are affecting the biosphere, but it is unlikely to be implemented under the current political system.
We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyones arguing over where they're going to sit.
The problem is that globally, and nearly everywhere in the world, political choices are made by those with economic power. They tend to make decisions which will benefit themselves over the interests of the majority. They are not likely to stop. The rest of us need to organize a better system before it's too late.
We can create a new way of making global decisions by building Democracy From Below.