For 4000 years since the breakdown of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, almost every major societal collapse has featured five trends: spiralling migration, state collapse, food shortages, epidemic disease and climate change. What makes the present era distinct is that whilst previous collapses have been geographically contained, the globalisation of carbon-intensive industry since the 1800s and particularly over the last four decades means that the relationship between cause and effect has been obscured. Many of the people worst impacted by human-caused climate change today are also the least responsible for it. The Climate Stories project believes that averting further damage and building a different future means being led by those who are the first to hear the earth rise up in protest, have considered the causes and are innovating solutions. In this spirit, this article documents reflections from a series of conversations with members of the Kurdish movement on climate change.
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Less of What We Don't Need
Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.
Is degrowth, or the reduction of material and energy uses for human use, a valid and viable strategy for the Global South, i.e. countries and populations that have not reached an excessive or even acceptable level of prosperity? Perhaps not. What is needed is for these regions to find their own home-grown visions and pathways of change. Ecoswaraj or radical ecological democracy (RED) is emerging from practical and conceptual processes prevalent in many parts of India.
Since the '70's, "back to the 1950's" has been the rallying cry of reactionaries. Michael Klare shows us that it is the cornerstone of Trump's proposed energy policies. The 1950's may prove hard to ressurrect however.
On December 5, former vice president Al Gore met with Donald and Ivanka Trump in an effort to convince the president-elect that he should not gut federal policies and agreements dealing with climate change. Three days later, actor Leonardo DiCaprio also paid the Trump duo a visit, urging them to help build a green, climate-friendly economy with lots of jobs.
Immerath, 90 km away from the German city of Cologne, has become a ghost town. The local church bells no longer ring and no children are seen in the streets riding their bicycles. Its former residents have even carried off their dead from its cemetery.
Expansion of Garzweiler, an open-pit lignite mine, has led to the town’s remaining residents being relocated to New Immerath, several kilometres away from the original town site, in North Rhine-Westphalia, whose biggest city is Cologne.
Talking about “peak oil” can feel very last decade. In fact, the question is still current. Petroleum markets are so glutted and prices are so low that most industry commenters think any worry about future oil supplies is pointless. The glut and price dip, however, are hardly indications of a healthy industry; instead, they are symptoms of an increasing inability to match production cost, supply, and demand in a way that’s profitable for producers but affordable for society. Is this what peak oil looks like?
The 2011 TIPNIS conflict exposed the contradiction between the MAS government’s proclaimed commitment to indigenous rights and the environment, and its aggressive pursuit of an extractivist development model. International media images of Evo Morales in indigenous garb were replaced by more familiar images of indigenous peoples mobilizing to defend their territories against the incursions of a capitalist state.
The ecological and social implications of climate change have – or should – become a central parameter for all discussions of work and capitalism. It is generally agreed that reliance on the burning of fossil fuels as the pre-eminent energy source for production and consumption over the history of capitalism is the critical factor in the ruinous greenhouse gas emissions triggering global warming, which would become irreversible if the earth's atmosphere were brought to a ‘tipping-point’.
The deserts of the American Southwest have come under a new assault in the last decade. The few, fragmented areas of these austere, rugged, yet delicate landscapes that had managed to survive relatively intact from mining, ranching, military use (including nuclear tests), urban encroachment and motorized recreation, are now being targeted for the development of large-scale “green” energy projects, many of them on public lands.