I am a bad environmentalist, part 1.5

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Naomi Klein recently wrote in the New Statesman an article by the title of “How science is telling us all to revolt.” The gist of the piece, as I read it, is that the predictions of climate science really do confirm the suspicions of right-wing-motivated denialist thinktanks: that an alternative or superceding post-capitalist economic system must be established, and that free market liberalism is not sustainable. And since the reform path is increasingly closed to us, the only way to save billions of lives is to engage in immediate popular anti-capitalist revolution. Climate science (and environmental science in general) really is a plot to undermine Freedom(tm), because Freedom(tm); except that it’s a plot that is based on something true. (In the sense that the best available risk models predict the center of the distribution of possible outcomes to be somewhere between mass death and complete Armageddon.)

This ties directly into my last post on my own bad environmentalism. (This post is only episode 1.5 of the series, because I intended a completely different tack for a putative episode 2.) What is the “ask” of these proposed revolutions, aside from all the details of post-revolutionary governance? In the end, a massive, popular decrease in the standard of consumption, is what it is. What revolution has ever promised to its subjects the glorious future of less consumption and revoluted on that basis? The global revolution of envirosocialism must promise its participants that they will emerge better off in some way — but the middle and working classes in developed countries and “emergent” classes in developing countries necessarily cannot fulfill even their status quo expectations given climate science.

By this standard, the only candidates for revolutionary agents are, maybe, the abjectly poor of Haiti and so on. And they will revolute how, exactly?

Something’s gotta give, here.

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This page contains a single entry by Mandos published on November 9, 2013 12:11 PM.

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