EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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environmental management choices

I just finished watching an environmental documentary called "Planet of the Humans". It was directed and narrated by Jeff Gibbs. The Executive Producer was Michael Moore.

This film takes a hard look at the "green movement" and its failings. Specifically, it shows that wind, solar and biomass solutions, once widely touted by environmental organizations, (1) are for profit industries taken over by big corporations that (2) depend on fossil fuels, large-scale mining and deforestation to provide materials for components or systems production and providing power to produce parts, start up systems and run operations. Big name NGO's such as 350.org and Sierra Club as well as high-profile political figures got on this bandwagon ignoring that these alleged solutions would result in the razing of forests, wasteful use of land, labour rights and safety abuses, and natural gas and coal consumption with all their pollution. In short, they are not green solutions. Rather, they cause more waste and damage than direct usage of fossil fuels.

Thus, this documentary correctly characterizes the green movement and its benefactors as fraudulent and opportunist. I waited on the edge of my seat to see what sort of solutions Gibbs might propose in lieu of these false solutions. Sadly and disappointingly, he is fatalistic. He blames environmental destruction and waste of resources as humanity itself, a successful species that is doomed to collapse because of population growth and the excessive ways of life that coincides with high numbers. I cannot accept that outlook.

First, that biological analysis is faulty, besides being utterly depressing. Not all cultures have developed into empires and become excessive. Second, humans can make choices and have made choices. Third, the capitalist system is only one in the whole range of human experiences. Fourth, there are many successful sustainable, communal models to draw from, such as new kinds of farming that use less land and restore vegetation and water sources. some of them build-in cooperation with wildlife, even crops eating deer and livestock eating lions. There are also tiny house communities that use radon and thermal energy, as well as solar energy and geography without the use of solar panel systems. I have learned of small scale creations of bio-fuels from crop and livestock waste and wind or water mills for village power. These type of solutions rely on the principles of (1) local production, (2)small scale development, (3) recycling/ re-using and (4) cooperation and sharing. Their implementations avoid large scale destruction and waste, and excessive and unnecessary production and consumption. They can allow for small scale exchange and accumulation as an economic base, but they require fewer resources and materials in the first place.

In sum, large-scale industry is not necessary. Certainly, removing the profit-motive avoids the requirements of massive size and surplus production. I am saying that an economy designed and planned along socialist lines can succeed. With the lessons of earlier attempts at socialism, humans with the political will and moral vision and self-discipline can scale down their ambitions and needs to live interesting and fulfilling lives well for centuries to come.

The key is for those concerned with environmentalism to join other social movements into one anti-imperialist movement for socialism. Along the path as more participants are activated and join in the march toward a new way of life, we can carry on discussions and experiments at the local level and share the issues and successes at the regional and global levels. That is what networks such as the International League of Peoples' Struggles are doing. In effect, they are working out new models of representation, decision-making and cooperation as they gather and share information, reach out and hold meetings and protest to expand and refine the mission for socialism, honing the new way as they challenge and break down the old way. More people, especially the youth, will realize they need to join in the struggle for a different course of history and a chance at a new future.

I remain an optimist and a doer working and thinking to improve the human condition.

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