The Earth is warming and biodiversity is dying as the ecological web of life is breaking down. We have already witnessed significant decreases in the number of birds and insects including pollinators like bees and the future for these and many other species is bleak unless we rapidly change course. We must not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense that we are doing anywhere near enough to address the crises we created. We are not living up to our Paris emissions reduction targets and we are rapidly running out of time to reign in climate change. If we fail to act we could augur the end of civilization.
Our resistance to science-based climate policies forces us to question our ideas of progress. Before we can address these problems we have to accept the fact that humans are the primary cause of ecosystem collapse. The resultant anthropogenic species extinction has been described as a crime against nature prompting some to accuse humans of ecocide.
We must disabuse ourselves of the idea that we can buy our way out of this crisis. The failure of sustainable certification schemes highlight the shortcomings of our free-market economy. While buying sustainable and fair trade products is laudable it is nowhere near enough.
We need science-based assessments and government rules and regulations that reflect these assessments. Industry has made it abundantly clear that they can not be left to police themselves. They are motivated by growth and this will continue as long as they have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits. To address climate change corporate polluters must be made to bear the costs through some form of carbon pricing scheme and corporate leaderships must be held accountable for crimes against nature in criminal courts.
When we consider the scale of the suffering that we are creating it hard to avoid the conclusion that we have gone collectively insane. We are addicted to growth and this is a form of mass psychosis. The current configuration of our economy is antithetical to the interests of life on this planet. We ignore the perils of growth and the fact that the economy will be decimated by the collapse of civilization. As long as we value profit over biodiversity we will not be able to seriously tackle the problems we face. Growth is untenable without decoupling and there are good reasons to believe that our conceptions of growth are an illusion.
What we are missing is the political will to enact legislation that will augur the required structural changes. We need to take heed of the fact that many politicians are beholden to corporate concerns. Fossil fuel companies own politicians and control governments. If we are to address this issue we will need to challenge corporate power and traditional business models.
We need to understand that fossil fuels are incompatible with climate action. We will also need to face the reality that the scale and urgency of the problems require government and corporate investments. The overwhelming scientific and economic logic impelling us to act is irrefutable. While divisions invite inaction that will result in calamity, working together to solve these global problems can bring us together.
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