Biodiversity will not be saved with incremental progress

Aris Telonis
25/10/2019, Articles
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A business-as-usual approach is not sufficient to save our dying ecosystems. Capitalism can never save nature. Our planet urgently needs radical change.

Climate change is not only about rising temperatures caused by CO2 emissions. The loss of biodiversity can be an even greater risk and make the limiting of CO2 emissions look like an easy-to-solve problem. The September 25 issue of Nature contains an editorial that links economic growth with biodiversity. An exciting title prepares for a confrontation: “The value of biodiversity is not the same as its price“, meaning biodiversity is not for sale and capitalism’s exploitation should be restricted. Unfortunately, the article embraces incrementalism and a process of finding the optimal path to balance economic growth and the preservation of natural ecosystems. 

“Nature had to be turned into a dead object to be exploited”

David Harvey, who is a distinguished professor of anthropology and geography at the Graduate Center of the City of New York, provides us with some answers. In a panel discussion on technology and post capitalism he refers to Marx saying that “in the process of (capitalism) finding its own technological base, mental conceptions of the world had to change and nature could no longer be looked upon as something organic and alive. It had to be turned into a dead object that could be exploited.”

During an interview at Jacobin Radio’s podcast “The Dig“, Harvey draws the line from this concept to today’s climate issues: “Struggles over the relation to nature become politically significant. Right now, a lot of people who are concerned about the environmental issue will say, we can deal with this without confronting capital accumulation. I object to that. At a certain point we’re going to have to deal with capital accumulation, which is about three percent growth forever, as a clear environmental issue. There’s not going to be a solution to the environmental issue without confronting capital accumulation.”

The Green New Deal for Europe points the way out

As Yanis Varoufakis layed out in his article published by the Guardian, “Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out”. To save our planet from ourselves, we have to confront capitalism. That’s why DiEM25 has worked within an international coalition to put together a detailed proposal for a just, democratic and environmentally-sound transition to a sustainable Europe: the Green New Deal for Europe.

Join DiEM25 today and fight capitalism, not with incremental solutions but with radical change!

Aris Telonis is a member of DiEM25 and coordinator of the New York City1 Collective.

Photo: Demonstrator against biodiversity loss, at an Extinction Rebellion rally in 2018

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