Editorial: Towards a climate strategy

IssueSeptember 2008
Comment by Milan Rai , Emily Johns

Climate Camp has rightly been described as both “the world’s most organised protest” and “the most important protest of our time”. The severity of the climate crisis that is looming is not easy to imagine. If we do see a temperature rise of 4C above pre-industrial levels, up to half the world’s species could die out, and our descendants will face apocalyptic consequences.

The Camp is the confluence of several streams of organising going back decades. It demonstrates, among other things, the practicality, and indeed value, of anarchism as an organising method (so long as it is done skilfully and respectfully, in well-thought-out structures that empower rather than alienate, all of which happens in Climate Camp).

George Monbiot has been attacked for saying at the Camp, rightly in our view, that time is extremely short for the dramatic social, economic and technical changes that are needed, and that: “We have to use all the resources we can lay hands on, and these must include both governments and corporations.”

Corporations and states are not designed for human welfare or environmental sustainability. By nature, they destroy.

But in the next few years, when the struggle against climate chaos will be lost or won, corporations and states will almost certainly continue to exist, and will have a dominant role in global society. A truly sustainable society will require the abolition and replacement of these institutions. Peace News is committed precisely to this sort of nonviolent revolution.

But in the years immediately ahead, millions of people in Bangladesh and thousands of species of plants, hundreds of species of animals need an immediate reduction in CO2 emissions.

Expanding the floor of the cage

Some years ago, Noam Chomsky explained his perspective by referring to a Brazilian rural workers’ analogy: “expanding the floor of the cage”.

Currently, we the people are trapped in a cage called “the state”. But outside the cage are even more dangerous beasts – corporations – which would destroy us if we were somehow able to break down the cage.

What we need to do is to expand the dimensions of the cage, to gain more freedom and justice in society. We need the chance to grow strong enough one day to do away with both the beasts and the cage.

We are convinced Climate Camp is destined to make a significant contribution to this effort.

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