On Earth Day 2014, the environment is more threatened than ever. As we celebrate the natural ecosystems on which we depend, we acknowledge that the rapacious greed of capitalism is actively harming our climate, our water, our soil, and dumping pollution that threatens our health and the health of our children and grandchildren. We have great confidence in our common future, because the struggles to save and protect our environment are growing, deepening, and developing.
There are many ways to get involved in these struggles. This weekend, the Cowboy Indian Alliance is sponsoring demonstrations and other activities in Washington DC again the Keystone XL pipeline, which would increase production of tar sands oil, an exceedingly dirty form of energy. It threatens the water, the ranch and agricultural lands it would cross, and the only “benefit” would be the excess profits made by a few transnational corporations.
A much better solution to the need for construction jobs would be to adopt the AFL-CIO program to fix our old, leaky, and dangerous existing gas pipelines. The leaks, spills, and breaks spew poisonous pollution in many communities every year, and this program would create more jobs, would actually protect the environments in which we live, and would disprove the shibboleth that we have to choose between jobs and the environment. Doing right by the environment creates more jobs, and doesn’t force workers to choose between immediate personal survival needs and the long-term survival needs of all humanity.
Another developing struggle is the campaign to divest from fossil fuel companies. Much of the supposed wealth of these companies is based on the fictitious economic value of their reserves, which need to be left in the ground if humanity hopes to avoid climate catastrophe. They make obscene superprofits from production that is harmful to all of us, and use their profits as a justification fro continuing business as usual.
We must care for the environment. All real economic value comes from natural resources transformed by human labor, and we all need those natural resources to flourish if humanity is to flourish. Decision-making must be made increasingly on the basis of the greatest good for humanity and its future, not on the narrow, short-term profit interests of the 1 per cent.
People and Nature Before Profits!
Photo by NASA/ GSFC/ NOAA/ USGS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons