Although there is now belated recognition of global warming as a critical issue for humanity to grapple with, world leaders and the mainstream media are still fudging the real causes of global warming.
One likely reason for this smokescreen is that global warming has a lot to do with the system of corporate capitalism, which encourages consumption and infinite GDP growth. Many of us are so enamoured with “The System” because it gives us a false illusion of “progress” and comfort (though many others suffer or are exploited by this same system).
In this piece for the Herald, I observed that we are so locked into this system and its illusion that it prevents us from seeing that corporations and consumers are feeding off each other while seriously harming the environment.
The neo-liberal economic system also prevents our leaders from taking decisive action to protect the environment and its people. Instead, they spend a lot of their time protecting the interests of corporations and their corporate cronies.
“…the fundamental point is that, to reach their powerful positions in society, Blair, Brown and other western leaders have had to subordinate the planet’s future to the prerogative of global economic ‘growth’; or, to put it more honestly – to the bottom-line corporate expediency of endless profit benefiting privileged sectors of society,” observed the UK-based Media Lens group, which has produced some outstanding critical analyses of the corporate media. “Any would-be political leader determined to change the current patterns of production and consumption would barely get out of the starting blocks, never mind reach the finishing tape of real political power,” it observed.
This corporate-led system puts capital above labour, profits above people, and GDP economic growth above the environment. Under this system, corporations burn fossil fuels to obtain the energy needed to meet our rising levels of consumption. The corporations are also responsible for fuelling this rise in consumption through their aggressive marketing and promotion strategies and pervasive advertisements. And all the while, they clear the land and cut hills for “development”, pollute rivers with their chemical discharges, emit toxic fumes into the air, and burn more and more fossil fuels.
Even activists feel resigned, thinking that there is no way we can stop this kind of globalisation in its tracks. Sometimes they sigh, “Globalisation is here to stay; we cannot stop it, so what can we do?”
Yes, globalisation is here to stay. But let’s be specific. What kind of globalisation do we really want? Is it corporate-led globalisation that benefits a small fabulously wealthy elite group, widens the gap between the rich and the poor, fuels global warming and exploits workers? Do we really want to live in a world ruled by corporations?
Or would we rather have people-centred globalisation that promotes solidarity with the poor, harmony with Nature, holistic and spiritual growth, and respect for the rights of all?
As long as we do not tackle the real causes of global warming, so long will we have to deal with it apocalyptic results – death, illness, homelessness, famine, and misery.
Changing the model of globalisation will not be easy. But change it we must so that it does not exploit people and the environment. We have to work and struggle for it in our own way. Every little bit will count.