The speed and severity of the disruption of the Earth’s ecosystems and the overall climate of the planet is due to human activity. This also means that we, as humans, have the ability to alter our decisions to prevent the destruction of our natural world — the only home we have.
Scientists became aware of the problems created by the burning of fossil fuels in the late 1800’s. Since the 1970s, the facts have been undeniable, carbon emissions are causing massive warming of the planet. In a sense, the impact is no different than putting poison in the food and water and air of billions of people and other life forms.
Actively continuing to burn fossil fuels at an increasing rate is a suicidal death sentence. And yet, it continues. This destruction is the consequence of the functioning of the system of capitalism which relies on coal, oil, and gas as its primary energy sources, with no regard for the consequences. It is a system that puts profits (or the generation of capital) before all else.
This system is incompatible with continued life on this planet as we know it. We are witnessing the impact of the rise in the Earth’s temperature with extreme weather events. Despite the warnings from the scientific community, climate conferences, and promises from politicians around the world, the output of CO2 is accelerating. Human energy production now emits the equivalent of around 50 billion tons of CO2 each year. This is an increase of more than 40% of the emissions in 1990! In the U.S., domestic oil production has increased by 1.3 million barrels a day since 2022 and is expected to hit records in 2023 and 2024.
We are approaching a sixth extinction. A million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, we have lost half of the world’s corals and we lose forest areas the size of 27 football fields every minute. This is not solely due to the burning of fossil fuels. It is the entire engine of capitalism that is destroying our planet.
Capitalism is a parasitic system and it is devouring the basis of its existence. It isn’t guided by long-term survival. It’s “health” is dependent on constant expansion, which requires more energy production. Everything is guided by one thing – profitability. And that profitability is short term. We do not live on a planet with infinite resources that can sustain this abuse.
We can’t rely on politicians or elections to bring about the changes we need. They are the guardians of a system that must expand to maintain what economists refer to as “the health of the system” and this is coming at the expense of the health of all living things – including us.
This is our time! We are the majority! They have no choice but to continue on their suicidal course, but we do have a choice. With decision-making in the hands of the majority, guided by those who do the work, we can bring a system into being that puts life at the center of all decisions. The health of the Earth and our lives depend on it!