There have been five major extinction events on earth where most of the larger plant and animal species were wiped out. The last extinction killed the dinosaurs. An asteroid crashing into earth and drastically changing the climate caused that extinction. Now we are living in what could be the sixth extinction. But this time, our species would be the cause of disaster as well as a victim.
Scientists have been documenting and alerting us to the dangers of climate change for decades. But those who are in control of society, politically and economically, have refused to act. And each year the situation has gotten worse. Severe weather is just the tip of the iceberg. Rivers are drying up; oceans are becoming more acidic; sea levels are rising; grasslands are turning into deserts – the ecology of the planet is in crisis.
Scientists explain that ongoing carbon emissions into the atmosphere are causing this worldwide change in climate patterns that threaten another extinction event. It’s true that carbon emissions are the immediate source of this situation. But the real problem is what is behind this climate change.
Capitalism – A Deadly System
This drastic climate change is just one outcome of this deadly system known as capitalism, where the only goal is profit. This economic system is what’s driving us down a path of mass extinction. And as long as the corporations and the politicians who serve them are left in charge, they will keep heading us in the same direction. Their system puts profits before all else, – the environment and those who do the work to produce those profits.
This disregard for the environment is nothing new. Rivers, lakes, oceans and the air have been dumping grounds for the poisons produced by their industries. Entire mountaintops are being blown up to get at coal, one of the deadliest polluting fuels.
Trying to regulate this destruction is not enough. We have seen laws imposed when people mobilized a large enough opposition. But, as the movements subside and the pressure is reduced, the laws are not enforced or they’re overturned. Or corporations just break the laws and risk the fines because their profits are so huge.
As a result, this system of capitalism has led to the misery of billions of people and destroyed vast areas of the earth. If we are to have a future, we must put a stop to the system that is destroying us.
We Must Look to Ourselves
People around the world know that something is deeply wrong. Our schools, our cities, our lives and our planet are being torn apart. We are working harder for less. We can’t hope for change or look to the politicians with their false promises.
We can’t leave our future in the hands of those who have put humanity on the endangered species list. They will continue to pollute and ravage the planet to get the profits that await them, even if it means destroying the precious possibility of humans and other species to live on the earth.
Our lives and our planet are worth more than their system of production and pollution for profit. It is in the interests of the majority of people to stop this environmental destruction. It’s up to us to change it. The challenge we face today is one that will decide the fate of humanity.
We need a society that is organized to meet human needs, that develops scientific knowledge to understand the world and how we can live well. Working people make this society run, and together we can organize a society that truly puts our needs and the needs of the planet above all else – a truly socialist society. Only when we remove the drive for profit and put the needs of humanity front and center, will we be able to tackle the problem of climate change. Society will then be organized recognizing that our needs include a healthy planet.
That society is possible. It is the only possibility for our species to avoid extinction, and to provide all human beings with healthy, fulfilling lives. Either capitalism will lead to the extinction of our species, or we will carry out the extinction of capitalism. The choice is ours.