Earth is dying.
- Earth is not just coming down with a cold.
- Earth is not just suffering a nightmare from which we all can and will suddenly wake up.
Our planet is dying. Nothing short of drastic and fundamental change can save her.
2015—Our last chance?
The Alliance for Global Justice believes that it is the US Empire and transnational global capitalism that has brought our Mother Earth to the brink of ecological collapse. Sure, there have been other stressors in human history, but nothing in our past compares with the wholesale threats that have emerged as a result of this most powerful and destructive of empires. Resource wars are fought to open up land, minerals, oil and water to private access and development with little if any concern for ecosystems or the communities that live in them. The one-two punch of global capitalism and the war machine that protects and advances it are killing us all.
While we support all meaningful reforms and broad demands for climate justice, we believe that no solution will be durable that does not include a worldwide effort to dismantle Empire. We also believe that we are running out of time by the seconds. It’s not just wild eyed radicals and religious fundamentalists that are saying “the end is coming soon”. Some of the most sobering pronouncements and predictions are coming from quite mainstream voices.
2015 is THE year for the world’s people to take action. December, 2015, the UN is charged with coming up with new standards and solutions to confront climate change. We salute those who work inside to achieve these goals, but we have little faith in a world body that is utterly dominated by Empire. If meaningful action for climate justice is to move forward, it must start not in the official summits of the United Nations, but in the streets of every city and in the forests, fields, deserts and wetlands of our rural lands. This is why AfGJ is launching its For Earth, Against Empire campaign, calling for demonstrations, civil disobedience and all manner of life-affirming, nonviolent direct actions to demand and implement an end to climate injustice—and an end to Empire.
How dire is the situation?
- We have already heard the testimonies of nature’s own. Their names are Katrina, Sandy, Fukushima…. Yes, Mother Earth herself is showing the signs of that ugly disease, imperialism–and she is fighting back. There is no such thing anymore as natural disasters. Even the most natural processes are exacerbated by, and cannot be separated from, global warming, resource extraction and other harbingers of eco-collapse. Empire sews imbalance and devastation, and these are the inevitable planetary reactions. There are voices on the winds of the hurricanes and tornadoes, in the shaking of earthquakes and in the waves of the tsunamis—the voices of Earth to Empire: Stop! Enough!
- We have also heard the warnings of experts. In 2006, the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network released a report showing we will need two Earths by 2050 in order to sustain current rates of consumption. In 2012, they published a new report, and this time they said we only have till 2030. Since 1970, global biodiversity has declined 30% , with a 60% rate in tropical areas. During that period, freshwater biodiversity has declined by 55% and by 33% in the oceans. Writing for the journal Science in 2006, an international research team reported that by 2050, the oceans will be depleted of fish. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July, 2014 world ocean temperatures were the hottest ever on record. All 12 monthly heat records have been set since 1997.
But who needs experts to assess the situation. We need only ask ourselves.
Are the rivers in your ecosystem flowing at the same rate as 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 20 years ago…when you were a child? Do the seasons where you live follow the patterns of centuries, or are your summers hotter, your winters weirder, your rains altering between deluges and droughts, with little else in between? If you are old enough to remember—are your springs as noisy with birdsong as they used to be, or are they becoming increasingly—and tragically—silent?
First we must know what we are dealing with….
Jonathan Baille, of the Zoological Society of London, commented that, “We can restore the planet’s health, but only through addressing the root causes—population growth and over consumption.” While we do not dispute the seriousness of these concerns, we at the Alliance for Global Justice would take that a little further. The real root cause, indeed, the primary tap root cause of ecological collapse on a planetary scale is global capitalism as advanced and maintained by the US military and its allies. In other words, the underlying foundation of environmental threat in the world today is imperialism as it is manifested by military force and neoliberal economics. Neoliberalism is the system of global capitalism that puts profits and private access to natural resources above both human and ecological needs. It puts corporations above communities and ecosystems. And it is backed up, spread, maintained and protected by the US/NATO military machine.
It is absolutely vital that we understand this if we are to take serious steps toward healing this dying—but still savable—planet of ours. Yes, we support meaningful reforms and popular demands for climate justice. We recognize that even capitalists have an interest in confronting climate change and other ecological threats. But ultimately there comes a point at which we must recognize the determining role played by Empire itself in this plummet toward ecological collapse. Its only effective antidote is a peoples socialism (using that term broadly, from Anarchist to Social Democratic forms) based on participatory democracy that is in turn based on community structures that are themselves tied to the ecosystems where they arise. We must be flexible as people experiment with various expressions, from the revolution from below of the Zapatistas to Bolivarian Revolution in the streets and countryside of Venezuela to popular democracies such as we have seen in Cuba. (We at the Alliance for Global Justice believe much of our planet’s hope is being born right now in Latin America, and we urge solidarity and study of the experiences there as we develop our own local and global strategies for liberation.)
We must recognize where the threat to the Earth is coming from. In a 2013 analysis published in the journal Climatic Change and authored by the Climate Accountability Institute, it was revealed that just 90 corporations were responsible for two thirds of human caused greenhouse emissions. The overwhelming majority of these firms were oil, gas and coal producers. The leading offender was ChevronTexaco, responsible for 3.5% of global warming emissions to date, with Exxon coming in at 2nd place, with 3.2% and BP in 3rd, with 2.5%.
The US military is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world. It is responsible for 90% of all US government fuel consumption. It is the world’s largest single purchaser of petroleum products. If the US military were a country, it would rank 58th in the world, slightly behind Denmark, and slightly ahead of Syria, in petroleum purchases. A 2005 American Forces Information Service reports that “Jet fuel constitutes nearly 70 percent of DoD’s petroleum product purchases.”
Even if corporations were to develop alternative energy resources and even if the US military starts using them, that would not be enough. We must also resist corporate and governmental efforts to portray nuclear energy as a viable solution to global warming. Whatever energy alternatives that the 1% pursue, clean or otherwise, are still going to be based on a never ending push for more resource extraction, more markets and more assaults on ecosystems, water sources, forest cover and sustainable communities. Here in the US, with 5% of the world’s population, we use up 25% of its energy resources and produce half the solid waste. We cannot maintain that kind of global inequality and be sustainable—it just won’t happen. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t be able to put Mother Earth back together again. We have to get rid of the king, that is, the 1% and their war machine.
Saving the Earth leaves no room for Empire. No matter how hard it may seem, we cannot get where we need to be without seeing the elephant in the room. Earth and Empire cannot coexist!
The For Earth, Against Empire Campaign
That is why the Alliance for Global Justice has launched its For Earth, Against Empire Campaign. We believe that we are entering a crucial point. We have already enunciated a few of the challenges that face us. We are not under the illusion that AfGJ is going to lead the national or global efforts against climate injustice. The reality is this will not be a movement of a few leading efforts. The struggle to save our planet will not succeed unless the vast majorities of the world’s people undertake our own monsoon, hurricane and tsunami of resistance. The revolution for Mother Earth must be a revolution from below, a revolution that involves all of us! The For Earth, Against Empire campaign is but one part of this. We invite all who will to join us. We ask all who won’t—what, then, WILL you do? Do something!
Central to this campaign is circulation of the For Earth, Against Empire Pledge of Resistance to build actions between now and the Paris UN Climate Summit in December, 2015. We believe that 2015 will be a pivotal year regarding what kind of future we are entering, what kind of Earth we will inhabit—and whether or not our planet will even continue to be habitable. We must act together, locally and globally. If we don’t, it will soon be too late. And while we must act collectively and internationally, all such action begins with an individual question: what will I do? We hope that your answer is: I will stand For Earth, Against Empire!