Friday, June 5, 2009

Ecosocialism - Going Green For The Common Good.

by The Good Human

Said it before, say it again - we are all in this together, so let’s start acting like it. Just about everything we choose to do in our own lives impacts everyone else on the planet in some way, so it’s very important to choose wisely. However, this also holds true for all the positive things we are doing around the world in the name of the environment - in the long run, things will be better for all of us living here together on the earth. This kind of movement could be called “Ecosocialism“, as it is investing and working towards a cleaner world together, with the end result being better for everyone. There really is no downside to this kind of thinking.

Regardless of your political/financial beliefs or if you think socialism is not healthy for society, ecosocialism is different because it benefits everyone on earth. It doesn’t just benefit a subset of peoples, a certain neighborhood, or a certain country - it’s for everyone. Our collective investment in the planet and “green” technology is here for everyone. Will some people profit off of it? Sure - and they should if they come up with something groundbreaking. That is a demonstration of capitalism and the free-market to its core. But the use and making-available of said product to benefit everyone is ecosocialism; and will be the next wave of the environmental movement.

What exactly am I talking about here? I am talking about programs and projects designed, built, implemented, and paid for with citizen money - but for the benefit of everyone, not just those who can pay for access. When even the poorest communities on earth can get access to “green” tech, it benefits all of us. For some examples…

  • Community wind power can power small communities across the world w/o burning oil or coal, so there is less pollution coming from places without pollution controls. This leads to cleaner air and water for everyone on earth.
  • Clean water for all reduces disease, starvation, and water wars.
  • More fuel efficient automobiles (hybrid, electric or otherwise) spread to every corner on earth reduces our need to find oil in dangerous, labor-intensive places, reduces particulate matter and greenhouse gasses, and will cut back on wars fought and people killed over oil resources.
  • Solar power on every roof reduces the strain on our utilities, would provide an endless supply of jobs for those in need, and would reduce the amount of coal we burn/coal plants that would need to be built.
  • All of the above also lead to healthier world citizens, reducing the strain and cost of medical care, as well as help to safeguard us from pandemics.

We have to start taking care of everyone, not just those who can afford the care they need. This goes for our physical health and our planetary health. In the end, every dollar of investment we make for the common good, I imagine we could get back 10-fold. Ecosocialism provides for all of us. Taking a moment to give some thought to how your choices and decisions can possibly impact everyone else around you and it might just change the way you think and act. This is the spirit of ecosocialism, and we need to get started right away.

Why You Should Want To Live A Green Life

I am going to say it again - there are plenty of reasons to want to live a green life and absolutely zero not to want to. In fact, I would venture that we could take the word “green” out of the equation and probably get even more people to clean up their act, as folks are getting burnt out on the expression. But with that being said, if you are a human and you are living on our one and only planet, there are no reasons why you shouldn’t want to “go green”, “be sustainable”, or “take responsibility”…at least none that I can think of. Most of the hurdles that used to haunt the environmental movement have been removed - inconvenience, price, style - so most anyone, on any budget, in any city, can start to live a more eco-friendly existence. However, even with all that, some out there are trying to push back against the tide of rising environmentalism for one made up reason or another. So to those people I ask:

Do you not want clean water to drink? Or do you prefer your water polluted with toxic sludge and chemicals?

Do you not want clean air to breathe? Or would you rather your air have the tint of “Goldenrod” from a Crayon box?

Would you not prefer to see your energy come from renewable sources? Or would you rather see it continue to come from dirty, hard-to-get-at oil from shales in Canada?

Do you want your kids to be proud of what you tried to do for them? Or do you want them to wonder whether you cared?

Would you rather your food come from natural, clean, healthy farms? Or from farms where toxic pesticides & fertilizers are used?

Do you want your next car to go 300 miles on a single charge from a rechargeable battery pack? Or do you want archaic car companies to continue to build dinosaurs in the age of technology?

Do you want natural forests and rainforests to still have their place on earth? Or would you prefer to continue to use virgin paper for your toilet paper and paper towels?

Would you rather see health care costs come down and people get healthier? Or would you rather see GMO’s and Frankenfoods continue to make us sick and cost us money?

Is investing in all humans across the globe worth the return we could get on the investment? Or should we continue our dialog of denial and ignore the problems that others face - and then deal with the consequences of said avoidance?

Should we as humans try our best to get away from using toxic products on our skin and in our bodies? Or does the idea of genetic mutation of our genes from chemicals sound better?

Do all species have a right to flourish on earth with our help? Or are we better off making approximately 100 species go extinct each and every day through our actions?

I could go on and on with this…but I think you get the point. Everything that comes from being “green”, if done in the correct way and not by buying into greenwashing, press releases, and ridiculous marketing of products we have no use for, only benefits us as a planet and as a people. In fact, each and every thing we do benefits all other people on earth in some way. We are all in this together, so if the reasons above are not enough for you, do it for your fellow humans and animals. The payback is bigger than you could possibly imagine…

The fact is, we are all connected in some way or another and everything we do affects the rest of us somewhere down the line. I know I could do more for society as a whole and I am just starting to find my niche as I get a little older. But I have shifted many of my ideas of what my “life” should be and what I want out of it, and I am starting to see what a difference we can all make if we took a second to stop thinking about only ourselves and what we have or can get. Most every action we take has a consequence - be it buying cheap plastic crap from China filled with lead paint, buying the most gas-guzzling, 9 passenger truck to commute solo to work in, or punishing people for being poor - that will come back to haunt you. Your kids will be poisoned because you wanted to save $1.00 at Walmart on a new toy, your potentially unnecessary monster truck will depend on us inventing more wars to steal oil from foreign countries, and your personal health insurance costs will skyrocket because the poor are going to a hospital with a slight cold because they don’t have insurance. It all comes around, even if you think it doesn’t, so I think it’s high time we start thinking about the bigger world around us and not just what goes on in our own little tiny lives.