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robertogreco : georgemonbiot   14

The Rebel Alliance: Extinction Rebellion and a Green New Deal - YouTube
"Extinction Rebellion and AOC’s Green New Deal have made global headlines. Can their aims be aligned to prevent climate catastrophe?

Guest host Aaron Bastani will be joined by journalist and environmentalist George Monbiot and economist Ann Pettifor."
extinctionrebellion  georgemonbiot  gdp  economics  capitalism  growth  worldbank  2019  greennewdeal  humanwelfare  fossilfuels  aaronbastani  climate  climatechange  globalwarming  mainstreammedia  media  action  bbc  critique  politics  policy  currentaffairs  comedy  environment  environmentalism  journalism  change  systemschange  left  right  thinktanks  power  influence  libertarianism  taxation  taxes  ideology  gretathunberg  protest  davidattenborough  statusquo  consumerism  consumption  wants  needs  autonomy  education  health  donaldtrump  nancypelosi  us  southafrica  sovietunion  democrats  centrism  republicans  money  narrative  corruption  diannefeinstein  opposition  oppositionism  emissions  socialdemocracy  greatrecession  elitism  debt  financialcrisis  collapse  annpettifor  socialism  globalization  agriculture  local  production  nationalism  self-sufficiency  inertia  despair  doom  optimism  inequality  exploitation  imperialism  colonialism  history  costarica  uk  nihilism  china  apathy  inaction 
4 weeks ago by robertogreco
Cars are killing us. Within 10 years, we must phase them out | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian
"Driving is ruining our lives, and triggering environmental disasters. Only drastic action will kick our dependency"



"One of these emergencies is familiar to every hospital. Pollution now kills three times as many people worldwide as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Remember the claims at the start of this century, projected so noisily by the billionaire press: that public money would be better spent on preventing communicable disease than on preventing climate breakdown? It turns out that the health dividend from phasing out fossil fuels is likely to have been much bigger. (Of course, there was nothing stopping us from spending money on both: it was a false dilemma.) Burning fossil fuels, according to a recent paper, is now “the world’s most significant threat to children’s health”.

In other sectors, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen sharply. But transport emissions in the UK have declined by only 2% since 1990. The government’s legally binding target is an 80% cut by 2050, though even this, the science now tells us, is hopelessly inadequate. Transport, mostly because of our obsession with the private car, is now the major factor driving us towards climate breakdown, in this and many other nations.

The number of people killed on the roads was falling steadily in the UK until 2010, at which point the decline suddenly ended. Why? Because, while fewer drivers and passengers are dying, the number of pedestrians killed has risen by 11%. In the US, it’s even worse: a 51% rise in the annual death rate of pedestrians since 2009. There seem to be two reasons: drivers distracted by their mobile phones, and a switch from ordinary cars to sports-utility vehicles. As SUVs are higher and heavier, they are more likely to kill the people they hit. Driving an SUV in an urban area is an antisocial act.

There are also subtler and more pervasive effects. Traffic mutes community, as the noise, danger and pollution in busy streets drive people indoors. The places in which children could play and adults could sit and talk are reserved instead for parking. Engine noise, a great but scarcely acknowledged cause of stress and illness, fills our lives. As we jostle to secure our road space, as we swear and shake our fists at other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, as we grumble about speed limits and traffic calming, cars change us, enhancing our sense of threat and competition, cutting us off from each other.

New roads carve up the countryside, dispelling peace, creating a penumbra of noise, pollution and ugliness. Their effects spread for many miles. The deposition of reactive nitrogen from car exhaust (among other factors) changes the living systems even of remote fastnesses. In Snowdonia, it is dropped at the rate of 24kg per hectare per year, radically altering plant communities. Wars are fought to keep down the cost of driving: hundreds of thousands died in Iraq partly for this purpose. The earth is reamed with the mines required to manufacture cars and the oil wells needed to power them, and poisoned by the spills and tailings.

A switch to electric cars addresses only some of these issues. Already, beautiful places are being wrecked by an electric vehicle resource rush. Lithium mining, for example, is now poisoning rivers and depleting groundwater from Tibet to Bolivia. They still require a vast expenditure of energy and space. They still need tyres, whose manufacture and disposal (tyres are too complex to recycle) is a massive environmental blight.

We are told that cars are about freedom of choice. But every aspect of this assault on our lives is assisted by state planning and subsidy. Roads are built to accommodate projected traffic, which then grows to fill the new capacity. Streets are modelled to maximise the flow of cars. Pedestrians and cyclists are squeezed by planners into narrow and often dangerous spaces – the afterthoughts of urban design. If we paid for residential street parking at market rates for land, renting the 12m2 a car requires would cost around £3,000 a year in the richer parts of Britain. The chaos on our roads is a planned chaos.

Transport should be planned, but with entirely different aims: to maximise its social benefits, while minimising harm. This means a wholesale switch towards electric mass transit, safe and separate bike lanes and broad pavements, accompanied by a steady closure of the conditions that allow cars to rampage through our lives. In some places, and for some purposes, using cars is unavoidable. But for the great majority of journeys they can easily be substituted, as you can see in Amsterdam, Pontevedra and Copenhagen. We could almost eliminate them from our cities.

In this age of multiple emergencies – climate chaos, pollution, social alienation – we should remember that technologies exist to serve us, not to dominate us. It is time to drive the car out of our lives."
cars  georgemonbiot  2019  environment  safety  health  policy  transportation  emissions  freedom  climatechange  globalwarming  society  cities  urban  urbanism  isolation  pollution  alienation  masstransit 
10 weeks ago by robertogreco
Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian
"We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now."



"It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”. But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – “my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers, endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty."



"Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement. We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that “in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised”.

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. “The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What “the market wants” tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. “Investment”, as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism: the franchise model which ensures that workers do not know for whom they toil; the companies registered through a network of offshore secrecy regimes so complex that even the police cannot discover the beneficial owners; the tax arrangements that bamboozle governments; the financial products no one understands.

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively. But they offer us no substitute. Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom, Bureaucracy or Friedman’s classic work, Capitalism and Freedom."
georgemonbiot  economics  neoliberalism  politics  history  capitalism  unions  2016  policy  ludwigvonmises  friedrichhayek  miltonfriedman  chile  us  margaretthatcher  ronaldreagan  naomiklein  privatization  well-being  democracy  oligarchy  noueaurich  entrepreneurship  communism  society  kochbrothers  freedom  precarity 
august 2016 by robertogreco
It's business that really rules us now | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"So I don't blame people for giving up on politics. I haven't given up yet, but I find it ever harder to explain why. When a state-corporate nexus of power has bypassed democracy and made a mockery of the voting process, when an unreformed political funding system ensures that parties can be bought and sold, when politicians of the three main parties stand and watch as public services are divvied up by a grubby cabal of privateers, what is left of this system that inspires us to participate?"
democracy  business  exclusion  lobbying  politics  georgemonbiot  power  funding  influence  2013 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Hacking Nature — 5 Viridian Years — Medium
"Conservation by its nature idealises a picture of the wild from the past. But evolution by its nature is not static"



"In a rousing TED talk George Monbiot dreams of a re-wilded Western Europe where “mass restoration of ecosystems” would give a “portal into an enchanted kingdom” roamed by ancestral megafauna. In such a dream world the resurrection of woolly mammoths would be more than a scientific vanity project, and aurox, sabre-tooth tigers and the bizarre menagerie of paleolithic beasts could follow. But it’s a world without much room for human inhabitants and the alternative reality needn’t be a dystopian wasteland, devoid of life. We have the tools and knowledge to retain what exists, if carefully managed and cautiously approached. And what’s more, there is new wonder to be found in the ingenuity of life to exploit ecological niches of our own creation."
conservation  viridianmovement  2013  robinbisson  georgemonbiot  environment  sustainability  environmentalism  evolution  ecosystems  nature 
october 2013 by robertogreco
The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth the world has ever seen | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Our common treasury in the last 30 years has been captured by industrial psychopaths. That's why we're nearly bankrupt."

"In their book Snakes in Suits, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare point out that as the old corporate bureaucracies have been replaced by flexible, ever-changing structures, and as team players are deemed less valuable than competitive risk-takers, psychopathic traits are more likely to be selected and rewarded. Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family, you're likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family, you're likely to go to business school.

This is not to suggest that all executives are psychopaths. It is to suggest that the economy has been rewarding the wrong skills."
economics  economy  politics  inequality  wealth  occupywallstreet  georgemonbiot  uk  neoliberalism  psychopathy  risktaking  rewards  2011 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"But the energy source to which most economies will revert if they shut down their nuclear plants is not wood, water, wind or sun, but fossil fuel. On every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power. Thanks to the expansion of shale gas production, the impacts of natural gas are catching up fast.

Yes, I still loathe the liars who run the nuclear industry. Yes, I would prefer to see the entire sector shut down, if there were harmless alternatives. But there are no ideal solutions. Every energy technology carries a cost; so does the absence of energy technologies. Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power."
nuclear  energy  environment  politics  science  georgemonbiot  power  2011  fukushima  disaster  safety  sustainability 
march 2011 by robertogreco
After this 60-year feeding frenzy, Earth itself has become disposable | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"in its practical effects, consumerism is a totalitarian system: it permeates every aspect of our lives. Even our dissent from the system is packaged up & sold to us in the form of anti-consumption consumption, like the "I'm not a plastic bag"...supposed to replace disposable carriers but was mostly used once or twice before it fell out of fashion, or...lucrative new books on how to live without money. George Orwell & Aldous Huxley proposed different totalitarianisms: 1 sustained by fear, the other in part by greed. Huxley's nightmare has come closer to realisation...So how do we break this system? How do we pursue happiness & wellbeing rather than growth?...we have 1000s of people each clamouring to have their own visions adopted. We might come together for occasional rallies & marches, but as soon as we start discussing alternatives, solidarity is shattered by possessive individualism. Consumerism has changed all of us. Our challenge is now to fight a system we have internalised."
future  environment  green  consumerism  ecology  georgemonbiot  greed  aldoushuxley  georgeorwell  individualism  competitiveness  possessiveness  well-being  growth  gdp  economics  sustainability  society  culture  gamechanging 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush."
politics  business  environment  government  canada  energy  2009  capitalism  democracy  climatechange  oil  pollution  oilsands  georgemonbiot 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Monbiot.com » Stop Building Tanks
"The last time we faced a crisis on the scale of the global climate crash, the rational solution was to build tanks. Now the rational, least painful solution is to stop building tanks, and use the money to address a real threat."
via:blackbeltjones  georgemonbiot  globalwarming  environment  economics  defense  military  politics  uk  climate  solutions  change  gamechanging  reform 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Monbiot.com » Choose Life - "This [career] advice applies only to those who have a genuine choice of careers, which means, regrettably, that it does not apply to the majority of the world’s workforce."
"be wary of...careers advice...college gives...What corporate or institutional world wants you to do is complete opposite of what you want...It wants a reliable tool, someone who can think, but not for herself...2nd piece of...advice echoes...Benjamin Franklin: whenever you are faced with choice between liberty & security, choose liberty. Otherwise you will end up w/ neither. People who sell their souls for promise of a secure job & salary are spat out as soon as they become dispensable. The more loyal to an institution you are, the more exploitable, and ultimately expendable, you become....final piece of advice...when faced with choice between engaging with reality or engaging with...“necrophiliac” world of wealth & power, choose life, whatever the apparent costs may be...You know you have only one life. You know it is a precious, extraordinary, unrepeatable thing: the product of billions of years of serendipity and evolution."
georgemonbiot  careeradvice  careers  via:preoccupations  journalism  work  happiness  advice  wisdom  freelance  cv  yearoff  freedom  politics  education  business  jobs  life  philosophy  benjaminfranklin  administration  management  leadership  gamechanging  deschooling  unschooling  learning  selfdetermination  alternative 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Workers of The World Relax - The Jevons Paradox
"The principle of continuous growth which rule our economy have brought us here. But is there a different path? What if we used our gains in productivity to slow down? We could work less and produce less. It would also mean consuming less."
georgemonbiot  productivity  economics  growth  alternative  change  gamechanging  energy  sustainability  work  consumption  consumerism  materialism  green  slow  well-being  happiness 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Blackbeltjones/Work: » Unsettlers of Catan -"I guess I am with George after all – making some audacious bets mid-game looks pretty good right now"
"that’s the worrying thing – this really seems like a game of what resource will run out – the cheap energy to do the R&D into The Gordelpus, the rare materials to make The Gordelpus, or the sociopolitical will to make The Gordelpus." [now at: http://magicalnihilism.com/2008/05/06/unsettlers-of-catan/]
sustainability  blimps  airships  mattjones  globalwarming  green  future  travel  resources  risk  georgemonbiot  energy  dirigibles 
may 2008 by robertogreco

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