As politicians and other supporters of the Green New Deal in the USA made their voices heard on Capitol Hill in December, Naomi Klein writes:
“The bold moral leadership of newly-elected members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has me feeling more optimistic about our collective chances of averting climate breakdown than I have in years, But a whole lot of things need happen very quickly if the political tide is going to shift in time – including finding new ways to engage the public in this fight”.
She had the opportunity to sit down with one of the few politicians who has consistently focused on this issue — Sen. Bernie Sanders. They spoke at the Sanders Institute Gathering in Burlington, Vermont, this weekend. Sen. Sanders then hosted a ‘town hall’ on climate change with guests including Ocasio-Cortez, 350.org founder Bill McKibben, activist and “Big Little Lies” star Shailene Woodley, climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel, activist and musician Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Mayor Dale Ross of deep-red Georgetown, Texas.
Colin, as Convenor of the UK Green New Deal Group, welcomes this growing transatlantic awareness and responded to a Times article by The New Economics Foundation’s Miatta Fahnbulleh, headlined: “Britain needs a green new deal to revive its economy after Brexit”.
She spoke of the need to move beyond the old, broken systems and status quo that left many people behind, adding, “A green new deal for the UK could give us just that” and continued:
Climate change has muscled its way back onto the political agenda:
- debated by UK MPs last week for the first time in two years
- with added momentum from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey’s support for a green new deal in the US;
- the audacious climate marches on Westminster by schoolchildren
- and increasingly rising temperatures.
The idea is simple: an unprecedented mobilisation of resources to achieve 100% renewable energy and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions within a decade while creating millions of jobs and lifting living standards.
The question we should be asking is can we get away with not taking action on climate change. If the science is right, then the answer is no. The more that global temperatures rise, the more chaos in the system: more devastating hurricanes, record droughts, extreme floods, coastlines disappearing, food scarcity from loss of crop yields and fisheries — all driving climate-related poverty across the world at a scale we cannot even imagine.
The cost of this, not just in pounds but in human suffering, will far outstrip the cost of any green new deal. And as cartoonist Pett says:
Colin agrees that Green New Deal’s introduction of a massive, costly, yet utterly crucial shift to a lower carbon infrastructure will require widespread public support. Such a programme would be labour intensive, consisting of work that is difficult to automate and so providing a secure career structure for decades. It would include making the UK’s existing 30 million buildings and future new builds energy-efficient and fitted with renewables, plus a concentration on rebuilding local public transport links, making resource use more efficient and developing sustainable local food and agricultural systems.
Most importantly in political and social terms such a Green New Deal approach will generate ‘Jobs in Every Constituency’ including affluent as well as ‘left behind’ areas and so should gain the support of MPs from all political parties.
Q&A with Author, Activist and Organic Farming Pioneer Julian Rose
Note: Julian Rose’s new book Overcoming the Robotic Mind – Why Humanity Must Come Through is available through Dixi Books HERE.
Q: Our planet is turning into a place that cannot be lived in any more at a very fast pace. Does your book put forward an exit plan for humanity that stands right on the edge of the cliff?
A: My book lays out a ground-plan for root and branch reform in all the key areas that affect our daily lives. It also exposes what forces are at work in bringing our planet to the cliff edge. Without knowing this one cannot come up with a solution on how to overcome apocalyptic events. Humanity is in possession of an extraordinary creative power which remains largely untapped; a power which has been deliberately repressed by a very small minority of global control agents.
Q: Before the very last step over the cliff, do you believe that humanity can save itself as well as the other living creatures?
A: Yes, certainly. Humanity is being pushed into a corner – a very toxic one. But the vast majority of people on this planet are essentially good, honest humans. The task we have is to free ourselves from thoughtless slavery to the political status quo, all around the World. A slavery which we are all complicit in by continuing to conform to a deeply destructive false agenda. In my writing I call for people to come together to break the chains of our conformist passivity and to build a new society. The animal/ plant kingdom is suffering deeply from the same ‘top-down’ repression, of course. It too will be liberated when those who lead show that they are in possession of something we call wisdom. Then they will understand the necessity of working with the forces of nature and not against them.
Q: Your own life story outlines an individual experience on changing lifestyle, can you tell us a bit more about it?
A: Well, it’s a long and rather dramatic story, but trying to encapsulate it in short, I would say that I came here with a mission. Born into an aristocratic family with a landed Estate and finding that the central role of my life is to make this Estate reflect a different value system than the stereo typical ‘class’ structured one of colonial Britain. When you own land, the first thing one needs to do is ensure it is treated responsibly. If one owns cottages, they should be used to house those who take a responsible attitude to the land and ecology (farming and forestry) in which they are working. It goes on from there, layer by layer, so that eventually the elite image which still surrounds most Country Estates, is transformed into a blueprint for an extended family living and working together in a manner which allows them to express their creativity and for the place in which they are working to express its creativity too. It is a socio-economic experiment which brings into focus the necessity to find a balance between the need to build an active working economy and at the same time give birth to a socio-spiritual community. A community that, bit by bit, forms the basis for sustaining the day to day working life of the Estate – and shares responsibility for its future. It is a life time work.
Q: You have brought your own lifestyle first to Poland than to various other communities. Also you have become a source of inspiration in many countries. Could you please tell us more about this?
A: I have a great respect for the peasantry and their deep knowledge of the land and how to sustain it with the minimum of outside inputs. I came to Poland on the invitation of Jadwiga Lopata, a respected environmentalist in her Country, in the year 2000. She asked me to become a co-director of the newly inaugurated International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside. I felt an intense need to warn Polish farmers (there were 2 million at that time) of the dangers of following the monocultural Western agrochemical route of food production proposed by the European Union. Most particularly, to start with, the necessity of saying NO to GMO. It has been a long battle, but we have succeeded in preventing GMO getting in to Poland and have awoken people to the irreplaceable value of the mixed family farm as the foundation of national food security. Through my writing it has been possible to put forward new visions of a way forward for humanity, largely based on my own experiences on the land as an organic farmer and – at an earlier point in my life – in the arts.
Q: In the light of these experiences, which parts of the world or countries do you believe should urgently change their lifestyles?
A: The change would be welcome from any country. However, the responsibility for the mess this planet finds itself in has most to do with the West, and particularly the USA. Due to acquiring an unreasonable proportion of economic wealth through military conquest and then employing this wealth to try and dominate world affairs, the West has set a very irresponsible and dangerous model for other nations to ‘aspire to’. It is now the case that just eight multimillionaires own the same wealth as half the world’s population. Such gross inequality is the surest sign yet that the world is on the brink of a multi-layered crisis. It is, in fact, a spiritual crisis. A crisis of rampant greed and pathological self interest, over natural generosity and manifest compassion.
Q: The responsibility for ecological problems has been knocked back and forth like a tennis ball between Northern and Southern hemispheres for years. For that reason, the real problem remains obscured. How do you interpret that?
A: At the heart of this North/South dilemma lies a historical ambition to conquer. That ambition is evident in the Old Testament and is refuted in the New Testament. However, in spite of being part of the credo of Christianity, the practice of ‘love thy neighbor’ has never taken root. In fact Christian aspiration is still expressed in the lines of a famous hymn which states “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war” and reflects the decimation carried out in the name of Jesus by the Northern Crusader armies of the 12th and 11th centuries. From this we can see how the fanatical dogma surrounding ‘religion’ has played a key role in dividing and conquering – and with this comes the ecological biases that have their roots in what are held to be ‘superior and inferior’ guardianships of planetary diversity. Until mankind can get beyond the primitive impulse to ‘control’ rather than ‘respect’ nature and human kind, the ecological solution cannot be resolved.
Q: What you think about young people who are under the age of around thirty, are you pessimist or optimist in this sense?
A: I am ambivalent concerning optimism or pessimism with regard to young people today. We are witnessing a rejection of some of the values that were held to be important by older people – and that is common to recent centuries of what is sometimes called ‘progress’. However, in the majority of cases, we are not yet seeing a replacement of those values by something imaginative and progressive. There is, in the West, a strong narcissistic sense of values in what has been termed the ‘me me society’. I do not lay the blame for this on youth, but more on the behavior patterns set by their parents. The materialistic expectations and aspirations of parents have set the tone. I see great potential in the young of today, but it needs harnessing – ideally in land-based projects, adventurous natural health explorations and strongly led political exposes.
The chief danger lies in becoming over engrossed in Wifi technologies, smartphones and robotics. This virtual reality world – which is designed to ‘do your thinking for you’ – can numb humanity into perpetual slavery to an authoritarian central control system. It is why I have called my new book Overcoming The Robotic Mind – Why Humanity Must Come Through.
Q: There is a stronger fight for defending life in various countries outside of Europe, what do you think about this?
A: I suggest that those still living closer to the soil have retained a stronger will to fight their expulsion from the land, as well as to protect the ecological diversity that sustains them. There are many examples. In India there is now a significant rebellion against GMO and monocultural farming practices introduced by the West. Communities all over the world are waking-up to the sources of their top down exploitation, epitomized by neoliberal Western capitalism and its Goldman Sachs style banker elite. The serious alternative news feed now available on the internet has played a big part in encouraging a process of growing awareness.
Q: How can all these interactions in this field become stronger and more fruitful?
A: By people refusing to bend to the will of the central control system (status quo), and by taking back their destinies into their own hands and working them out at the local level. At the same time, exposing the horrors of mistreatment that are perpetrated by governments as well as supra national powers like the European Union. It is a dual process. Individuals have to see through ‘government’ and form bottom-up people led movements that will usurp the power help by the ruling cabals. It is about the most exciting challenge that one could face!
Q: Recently, more and more leaders in Europe are coming to power who deny climate change, do not believe in democracy and keep a distance towards human rights. Do you think this is a temporary situation? How do you interpret that?
A: I would say that it is a further expression of an age old attempt to create a caste-iron position of ‘leaders’- and of slaves who serve those leaders. The ‘leaders’ can only achieve their goals by cultivating a ruthless disinterest in humanity as a whole – which of course includes the animal and plant kingdom. War, aggression and dominance are fascistic traits. That is what we are witnessing coming back into the foreground within governments and the corporations that fund and control them.
It is a long planned for attempt by the 0.5% power elite to wrest absolute control over all aspects of planetary life. It is closely affiliated with Masonic and Satanic practices.
It will be temporary if people rise up in unison and reject this horror show. It will become worse if they don’t and will lead to a cyborgian age more automated and sterile than that predicted by Orwell and Huxley more than half a century ago.
‘Our life in our hands’ is an aspiration that must now become a reality. But it will need to be informed by a deeply spiritual form of passion for all that is beautiful, brave and of collective importance for all of humanity, regardless of race, religion or color.