Revolution #199, April 18, 2010
This special issue of Revolution focuses on the environmental emergency that now faces humanity and earth’s ecosystems. This emergency has many dimensions:
- the destruction and fragmentation of forests and other natural habitats, making the survival of many species of plants and animals impossible;
- the acidification, degradation and spreading of dead zones (areas in which there is no life) in oceans;
- a great extinction (wiping out) of species on the lands, lakes and rivers, and in the seas;
- large-scale pollution and degradation of water, air and soils;
- and now, the real threat of unstoppable climate change.
These environmental problems affect each other, and are already causing certain ecosystems—the complex webs of interacting and interrelating life—to collapse.
It is as if life on earth is being ravaged by a cancer—something that is growing and totally out of control, something eating up life which the body is powerless to defeat.
If we don’t hurry up and protect and preserve fast-vanishing natural ecosystems around the world, we will very likely witness before too long an unprecedented series of domino effects—a qualitative unraveling and degeneration of the natural world on this planet.
This environmental crisis is already causing wide-scale misery for humanity. But we must confront the full reality—humanity is already well on the way to making this planet literally uninhabitable. Ardea Skybreak has written that “it is definitely conceivable that the physical and biological conditions necessary for human life to continue on this planet could be destroyed by how human beings interact with the environment (even without something like nuclear war). The necessary conditions for human life include not just such things as the appropriate quality of air and water, but also the right quantity and quality of sufficiently diverse habitats and sufficiently diverse species interpenetrating in an overall ‘mix’ within which humans can continue to live.” (The Science of Evolution and The Myth of Creationism: Knowing What’s Real and Why It Matters, Insight Press, 2006, p. 32)
But we can do something. People are acting on this now—they are sounding the alarm, they are demonstrating, they are resisting with real determination, they are doing important research, they are thinking through alternate ways of doing things, and they are carrying forward important projects.
These actions are crucial. But ultimately our actions must actually correspond to a true understanding of the causes of the problem, and to the real solution to it.
In this issue of Revolution we are going to show:
- the dimensions of the emergency...
- the source of its causes in the capitalist system, and the impossibility of that system solving this crisis...
- a way out and way forward for humanity—a revolutionary society in which we could actually live as custodians of nature, rather than as its plunderers.
Read this issue. Engage it. Use it as a powerful tool to awaken people and spread the word. Get it out far and wide—taking it into classrooms and into the streets and communities. Take it to those places where people are fighting the power against these crimes, and spread it as you unite with their struggle. Organize discussions of it. Get into forums and roundtables with scientists, activists, and others. Let us know what you think of it, and what others think of it. And as you do all this, check out and get with the movement for revolution that we are building.
The environment and human destiny itself is being taken to the brink of disaster.
All this because of the dictates of this system—because of its stranglehold on humanity. All this while technology and wealth exist on a scale and in forms never before imagined—technology and wealth produced by millions, billions, throughout the world who are nameless and faceless to the powers that be—technology and wealth that could and should be a resource belonging to humanity as a whole and used to meet the needs of people everywhere for a decent and ever-enriched material, intellectual and cultural life.
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