By Yavor Tarinski
The apocalyptic images that we see in contemporary fictional cinema and literature seem to be not that far from materializing and in real life. Talks about the end of life as we know it are beginning to make more sense as information about the possible consequences of the unfolding global warming is coming from the scientific community, as well as from communities from the global South, already facing droughts and other related meteorological phenomena.
But the solution to this rapidly unfolding crisis seems to be out of reach and not seriously taken by those at positions of power. The world leaders, although publicly acknowledging the problem and making promises for taking measures to tackle it, always postpone these concerns when it comes to economic growth. As long as capitalist profit-driven interests continue to determine the course of our societies, the solution to climate change, or any other humanity-wide problem like poverty, will always be secondary to the prosperity of the elites. In the end, the richest 10% are those that produce half of the carbon emissions, responsible for the warming of the climate.
On the other hand, a global median of 51% acknowledges that climate change is already harming people, while another 28% believe it will do so in the next few years. And although unevenly situated on the global map, this numbers are indicative for the state of “democracy” today. If people could directly influence the political discourse, rather than depending on power-seeking representatives, then perhaps, we were not going to watch helplessly how one hierarchical neoliberal machine is driving us towards existential crisis, with still unimaginable proportions.
And equality could be of crucial importance too, since although such significant part of the global population is concerned about climate change, it is predominantly situated at the southern hemisphere, while the biggest polluters, those that also call the shots, are located at the North. If the voices of everyone had the same weight, no matter in which part of the world they are situated, more definite solution to this urgent question could be reached.
Real democracy and equality, however Utopian they may seem to us today, could be the most comprehensive answer to a crisis of such magnitude like the climate one. Mere reforms seem to not give the expected results, since the common good is not a priority in a system which prioritizes profit and power accumulation. In fact, the present socio-economic paradigm is the main enforcer of social and environmental degradation and thus profound systemic change is required, which to abolish oppression in it’s two mutually supplemental forms — that of man over man and of humanity over nature.
But besides this, to one such existential question everyone should have a say. If it is to saw off the branch we are currently sitting on, without another one in sight, let’s at least ask everybody else that will share the fall. In fact we should demand it through mass grassroots mobilizations and social movements fighting for real, direct democracy, which to redirect our society’s course towards sustainable, cooperative and fairer future.