Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the paradox of crisis


Video - Naomi Klein on the paradox of crises around the world.

Transitionculture | I think more and more people are understanding that we have a deep crisis of inequality and what I’m trying to sketch out is how you must address inequality if you’re going to deal with climate change, both within our countries and between our countries. That is something that we don’t need to be terrified of, it’s actually something liberatory and exciting and I think that the number of people in the world who would be empowered by that vision is much greater than the number of people that would be frightened by that vision, but there are definitely people in the world who are frightened by that vision.

This is why I don’t think it serves to pretend that this is the issue that transcends all politics – it doesn’t! There has to be a redistribution of resources and the people that have the vast majority of those resources now are going to protect what they have. As soon as this starts feeling really threatening there will necessarily be some confrontations. This is what I was saying last night – the fact that American supremacy is threatened by climate action because a just climate response would see the US and other rich countries having less so that others could have more is what has stood in the way.

So what do we do about it, not talk about it? I get flack from some of the big green groups because I talk about climate debt and reparation and they say, “you’re just making our work harder, you’re just giving fodder to the right.” There is so much self-censorship around these issues. I wonder what would happen if we started telling the truth. Because this idea that we’re going to pull something over on people and maybe sneak it in – I don’t think it’s working.

Maybe it did work, but like I said, the whole discourse on the right is about how climate change is a socialist plot to bring in world government and redistribution of wealth! That’s the discussion that’s going on. We’re not in any way responding to it and laying out a world view and saying, “yeah, we do believe in internationalism and here’s why. We do believe in redistribution of wealth and here’s why we do think it will benefit your community and the vast majority of people on this planet and here’s why we don’t have to be afraid of it.”

We’re just going, “Green jobs, green capitalism, change your light bulbs, this isn’t as scary as you think.” It isn’t as scary as they think, but not because it isn’t a dramatic change. It’s not as scary as they think because we need those changes on a dramatic level in so many ways – it’s actually a gift to have the opportunity to change. But the idea that we can avoid a discussion, to me, is a failure to recognise that the discussion is happening, we’re just not participating in it, or letting them entirely define the terms of what we believe in. I don’t believe in world government but I do believe in an international climate agreement. So let’s talk about it!