[Marxism] Re: Greenwashing

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 10 08:13:06 MDT 2005

This is a very interesting comment on my Jared Diamond article from 
somebody in Ireland.

>I no nothing at all about the specific Chevron case or J. Diamond, who
>is utterly unknown here in Europe, but I think you put your finger
>precisely on the problem when you mention the "inviolibility of the
>capitalist system".  I think that more and more people are beginning to
>see that essential decisions on the sustainability are being pre-empted
>by the short-term profit imperative of capitalism.
>Here in Europe, political ecology is much more advanced than in the US,
>largely, I suspect, because of the creaking, antiquated 18th century
>electoral system used on your side of the ditch.  The German Greens are
>in government at the moment, the French and Belgian Greens have been in
>and out of government.
>The decisive moment here was the first oil crisis in 1973, which seems
>to have passed almost unnoticed in the US, but which scared the
>daylights out of the rest of the developed world.  The idea of oil as a
>finite resource woke everybody up.  Just at the same time, toxic waste
>and, indeed, waste generally, was becoming an issue.  (In crowded
>Europe, finding somewhere to put waste is a real problem and it is far
>easier to reduce the quantity of waste than to search frantically for
>new places to put it!)  Added to that was the increasing leisure that
>the prosperous 60s had brought.  People wanted leisure facilities like
>city parks, nature reserves, clean beaches, cross-country ski trails
>etc.  In that way, ecology became part of mainstream politics.  The next
>step was the realization that all of this had been neglected because of
>the imperatives of capitalism and the problems could be remedied only by
>a re-think of the whole economic system.
>That's why Europe has no problem with things like Kyoto and why the US
>is increasingly perceived as a threat.  And religoius crazies trying to
>tear down the world just to make their own prophecies come true simply
>reinforce that.  When the peak oil thing hits, Europe will be far less
>unready than the US, the crisis will be far less severe and the bitter
>pills will more readily be swallowed.  You could say that Europe has
>given up smoking but the US hasn't, and we'll see who gets cancer!
>While I've my hand in it, as we say in Ireland, did you know that among
>the many ecological disasters in the mess left behind by the communists
>is that practically every bay and inlet along Russia's arctic coast,
>east of the Murmansk naval base (i.e damn near the US!), is chock full
>of decaying nuclear submarines, many with their reactors still on board
>and with some reactors leaking?  I don't think Russian ecologists get
>much of a hearing in the US media but that is what they're saying on our
>TV.  Russia just doesn't have the money to deal with them!



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