21 Nov 2009

Mean and Green?

Mean and green: the eco campaign against everyday life
Wed 18 Nov, 2009
David Attenborough has joined the ranks of the bossy greens who want to save the planet – from humanity. Jason Walsh asks if the environmental movement is winning the battle but losing the war by making ever more extreme demands

Television naturalist David Attenborough recently signed-up to front a political cause. He’s not planning on replacing Declan Ganley, though. Instead, by becoming patron of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), Attenborough has put his sights squarely on the seething mass of humanity. The OPT opposes immigration, seeking a one-in, one-out policy it calls “balanced migration” and says “there is no unlimited right to have children.”

Attenborough is a popular figure, and rightly so: he educated and entertained us as children, sparking a sense of wonder at the natural world. He is not merely a television presenter, he is more like our collective uncle. Why, then, has he thrown his weight behind such an extreme position? The idea of an ‘optimum population’ is one very much supported by the far-right British National Party and when China introduced its one-child policy in 1979 it was widely criticised for its authoritarian nature.

Read more: http://forth.ie/index.php/content/article/mean_and_green/20091118/#ixzz0XUvXPOJp

While I am not a fan of the Socialist Workers Party it has some cracking people in it, for example, Keith Flett. What would we do without him.

He has just twittered me

'found the unbeatable orange&chilli marmalade at Usk farmers market'

Which I think illustrates that a green lifestyle can be one in the pursuit of pleasure as well as sustainability.

I enjoy gardening the permaculture way and being green.

However while Jason's article name checks a few too many of the tribe of Spiked for me to be totally comfortable, what he is arguing is essentially correct,

Lifestyle can be a huge pain in the back side and we need to change structures not feel guilty about using bathwater.

Good public transport, good green agriculture, a green new deal and all the other big changes to make life ecologically sustainable are key, not weaving a shirt out of straw.

So its ecosocialism as an alternative not individualist change, and change must be enjoyable.

And blaming population easily turns into an authoritarian move, I would be more sympathetic if the likes of David Attenborough posted contraceptives to bankers rather than lecturing people in developing countries.

Also good post from that Lenin guy here....on the population bombers


Chris M said...

I think the focus on overpopulation can sometimes be inappropriate, or be used for a racist agenda. Nevertheless, we are over the carrying capacity of the planet, so we need to do something to address the problem:


Of course, one of the best approaches would be for us in the west to dramatically cut our carbon emissions and general pollution.

Anonymous said...

"And blaming population easily turns into an authoritarian move, I would be more sympathetic if the likes of David Attenborough posted contraceptives to bankers rather than lecturing people in developing countries."


tim said...

Actually, Canada Guy, we are not 'over the carrying capacity'. Population scare mongering serves the interest of the few who benefit from this ecologically disastrous and inhumane system we call 'capitalism'. Population growth peaked in the 1960s and has been on the decline ever since. There is more than enough food today to make everyone on the planet unhealthily overweight. It just doesnt get into the stomachs of people because social values are distorted by the discipline and pressures exerted by the workings of the capitalist system. Our society is not run with ecological sustainability or human needs as its goals. Instead, private profit is the end-all. It is completely possible, if we make ecological sanity and human needs our society's priorities, to feed and nourish an even bigger population than we currently have and restore ravaged and threatened ecosystems.

Chris M said...

Tim, whether or not we are able to produce enough food to feed everyone in the world today is irrelevant to whether or not we are over carrying capacity.

The reason is that the methods we are using to produce this amount of food are unsustainable. Please re-check the definition of carrying capacity. We are destroying the long-term ability of the land to generate food, with the short term benefit of higher food production. We are also damaging the environment in many other ways that will reduce food supply in the future.

As I mention in the article, we are drawing down ecological capital, instead of living off the returns. This is why the various studies say we are over carrying capacity. This is what it means to be in overshoot.

Dick Wolff said...

Not an expert on this, but : isn't one of the most effective contraceptives people's belief that they have long-term economic security and reliable health care, so that they are confident they will be cared for in old age without needing to have lots of children to do the caring, and that they don't need to produce lots of children to ensure that a couple of them survive into adulthood?

Added to this : women's emancipation and education?

Seems to me this has been pretty effective at reducing the birthrate in Europe.

When Keir Starmer was a Marxist.

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