Who Killed the Green Movement?

Why did the “Green Movement” fizzle?  Big money killed it! Disaster Capitalism exploits environmental carnage to move money to the wealthy, Naomi Klein told Bill Moyers in this interview. Corporations and politicians take a advantage of our disorientation in times of crises to ram through policies that actually make things worse because disaster-traumatized people are too trusting in thier search for saviours.  Meanwhile the rich just sit out the storm in a cozy hotel and build thier own solar farms.

Storm Surge Devastation
Storm Surge Devastation

One of the things Klein says we need is a strong public sphere to prevent the climate worsening (like public transit and alternative energy) and a collective strategy to respond to disasters when they occur. It can’t be just charity and good will.  Take firefighters, for example.  While the “sequester” cuts public funding for these heroes, the AIG insurance company hires private firefighters to spray mansions in the fire zones.  We think of firefighters as a public good, shared equally, but no!   Moyers noted that an airline in Florida offered Five Star Chartered Evacuations. Turn your hurricane into a luxury vacation anywhere in the world.

Even Hurricane Sandy could not convince Americans that business as usual would not give an inch to climate change.   Naomi Klein, called one of the 100 leading public figures by interviewer Bill Moyers, shows how enthusiasm for the current business model of “rogue oil companies” is actually a war with life on this planet. She notes how the Divestment Strategy that was successful in South Africa can be used against rogue companies and how young people have been sending messages to thier universities: divest from fossil fuels. They ask, with tremendous moral clarity: how can you prepare me for my future at the sime time as you bet against my future with investments in fossil fuel holdings?  She calls out rogue corpopations like Exxon, BP for their business model which involves externalizing the price of their waste on the rest of us. Their bueiness model is based on not having to pay for what they think of as an externality: the carbon emitted by burning their fuel.  And that price is enormous!  Superstorms. Multi-billion dollar disasters. Municipalities and state squabble  Public sector does not have the money to pay for the price tag of climate change.

Klein says organizations like American Enterprise Institute and Kato Institute sieze moments of crisis to push though their wish lists of policies, and these policies often dig us deeper into crisis.  After Hurricane Katrina, while the city still under water, the Wall Street Journal reported the Heritage Foundation’s “31 Free Market Solutions to Hurricane Katrina.”  They included close public schools, replace them with vouchers, drill for oil in Arctic National Wildlife Preserve and build more refineries.

Hurricane Sandy Flooding

What kind of Free Market soultions are those? she wonders.  Climate change related heavy weather collided with neglected public infrastructure caused the problem – and yet they say get rid of infrastructure and burn more oil!

She says 2007 was this moment where Hollywood was on board, Vanity Fair did first of two Annual Green issues. But then the enthusiasm of the elite and attention from the press fall onge again to the very powerful fossil fuel lobby has every reason to stand in the way of progress on this issue.

For 25 years we have known humans are affecting the climate – since NASA’s James Hansen testified before Congress, 1988.  The Berlin Wall fell, the end of history was declared. Requires collective action, regulate corporations, collective action. All free market solutions. Govt get out of way. Planning was a dirty word.. That is what communists did. No such things as collective. No such thing as society said Thatcher.  But this is the essense of a collective problem.

The eco movement turned it into a personalized problem personal things. Recycle. Light bulbs. Green business programs.  Cap and trade .  Every once in a while we get excited over things like the Rio Summit, Copenhagen Summit and An Inconvenient Truth, but then it irecede does not have collective social supoprt. The oilmongers have waged a terrible campaign to buy off the environmental movement, defame the monvement, and spread lies in culture. Denial movement doing this well and belief that humans are behind climate change dropped from 71% to 44%.

Ironically, notes Bill Moyers, over the last two years the red states have had the worst climate-related problems, yet those same states are the ones who  send climate deniers to congress.  Your views on abortion and war probably indicate how you feel about this topic too!

So what gives? We have to regulate. We have to plan. Climate change is the greatest free market failure.  Destroying our chances to have a livable planet.  See what the author of Shock Doctrine says about creating a “People Shock” in this interview of Naomi Klein by Bill Moyers.