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#Occupy Climate Change

The impossible is suddenly possible.

In the grand scheme of things, capitalism is a blip. A flicker on the historical radar and a rather dangerous planetary-scale experiment whose results are easy to guess and hard to ignore. When you have a giant machine pushing for infinite and perpetual growth in a world with finite resources, you know it's not going to end well. Yet right now, for the average citizen of the West, a world without the hallmarks of capitalism – without Wall Street, the rat race, shopping malls, economic growth, debt and competitive consumerism – is almost impossible to imagine. The very thought of a consumer-free world opens up such a void, such a unknowingness that it scares the bejesus out of us.

Throughout history, however, there have been people willing to place themselves in that white void and be petrified, even liberated by change. The Arab Spring, which has seen ordinary citizens revolt against mighty dictatorships, is the most recent example of that human ability. And for that reason, the Arab Spring gives us hope. Hope that the world will be able to save itself from the system that has pushed the earth and its resources to the brink. That an alternative will not only be imagined but embraced in the name of new possibilities and freedoms.

The Arab Spring also shows that although we can't imagine how it will happen or where the political and personal courage will come from, it will surprise us all the more. Despite what you may have heard by now, no one saw the Arab Spring coming. Not the political commentators, not the average person on the street and definitely not the Arab 'leaders' and 'presidents.' It came completely out of the blue, after years of complacency and apathy. Even those who first took to the streets could not have realized the significance of their actions. But once they were there, together, on Tahrir Square and at Benghazi, they didn't go home – they wanted change now and more desperately than ever.

Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya for 40 years – almost as long as we have known what we need to do to stop climate change – was forced into hiding by rebels who decided that 40years was 40 years too many. For many Libyans before the revolt, the prospect of a Gadaffi-free Libya was unimaginable. Yet Gadaffi is gone now and we are given another hint that one day – when Capitalism is least expecting it – people will say that the destruction of the planet in exchange for constant economic growth is a price too high to pay. It gives us a glimmer that one day capitalism will be gone too, replaced by a new world system that places the value of our existence and the world's existence before a quick buck.

Some say that capitalism is too big to fail, that there are too many people invested in its survival. But as we discover that the survival of capitalism means the destruction of the planet, we grow hopeful of our ability to stop, look around and step into the void.

Arwa Aburawa is editor at GreenProphet.com, the leading site on green news from the Middle East. She has also written on environmental issues for The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, Electronic Intifada and The Big Issue North. Her monthly green column can be found at SISTERS magazine.

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106 comments on the article “#Occupy Climate Change”

Displaying 1 - 10 of 106

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Anonymous

You are not the Arab Spring. Get over yourselves and quit riding the coat-tails of those you have actually struggled for generations.

Anonymous

You are not the Arab Spring. Get over yourselves and quit riding the coat-tails of those you have actually struggled for generations.

Anonymous

Libya: 40 years of murderous dictatorship that took the lives of untold thousands of people. Suppression and repression of individual freedom on a scale that would make Mao proud. Terrorist bombings of civilian airliners and the killing of innocents in the name of religion and politics.

Not to mention, that looney tent Qaddafi brought to NJ, when he visited the UN!

United States: A bunch of whiny infants who live on Mom and Dad's dime, complaining that other people have more stuff than they do, so they want more shit for free. Oh, and they're willing to steal it, if nobody is willing to give it to them (unless, of course, somebody objects, in which case they'll whine and stamp their feet until they get what they want).

Freakin' morons. Go home, go back to class, get a job, whatever. Just stop annoying the rest of us!

Anonymous

Libya: 40 years of murderous dictatorship that took the lives of untold thousands of people. Suppression and repression of individual freedom on a scale that would make Mao proud. Terrorist bombings of civilian airliners and the killing of innocents in the name of religion and politics.

Not to mention, that looney tent Qaddafi brought to NJ, when he visited the UN!

United States: A bunch of whiny infants who live on Mom and Dad's dime, complaining that other people have more stuff than they do, so they want more shit for free. Oh, and they're willing to steal it, if nobody is willing to give it to them (unless, of course, somebody objects, in which case they'll whine and stamp their feet until they get what they want).

Freakin' morons. Go home, go back to class, get a job, whatever. Just stop annoying the rest of us!

expressarch

Climate change? How about nuclear winter?. We could easily be headed in that direction if we start a war in Iran. See the columns in prairiefirenews.com for more on the trouble brewing in the middle east. We've got to "Occupy the Pentagon" fast to avoid us going to war for the 1% and the military industrial complex.

expressarch

Climate change? How about nuclear winter?. We could easily be headed in that direction if we start a war in Iran. See the columns in prairiefirenews.com for more on the trouble brewing in the middle east. We've got to "Occupy the Pentagon" fast to avoid us going to war for the 1% and the military industrial complex.

Anonymous

Stop the war mongers, revolving doors, cronyism, and corruption. http://www.caat.org.uk/issues/introduction/corporate-influence.php

Anonymous

Stop the war mongers, revolving doors, cronyism, and corruption. http://www.caat.org.uk/issues/introduction/corporate-influence.php

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