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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 11 - 20 of 106

Page 2 of 11

Anonymous

The ideas of the 1% are most destructive and silly. They dream of growth for ever. That is impossible on a planet of limited size. We should do everything possible to limit their powers, and control them. Most of their power is derived from money collected from us through usury. They multiply cost of things many fold. Look at houses built 20 or 30 years ago, after paying for all that period typical mortgage on them is now many times the original mortgage. And they will try to tell you that interest rate of 5 or 10 percent is not usury. Interest on interest on interest repeated over and over can increase costs 10 or twenty times. Do your own research and you will be shocked. For example the cost of electricity you use is more than ten times the production costs because of the money lender's charge. The calculation is actually quite simple. Cost of a typical power plant on in-service date is about half interest, and when amortized over its service life of 30 to 40 years the total payments add up to about 5 times the cost on in-service date. i.e. total multiplier of 2*5 = 10. The same types of multipliers apply to the cost of your house. Tell me, is this is not usury? Overwhelming majority of your income goes to the moneylender now, and your salary is low because most of your employer's income also goes to the moneylender.

Anonymous

The ideas of the 1% are most destructive and silly. They dream of growth for ever. That is impossible on a planet of limited size. We should do everything possible to limit their powers, and control them. Most of their power is derived from money collected from us through usury. They multiply cost of things many fold. Look at houses built 20 or 30 years ago, after paying for all that period typical mortgage on them is now many times the original mortgage. And they will try to tell you that interest rate of 5 or 10 percent is not usury. Interest on interest on interest repeated over and over can increase costs 10 or twenty times. Do your own research and you will be shocked. For example the cost of electricity you use is more than ten times the production costs because of the money lender's charge. The calculation is actually quite simple. Cost of a typical power plant on in-service date is about half interest, and when amortized over its service life of 30 to 40 years the total payments add up to about 5 times the cost on in-service date. i.e. total multiplier of 2*5 = 10. The same types of multipliers apply to the cost of your house. Tell me, is this is not usury? Overwhelming majority of your income goes to the moneylender now, and your salary is low because most of your employer's income also goes to the moneylender.

Anonymous

My goodness. I am amazed at some of the commentators' negativity. I wonder what kind of a future you are imagining. Do you have children, grandchildren? Do you really believe that the current systems are sustainable? Are you unable to imagine anything different or better? The best you can do is to accuse those who dare to imagine of being whiners and to demean their cause? Where are your alternatives? We are the same because we are trying to engage in the conversation, but really, I don't see that you, as supposed critics, have much to offer as an alternative. If you cannot identify with those who rose up during the Arab Spring, then you need to read more about how our democracy is being held hostage by monied interests.

Anonymous

My goodness. I am amazed at some of the commentators' negativity. I wonder what kind of a future you are imagining. Do you have children, grandchildren? Do you really believe that the current systems are sustainable? Are you unable to imagine anything different or better? The best you can do is to accuse those who dare to imagine of being whiners and to demean their cause? Where are your alternatives? We are the same because we are trying to engage in the conversation, but really, I don't see that you, as supposed critics, have much to offer as an alternative. If you cannot identify with those who rose up during the Arab Spring, then you need to read more about how our democracy is being held hostage by monied interests.

Anonymous

Oh, and by the way, what do you gain by addressing those who have a different point of view as morons? Do you really see yourself as being so intellectually superior? Open your mind and heart.

Anonymous

Oh, and by the way, what do you gain by addressing those who have a different point of view as morons? Do you really see yourself as being so intellectually superior? Open your mind and heart.

Anonymous

Not superior. Just open-minded and thinking critically. It certainly seems that many of the OWSers have left their powers of critical thought behind, as they marched to the park. There are many, many questions, precious few answers, and no transparency to OWS. State your goals. Think about who might be behind this "movement" and what they're getting (or hope to get) out of it. Consider the possibility that somebody might be using your uncritical hope for the future as a means to their own selfish ends.

Movements like this have occurred throughout history. Most, if not all, of them have either led to nothing or brought untold death and destruction. There is not a single example of a "movement" like this bringing peace and making people's lives better.

Arab Spring? Sure. Ask the folks in Tahrir Square how that's working out for them. How many Coptic Christians have been killed or jailed in the last three or four months? Many. And, I think even the folks here would agree that that is just plain reprehensible.

The uprisings in the Middle East are leading to societies that oppress women, harass minorities, and are moving backward toward the sixth century. Is that OWS's goal for us? It sure looks that way, when you consider the fact that OWS points to Tahrir Square as a watershed moment, although it is leading the people of Egypt down a path will lead to their lives being worse than before.

Again, critical thinking. "Movements" are very nice and it fun to be around people who agree with you, as you fight "the man." But, what if things aren't really as bad as you've decided they are? What if things could be exponentially worse and your actions were leading in that direction?

All I'm saying is stop and think a little bit. Not about the talking points and the propaganda coming out of OWS, but rather about the way things really are.

Could things be better? Sure. Is tearing down the system in order to replace it with... what? the way to fix it? Highly, highly unlikely.

And, that's the problem: To those of us outside your "movement," we don't see or hear a clear message or a specific set of goals. Until those things are defined, your group will remain suspect.

Oh, and who are the guys behind the scenes pulling the strings again?

Anonymous

Not superior. Just open-minded and thinking critically. It certainly seems that many of the OWSers have left their powers of critical thought behind, as they marched to the park. There are many, many questions, precious few answers, and no transparency to OWS. State your goals. Think about who might be behind this "movement" and what they're getting (or hope to get) out of it. Consider the possibility that somebody might be using your uncritical hope for the future as a means to their own selfish ends.

Movements like this have occurred throughout history. Most, if not all, of them have either led to nothing or brought untold death and destruction. There is not a single example of a "movement" like this bringing peace and making people's lives better.

Arab Spring? Sure. Ask the folks in Tahrir Square how that's working out for them. How many Coptic Christians have been killed or jailed in the last three or four months? Many. And, I think even the folks here would agree that that is just plain reprehensible.

The uprisings in the Middle East are leading to societies that oppress women, harass minorities, and are moving backward toward the sixth century. Is that OWS's goal for us? It sure looks that way, when you consider the fact that OWS points to Tahrir Square as a watershed moment, although it is leading the people of Egypt down a path will lead to their lives being worse than before.

Again, critical thinking. "Movements" are very nice and it fun to be around people who agree with you, as you fight "the man." But, what if things aren't really as bad as you've decided they are? What if things could be exponentially worse and your actions were leading in that direction?

All I'm saying is stop and think a little bit. Not about the talking points and the propaganda coming out of OWS, but rather about the way things really are.

Could things be better? Sure. Is tearing down the system in order to replace it with... what? the way to fix it? Highly, highly unlikely.

And, that's the problem: To those of us outside your "movement," we don't see or hear a clear message or a specific set of goals. Until those things are defined, your group will remain suspect.

Oh, and who are the guys behind the scenes pulling the strings again?

Anonymous

"Movements like this have occurred throughout history. Most, if not all, of them have either led to nothing or brought untold death and destruction. There is not a single example of a "movement" like this bringing peace and making people's lives better."

Lolz. the very first non-violent protest by Ghandi won freedom for India from Britain rule.

And the freedom riders of the 60's? From wikipedia; (feel free to verify sources)

On May 29, 1961, bowing to the demands of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders, as well as international outrage, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in an unorthodox legal maneuver, sent a petition to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to comply with a bus-desegregation ruling it had issued in November, 1955, Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company. That ruling had explicitly repudiated separate but equal in the realm of interstate bus travel, but, under the chairmanship of South Carolina Democrat J. Monroe Johnson, the ICC had failed to enforce its own ruling.

In September 1961, bowing to pressure from the Attorney General and the civil rights movement, the ICC issued the necessary orders, and the new policies went into effect on November 1, 1961, a full six years after the ruling in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company. After the new ICC rule took effect, passengers were permitted to sit wherever they pleased on interstate buses and trains, "white" and "colored" signs came down in the terminals, separate drinking fountains, toilets, and waiting rooms were consolidated, and the lunch counters began serving people regardless of race."

Just for starters. I wonder how 'open minded' you really are, or how informed you really are about such things you purport to have knowledge about.

Anonymous

"Movements like this have occurred throughout history. Most, if not all, of them have either led to nothing or brought untold death and destruction. There is not a single example of a "movement" like this bringing peace and making people's lives better."

Lolz. the very first non-violent protest by Ghandi won freedom for India from Britain rule.

And the freedom riders of the 60's? From wikipedia; (feel free to verify sources)

On May 29, 1961, bowing to the demands of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders, as well as international outrage, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in an unorthodox legal maneuver, sent a petition to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to comply with a bus-desegregation ruling it had issued in November, 1955, Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company. That ruling had explicitly repudiated separate but equal in the realm of interstate bus travel, but, under the chairmanship of South Carolina Democrat J. Monroe Johnson, the ICC had failed to enforce its own ruling.

In September 1961, bowing to pressure from the Attorney General and the civil rights movement, the ICC issued the necessary orders, and the new policies went into effect on November 1, 1961, a full six years after the ruling in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company. After the new ICC rule took effect, passengers were permitted to sit wherever they pleased on interstate buses and trains, "white" and "colored" signs came down in the terminals, separate drinking fountains, toilets, and waiting rooms were consolidated, and the lunch counters began serving people regardless of race."

Just for starters. I wonder how 'open minded' you really are, or how informed you really are about such things you purport to have knowledge about.

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