Saturday, September 3, 2016

Its green they say

Green green
Its green they say
On the far side of the hill
     - New Christie Minstrels
When the light turns green
Put your foot on the gasoline
      - Lead belly
       So many people seem unhappy with the candidates suggested by the two main parties.  Perhaps it's worth taking a look at an alternative.     I did take a look and I was quite surprised by what I found.   It turns out there are 2 Green Parties!    There is the Green Party of the US, which is the- one you hear about - Jill Steins party,  But there is another , called the Green Party USA. 
      Stein's party proposes a "Green New Deal"  ,  which looks to me like  the "progressive" wing of the Democratic party.   It's kind of warmed over Sanders.  In fact the Green Party of the Us has invited Sanders to run on their ticket.  To oversimplify, their platform is :   Green growth - fairer distribution.    
       There is also another Green Party.  (Green Party USA)  They promote "degrowth".   Here is what they say about the Green New Deal (GND)
"The GND cannot protect the environment because it is based on protecting corporate power just like the Green Revolution, Green 
Capitalism and Green Economy. It relies on two clearly false corporate myths: that infinite growth is possible on a finite planet, and that growth is necessary for everyone to have good lives.
The GND ignores the impossibility of endless growth and the 
horrible consequences of trying to achieve it. At a 2% growth rate, the economy would double at least every 36 years. At a 3% growth rate, a doubling would occur at least every 24 years. In a hundred years, 
production would be 16 times what it is now. In 200 years the economy would be 256 times what it is now. This would flood the world with 
toxins, collapse biodiversity, and cause uncontrolled climate change.
Suggesting that solar and wind power can meet not only all 
household energy needs but 100% of current industrial needs is a fantasy. Suggesting they could do so for an economy that is 256 times as large is silly"
     I heard a good interview with Kevin Anderson on KBOO  .(H/t Ruben)  .   He got asked point blank about whether we could rely on "green growth" to keep us from hitting 2 degrees.   He was pretty direct, essentially saying that the only way to avoid dangerous climate change, was for the rich people to take a pay cut - to stop growing, to de- grow.
       One might wonder -what is the purpose of a Green Party, if it is going to be one more flavor of the infinite growth paradigm.?   Paul Kingsnorth argues that the whole idea of green politics was to step away from that paradigm altogether .

"It was not part of the conventional argument about how to divide up the spoils of industrial progress. Its purpose was to argue that the definition of progress itself was the problem to be solved: that industrial society, as currently constituted, was a threat not only to the individual freedom cherished by parts of the right and the social justice cherished by parts of the left, but also to the global ecosystem - what both sides referred to as the 'natural world', as if somehow humans were 'unnatural' and apart from it -which both were frantically destroying in the name of that progress. In this sense, I said, green politics was more radical - and much older - than the teachings of either Marx or Hayek."
"One of the original aims of green politics was to go beyond the left/right dichotomy - to speak up for the wider world, for the non-human world, for its own sake, because no other ideology would. An accommodation with the left undermines the founding ethos of radical green politics: ecocentrism. The left, though it likes to lay claim to the green mantle, has no interest in ecocentrism. By definition it cannot have, for the point of the left is to struggle for social justice for human beings. The environment will always come a poor second to the achievement of this historical mission."
Both the mainstream parties as well as the "Green" party are caught up in the same perspective.    A truly "green" political movement would have a different philosophy.   
"It is a philosophy which sees humanity as part of the mesh of life, not as a separate entity which can control and direct something called 'nature' with no consequences for itself. It stresses that what is often regarded as political 'radicalism' is in fact a reordering of the same anthropocentric development paradigm, in which the fruits of the destruction of global ecosystems are simply distributed more fairly than before."
       At base, the problem is the anthropocentric view, that "we can have it all",  and deserve to do so, and any problem that creates for the biosphere can be dealt with by more technology.    
      But perhaps we don't need to "have it all"  .  Perhaps we might have more fulfilling lives if we had a bit less.   Perhaps if we paid attention to what we already had, rather than dreaming of the next thing to get or experience.    I recently read an interesting piece on Buddhism and ecology  (h/t   Susan    ), , pointing out that not only does "having it all" cause tremendous harm , it also is fruitless way to have real satisfaction 
because of our constant desires, our mind and body cannot find peace. “At some point, we have to say enough is enough,” His Holiness advised, because desires can be limitless, and if we have strong desires, we will be unable to find contentment. Ultimately, we have to take a further step and turn our back on our desires and let go of attachment. This is renunciation"
Which political party reflects this view, I wonder.  It seems that in terms of political options,  our menu is pretty limited.   What we need, in the words of Barry Goldwater,  "A choice , no an echo."

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