Seeking a return to the radical origins of environmentalism

earth_day_1970_img_0Climate change and other environmental crises arising from global systems of production and consumption are systemic issues of political economy; addressing them will require more than just pockets of alternative practice. And environmental problems don’t respect political borders: ecological interdependence is another reminder that sustainability will come only through global solidarity. Two Left leaning magazines in the USA reflected on these questions recently.

The Jacobin magazine asked on Earth Day: To what future should twenty-first-century socialism aspire? How can we achieve a just society without relying on fossil fuels or exacerbating other forms of environmental destruction?

In a separate article, the Nation magazine remembered the fact that even the first Earth Day itself, back in April 1970, occurred amidst vigorous internal debate among environmentalists as to whether it represented a genuinely promising burst of ecological consciousness or was merely a crafty diversion on the part of an establishment eager to redirect the energies of young activists away from the more pressing, more sensitive issues of race, poverty and the Vietnam War.

Read also about the socialist ideas of the Jacobin magazine in The Hindu