Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- George Monbiot discusses the inherent conflict between consumption and conservation:
We can persuade ourselves that we are living on thin air, floating through a weightless economy, as gullible futurologists predicted in the 1990s. But it’s an illusion, created by the irrational accounting of our environmental impacts. This illusion permits an apparent reconciliation of incompatible policies.

Governments urge us both to consume more and to conserve more. We must extract more fossil fuel from the ground, but burn less of it. We should reduce, reuse and recycle the stuff that enters our homes, and at the same time increase, discard and replace it. How else can the consumer economy grow? We should eat less meat to protect the living planet, and eat more meat to boost the farming industry. These policies are irreconcilable. The new analyses suggest that economic growth is the problem, regardless of whether the word sustainable is bolted to the front of it.
- And David Roberts argues that Alberta's new climate change plan is well-designed precisely because it includes measures to cut down on consumption rather than aspiring to right-wing notions of revenue neutrality.

- Adrienne Montani makes the case for a plan to reduce child poverty in British Columbia. And Leilani Farha writes that the anticipated arrival of a new group of refugees should serve as an opportunity to evaluate and improve the plight of people already living in poverty.

- Meanwhile, Thomas Walkom points out that the Libs' pattern of walking back their most immediate post-election promise to help Syrian refugees bodes poorly for the rest of their campaign commitments.

- Finally, Don Lenihan comments on the psychology of the politics of fear:
Terrorism is effective not because groups like ISIS are so powerful, but because they are so good at turning our own psychology against us. Suicide bombings fool the brain into believing an evil empire is invading our shores.
There is a vicious circle here that, ironically, turns us all into ISIS recruits, first, by getting us to agree to play the game by their rules; and then by drawing us deeper and deeper into its clutches. At the same time, talk of the need for ever-greater security and surveillance invades our public discourse. The politics of fear starts creeping in.

The moral is that the terrorist threat to our freedom and safety comes less from the thugs at ISIS than from ourselves. We hold ourselves hostage to a discourse of fear, then use it to sideline democracy in order to protect ourselves from the very threat we have manufactured.

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