Environmentalism and Socialism - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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As either the transitional stage to communism or legitimate socio-economic ends in its own right.
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#14697352
mikema63 wrote:There is no reason why you can't use crop diversity with GMO plants. The only reason why monoculture is so common with GMO crops is because the factory farms using GMO crops use monoculture. Monoculture is a problem, sure, but it's not a problem caused by or created because of GMO crops and it is not a problem that cannot be solved while including GMO crops.

It may be theoretically possible to have biodiversity with GMOs, but that is not at all how it has worked out in practice. In addition to their use in factory farms, another issue is cross-pollination, which means that you're introducing something new to the ecosystem: effectively an invasive species. That has real ramifications in an ecosystem that aren't easily tested in a laboratory setting. In any case, I don't want to derail the thread any further, so if we wish, we can have another thread on GMOs.
#14697360
Pants-of-dog wrote:Can you give an example of a healthy ecosystem that would be produced by heavy manipulations from human beings?

This is like asking a proponent of electricity in 1900 to provide an example of the computers and scanners he profess, arguing that all electricity brings is fire hazards. We do not engineer whole ecosystems, yet, we are only at the stage where we tinker with some DNA bits.

The potential is wonderful but I suspect you belong to those religious people who believe that Nature is pure and perfect, and human can only dirty it.

mikema63 wrote:Hamartans point was that enviromentalists (in reality it's only hard greens but hamartan seems to think all enviromentalists are hard greens) are not interested in reductions of impact. They want humans to not impact at all. In essence to not farm in an area rather than reduce the impact of farming.

Yes, this is my position. Some even want ecosystems to be reverted to what it was "before humans" (whatever they mean). Another case of conservatism. The reintroduction of wolves from regions where it was exterminated centuries ago because cohabitation was not possible is a good example.

Not surprisingly, they never attempt to restore species that are harmless for human beings and societies. Apparently they are only interested in sharks, bears and wolves. Go figure...
#14697365
making human development compatible with nature

Actually human development is entirely compatible with nature, and always has been. Just not with nature in its present form, that's all.... :D

More seriously, we have to accept that human beings have always altered the natural world, and will always continue to do so. When humans entered the America and Australia for the first time, there was a mass extinction of large predators, probably because we out-competed them. And this was back in the Stone Age. The idea that we can keep nature 'pristine' despite our presence and our economic exploitation of it is absurd. Even the 'wildest' parts of the UK landscape are man-made. The issue is not how do we 'preserve' nature, but how do we manage the changes which we are going to bring to it?
#14697369
@Harmattan,

So there is no example of postiive human impact on ecological systems. You have faith that capitalism will somehow find profit in sustainable ecological systems.

Socialism, on the other hand, has at least one proven example of sustainable prcatices being used to address resource scarcity.
#14697384
Potemkin wrote:Actually human development is entirely compatible with nature, and always has been. Just not with nature in its present form, that's all.... :D

I've been thinking about this for a while: in one sense, of course everything is natural because everything comes from nature. However, it strikes me that there can be said to be a kind of "flow" to nature, perhaps somewhat analogous to the Dao, and that things can be said to be "unnatural" when they work against this flow. Certainly a lot of industrial development could properly be considered cancerous.

More seriously, we have to accept that human beings have always altered the natural world, and will always continue to do so. When humans entered the America and Australia for the first time, there was a mass extinction of large predators, probably because we out-competed them. And this was back in the Stone Age. The idea that we can keep nature 'pristine' despite our presence and our economic exploitation of it is absurd. Even the 'wildest' parts of the UK landscape are man-made. The issue is not how do we 'preserve' nature, but how do we manage the changes which we are going to bring to it?

Indeed. I've heard a theory, which seems more and more plausible to me, that the Amazon rainforest was largely manmade, having grown out of early human agriculture and forestry. And not only that, but all species alter their environment. They don't simply passively adapt to their environment, as Neo-Darwinian theory tends to frame it, but actively alter their environment to make it more hospitable for themselves. This is what I find problematic in the deep ecology perspective, which is essentially what Harmattan is talking about when criticizing environmentalists as a group, and why I instead opt for the perspective of social ecology, which sees our relationship with the environment as an extension of our social relationships with one another. Which makes sense if you consider how exploitative both relationships are under capitalism.
#14697392
Pants-of-dog wrote:You have faith that capitalism will somehow find profit in sustainable ecological systems.

Who talks about capitalism? I talked about technology.

When mainstream greens (José Bové & the likes) ravaged a series of GMO fields in France, this included fields owned by public research institutes.

Of course corporations mostly only gives a damn about profit, this is why govts have to impose rules. But this is not what we discussed. I pointed out that many environmentalists exhibit traits usually found in the religious right-wing and other conservative groups, including the rejection of whole parts of scientific advancements. Traits that all oppose traditional leftist values, although they have many affinities with the liberal bourgeoisie that took control of the modern left and do not care much about the modest incomes.
#14697426
It's worth quoting Engels at some length as he goes into detail about the problem.

But it has already been stated here, correctly, that the big issue is that capitalism needs to grow in order to sustain itself. More than this, there is every incentive for a capitalist to cut corners to maximize immediate profit instead of looking ahead to what will create maximum benefit for everyone in the long term.

This is inescapable and, as most people acknowledge, is now to a point where it is causing active harm to us.

Most solutions offered are to put enough incentives into the system to force capitalists not to think like capitalists.

This hasn't really worked very well, and why should it?

There are also various utopian models that occasionally come up, the most prominent of which being Ecotopia, which every few years is dug up and declared relevant again.

But socialism, real Marxist worldwide socialism, is the only system proposed that could end it. Despite the environmental catastrophes of the Soviet Union and China, an actual (international) socialism would be able to limit a lot of the problems a lot better. If nothing else, it at least acknowledges the issue.

Engels wrote:Classical political economy, the social science of the bourgeoisie, in the main examines only social effects of human actions in the fields of production and exchange that are actually intended. This fully corresponds to the social organisation of which it is the theoretical expression. As individual capitalists are engaged in production and exchange for the sake of the immediate profit, only the nearest, most immediate results must first be taken into account. As long as the individual manufacturer or merchant sells a manufactured or purchased commodity with the usual coveted profit, he is satisfied and does not concern himself with what afterwards becomes of the commodity and its purchasers. The same thing applies to the natural effects of the same actions. What cared the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests on the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertiliser for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees – what cared they that the heavy tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock! In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the immediate, the most tangible result; and then surprise is expressed that the more remote effects of actions directed to this end turn out to be quite different, are mostly quite the opposite in character; that the harmony of supply and demand is transformed into the very reverse opposite, as shown by the course of each ten years’ industrial cycle – even Germany has had a little preliminary experience of it in the “crash”; that private ownership based on one’s own labour must of necessity develop into the expropriation of the workers, while all wealth becomes more and more concentrated in the hands of non-workers
#14697428
When mainstream greens (José Bové & the likes) ravaged a series of GMO fields in France, this included fields owned by public research institutes.


We need to have a delineation between "greens" and environmentalists. Greens in this context seem to be the kookier segment of the environmentalist movement of the kind exemplified by the green parties of certain countries. By an large most environmentalists are not greens in this sense. Most scientists would be environmentalists but few if any will tell you that we should destroy GMO fields or stop animal research.

I feel like your conflating the weird portions of the environmentalist movement with most environmentally minded people. I certainly don't think Jose Bove represents mainstream environmentalists. I consider myself an environmentalist, in fact I consider the issue one of the most important facing us today, but I certainly think the sorts of people your talking about are crazy.

A certain amount of naturalism fallacy can be expected to gravitate to the environmentalist movement, and that's unfortunate, but most environmentalists aren't crazy.
#14697429
@Harmattan,

Yeah, I was trying to drag the conversation closer to the topic.

Your opinion about the religiosity of environmentalists is not the topic of discussion in which I am interested.

-------------------

@Paradigm,

I have found that it is easier to determine if something is natural by the waste it produces. Natural processes create no waste, or the waste is consumed by another organism, or they are synergistic. Only human processes are so inefficient as to cause waste. (Though I must admit that I think of it in terms of Taoist flow in my own head).

While people such as Buckminster Fuller think that capitalist systems can adapt and attain such levels of efficiency, I disagree. That assumes that capitalist systems respind to basic human needs, rather than consumer wants.
#14697432
@mikema63
It must be noted that I deliberately took the worse examples to best illustrate the trends I have discussed. Environmentalists actually form a very eclectic crowd, to the point that everyone and his mother now claim to be one (and I would be one of them), as opposed to what it was in the 70's and 80's where they were indeed very often scientists (and hippies).

Yet, the eschatological, naturalist, misanthropic and obscurantist trends are not some rare occurrences, they are everywhere plaguing the conferences, political events, best-sellers, common political consciousness, etc. The rejection of GMO for one is not an anecdotal phenomenon, it is the norm in Europe.


@The Immortal Goon
Growth does not necessarily mean more materials. Huge parts of the growth today are achieved by reducing materials consumption (productivity gains) or creating more sophisticated goods with the same footprint as the old ones, including virtual goods with a very low footprint. Finally it may be possible to have a carbon-neutral economy with an increasing consumption of materials.

Anyway capitalism is leading to its own minimization as we are already in an attention-constrained economy, so why not drop the revolution already and just wait? This will be faster and easier.


@Pants-of-dog
You were not trying to bring back the discussion to the topic, you were trying to divert it. I was examining the values of environmentalists to expose their incompatibility with socialist values while you were trying to turn the discussion into a cheap criticism against capitalism.
#14697611
Harmattan wrote:@Pants-of-dog
Maybe you should read what people write before you answer them.


Like I said, your post consisted mostly of pop psychology about people you do not like.

If you have an actual argument, please post it.

Edit: The only thing you mentioned was that environmentalists are anti-technology, which is not necessarily true, while socialists are pro-technology, which is also not necessarily true.

Neither of these things are values inherent to either movement, as you erroneously claimed.
#14969134
Environmentalism and socialism are not linked. They cannot be compared. It is like comparing a radio to a tyre.

Modern Environmentalism first rose collectively when the industrial revolution started. Environmentalism was conservative originally, rather than liberal because environmentalists went against the industrial revolution and the more socialized mode of production. And instead, believed that things should still be produced locally by family oriented enterprises. Environmentalists believed that the pollution and the public sewers made people mentally sick and "immoral."

Environmentalism also has a lot of religious values because advocates for environmentalism wanted to save and conserve the world that was "given by god."

Advanced socialism, scientific socialism, and true revolutionary socialism cannot exist in a proper manner unless if the world is industrialized because it is easier and more efficient to make things in factories, thus not needing small, local family based enterprises.

Socialism can exist with environmentalism, but it would not be advanced. It would be similar to primitive communism (the early phases of humanity thousands of years ago, before empires and currency existed), or it would also be similar to what Christian socialists or even the religious Amish had promoted to some extent (because the Amish are not socialists). But in that manner, society would be impoverished on a massive scale because of the lack of industry. And the standard of living would be lower.

I support some elements of environmentalism on a personal level, rather than on a larger, collective level. I believe that people should not waste anything - from food to utilities and tools. I believe that no one should litter. No one should damage the sewers by using too much toilet paper. I believe that people should only own one car (some people in First World countries, like Britain or the States have more than one car!). I believe that people should stay minimal with how much clothes they have. I am against a capitalist, consumerist culture. I am an anti consumerist because we need to save as much as we can for future generations. Plus, having too much stuff personally could potentially make one's mind corrupt. The States needs personal environmentalism because the Yankees use too much stuff then complain that they "don't have anything" then decide that they need to go to college so they can make more money, and waste more money so that their companies can get richer. If every person in the limited world used the same amount of junk that the average college educated middle class yankee did, the world would be destroyed!

But on a collective level, I am for the most part, against environmentalism. We need more factories. We need a strong industry. There needs to be a lot of manufacturing centers. There needs to be a lot of homes so that everyone who wants to live alone and be free, can live alone and be free. There needs to be more ships and vehicles. The more industry, the better.
#14969204
mikema63 wrote:We need to have a delineation between "greens" and environmentalists. Greens in this context seem to be the kookier segment of the environmentalist movement of the kind exemplified by the green parties of certain countries. By an large most environmentalists are not greens in this sense. Most scientists would be environmentalists but few if any will tell you that we should destroy GMO fields or stop animal research.

I feel like your conflating the weird portions of the environmentalist movement with most environmentally minded people. I certainly don't think Jose Bove represents mainstream environmentalists. I consider myself an environmentalist, in fact I consider the issue one of the most important facing us today, but I certainly think the sorts of people your talking about are crazy.

A certain amount of naturalism fallacy can be expected to gravitate to the environmentalist movement, and that's unfortunate, but most environmentalists aren't crazy.


A third category that we must distinguish from the other two is Vegans! They are a semi-branch of Hipsters.

They're an increasing pest in Melbourne. Here's a great review on these parasites of Western culture;

The meme's global popularity taps into a phenomenon that has captured the imagination, and the disdain, of Melbourne in a singular way: the hipster. Hipster, the word, brings to mind a certain type: male, white, skinny jeans, retro-inspired outfits, expensive haircuts, a barista who can tell you the name of the Fijian village the beans in your soy-flat-white were grown in. The kind of man who wears thick-rimmed spectacles and a full bushranger beard and can lecture you on free-trade quinoa and quote Joan Didion in the same breath. Of course, these images are just touchstones. The hipster is a bit like a cockroach: they vary a bit from place to place, but they all look much the same. Just like roaches, nobody likes them much and for many people the instinct on seeing one is to stomp it.

Since the hipsters first reared their heads, the right-thinking citizens of Melbourne have been at war with them. On blogs, on social media, in the editorials of our news media, there has been a proliferation of snide attacks at hipsterdom, a crusade, an almighty game of stacks on targeting anyone who looked at a fixed-gear bicycle and said, "Yes. That's a good idea". The hipster, the zeitgeist tells us, is dead.
Of course, that's nonsense. The hipster can't die. You can't win a war against hipsters because you can't kill hip, any less than you can define it. Who can say what a hipster is at any given moment? Nobody self-identifies as a hipster. It's an insult – really a pejorative shorthand for someone better dressed than you.

The hipster is just someone trying too hard to be cool, and cool is something that Australians grapple with like soap in the bath. For most of recent history, that means copying something we've seen on the telly. In Melbourne, where the rot set in hardest, that means a hybrid of the skinny-jeaned Shoreditch poseur and the full-bearded, flannel-shirted, Brooklyn lumberjack. The male hipster has a very visible taxonomy, even as they retreat into the safety of normcore fashion, which is just like clothes your dad might wear, only more expensive.
It's easy to make fun of those guys because they've gotten so far into dress-ups they are literally wearing their parent's clothes again. It's harder to admit we hate them because they remind us of ourselves. They are the ridiculous tip of the iceberg, the canaries in the cool-mine. Of course, at a certain point, trying to look good becomes ridiculous, but reaching that cut-off (pair of jeans) is a slippery slope.

Social media means that the second something is cool, the world knows about it. In an era when information travels faster than the speed of thought, when hip things are superseded the second they are discovered, it becomes harder and harder to find new things to be excited about and so fashionistas must search for increasingly esoteric pursuits. That's why you see otherwise sensible young men rocking fashions from the 1890s, right down to learning how to play the ukulele and smoke their own maple bacon. There's a kind of credulity that only hipsters seem capable of, and it hasn't gone unnoticed by marketers keen to cash in on the anti-marketing dollar. Five years ago, advertising giant Ogilvy Melbourne sold us Honda by seeing how many hipsters they could pack into one. The Meat and Livestock Association are starting to court social media to sell specialist cuts of beef. Real estate agents advertise the now ubiquitous "hipster lifestyle" in any property within fixie distance of a tram stop.

I've watched my inner-north suburb gentrify as a generation of aloof Italian widows are displaced by surly indie waiters, who actually dress pretty much the same. Every year the hipsters annex more territory and slowly, the horrifying truth is revealed. Hipsters haven't started dressing like civilians; civilians have started to become hipsters.

There's a myth that if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and boil it, it won't notice until it's too late that it is cooked. This is an analogy that could be applied to the hipster ground zero of Melbourne, only we would never boil a frog, because we are vegan. Melbourne became hipsterised so gradually that we are inured. Only the most grotesque, suspender-wearing form of hipsterdom is even visible to us any more. There are those with a certain je ne sais quoi, who we can all point at and yell "Hipster!" but that is the pot calling the vintage kettle black. Sadly, at this point, we all have a little hipster inside us. The war on the hipster is over not because it is dead, but because it won.

Take coffee. You can tell someone from Melbourne by the way they will sit in a cafe in any other town in the world: Bendigo, Canberra, Paris, and loudly complain about the coffee. To be fair, Melbourne has the best coffee in the world. There's no competition. Sydney gets the architecture, money, and sunshine, but we've got the coffee locked down. That's why we're perfectly happy to spend our weekend perched uncomfortably at the end of a milk-crate while the sleet drives us hypothermic. The coffee is ambrosia. It's also a ridiculous thing to base a culture on, but no more ridiculous than eating kale; a bitter, disgusting cabbage that middle-Australia adopted from the hipsters bringing it a popularity it hasn't had since the depression. Talk about retro chic!




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