Can one be an environmentalist and a capitalist?

I don’t think so. But by saying this, am I putting off potential allies in the fight against global warming? Probably.

In his book The God Species, Mark Lynas rightly argues that saving the planet from global warming is about reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. It has nothing to do with overconsumption, morality, ideology or capitalism.

But how will we reduce these emissions without reducing overconsumption? Technology will only take us a short distance. We could try reducing population, but that is a thorny issue indeed. And if we do manage to reduce our consumption, can we just ignore the billions in the Third World whose livelihoods we have taken away? I don’t think they will let us, so we need a non-capitalist solution to provide for these people.

The truth is that capitalism has got us into this mess and is preventing us from getting out of it. As Frank Joseph Smecker and Derrick Jensen put it, it is a system that turns death into profit. It is the problem, not the solution.

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