Posted by Red Rider from dialup-188.8.131.52.Dial1.LosAngeles1.Level3.net (184.108.40.206) on Sunday, August 24, 2003 at 1:12PM :
In our hands
Just type the words "global warming" into any search engine and you will find a plethora of recent articles showing that every continent of the world is experiencing bizarre weather or even worse as a result of what 99 percent of scientists agree is the warming of the earth due to the burning of fossil fuels--oil, gas and coal.
The polar ice caps are melting. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is losing its coral. Africa, which contributes the least to global warming, is suffering the most. Ironically, the pollutants from more industrialized areas, which trap the earth's warmth, also provide those areas some regional protection from the sun's rays.
In North America, the West is undergoing severe drought while record rains have soaked the East. In Europe, temperatures have broken records all over. London just had its hottest day on record. Paris has become a 104-degree oven. Portugal and Spain have raging wildfires. Countries in Eastern Europe where no one has air conditioners and few have needed even fans are baking. Deaths from heat stroke are soaring.
The United States, with 5 percent of the world's population, emits 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. What is the Bush administration doing about this threat to all humanity? It is still trying to deny the science of global warming and has sabotaged international agreements. Even a conservative like Christine Whitman couldn't hack it as head of the Environmental Protection Agency and resigned.
What the world needs is a concerted effort to improve public transit; rebuild cities with fuel-efficient housing, green belts and parks for natural cooling in summer; eliminate wars and the military's fuel-guzzling ships, tanks and planes; and invest in developing practical ways to tap sustainable energy sources.
Is it a big job? Yes. Can it be done? Yes again. Can it be done under capitalism? Ah, there's the rub.
These days, even trying to get a few small reforms out of the reactionary U.S. capitalist class and its political flunkies is like rolling a boulder up a mountain. How can they come up with a plan to reverse a problem as far-reaching as global warming when they can't even agree on providing something as basic as drinking fountains and public toilets in most cities and towns?
There never was a time when humanity was more divided into rich and poor, have and have not. How can humans unite behind a common objective when their class and national interests are so opposed?
The only way out of the dilemmas posed by capitalism is socialist revolution. It takes social ownership of the economy to be able to plan rationally and put the general good first, before private interests. This is another tall order, but the mounting problems of life caused by capitalism--unemployment, racism, wars, the gutting of social services--are pushing millions toward a break with the status quo.
Revolutionaries are by nature optimistic. They know that popular struggle can move mountains. There is no pre-ordained fate awaiting the human race. The future of the planet for generations to come is in our hands.
Reprinted from the Aug. 21, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper
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-- Red Rider
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