An opinion piece looking at climate change and discussing the implications of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. This is the first article of a two-part series, on SolarPunk.
When it comes to the consequences of Climate Change, the lesson we all took from the Conference of the Parties is clear. There is nothing more important than acting fast, decisively and with the future in mind. That's why in Glasgow world leaders decided to slowly phase out fossil fuels, after being persuaded to, allowing global temperatures to rise enough to see whole countries eliminated in the near future. We won't lose these nations through war, genocide or forgetfulness. We will lose them from our inability to address concerns many have had for years.
Our rising global temperatures are going to cause the extinction of many island and coastal nations including Bangladesh, a country whose population is double that of the UK's. But where will their people go? They'll become some of the first Climate Migrants. People forced out of their homes through what could be deemed as an act of the Gods.
As nearly two hundred million people travel the world looking for somewhere above the rapidly rising sea levels to call home, the Global North will still be debating whether more oil fields are the way to go. We are acting totally oblivious to the irreparable damage we are causing.
It's easy in countries like ours to see Climate Change as a foreign issue, or even to feel helpless when world leaders will call for Climate Action one day then approve a new drilling operation the next. But we need to mobilise. We need everyone on the same recycled page. We need action to address the world Climate Inaction is going to create. I propose a new world entirely.
I must stress this isn't being proposed the same way Billionaires are proposing this. If they can fund a mission to Mars they can stop paying their workers poverty wages and help fund schemes that will allow nations to divert to renewable energy sources. No, my proposal is to entirely rethink our economic and social systems.
Since the Industrial revolution our focus has been on work. We must work to create products, which helps a faceless corporation to make a rich man richer. We need to seriously consider whether Capitalism is the right economic model for our world to run on when that is the system that has allowed global temperatures to rise. It is only healthy in any organisation to occasionally pause, take stock of progress and review options. So why Capitalism cannot follow this idea is a mystery to me.
A shift from large scale production and international conglomerates to a focus on small local co-operatives and businesses with the needs of communities in mind would go a long way. Employment opportunities would not be confined to overcrowded cities with rising levels of air pollution. Workers would never have to put up with a faceless entity treating their labour and their time as expendable. And most importantly, our neighbourhoods would flourish. That's because the vision I present to you is one of Eco-Socialism. I present to you - Solarpunk.