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climate change

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Michelle Goldberg

Liberals want leftwing votes, but they dismiss leftwing goals. Michelle Goldberg says Democrats must “court” nihilistic leftists, but what does courtship mean? Supporting a warmonger, Hillary Clinton, because she’s a foreign policy genius. And the same on health care and the climate crisis: we are supposed to settle for policies that are at best inadequate and at worst catastrophic. Who are the nihilists here?

U.S. Army Sgt. stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaylah Oil Fields in Southern Iraq, Apr. 2, 2003. (Photo: US Navy/Wikimedia)

The Anthropocene is a proposed new geological epoch which designates a shift to a planetary age dominated by human impacts across the geological processes of the Earth. But the Anthropocene is about far more than just climate change. It is about an entire system of life, whose design is to maximise resource extraction at the expense of expendable ‘Others’, and it is inseparable from the ceaseless sequence of industrial wars, culminating in today’s permanent state of the endless ‘war on terror’.

Activists with the organization Extinction Rebellion block the streets outside the Bank of England on April 25, 2019. (Photo: Mike Kemp via Getty Images)

The rise of populism in both its rightwing and leftwing manifestations, and the more general political polarization in our societies, are the symptoms of a breakdown in trust, a collapse of consensus, a rupture of the social contract. Jonathan Cook says today we desperately need the populism of Extinction Rebellion, of Greta Thunberg and the school strikes, of politicians prepared to stand by a Green New Deal and declare real climate emergencies.

Drone footage of displaced family tents in one settlement in Badghis, Afghanistan, due to ongoing drought and climate change. There are thousands of makeshift homes spread between mountain hills on the outskirt of Qala-i-naw city. (Photo: Norwegian Refugee Council/Enayatullah Azad)

A recent UN global assessment confirms that the planet is currently experiencing 2,500 conflicts over fossil fuels, water, food and land — conflicts which are therefore directly related to the ongoing collapse of the earth’s biodiversity. Yet, political leaders are preoccupied with the surface symptoms of this fundamental crisis of civilization, rather than the crisis itself.

White stork birds flying in the West Bank city of Jenin, on March 13, 2019. According to the recent IPBES Global Assessment, close to 20 percent of all bird species on Earth are at threat of extinction. (Photo: Shadi Jarar'ah/APA Images)

We are witnessing the loss of biodiversity at rates never before seen in human history. According to the world’s largest assessment of biodiversity nearly a million species face extinction if humans do not fundamentally change our relationship with the natural world. Dr. Michelle Lim says the world’s legal, institutional, and economic systems must be reformed entirely in order to halt the continued loss of nature, and that listening to Indigenous communities is an essential first step.

Palestinian children fill bottles with water from a public tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, July 1, 2014. Israel had bombed the main water line for al-Shati refugee camp and a sewage plant west of Gaza City. (Photo: Eyad Al Baba/APA Images)

A biosphere refers to the interaction of all living things with the natural resources that sustain them. Mark Zeitoun and Ghassan Abu Sitta write that Gaza has become a “biosphere of war”, where “sanctions, blockades and a permanent state of war affects everything that humans might require in order to thrive, as water becomes contaminated, air is polluted, soil loses its fertility and livestock succumb to diseases. People in Gaza who may have evaded bombs or sniper fire have no escape from the biosphere.”

Palestinian civil defense volunteers help people to travel across flood waters in Gaza City following rain storms, on December 14, 2013. A fierce winter storm shut down much of the Middle East at that time, burying Jerusalem in snow, and flooding parts of Gaza. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

In her recent paper “Climate Change, the Occupation, and a Vulnerable Palestine,” Zena Agha outlines the threat that climate change presents to Palestine, how it is exacerbated by the Israeli occupation, and the steps being taken, or not being taken, to prepare for it. Adam Horowitz talks with Agha about what climate change means for the future of Palestine and the Middle East, and how it should fit into the Palestine solidarity movement agenda.