Socialist Worker

Chance for climate movement to shine

Issue No. 2215

The Climate Camp meets this weekend in Edinburgh (see Climate campers target oil bankers) in a new and challenging political period for environmental activists.

Climate Camp has had some impressive successes. The decision not to expand Heathrow Airport and the cancellation of plans to build a new coal plant at Kingsnorth are in no small part due to the actions of those involved in this movement.

In this era of cuts and austerity it is highly appropriate that activists are targeting the banks.

But this new period also means activists need to think about how to campaign and organise.

For many environmentalists, particularly those involved in the more mainstream NGOs and campaign groups, this is a difficult moment.

The failure of the world’s elite to agree a solution to the climate crisis at the Copenhagen summit at the end of last year has led to much demoralisation and despair.

But environmental activists should also recognise that we are now entering a period where millions of ordinary people will be facing up to the reality of capitalism.

Attacks on public services, cuts in benefits and the assault on jobs will mean that working people will need to organise to protect their very livelihoods.

In this context environmental activists can have a major impact.

Rather than just raising defensive slogans, such as “Stop this Cut”, there is the chance to argue for positive green investment.

Instead of redundancy, climate jobs should be created in their millions.

The period of austerity that we are now facing is an opportunity for us to make environmental politics relevant to millions of people and involve them in the struggle.

It is a struggle that is not just for the planet, but for its people.

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What We Think
Tue 17 Aug 2010, 18:05 BST
Issue No. 2215
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