By Sophie Squire
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System change to save nature

The system's thirst for fossil fuels drives climate change. That's why we need system change to protect the environment
Protesters marched through London in November 2022 against world’s leaders climate inaction at the Cop27 conference (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Protesters marched through London in November 2022 against world’s leaders climate inaction at the Cop27 conference (Picture: Guy Smallman)

The march to Restore Nature this Saturday could fill London’s streets with rage at the politicians’ and corporations’ complete lack of urgency in dealing with climate and ecological breakdown.

The demonstration is backed by direct action groups Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.

And it’s also supported by much more mainstream forces such as The National Trust and the RSPB birds’ charity.

Organisers say the protest’s aims include a “pay rise for nature”, meaning a doubling of budgets for nature and climate-friendly farming.

Demands also include making polluters pay for the damage they do, delivering more space for nature, putting the right to a healthy environment into law and ensuring fair and effective climate action.

It’s good that so many groups are coming together to fight for nature.

In the past, charities such as the Wildlife Trust have mobilised large numbers of their members onto the streets.

That’s an important first step. But it will take radical, anti-system action and policies to stop ecological collapse.

Polluters What would it really mean to make polluters pay, for example?

A study published in 2022 found that emissions from the United States, the world’s largest historical emitter, cost the world more than £1.6 trillion in climate damages between 1990 and 2014.

A 2017 report found just 100 fossil fuel companies were responsible for producing 71 percent of all global greenhouse gases emitted since 1988.

Tackling US imperialism and the fossil fuel economy means confrontation with a system based on profit that produces war and poverty as well as climate collapse.

Global spending on nuclear weapons increased by 13 percent to a record of £73 billion during 2023, according to calculations from the group International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons campaign.

The new total is driven largely by sharply increased military budgets in the US.

Capitalism means that bosses and nation states are locked into endless competition where they will go to ever great lengths to accumulate wealth.

This comes at a terrible cost to the environment but those in power won’t break from fossil fuels.

In their attempts to maintain the system as it is, politicians are signing the death warrants of millions of people across the world, first in the Global South and then here.

The biodiversity crisis—meaning the extinction of many plant and animal species—is also an existential threat to human beings.

Extinction A recent report found that one in six animal and plant species in Britain are at risk of extinction due to climate change and the destruction of their habitats.

And threats to animal, plant and insect life affect human food chains.

The endpoint of a biodiversity crisis is uninhabitable places across the world where nothing grows.

But as we head ever closer to disaster, those in power water down or abandon their climate promises.

For the last 14 years of their rule, the Tories have failed to implement most of the pledges they made supposedly to protect nature.

They promised to release a National Action Plan on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides—the report has yet to be published.

They also said they would ban the trade of goods linked to illegal deforestation and come up with a strategy to stop chemicals being dumped in rivers.

The Tories have broken both of these promises.

And they watered down already weak net-zero policies while handing new oil and gas licences to companies seeking profits in the North Sea.

Labour won’t offer much better. The party’s green pledges in their recent manifesto were uninspiring.

Both parties have justified abandoning climate issues by saying ordinary people only care about economic issues, not “woke” climate pledges.

The demonstration on Saturday is an excellent opportunity to show all those in power that the future of the planet still matters to ordinary people.

Humans are part of nature. We need a world of workers’ democracy and participation which protects all aspects of the environment.

We need system change to defend nature and our environment.

Restore Nature Now, Sat 22 June, 12 noon, Park Lane, London W1K

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