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Climate Change Isn’t The Elephant In The Room… It’s Capitalism

By Loz Lawrey

In the arena of our public debate, various loud quacking voices seem to have recently fallen silent.

Australia’s national firestorm tragedy has driven many of the usual right-wing, Newscorp, coal lobby, anti-science climate change denialists back into their caves.

Stark factual reality has a way of subverting ideology and belief, no matter how strongly we cling to our chosen “views”. It’s hard to argue that climate change is a greenie conspiracy when its impacts are so evident: lives lost, homes destroyed, dreams shattered. Extreme weather events are now occurring on a global scale.

Where are Malcolm Roberts, Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin, et al? Where’s that guy who regularly rings ABC Radio talkback regurgitating the dodgy claims of Rupert Murdoch’s opinionators?

The battlefield of climate change debate is now littered (figuratively) with the bodies of the denialist fallen.

Who shall fight the good fight on behalf of the billionaire class to repel those hordes of scientists, with all their researched facts and evidence, before they take the castle of the plutocrats?

Don’t worry, Gina. Don’t worry, Rupert… you still have Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly, those staunch legionnaires, out there proselytising on your behalf: “Reality be damned!” they cry. “Facts don’t matter, it’s how you interpret them.”

Despite the crisis unfolding across Australia, there they were, slytherin soulmates strutting the world stage, making total galahs of themselves:

Former politician Abbott, still dwelling in the mental labyrinth of denialist delusion, was hard at work, helpfully explaining on Israeli Radio that “Australia is in the grip of a climate cult!”… (Giggle. This from he who is known as the “Mad Monk”, failed priest of the darkest cult on the planet): Tony Abbott, former Australian PM, tells Israeli radio the world is ‘in the grip of a climate cult’.

Meanwhile, backbencher Craig Kelly’s overt rejection of climate science drew scorn, contempt and condemnation from conservative commentator Piers Morgan on Britain’s ITV:



In fact, when it comes to addressing climate change our Prime Minister has drawn great criticism from world leaders globally.

As our national fire crisis unfolds and Australia burns as never before, world leaders look on aghast, openly criticising our inept and possibly criminal government for its lack of response.

It takes a brave idiot to claim “nothing to see here, it’s just another drought and the greenies won’t let us do hazard reduction burns”.

Sadly, in our country idiots have never been in short supply, brainwashed over time by the conservative right, high priests of the cult of greed that is capitalism.

Capitalism. It’s been with us a long time and its legacy of planetary destruction must be confronted before it’s too late.

Look at Australia. In just 200 years we, the foreign invaders of British/European descent, have trashed the place. Our land management practices (or lack thereof?) have left this nation well on the way to becoming, forever, a scorching desert.

This didn’t have to happen. Imagine a scenario where white men came as visitors from abroad, with open minds and hearts and respect for the dark-skinned inhabitants of this great continent, eager to learn and understand their language, their local customs and culture.

After all, who really had historical seniority when Cook’s pale-faced sailors stumbled ashore in Botany Bay in 1770? Britain was only founded in 1536. It was historically and culturally a baby in comparison to Australia’s native population, who, evidence tells us, have occupied this continent for some 50,000 years.

The “western civilisation” we so often hear about from conservatives such as Tony Abbott is nothing more than an unschooled baby compared to Aboriginal civilisation, with its 50,000 years of learning and cultural development.

“Western civilisation” was exported from Europe and Britain. For native Indians in America or Aborigines in Australia, it meant genocide and attempted cultural annihilation imposed, always, by gun violence.

In their arrogance, the European arrivistes saw themselves as superior and “civilised”, the local natives as “savages”. And yet the real savagery came with the gun culture of the invaders.

The British Empire globally was founded on savagery, yet the perpetrators of that savagery always perceive themselves as the champions of “civilisation”.

Of course, with “civilisation” came capitalism.

Capitalism, that greed-driven system of private ownership and profit-driven exploitation of people and resources. The system we’ve been stuck with since the dark days of feudalism.

Capitalism. That free-market economy “winner-takes-all-and-let-the-rest-perish-in-poverty-amidst-the-scorched-remains-of-a-ruined-planet” system so beloved of the rich and the business elites.

Yes, the “top end of town” does actually exist. Driven by greed, they use their wealth and power to perpetuate denialist claims and maintain the status quo that suits their agenda of self-interest.

I’ve been on this planet for nearly seventy years, and since my first visit to a local rubbish tip in Wyong, NSW as a child, capitalism has never seemed “quite right”.

How could a system that requires constant “growth” ever be sustainable in the long term, in a finite world? Surely thinking people have always been aware that we live in a fool’s paradise? Our resources were always bound to run out and despite our refusal to admit it, we’ve always subconsciously known they would, eventually.

Since I looked down, as a young teenager, from the deck of an ocean liner, at the man-made rubbish floating in the ocean, capitalism has always seemed suspect to me.

And yet we were born into this system and it’s all we’ve ever known.

Over the years I’ve watched what can only be called the beast of western imperialist capitalism devour whole sections of humanity through war, politically-driven genocide, poverty and famine.

Distracted as we all are by the need to survive, to provide for our families and loved ones, most of us find little time to consider in depth the broader context of human existence – the world as we make it. We’re all bobbing like corks on the ocean, just trying to stay afloat.

And now we’re also trying to avoid being consumed by fires such as we’ve never experienced before, fires that result directly from anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change.

Climate change, the bastard child of capitalism.

Capitalism, which will never acknowledge or admit to its own destructive impacts upon our environment and our societies.

Capitalism, that abusive system which has only ever truly served the privileged few.

Capitalism, that cult of greed which preferences the worship of money over respect for life itself.

Capitalism, not climate change, is the real elephant in the room.

Now that Australia is ablaze, those of us who, infuriated by the denialism of the greedy, have seen these impacts coming for years, take no pleasure in “I told you so’s”.

We sense a quickening in the public consciousness, an awareness that we may be reaching the awful degree of human suffering necessary for us to finally admit there’s a problem and do something about it.

As always, our media feed us distractions such as more nonsense from Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly. It all feels like yet more reactionary bait-and-switch, a “look over there!” diversion from the real issue.

As long as we keep debating the existence or otherwise of climate change and do nothing in real terms to change our behaviour, our headlong rush towards self-destruction continues apace.

Capitalism has always been detrimental to much of humanity. Yet we’ve tolerated it because it wears the sheep’s clothing of “freedom” or “liberty” and offers the promise of “growth”. It has always painted itself as the “least bad” system available to us.

It’s time to admit that this “least bad” system is, in fact, bloody terrible.

And now we’re facing the final dystopian impacts capitalism always threatened, through human-induced climate change, to deliver.

To those who are now saying “we-need-to-admit-climate-change-is-real-and- have-a-conversation-about-it,” I say no.

We need to address the real problem: capitalism. We need a new system.

We need to change our behaviour and the very way we live.

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  1. Socrates.

    They cant waste money on Australians and putting out bush fire because they seriously considering blowing more quartz back to sand in the Middle East.
    Bloodshed and theft cost money, you know.

  2. Graeme Taylor

    Of course capitalism is a problem, but we need to address the root cause of capitalism being dominant on these lands which do not belong to us nor to the Crown. These are stolen lands, and even the highest imposed court said as much (Mabo 2, 1992)>
    Yet still, The Crown is said to own all the minerals and resources here, such that the True Owners have no Veto over mining or water.
    Just of note, where you write
    “After all, who really had historical seniority when Cook’s pale-faced sailors stumbled ashore in Botany Bay in 1770?”
    The answer is obvious, and was obvious to Cook too, which is why he made no claim to any of New Holland when he charted the east coast, correcting the Charts he had brought with him.
    There was a lot of tinkering with Cook’s Journals back in England, and a series of changes were inserted.
    It is noteworthy too that “The Crown” is an entity co-owned by the London Bankers and uses the Monarch as Nominee for their Corporation Sole. In many ways, The Crown is the mother of Anglo Capitalism, and in part the reason so many Tax Havens are British Crown Colonies.
    Here’s some detail on the doctoring of Cook’s Journal.

  3. Phil Pryor

    You say what I’ve been saying in numerous posts recently, and over time. Australia’s old imperial connections brought practices and attitudes to ensure over two centuries of malpractice, stupidity, persistent ignorance in the face of better knowledge, denials, plagues, pests, monocultures, exotic intrusiveness, overstocking, overclearing, erosions, soil mismanagement, the whole effing box and dice of country party practice, culture, tradition, inflated fantasy. The same boofhead idiocy continues in the Kelly, Joyce, Mc Moron, Littletobeproudof and Barilaro, all done with a Mussolini type overconfidence in their own inflated, penis like personality disorders and delusions. Australia is poxed, cursed, threatened and afflicted by all this, patronised by a Yankee Poopot of media maggotry madness.

  4. Harry Lime

    Absolutely right on all counts,as more than a few of us know,it seems that only when we are knee deep in cataclysm will enough people realise the total disaster we are confronting.We’re going to find out soon,what with the Orange Horror precipitating war in the Middle East (An election year with things looking grim),Our system is going to change whether we like it or not,the rich and corrupt not withstanding.I weep for my grandchildren.

  5. crypt0

    For 60,000 years plus, the Indigenous people lived in Australia, and then the white man arrived.
    He MIGHT get to 300 years, and by then Mars will be looking good.
    How long Australia is prepared to endure this Morriscum “government” will determine whether we deserve, or have any hope of a future.
    Morriscum may think he’s going along alright, with the Murdoch media covering for him at every turn, but look out ScumMo … the Australian voter to date,has been very slow to catch on, but the word is out on you … all across the world. And just maybe, in this country.

  6. Harry Lime

    Good evening Phil,I’m with you.

  7. Brozza

    I really liked the concept expressed in the Star Trek series.
    No money or capitalism and people working for the benefit of all, not a privileged few.
    Sadly, Star Trek is the fiction that the global horror story of capitalism should be.

  8. Aortic

    Countries in Scandinavia, some reputed to be the happiest places in the world, levy a higher rate of tax which provides absolute certainty that the essentials like health and education are available free to all. Just imagine proposing such a ” socialistic” system to those supposedly in charge in the USA. It would smack of the dreaded socialism which is anathema to the profit driven corporations to the absolute detriment of the ordinary people. The moguls promulgate the message, and the gullibles believe it that there are no poor people in America only temporarily indisposed millionaires. As long as Wall Street flourishes apparently all will be well in the land. Same here. If you have a go you’ll get a go. Tax cuts and surpluses are good for all. Privitisation of health care and aged care has worked out well apparently and the aged doped to the eyeballs and fed crap are lucky to be cared for in such a fashion. Minimal untrained staff ensure the private providers make a healthy profit. Health and wealth mentioned in the same sentence cannot bode well for patient care. The last vestiges of true democracy died when Socrates preached his message to the attendant punters who either approved and adopted or disapproved and left, leaving him to at least ponder what was the wish of the people. Now we are manipulated by the likes of Murdoch, Gina and Clive, and if anyone considers that democracy, your negative gearing and franking credits are showing prominently.

  9. Matters Not

    Aortic re:

    Countries in Scandinavia … levy a higher rate of tax

    Indeed they do. But perhaps more importantly, they refuse to sell off their natural resources like oil and gas. Instead, they keep them in public ownership with the very healthy profits also added to the (already bulging) public purse. So much so, university education (for example) up to and including Masters level is effectively ‘free of charge’ not only to their citizens but also foreign nationals who choose to enrol. An educational nirvana – delivered ‘debt free’.

    Compare and contrast those arrangements with what happens in the US and Australia, for example, and then decide which Nations has the ‘national interest’ at heart.

    F#cking socialists!

  10. DrakeN

    From a Capitalist point of view, we have the best government that money can buy.

    And an Opposition to match.

  11. Andrew Smith

    Always been the way? Many of history’s most significant global companies have been global US fossil fuels and auto related, responsible for climate change (causes) for their own capitalism and self interest.

    The strategy has been to use eco-fascism bringing together conservation, white nationalism, population control, pseudo science Club of Rome construct ‘Limits to Growth’ and immigration restrictions as supposed environmental movement; while doing nothing or at least avoiding any substantive actions that may impact future fossil fuel and auto income streams.

    Jeff Sparrow in The Guardian is the first Oz journalist I’m aware of to point out these links (citing both Paul Ehrlich and John Tanton), including the now White House immigration policy:

  12. may hem

    and under capitalism is patriarchy.

  13. Pingback: Climate Change Isn’t The Elephant In The Room… It’s Capitalism – » The Australian Independent Media Network | RGN Media

  14. Helle Gerbild

    It is obvious that capitalism is the cause of the climate disaster

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