(Lecture at Torino Univercity, Italy, 1 April 2008)
The Ecological crisis as part of the present multi-dimensional crisis and Inclusive Democracy
The aims of my lecture are the following:
a. To examine the rapidly deteriorating ecological crisis and the myths about it, as well as to assess the main approaches to deal with it,
b. To consider the Inclusive Democracy approach, its rationale with respect to the present multi-dimensional crisis and its proposals on how to get out of this crisis in general and the ecological crisis in particular.
1. THE RAPIDLY DETERIORATING ECOLOGICAL CRISIS: THE MYTHS ABOUT IT AND THE MAIN APPROACHES TO DEAL WITH IT
There is no doubt today that a major dimension of the present multidimensional crisis, which extends to the economic, political, cultural and general social level, is the ecological crisis, namely the crisis which concerns not the relations between social individuals, as the other dimensions of the crisis, but our interaction, as social individuals, with the environment. The upsetting of ecological systems, the widespread pollution, the threat to renewable resources, as well as the running out of non-renewable resources and, in general, the rapid downgrading of the environment and the quality of life have made the ecological implications of economic growth manifestly apparent in the past 30 years.
Furthermore, it has now been established beyond any doubt that the ecological crisis and particularly the greenhouse effect ―as well as the consequent climate change― which is the most important manifestation of this crisis, worsens daily. In fact, last year’s Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finally brought the ecological crisis to the status of universal front-page news. The catastrophic climatic change threatening us all because of the greenhouse effect becomes obvious once we take into account that, even if we take the best-case scenario of a 2.2C rise in temperature this century (while a 4.4C rise is much more likely!), this would mean ―according to the European Commission― that an extra 11,000 people in Europe would die within a decade, and from 2071 onwards there would be 29,000 extra deaths a year in southern Europe alone, on top of 27,000 extra deaths in northern Europe. In fact, as this summer showed, these predictions may be highly optimistic!
However, the publication of the IPCC report was also accompanied by an entire mythology in the international mass media on the causes of the deepening ecological crisis and the ways out of it. This mythology is being reproduced, not only by the political and economic elites, but also by the reformist Left and the Green movement, who declare, "the crisis belongs to all" (governments and civil societies alike). It would, therefore, be well worth examining the main ecological myths, taking for granted the shocking conclusions of the report, which simply confirms ―using indisputable evidence― the worst predictions of the anti-systemic Left and ecologists which, until now, have been dismissed by the elites and the reformists as “scaremongering”! Furthermore, examining in some detail these myths will hopefully help to understand not only the causes of the ecological crisis, but also the ways out of it.
A. The Myths about the ecological crisis
The myth that humanity in general has to be blamed for the crisis