4 Responses

  1. John Barkdull August 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm |

    I realize this article was posted some time ago and thus my comment may be untimely. However, when Ian claims that no one asserts that the end of the world is nigh, it might help to clarify what we mean by the end. No, the planet per se won’t be destroyed, and it’s quite likely that no matter what humans do the insects and microbes, among others, will find a way to survive. Few would dispute this. However, the assertion that human existence is threatened is quite common, including from an author Ian cites, JB Foster. For most of us, the end of the human species is close enough to count as the end of the world. It would certainly count as a catastrophe, especially when one ponders the probable violence and disruption that would accompany the process of population reduction from more than 7 billion to zero. I suspect that Gindin and others have in mind something like that (or maybe the end of civilization as we know it) rather than the physical extinction of life on the planet. So their objection is to rhetoric that suggests human extinction is threatened within decades, which is a claim not absent among climate activists.

  2. John Sharkey July 22, 2014 at 12:49 pm |

    One thing us ecosocialists and other assorted environmentalists have to stop doing is claiming that capitalism is destroying the planet. That is ‘catastrophism,’not to mention carelessness or perhaps just human arrogance.
    According to the science (see J Hanson) there have been five major planetary die off events going back to the ‘beginning’. None of them destroyed the planet. It took some time, but life always came back just fine.
    During our anthroprogenic (human induced climate change moment) epoch we may well do serious damage to this thin thin layer of habitable biosphere we call ‘nature’. It can all be wiped out, including of course us, and the planet will still go on its merry way and be none the worse off.
    The climate science is pretty solid on what is causing climate change and on the possible consequences unless we do something about it pretty quick. As we know scientists in general and climate scientist in particular (the ones not working for the petroleum industry) tend to be quite conservative about their work. They’re not know to make exaggerated claims about their research.
    So let’s remember that capitalism can do serious damage to us and the environment…but it will not destroy the planet.

  3. Peter Gose July 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm |

    The ironic thing about Gindin’s position is that he constantly emphasizes our need to be realistic about the left’s current weakness. Surely this is almost as much of a downer as being realistic about the severity of the environmental crisis. But it’s okay to dwell on the former but not the latter. Go figure.

  4. Douglas Williams July 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm |

    This article made me newly-aware of an insidious aspect of all the left-liberal sites that pop up on my FaceBook page. THEY are the “environmental catastrophists” in question. They function as lefty muck-raking yellow journalism while posing for the uninitiated as “The Left.” Each attempts to out-do the other in dire prediction, provoking anger while offering no solution. The overall effect may be an intended paralysis: Life will End Tomorrow and the Forces Causing it are Unstoppable, so Let’s Give Up. Fact is, the real left is socialist, not liberal, and the catastrophists function as straw men for the right to knock down. Thanks, Ian, for clarifying the role of the real i.e. socialist left.

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