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March 24, 2013

ESSAY: The Green Liberty Party

The "Earth is dying if we let it. Without ecology there can be no economy. Stop burning and cutting, work less and live more. Live free and green, or die" Political Philosophy.

Human growth in population and industry, at the expense of ecosystems is destroying the natural world, causing mass extinction, abrupt climate change, and economic as well as biosphere collapse. The challenge facing humanity, the greatest challenge of all time, is to foster a political, social, and economic transformation that realigns the human project with its ecosystem habitat.

The corporate-owned American two-party duopoly has proven to be corrupt, unethical, and profoundly ecologically unsustainable. It is time for a political agenda that values all species and ecosystems and plans for the long-term well-being of humanity and all life. It is time for global political Earth revolution to sustain land, water, and air and to achieve universal human rights and economic fairness.


Earth Meanders by Dr. Glen Barry
Personal essays from Earth's Newsdesk with Ecological Internet

ECOLOGY CENTRAL

New Earth Rising
Earth is collapsing and dying. Humanity is systematically destroying the biodiversity, ecosystems, climate, and biosphere upon which all life depends. Earth's ecosystems continue to be plundered for profit as if air, land, water and oceans have no intrinsic value. Climate change is an important yet singular part of a more widespread collapse of the global biosphere – the thin mantle of life arrayed in ecosystems surrounding the planet – as industrial growth destroys nature for stuff.

There remains only a short time to stop the industrial growth machine from irreparably destroying the biosphere. There is NO replacement, no backup biosphere. Either the human family comes together now to cut emissions and protect ecosystems, or being may well end – certainly well-being.

The central tenets of a Green Liberty political philosophy affirm that abrupt climate change, global ecosystem loss, and biosphere collapse threaten the well-being of the entire human family and of all life. This crisis is only survivable if we drastically cut emissions and move at once to protect natural ecosystems. Continued exponential human and industrial growth at the expense of life-giving ecosystems can only end in ecological and social collapse. We have met ecocide, and it is us. Yet not even this ecocidal state of affairs excuses loss of humanity's inherent rights, freedom, and duties.

Earth's people want and deserve universal democracy, political liberty, economic justice, and sustained ecology for everyone, for the whole world, and they want it now. It is time for a monumental global political realignment as lovers of ecology and liberty unite to topple the ecocidal nanny state and corporate oligarchy, at the ballot box and marketplace when possible, otherwise in the streets.

The human industrial growth machine is systematically liquidating the ecosystems upon which all life depends. At its root, abrupt climate change is one of many crises, others including overpopulation, ecocidal industrial growth, ecosystem loss and diminishment (especially the oceans and old-growth forests), inequity amidst plenty, and failed human development that equates advancement with ecocide.

Without ecology there can be no economy. Either the human family together invests in ecosystems and renewable energy, or else abrupt climate change and ecological collapse kill us. Industrial economic growth as it has widely been practiced by large corporations and individuals alike destroys ecosystems, collapses climate and biosphere, and destroys habitat, murdering all life.

It is absolutely vital that political initiatives evolve to transition the ecocidal industrial growth machine to a steady-state economy. "Growth" comes at the expense of Earth. Growth is not, nor will it ever be, infinite.

Earth faces a time of Great Dying as industrial growth destroys species, climate, ecosystems and the biosphere. Just as land can be turned to desert, and oceans become dead zones, Earth's biosphere can collapse and become lifeless. Planetary boundary science suggests that Earth's climate, biodiversity, and nitrogen limits have already been exceeded, and new science ( http://bit.ly/EIBiosphere ) by myself with Ecological Internet suggests that the carrying capacity of terrestrial ecosystems has been surpassed as well.

We must learn to sustain ourselves within intact ecological systems, protecting existing old-growth forests while restoring ecosystems and practicing organic permaculture and other agro-ecological systems. We need a green libertarian political movement to sustain freedom and ecology, and we are going to have to take power to rein in the extremes of industrial capitalism for the sake of ecosystems and universal human rights and well-being.

WAR IS MURDER

We are one human family – divided by nation, class, and religious fables – yet utterly dependent upon ecosystems, climate, and kindred species for life. Yet we continue to kill each other over myths and opinions, and to assert the right to exploit one another and Earth.

The fraudulent American Dream has been revealed as depending upon unsustainably destroying natural ecosystems required for life on credit at the point of a gun. A state of perma-war exists to lock in place existing inequities, injustices, and ecologically unsustainable consumption patterns.

After a million revenge killings, has the U.S. avenged 9/11 yet? Can we stop attacking sovereign countries and address abrupt climate change, ecological collapse, and the lack of universal human rights, justice, and equity? The Democrats claim to be for peace, civil liberties, and environment – yet their own president's policies wage robot drone–based perma-war, justify murdering American citizens, and promote ecocide. The Republicans have destroyed America with over a decade of profligate incautious war-mongering. They are often brutish, nasty, uninformed people.

President Barack Obama's policy of drone based perma-war makes him a war criminal; his lack of action to limit abrupt climate change means he is guilty of ecocide. The same is true for his supporters who choose to let these massive failures go unchallenged, because he is so "progressive." There is no hope to be found in endless war and final ecosystem collapse on Obama's watch. There is no comfort that he is less bad than the other corporatist and ecocidal political party.

It is vital to human well-being that attack drones be banned immediately, starting with the U.S., or all hell will break out. This coincides with the need to ban nuclear weapons, demobilize most standing armies, and implement a global police force to thwart terrorist and financial crimes. In the U.S. the military budget of occupation must be slashed.

The military-industrial-Congressional complex is running America into the ground, profiting from a state of perma-war and virtually ignoring ecological collapse – the gravest threat to the security of all. It is time to get the government back to doing the handful of things it can do well, and must do – like defense of its borders, safeguarding minority rights against the majority, and protecting the commons, especially the environment – and out of the business of military adventurism, foreign and domestic.

It is time to demobilize, shrinking America's war machine to levels commensurate with other nations and to lead the world toward disarmament. Standing armies are a relatively recent phenomenon, and they have sapped Earth's life and human welfare long enough. A global state of non-militarized peace must be achieved to end war murders, and this is going to require equitable and just mediation of grievances, while implementing the requirements for global ecological sustainability.

GREEN EQUITY

It is crazy how hard people in the indebted, overdeveloped world work. It is possible to live in such a way as to work less, just being well and feeling love and other good thoughts more, and polluting less. It is time to slow down, power down, and till the soil, plant agro-ecosystems, nurture and restore old forests, live with what we grow, and create with our hands in service to Earth.

Billions of people overconsume every day, as billions of others suffer unmet basic needs. Each in their own way – through a combination of sheer numbers and inequity – are destroying the ecosystems necessary for life. There is no surviving exponential growth that feeds upon itself. Growth in industry, population, and ecosystem loss will have to end using all just means necessary.

Global and national social and material inequities are obscene. The rich elite must settle for merely 10 or 20 times as much income as their workers, instead of hundreds of times, so all basic life needs of humans and nature can be met. If the average annual salary were $50,000, the brightest and hardest-working could still make $500,000 to a million. Surely this is enough in a limited world.

Just by virtue of being born, every human must be guaranteed basic needs. No more mega-rich as billions suffer and die, living short brutal lives on a dollar or two per day. Working hours for jobs that guarantee a living wage can be cut to 32-hour weeks, as we work less to buy unneeded things. Learning, experience, travel, and cultural exchange opportunities will be promoted while taxing heavily consumption of stuff.

Big nanny government and billionaire corporatists arose from ecocidal plundering of Earth's ecosystems. Government and industry are largely based upon destroying global liberty and the biosphere. Both corporatism and big government must end if life is to survive.

Ending poverty doesn't justify endless ecocidal growth, at the ever-advancing cost of liquidating natural ecosystems and fouling our atmosphere, an impossible path on a finite planet. Rather the focus for ecologically and socially sustainable development should be meeting basic needs with some of life's luxuries for all, with a reasonable bit more for those who work hard and are gifted. At the same time, generosity as a measure of virtuous character must become a cultural ideal.

Economies must be repurposed to meeting basic human needs in an ecologically and socially sustainably manner. Localized, bioregional-based markets to exchange community surplus, as well as financial instruments to meet basic human needs for shelter and security, are fine. Industrial and personal exploitation based upon ecocide must end, along with endless financial paper with no real-world backing.

Tiny reforms won't stop abrupt climate change or ecological collapse. Together we must end industrial growth and fossil fuel dependence and instead protect and restore natural ecosystems. It is time to power down and go back to the land for our livelihoods. There is no other way to either survive or thrive, and those who don't will perish.

Government is far too large and has grown oppressive. Government spending must be slashed by 75 percent, partly by downsizing military imperialism and partly by narrowing “entitlements” to the truly needy. A small remnant military force and priority protection of ecosystems could greatly reduce sovereign expenditures, leaving the rest of local needs to bioregions.

Humanity must immediately begin a transition program away from fossil fuels. Land and know-how must be provided for people to tend old-growth forests, organic gardens, and ecological regeneration. Huge investments must be made in technological, transportation, and ecological infrastructure.

Pollution isn't free. A global carbon tax to properly price the huge external costs of fossil fuels is the single biggest step that could be taken immediately to limit abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse.

Universal health care and education, and a basic living, are human rights. Less government will lead to a renaissance in arts, science, and creativity; strengthened communities, and an end to the war on drugs, instead treating those that are sick. Terrorism will be addressed as a criminal matter, with the harshest penalties swiftly meted out.

Other key elements of a progressive green libertarian agenda include self-determination for women and a basic standard of well-being that continues from childhood for a lifetime. Civil liberties must never be usurped in the name of a security that is mere words. If you don't hurt ecosystems and others, expect to be left alone to your own devices, to create and live upon what you make and grow with your hands and mind.

AVOIDING ECOLOGICAL COLLAPSE

Modern, technological comforts are a charade, based on burning finite fossil fuels at the expense of the planet's habitability, and they will soon end for the privileged few. Then what? Now that it is abundantly clear that abrupt climate change has arrived, what are we going to do about it? To start, we must immediately move to power down fossil fuel emissions and to protect and restore old, natural, and connected ecosystems.

Nothing grows forever. Infinite economic growth in a finite ecological world is impossible; the attempt destroys ecosystems necessary for life and can only lead to global ecological collapse. The European disease of industrial revolution arose and annihilated countless traditional ways of living sustainably, closely with nature. We need to regain and expand this lost knowledge of right living with each other and with Earth.

The planet’s one shared biosphere is collapsing and dying under the strain of the insatiable and ecocidal human industrial growth machine. The catastrophic implications of abrupt climate change and ecosystem loss are poorly understood, as are the revolutionary magnitude of required solutions. Nothing short of a total societal transformation led by women will do.

We humans must learn to govern ourselves in ways that are ecologically sustainable, just, and equitable even as we take pains not to destroy our habitat. Advancement cannot mean wholesale slaughter of non-human life (and each other), unfairly destroying the ecosystem homes of all life, including ourselves, for the sake of throwaway junk. To survive, much less thrive, humanity must stop scraping Earth's land of life, shitting into air and water, and calling such ecocide "development"; nor can we go on killing each other, remotely and otherwise, over political grievances.

Many others and I have long known that major death and destruction caused by abrupt climate change and related environmental crises were coming, yet I am profoundly saddened to see the start of ecosystem collapse at such a scale. One thing is clear: abrupt climate change and ecosystem collapse are here. Now is the time for ambitious policy-making that is urgent yet calm, deliberative yet responsive and sufficient, and solidly based upon science.

Time for America – and those occupied, either mentally or militarily – to wash the oil off, wake up, and start fresh. It is time to realize that personally and as a society we have become ecologically unsustainable and are in a death swoon. In a world of changed climate and ecology, it is imperative to simplify and find meaning in experience, community, knowledge, and truth – rather than just more stuff.

Human survival depends upon ending ecosystem destruction and restoring natural old-growth ecosystems over more than 50 percent of Earth’s land surface. Ultimately, minimizing and surviving abrupt climate change comes down to how swiftly and effectively we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Period, full stop.

The political establishment has been confronted with deadly abrupt climate change and solid science laying out the looming profound risk to the human family and all life. It reacts by pursuing a policy of appeasement toward issues of ecology, liberty¸ justice, and fairness. This is a shameful abdication of leadership during a global ecological emergency.

Ideally this political realignment of society with the needs of Earth occurs at the ballot box and through people-power protest. Otherwise we risk broad-based ecological collapse from which we may not emerge. Go to the land and organize, while living free and meeting your duties to each other and to Earth. Be free and green, or die.