Sunday, 10 August 2008

Olympic Smog - its not-so-hidden message

If anyone has any doubts about the seriousness of the environmental challenge facing us as a species, just sit back and watch the Olympic Games.

 

With smog literally hanging in the air despite Herculean efforts from the Chinese authorities, there is surely a real danger to the athletes from around the world taking part.

 

With Chinese carbon and particulate emissions expected to increase dramatically over the coming decades, as well as those in India, the disastrous environmental situation in the world today – which we are all witnessing on our TV screens in Beijing - is destined to get even worse.

 

And why are there all these dangerous emissions? Because international capital is moving to China and India to exploit their relatively light environmental regulations -- that is what happens, under unrestrained globalized neo-liberalism, this is what happens without Greens in charge -- and because we -- we Brits, we Americas, etc. -- are still buying / consuming masses of the unnecessary stuff that these factories are producing.

 

The Olympics, by contrast, is supposed to symbolize being the best as a part of a wider team or national effort.  Everyone pulling together, not just for personal gain, but for shared goals.  We now have the opportunity today as people around the world to compete in a new shared and unifying cause and engage resolutely in a new spiritual and moral challenge.  A challenge that requires the most determined team effort in history to resolve.  A challenge that requires the most radical and co-ordinated action we can deliver.  A challenge that needs the spirit of the Blitz with people all around the world pulling together, working for the common good of the eco-system we must all share.

 

Dangerous climate change isn't all doom and gloom, however, like the murky vision of Beijing on our TV screens today.  If we can take the necessary action today, as people of the world, we can together make the world sustainable for all our tomorrows.  And in the process, unite as people of the world.  Unite in a way that overcomes divisions between people; unite in a way that overcomes discrimination between races and religions; ultimately unite in a way whereby diversity is celebrated.  This kind of unity would be unprecedented by any other time or epoch in history.
 
But then again: so is the threat.
 

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If anyone has any doubts about the seriousness of the environmental challenge facing us as a species, just sit back and watch the Olympic Games.

 

With smog literally hanging in the air despite Herculean efforts from the Chinese authorities, there is surely a real danger to the athletes from around the world taking part.

 

With Chinese carbon and particulate emissions expected to increase dramatically over the coming decades, as well as those in India, the disastrous environmental situation in the world today – which we are all witnessing on our TV screens in Beijing - is destined to get even worse.

 

And why are there all these dangerous emissions? Because international capital is moving to China and India to exploit their relatively light environmental regulations -- that is what happens, under unrestrained globalized neo-liberalism, this is what happens without Greens in charge -- and because we -- we Brits, we Americas, etc. -- are still buying / consuming masses of the unnecessary stuff that these factories are producing.

 

The Olympics, by contrast, is supposed to symbolize being the best as a part of a wider team or national effort.  Everyone pulling together, not just for personal gain, but for shared goals.  We now have the opportunity today as people around the world to compete in a new shared and unifying cause and engage resolutely in a new spiritual and moral challenge.  A challenge that requires the most determined team effort in history to resolve.  A challenge that requires the most radical and co-ordinated action we can deliver.  A challenge that needs the spirit of the Blitz with people all around the world pulling together, working for the common good of the eco-system we must all share.

 

Dangerous climate change isn't all doom and gloom, however, like the murky vision of Beijing on our TV screens today.  If we can take the necessary action today, as people of the world, we can together make the world sustainable for all our tomorrows.  And in the process, unite as people of the world.  Unite in a way that overcomes divisions between people; unite in a way that overcomes discrimination between races and religions; ultimately unite in a way whereby diversity is celebrated.  This kind of unity would be unprecedented by any other time or epoch in history.
 
But then again: so is the threat.
 
30. 31. 32.