{Empty title} | The Nation

The big environmental groups who Johann Hari calls out for taking corporate cash and basing their agendas on what will pass a corrupt Senate are making a basic and unforgivable error. They are assuming the industrial capitalist economy is of primary importance, and that nature comes second. As Hari points out, they put political "reality" (or "economic reality," insofar as there is a difference) ahead of physical reality. This really is a form of insanity. Worse, it is part of a broad pattern of collusion and collaboration with nature's mortal enemies--industrial capitalists--on the part of environmentalists.

However, Hari himself makes the same error when he talks about "what is at stake" in this struggle--according to him, it is "Civilization." Not nature. Not sustainable indigenous communities. Not the 100 species who will go extinct today. Not the poisoned oceans. Not remnant forests. Not songbirds, or fish, or amphibians, all of whose populations have crashed in recent years. Not the imperiled communities of living beings who make our own lives (and our unsustainable civilization) possible.

"Civilization" is typified at all points in its 5,000-10,000 year history by one patently unsustainable process: the accumulation and concentration of raw materials in the form of land, living creatures and human labor, and the conversion of this living material into wealth and power for an elite few. This process, generally euphamized as "production" but also known as "theft," "slavery" and "murder," is the cause of all pollution, all forms of environmental degradation. In the case of our current civilization, globalized industrial capitalism, this process is exponentially accelerated. This is ecocide. This is genocide. This must be stopped.

Our "civilization' is not "what is at stake"--it is the problem. Nature is at stake, and she is burning.