Reboot the Environmental Movement — So It Protects Freedom, Too

American flag held over a field
American flag held over a field

In a deeply divided country, there are yet signs that a new Left-Right coalition can come together to take on the big global corporations that have captured government at the expense of ordinary people’s freedoms and the health of the planet.

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By W. Aaron Vandiver

(Excerpt from link)…In the overlap between the Left and Right versions of the popular revolt against the corrupt merger of state and corporate power, laid bare by the glaring abuses of the COVID-19 era, there may be room for unexpected political bedfellows to build a broad-based movement that appeals to significant segments of the electorate.

Principles of a freedom-loving environmental agenda for the people, not the elites

Although both sides surely cannot agree on everything, an effective Left-Right coalition determined to pursue a freedom-oriented environmental agenda might be able to reach a workable agreement on several key points, including:

1. Regulatory capture. Corporate regulatory capture of government agencies, from the EPA to the FDA, is at the root of our problems.

2. Rejection of the COVID-19 model. The techno-authoritarian governance model established during the pandemic cannot be the blueprint for climate change. Our environmental problems cannot be solved with draconian restrictions on personal behavior, censorship, surveillance, corporate profiteering and high-tech boondoggles pushed by the likes of Gates and the WEF.

3. Focus on healthy food and regenerative farming. There is an urgent need recognized across the political spectrum to replace unhealthy, ecologically destructive industrial food systems. Instead of genetically engineered, “climate-smart” crops, factory foods, insect protein and fake meat, we need a massive investment in regenerative, agroecological methods, including local food production and family-owned farms.

4. A unifying environmental message. In addition to regenerative agriculture, a Left-Right coalition can hopefully agree on the need to reduce chemical and plastic pollution, promote clean air and water, preserve the commons (rivers, oceans, forests, wildlife), conserve natural resources and strive for healthier and more sustainable ways of living.

A unifying and authentic environmental message could break the logjam of the pro/anti-climate change debate that divides the public and plays into the hands of corporate elites and technocrats who reduce all environmental issues to a single metric — “net” carbon emissions — that they manipulate to their advantage.

5. Prioritize human health and well-being over corporate profits. On paper, corporate profits and the U.S. and global economies are growing but in reality, overall human well-being both here and abroad has been going down for the last seven or eight years, particularly since COVID-19.

Billionaires and big corporations made trillions of dollars during lockdowns, even as they destroyed the foundations of prosperity across society.

A Left-Right coalition should be able to agree that genuine well-being includes healthy food, clean air and water, a thriving environment, strong social bonds and institutions, and respect for human rights and freedoms — things that cannot easily be measured in monetary terms.

In a famous speech given in 1968, Robert Kennedy elucidated the difference between true prosperity and “Gross National Product” calculations that count “air pollution” and “the destruction of the redwoods” as adding to our national wealth, but do not count “the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.” That narrow kind of economic calculation, he said, “measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worth living.”

6. Ironclad protection of human rights and civil liberties. A Left-Right coalition can hopefully agree on the crucial importance of individual rights and freedoms, such as the First Amendment right to free speech, as an indispensable bulwark against the authoritarian overreach of governments that too often answer to moneyed interests rather than the people.
A population stripped of civil liberties in the name of an “emergency,” whether a pandemic or climate change, is a sitting duck for abuse by the powerful.

It is the giant multinational corporations, their captured government agencies and their crony politicians who must have their freedom to impose their will on the population taken away, not the other way around.

FYI: Green Liberty strives for left / right unity in a liberation coalition: cf

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