woensdag 4 augustus 2010

Social and ecological justice:global climate change , crushing social inequalities and economic crisis.

We face not one crisis but three crises; there is a rampant crisis in the environment, a crushing social crisis, characterized by increasing poverty and growing social inequalities and a crisis in the economy.

What we’ve seen over the past couple of years is an economy in turmoil, leaking jobs and
eating into pensions and savings.
The financial system of the world has grown out of all proportion to the real
economy it is supposed to serve. By building on easy credit and financial speculation, it has lost touch with its physical underpinnings.
The real economy has in turn lost touch with its environmental underpinnings.

Casino capitalism has become more important than making things and providing services. Houses have become speculative investments instead of somewhere to live. Banks have had to be rescued, credit to small firms and home buyers has dried up, and unemployment has grown.

Grim as the economic crisis is, global climate change remains the most serious challenge we face – a crisis that has arisen because the existing economic model relies on continually increasing, wasteful, unsatisfying consumption of the Earth’s finite resources and unlimited conspicuous consumerism.

There is also a vast amount of scientific prove that global climate change is happening faster than anyone predicted .

We can’t ignore the growing number of people in developing countries who are critically effected by global climate change.

We also face a crushing social crisis, characterized by increasing poverty and growing social inequality.

In Belgium , around 15,2% of the population is living at or below the European poverty line; that's approximately 1 500 000 people. Approximately 114 000 people need food aid. Approximately 17 % of the children in Belgium live in poverty. Minority ethnic groups, lone parents, and people without formal qualifications have more possibility to live in poverty than the other groups in society.

The problems are global, reflecting the crisis in the structure of the global economy.

Inequality around the world has also continued to grow despite increasing overall prosperity. The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, while almost half the world — more than three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

Why do we constantly try to overcome our scarcity by working more, earning more and consuming more whereas scarcity in a global perspective means that almost half the world – more than 3 billion people – live in extreme poverty and have got an extreme lack of proper access to food, drinkable water and proper health care and education.

Taken from the documentary The age of stupid

The very way we measure economic ‘success’ today shows the bankruptcy of business as usual. ‘Gross Domestic Product’ measures all the economic activity in a country – even the money spent on picking up the pieces of our unfair and unsustainable society. Prisons and pollution are as ‘productive’ as schools and sanitation in the world of conventional economics. No economy can be based on such a socially and environmentally unjust footing.

We cannot ignore the plight of billions of people in developing countries who are critically affected by all three crises.

Some will tell you that ‘green’ issues are a luxury in times of economic hardship. Wrong. Green policies are essential if we are to get out of this mess and create a sustainable and fair economy.

The problems are global and interrelated, and so are the solutions. Business as usual is no option.What we need is a coherent set of policies to address and tackle the current environmental, social and economic crisis ; a Green new deal .

The Green New Deal is all about investing massively to create jobs and move towards a sustainable, zero-carbon economy, moving away from an obsession with growth and build a more equal society..

Invest in the green economy now; invest in more insulation of houses ( to start with the council houses) ; invest in more renewable energy; invest in more organic agriculture; invest in fair trade; invest more in social welfare; introduce the citizen’s income; regulate the financial sector more strictly; protect basic public services ; promote gender equality; oppose discrimination in the workplace and so on....

There is much work to be done to create a secure and stable economy. The transition to a sustainable, fair economy will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, design, building and engineering. And there is much work that is already being done but not yet recognised, like work in the home.
Carers should be rewarded for the work they do.

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