Sunday, July 29, 2012

Waking the Green Tiger

Here's a documentary I'd really like to see. A home-grown Chinese environmental movement is one of those important developments the world needs right now. Even better would be for it to make good connexions with the Christian church in China, which has all kinds of excellent reasons for being concerned about how we treat God's good creation


Simon said...

There maybe some hope if the Chinese and Indians understand they cannot replicate the Wests model of development.
Chandran NAIR:Has Western Capitalism Failed ?

byron smith said...

Yes, it is crucial for developing nations to seek a different path in bringing their poorest out of absolute poverty. If the goal is two flatscreen tvs and a 4WD (SUV) for all, then we're toast.

Of course, if we in the developed world want to encourage them towards something other than this, it is vital that we ourselves are shifting away from rampant consumerism and hypercapitalism.

Simon said...
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Simon said...

Off to bed but a quick question.

I'm sure you have raised this point already. How do we cut our consumption but make sure that cut goes to the right people; but at the same time create economic activity that allows less developed nations to develop while we cut?

Let's forget for now the problem of how do you get people who don't see a problem or won't cut their consumption.

Personally I don't think we have a chance, the best we will do is provide answers and example when the system lurches and collapses.

byron smith said...

I agree that our chances of avoiding some very bumpy and likely dark days ahead are slim. And so also agree that part of the present goal is begin the seeds of alternative systems that might provide examples and inspiration, while serving as foci of resistance to present injustice.

The answer to your first question is complex. Fighting corruption in the two-thirds world is one crucial aspect, as is noting that the source of a fair slab of that corruption is found in western corporations and so getting corporations that began and largely still operate out of rich nations to be far more accountable for their actions is very important. Forgiving unjust and punitive debts helps, as does the recognition that many cultures have pre-existing ways of managing resources that are often undermined by globalisation, leaving them poorer than they were before.

I could go on and on here. Basically, the changes are irreducibly political and can't be achieved simply through "ethical consumerism" (which is an oxymoron, as I will attempt to argue in an upcoming post and have already intimated a few times before).

An excellent blog that dives into far more detail on these matters is Make Wealth History.

Ben said...

Amen to that. It really is a hopeful sign, though I'm concerned about how much scope civil society and media in China really has for environmental crusading.

That said, the Chinese Government really does have very strong concerns about climate change and there is a lot of centrally-directed policy action to reduce, or at least slow, emissions.

Also Bryon, did you do proper due diligence and check that the Green Tiger is not in league with the Green Dragon?

byron smith said...

Ben - Indeed. Civil society movements in China may well face more official hurdles than in some other important countries.

I've been meaning to post on the green dragon for some time. Perhaps I'll get to it one day.

Simon said...

Byron yes its a great blog. Trouble with politics it is focused on the status quo and business as usual.

Also I would guess if one were to do a game theory analysis of global resource depletion, nation states and even counting for democracies short term interests and power will always win and the inevitably the system collapses.

I think global trusts, NFP resource B-corps, worker coops & planetary boundaries etc are the only way forward.

byron smith said...

You may well be right. But these are still political moves. Political action is broader than just the posturing and policy of presidents and parliaments. I think that the usual channels are indeed unlikely to deliver social change on anything like the pace and scale required to avoid catastrophic ecological change.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Environmental activism gains a foothold in China.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Chinese environmental activist on trial.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Water pollution causing waves in China:

"groundwater in 90% of China's cities is contaminated, most of it severely"