Climate change is no longer in the future: it is happening now. The effects are apparent all over the world: floods, rising sea levels, species extinction, droughts, wildfires, heat waves, intense storms, and the loss of drinkiing water due to salt water intrusion—all of these will only get worse if things keep going in the same direction.
We in South Florida are seeing it with our own eyes, every time it rains—the water increasingly has nowhere to go, backs up from storm drains and floods the streets to levels we’ve never seen before. Just 3 feet of sea level rise will put 1/3 of southern Florida underwater.1 If nothing is done to lower carbon emissions, the whole state and many other coastal regions of the world will be flooded and eventually permanently submerged.
There is no doubt among most scientists that global warming is an accelerating emergency that we have to deal with NOW if we are to save the Earth’s ability to support life. But capitalists (those who own, control and benefit from the profit system) only care about making money—it doesn’t matter how, or how many of us they kill in the process.
In fact, FPL, which made $1.35 billion profit in 2013, plans to build a huge power plant in the middle of the Everglades that we don’t even need, which will require 22 million gallons of water a day to run. Their Palm Beach plant already releases 9.1 million metric tons of CO2, the most of any power plant in the region.
Governor Rick Scott invested in a company involved in oil drilling and illegal acid fracking in the Everglades, while overseeing the layoff of dozens of regulators from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.2
Are companies like FPL going to help us when we get flooded out of our homes? More likely FPL will do what an oil refinery in Delaware is now doing—ask us to pay (with our taxes) for protecting it against rising sea levels that it contributed to causing in the first place!3 What will happen if rising sea levels or a hurricane causes a meltdown at the Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead? Everyone south of Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale is within the 50-mile evacuation zone. Not only that, its radioactive waste is sitting in pools above ground because no one knows where to safely store it—where is that going to go in a major flood?
The capitalists will always force the costs of doing business on us. What do they care? They can build sea walls (at our expense, which won’t even work because our ground is porous limestone), or abandon South Florida and move to safer ground. Many of them don’t live here anyway, but just fly in long enough to arrange the construction of more surplus condos they can speculate on. Even if the whole area is devastated, they won’t suffer—they’ll take the opportunity to “rebuild” (gentrify) our neighborhoods, like the profiteers did in New Orleans after Katrina.
The rest of us can’t afford to run away or build futuristic fantasy escape plans like a space colony or a giant air-conditioned dome to survive a cooked planet. The capitalists expect us to bear the brunt of their destructive ways. They don’t even want us to talk about global warming. They pay fake scientists to say it’s not happening, and they control the media as well.
Senator Marco Rubio denies the reality of climate change and argues that addressing it will hurt the economy—but whose economy is it, really? How much of the $71.8 billion of the state’s tourist economy did you take home? In Florida, our wages are among the lowest in the country, and we struggle to make ends meet. What Rubio really means is that it will hinder him and his friends from fattening their wallets.
We should have long ago switched to renewable energy sources and begun removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere if we want a chance for life on Earth to continue. But the global system we live under, capitalism, is structured for endless growth. It has to keep producing more and more stuff (and generate ever-increasing CO2 emissions), or it will collapse. It’s the way the system is set up — it can’t do otherwise.
There are no solutions coming from capitalists or their puppet politicians or their lying media. The world’s largest capitalists are not going to willingly let go of their oil fields and pipelines. In fact, they’re jumping all over the opportunity to drill for the oil now accessible due to the loss of Arctic sea ice. They’ve already figured out ways to profit from the disasters caused by global warming, such as redeveloping seafront property after hurricanes, privatizing water, and speculating on food prices during shortages.
All the talk of “green capitalism” is just to make us think something can be done without breaking their fundamentally flawed economic framework. We can’t buy our way out of global warming. And we can’t change it on an individual lifestyle level either — no amount of taking shorter showers, community gardening or recycling is going to solve this problem.
They want to keep us confused and passive. Their profits depend on that. But we don’t have to shut up and take it. They are few, and we are many! If we unite in a powerful mass movement, we can stop them.
They try to break our confidence and make us think change is impossible. We know it’s not going to be easy, and we may lose. But if we don’t try, we’re all going to die anyway.
It comes down to a hard, epic struggle between us (and the planet) against the capitalists (and their profits). We have to stop them, and transform our society so that private riches can’t be accumulated by exploiting others and destroying the planet. Destroying capitalism is necessary for our survival. Let’s get ourselves together, unite to build a movement strong enough to defeat it!
Join us in this fight!
One Struggle is an organization dedicated to organizing a broad, non-sectarian, combative mass movement against capitalism and imperialism, including its embedded elements of oppression, exploitation, wars of conquest, and ecocide.
(1) “Why the City of Miami is Doomed to Drown” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-the-city-of-miami-is-doomed-to-drown-20130620
(2) “Gov. Rick Scott’s stake in oil company tied to Collier drilling riles environmentalists” http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/15/4180555/gov-rick-scotts-stake-in-oil-company.html
(3) “Oil refinery threatened by sea-level rise, asks government to fix problem” http://grist.org/climate-energy/oil-refinery-threatened-by-sea-level-rise-asks-government-to-fix-problem/