Friday, 10 May 2013
A green and pleasant land?
There is a now mercifully less common propaganda technique where you write an on the face of it interesting piece on Oh! I don't know, football, art, agriculture or education and then in the final paragraph explain how there can never be good football, art, etc until capitalism is finally superseded by the golden age of the workers councils. It's a literary device that must have led to more papers and magazines being chucked in the bin than any other. I try to avoid writing such stuff but frequently find it difficult to, if not actually write it, at least think it. Channel 4 news are running a series, Green and Pleasant Land, examining how climate change is impacting on the countryside. Prompted by a report by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Channel 4 piece last night made fascinating if disturbing viewing but as usual with environmental reporting no effort was made to even begin to question how the natural world can be protected in an economic system that must rely on growth and expansion to survive. To pose the question is to answer it of course and the answer is enough to send shivers down the spines of the rich and powerful. It seems to me that the effects of climate change, distressing though some of them may be, provide us with a challenge and a wonderful opportunity to take a further step along the road of the human adventure. Will the dreams of the 19th century anarchist and socialist revolutionaries be finally realised and will an inadvertent result of industrial capitalism that they could never have imagined be the catalyst?