13 forestry workers have died in work related accidents in the past 3 years, 30 in the last 6 years. Just to put this in perspective the death rate in the UK forestry industry is 10.4 per 100,000 workers and in NZ 343 per 100,000. Some bosses blame workers drug use and call for increased drug testing but there no amount of excuses can justify this outrageous number of fatalities. We need explanations, and the forestry bosses need to be held to account for all these needless deaths.
Chris Williams, author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis, examines the man-made factors contributing to the disaster of Hurricane Sandy.
“If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved; Caesar would have spared his country; America would have been discovered more gradually; and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.”
— Dr. Victor Frankenstein, in Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley
THERE IS little doubt that freakish and unnaturally assembled storms are a taste of what the future holds under an economic system that has “interfered with the tranquility of domestic affections” and galvanized the forces of nature into a fury of clashing dislocations as we pump ever-more heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere and industrial filth into our lungs. [Read more…]
It’s apparent to everyone today that the world is going through an ecological crisis. Wilderness is disappearing fast as whole ecosystems – from forests to grasslands to marshlands – are becoming endangered. For the past two centuries, factories have spewed forth pollution into the atmosphere, poisoning the very air we breathe while lakes, rivers and even the ocean have been transformed into festering sludge-pits. So much has the earth been altered that even its chemistry is changing, the build-up of carbon dioxide threatening the delicate climatic balance of the past 11,000 years is acidifying the ocean and wrecking havoc with the weather. One could be forgiven for concluding that humankind is nothing but “a cancer on the earth”.
Overpopulation is a common theme when discussing environmental destruction. It’s undoubtedly true that since the 1960s an ecological crisis has emerged causing loss of biodiversity, plunging fish stocks, deforestation, and dangerous climate change.. Coincidentally since this time the global population has doubled. It might seem logical therefore to link the two.
Friday the 5th of October marked one year since the container ship MV Rena struck an artificial reef off the coast of Tauranga as it headed into port, triggering New Zealand’s worst ever environmental disaster. The clean-up that followed took months, and is still not complete: the Rena remains grounded on the Astrolabe Reef and oil from the ship still occasionally washes up on Bay of Plenty beaches. Media attention for much of the past year has vilified the ship’s captains and whipped up racism aimed at the Filipino crew.
John Key is engaging in a bout of populist moralising, describing killing whales as ‘abhorrent’ in response to South Korea’s indication that they may resume whaling. The hypocrisy is staggering – this same week National has announced further concessions to New Zealand’s dirty and polluting farming industry. If the concept of killing whales is ‘abhorrent’, what about farming practices that contribute to the loss of ecosystems that threaten endangered species in New Zealand? Since it is largely Pakeha capitalists in New Zealand that reap the profits farming they do not criticise.