Home > Uncategorized > Colonialism’s mindset planted the seeds of today’s climate crisis

Colonialism’s mindset planted the seeds of today’s climate crisis

from Jamie Margolin and The Guardian

Many people trace the origins of today’s climate crisis to the Industrial Revolution, when humans first began to burn large amounts of coal, but the crisis’s true roots extend further back to the onset of colonialism. When European colonizers ventured to Africa, Asia, North and South America, they invariably plundered the local natural resources, damaged habitats, hunted species to extinction and often forced human inhabitants into slavery. Undergirding European colonialism was the assumption that everything on the earth was meant to be extracted, bought and sold – and to make an elite minority very rich. In the eyes of the colonizers, the “new” lands they encountered had no owners – no one had purchased them with a recognizable currency or could prove ownership with property records – so it was free pickings. Along with this attitude came the idea that nothing – not air, not water, not trees, not animals – was sacred or priceless.

Colonialism’s mindset of heedless extraction, greed and human exploitation not only planted the seeds of today’s climate crisis, it remains visible in the crisis’s central injustice: although the poor are responsible for only a tiny share of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, they generally suffer first and worst from the heatwaves, droughts, storms, rising seas and other effects of those emissions.   read more

  1. Ken Zimmerman
    July 23, 2019 at 11:24 am

    The comments from the Guardian clearly reveal why the problem of climate change is not dealt with effectively. There were 204 comments and hundreds more replies. On display in these comments are dozens of varying ideologies, areas of concern, and recipes for dealing with the problem. While disagreeing often with one another on how to handle climate change, most agree that the “related” problems considered by the author of the article have no place in an article about climate change. Climate change is the penultimate issue of our age. It must be considered and solved first, before the long-term impacts of colonialism, racism, and patriarchy are taken up. The extent of the relationship assumed between climate change and these “other” issues varies among the comments. But few believe an effort to address all four can be successful. Thus, the conclusion that climate change must be solved first and quickly. This position is difficult to comprehend since supposedly the reasons to solve climate change are to save our species (not the planet). And solving such problems as colonialism, racism, and patriarchy, and many others that create the milieu for climate change to happen would seem to be not just a recommended precaution but an absolute necessity. Particularly for those in the world who are forced to live with all these problems for the next 60, 70, or 80 years of their lifetimes.

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