Thought of the moment: Environmental movement most diverse

August 6, 2008

Environmentalism is the most politically diverse movement in history. Here in the Kingsnorth climate camp, I have met anarchists, communists, socialists, liberals, conservatives and, mostly, pragmatists. I remember sitting in a campaign meeting during the Newbury bypass protests and marvelling at the weirdness of our coalition. In the front row sat the local squirearchy: brigadiers in tweeds and enormous moustaches, titled women in twin sets and headscarves. In the middle were local burghers of all shapes and sizes. At the back sat the scuzziest collection of grunge-skunks I have ever laid eyes on. The audience disagreed about every other subject under the sun – if someone had asked us to decide what day of the week it was, the meeting would had descended into fisticuffs – but everyone there recognised that our quality of life depends on the quality of our surroundings.

The environment is inseparable from social justice. Climate change, for example, is primarily about food and water. It threatens the fresh water supplies required to support human life. As continental interiors dry out and the glaciers feeding many of the rivers used for irrigation disappear, climate change presents the greatest of all threats to the future prospects of the poor. The rich will survive for a few decades at least, as they can use their money to insulate themselves from the effects. The poor are being hammered already.

British ecologist, journalist and activist, George Monbiot (Wikimedia image)

British ecologist, journalist and activist, George Monbiot (Wikimedia image)


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