Rex Weyler: We are retreating in the fight for our planet

From a speech by the ecologist at the launch in London of his book 'Greenpeace: An Insider's Account'
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The Independent Online

In spite of environmental progress, we are witnessing a return to old, industrial modes of thinking that got us into the environmental mess in the first place. Every victory the peace and ecology movements have achieved can be rolled back in an instant. Many of them have been.

In spite of environmental progress, we are witnessing a return to old, industrial modes of thinking that got us into the environmental mess in the first place. Every victory the peace and ecology movements have achieved can be rolled back in an instant. Many of them have been.

Japan wants to reclassify whales on the Cites [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species] agreement, and commence commercial whaling again. Canada and Norway are back to clubbing infant harp seals. America and Britain are back at war, over oil resources, bogged down in ancient resentments and revenge. The US has reopened its National forests to logging and is shipping plutonium to Europe.

Why? We have failed to change fundamentally. Our responses to the environmental crisis remains dictated by a belief in endless economic growth. Nature tells us this is impossible. We are attempting to solve 21st-century problems with 200-year-old economic philosophy and 2,000 year-old tribal political structures. In our world today, we tolerate death camps, child slavery, women without social rights, mass starvation. We continue to allow nuclear proliferation. Rich industrial countries rob the poorest nations of resources.

We still believe we can engineer our way out of war and ecological destruction. Our belief that we can "control nature" is barbaric. We have yet to embrace ecology, which requires that we design our culture according to the laws of ecology, rather than attempt to cram ecology into our misguided "laws of economics". There is no escape from paradise: we will either learn to live by ecology's rules, or we will perish.

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