Green Planet Blues: Environmental Politics from Stockholm to Tyoto

By Ken Conca; Geoffrey D. Dabelko et al. | Go to book overview

LARRY LOHMANN


24
Whose Common Future?

Never underestimate the ability of modern elites to work out ways of coming through a crisis with their power intact.

From the days of the American populists through the Depression, postwar reconstruction, the end of colonialism and the age of 'development' our contemporary leaders and their institutions have sought to turn pressures for change to their advantage. The New Deal, the Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods, multilateral lending--all in their turn have taken challenges to the system and transformed them into ways of defusing popular initiatives and developing the economic and political domains of the powerful.

Now comes the global environmental crisis. Once again those in high places are making solemn noises about "grave threats to our common security and the very survival of our planet". Once again their proposed solutions leave the main causes of the trouble untouched. As ordinary people try to reclaim local lands, forests and waters from the depredations of business and the state, and work to build democratic movements to preserve the planet's health, those in power continue to occupy themselves with damage control and the containment of threats to the way power is currently distributed and held. The difference is important to keep in mind when listening to the calls to arms from the new statesmen and women of 'environmentalism'.

____________________
Excerpted from The Ecologist 20, no. 3 (May-June 1990):82-84. Used by permission of Larry Lohmann.

-240-

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