By Ken Krayeske • 12:30 AM EST
Ed. note: Since we're dealing with archives, this makes sense. Two weeks after I wrote the column published online yesterday, I had a change of heart, and published this in response to myself. Kovel's book moved me, but I am not sure that I still would conclude the same, but it's worth a read, particularly Kovel's argument on Bhopal.
Yes, I stand corrected, but moreso, inspired to take greater action.
Since I wrote two weeks ago that riding my bike and working in a community garden will create the change I want to see, I have learned that pedaling and planting by themselves are inadequate, and must join with a greater struggle to overcome our societal ills.
My affinity for veggies and velos are “voluntarism,” according to Joel Kovel, in his 2002 book “The Enemy of Nature.” These actions, “arise from good intention,” he says, and are “taken primarily on moral or aesthetic grounds.” But, “Such actions, lists of which can be found in mass-marketed literature of the ‘xx things you can do to save the planet’ type, stand as much chance of overcoming the ecological crisis as handing out spare change on the subway does of overcoming poverty.”
What ecological crisis? The one spurred by capitalism’s never satiated desire for growth. Hartford’s brownfields, high asthma rate and landfills play minor roles in capital’s global tragedy.
Kovel argues not only the standard Marxist grounds that capital separates us from our labor, as we see in Hartford’s miserable poverty. But capitalism is the efficient cause of global warming and the destruction of the world.
Bluntly, it’s either capitalism or us, Kovel says.