The Roots of the World Ecological Crisis

“We have no other word but crisis to describe it, really.  It’s very different than the economic crisis that we are now in, in the sense that even a very, very severe economic crisis, such as the one that has been present since late 2007 . . . still is, in many ways, a cyclical event. . . .  These crises are periodic — it’s part of the nature of capitalism. . . .  But what we are talking about as the world ecological crisis is another kind of crisis.  We are not talking — as some of the contrarians say, as some of the skeptics say – of something that is a cyclical event in earth history.  What we are talking about is a terminal crisis.  What the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is telling us, what ecologists are telling us, what scientists in general are telling us is that If we continue on present trends, if we continue to follow business as usual, that is follow the present economic path, and the present technological and social path with respect to the environment, then it will be a terminal crisis, in the sense that we will destroy most of the species on the planet, human civilization, and ourselves perhaps as well.” — John Bellamy Foster

John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review, and professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, and author of The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (with Fred Magdoff), Critique of Intelligent Design (with Brett Clark and Richard York), Naked Imperialism, Ecology Against Capitalism, Marx’s Ecology, The Vulnerable Planet, and The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism.  This program is part of the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series.

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