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nosmokes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-16-07 02:49 PM
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How the Rich Are Destroying the Planet: A Review

How the Rich Are Destroying the Planet: A Review
By Leslie Thatcher
t r u t h o u t | Review

Thursday 15 March 2007

"Ingenuous comrades, there are bad men on the Earth. If you want to be an ecologist, you have to stop being a dummy." From Herv Kempf's "How the Rich Are Destroying the Planet."

In 2006, Le Monde environmental editor Herv Kempf's article, "New Suspicions about GMO" (translated and republished at Truthout) was nominated for a Project Censored award for covering an important topic neglected by the mainstream press. Earlier this year, Truthout reported the publication of Kempf's new book, "How the Rich are Destroying the Planet." I was intrigued, all the more so as a few readers asked when the book would be available in English, and asked Mr. Kempf to send me a copy of his book as well as for permission to translate the Preface (see below). My own appreciation of this completely original and fundamentally necessary little book - a scant 125 pages of text - follows. That review precedes a short online discussion with Herv Kempf, while a translation of the Preface to "How the Rich are Destroying the Planet" appears at the end of this feature, along with a number of links to related subjects.

Although familiar with much of the information Kempf marshals in "How the Rich Are Destroying the Planet," I was nonetheless amazed by the long and elegant arc of his argument, his ability to discern and convey a crystalline pattern in phenomena as diverse as elevated PCB levels in the sediment of "pristine" Alaskan lakes and the increase in length of billionaires' yachts. The book's central thesis - that the "oligarchy," a global stateless class composed of the hyper-rich and the "new Nomenklatura," is responsible for our species' headlong rush to environmental destruction, both indirectly, through the rest of society's attempts to imitate and emulate their wasteful habits of conspicuous consumption, and directly, through their control of the levers of power, all presently fixed at the "Catastrophe" setting - is buttressed by twenty pages of footnotes and direct citations from sources as varied as Adam Smith and James Lovelock; the scientific monograph, "Effects on the Marine Environment of Ocean Acidification Resulting from Elevated Levels of CO2 in the Atmosphere" and Alexis de Tocqueville.

The first stage in Kempf's argument is to adduce the irrefutable evidence of an accelerating ecological catastrophe as humanity's use of the planet's resources overshoots the Earth's carrying capacity: While, according to one researcher Kempf cites, humanity's resource use was at 50 percent of the Earth's biocapacity in 1950, by 2003, it had reached 120 percent - consuming resources faster than the Earth can reproduce them. Foretastes of the ultimate catastrophe are suggested by avian flu worries, the destruction of New Orleans by the combined impact of Hurricane Katrina and infrastructure failures before and after the storm, and by increased mortality associated with the 2003 heat wave in Europe. Each environmental "problem" is linked to all the others; their synergy and imbrication propel us "in the direction of unstoppable destruction" and preclude any idea of separate crises, "solvable independently of one another." Why, Kempf asks, when the situation is so clear and alarming, does it remain so stubbornly intractable to change? He concludes that "if nothing happens even though we're entering an ecological crisis of historic gravity, it's because those who have power in the world want it to be this way."

Kempf goes on to document the return of widespread poverty and economic precariousness to the rich world and the globalization of poverty in spite of economic growth and some reduction of poverty in China and India. However, economic growth and greater agricultural productivity are achieved at the expense of environmental degradation and, finally, there is a vicious "synergy between the global ecological and social crises: they respond to one another, influence one another and worsen correlatively." And the poor are the first victims of environmental degradation everywhere.

complete article including short interview w/Herve Kempf here
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diane in sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-16-07 02:52 PM
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1. Thank you, very interesting
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diane in sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-16-07 02:59 PM
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2. If you find this interesting, I recommend reading "Seeds of Deception"
it is about gmo and how Monsanto and Arthur Anderson cooked it up to grab control of the world's seed stocks. Many top down indutries are dissappearing because of computers and the new forms of energy like wind and solar being essentially distributed. So the oligarchic parasites are buying up stuff like municipal water systems and trying to grab control of the essentials to human survival to maintain their strangle hold on the rest of the citizens of earth.
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nosmokes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-16-07 03:29 PM
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3. he has a new one out now too -
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