Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Capitalism will destroy the planet. The environment is ours, lets protect it.

They want us to forget this. But it won't forget us
It should come as no surprise that things are not going well in Japan in the aftermath of the worst nuclear disaster in human history.

Apparently, high levels of Strontium 90 have been discovered in the ground water around the Fukushima nuclear power plant after an earthquake and tsunami two years ago caused three reactor meltdowns. Strontium 90 is a by-product of the fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors as well as nuclear weapons according to experts.

Reports say that the level of strontium 90 have increased a hundredfold between December 2012 and May of this year.  This level of strontium 90 is more than 30 times the legal limit.

It is becoming apparent that the Tokyo Electric Power Company, (TEPCO) a private company, cannot adequately clean up the mess that the nuclear facility created.   The Fukushima disaster displaced 50,000 households and caused untold damage.  In fact, the level of environmental degradation will not be known for years, maybe centuries and the same applies to the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

TEPCO has received a massive infusion of taxpayer dollars (or Yen in this case) in order to help it pay claims as a result of the disaster.  Another example of public funds paying for private sector disasters much like the bail out of the banksters after the collapse of the capitalist economy in 2007.

We have blogged about this disaster many times and remind our readers that one has to wonder at why anyone would put a nuclear power plant on an earthquake fault in a region known as the “Ring of Fire” due to its seismic activity and right next to the ocean in a land that gave us the word “Tsunami”. You can check out these pieces here.

With environmental disaster like these we have to recognize that the level of destruction is hardly known.  In the case of Fukushima as well as the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, we will not know the extent of the damage for many years, perhaps decades.  The Blue Fin Tuna for example spawns in the Gulf of Mexico and we cannot possibly tell the extent of the damage to the habitat and lives of these creatures or other marine life until such damage manifests itself but it is obvious to anyone with a brain that it will be extensive. 

More on the BP spill here.

The most important thing for us to understand is that capitalism cannot prevent such disasters.  Capitalism cannot resolve the environmental crisis and, to be honest, environmental catastrophe. By its very nature capitalism is destructive to the environment and to human society.  It is a system of production that is based on the accumulation of capital (or wealth) by private individuals. It is based on continuous and never ending growth.  But the planet cannot sustain such a system.

The capitalist mode of production will always put personal gain and capital accumulation above the need of human beings or the natural world that nurtures us, that we need to survive. It is inherent in its makeup.

We do not yet know the extent of the damage that Fukushima or the BP spill or any of the other numerous environmental catastrophes have caused.  That will manifest itself in the cancers, deaths, deformities, extinctions and other anomalies that arise because of them.

What we do know is that we have to transform our global society from one that produces the necessities of life based on profit to one that produces them based on social needs.

It’s that simple.  The alternative is not a good one: the end of life as we know it.

No comments: