#Occupy Climate Change: The Arab Spring & Occupy Wall St. Movement

occupy-wall-st-arab-spring-climate-change-environmentWhat do the Occupy Wall Street protests and the Arab Spring have in common? A desire for radical change

The Arab Spring protests which swept through the Middle East show us that despite years of apathy, humans do have the ability to make radical changes. As such, the difficult decisions we need to take to avoid the worst aspects of climate change are not as impossible as some would have us think. I wrote a piece explaining why and it is currently on the frontpage of Adbusters, which is a not-for-profit organisation best known for its pro-environment and anti-consumerist stance.

In the grand scheme of things, capitalism is a blip. A flicker on the historical radar and a rather dangerous planetary-scale experiment whose results are easy to guess and hard to ignore. When you have a giant machine pushing for infinite and perpetual growth in a world with finite resources, you know it’s not going to end well. Yet right now, for the average citizen of the West, a world without the hallmarks of capitalism – without Wall Street, the rat race, shopping malls, economic growth, debt and competitive consumerism – is almost impossible to imagine. The very thought of a consumer-free world opens up such a void, such a unknowingness that it scares the bejesus out of us.

Throughout history, however, there have been people willing to place themselves in that white void and be petrified, even liberated by change. The Arab Spring, which has seen ordinary citizens revolt against mighty dictatorships, is the most recent example of that human ability. And for that reason, the Arab Spring gives us hope. Hope that the world will be able to save itself from the system that has pushed the earth and its resources to the brink. That an alternative will not only be imagined but embraced in the name of new possibilities and freedoms.

The Arab Spring also shows that although we can’t imagine how it will happen or where the political and personal courage will come from, it will surprise us all the more. Despite what you may have heard by now, no one saw the Arab Spring coming. Not the political commentators, not the average person on the street and definitely not the Arab ‘leaders’ and ‘presidents.’ It came completely out of the blue, after years of complacency and apathy. Even those who first took to the streets could not have realized the significance of their actions. But once they were there, together, on Tahrir Square and at Benghazi, they didn’t go home – they wanted change now and more desperately than ever.

Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya for 40 years – almost as long as we have known what we need to do to stop climate change – was forced into hiding by rebels who decided that 40years was 40 years too many. For many Libyans before the revolt, the prospect of a Gadaffi-free Libya was unimaginable. Yet Gadaffi is gone now and we are given another hint that one day – when Capitalism is least expecting it – people will say that the destruction of the planet in exchange for constant economic growth is a price too high to pay. It gives us a glimmer that one day capitalism will be gone too, replaced by a new world system that places the value of our existence and the world’s existence before a quick buck.

Some say that capitalism is too big to fail, that there are too many people invested in its survival. But as we discover that the survival of capitalism means the destruction of the planet, we grow hopeful of our ability to stop, look around and step into the void.

:Article originally published at Adbusters.

: Image via Sashsa Y. Kimel/flickr.

For more on the Arab Spring see: 

A Fresh Arab Spring Flows Through Palestine

Arab Spring Female Activist Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Arab Spring May Boost Desertec Solar Power

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2 thoughts on “#Occupy Climate Change: The Arab Spring & Occupy Wall St. Movement”

  1. Ariely says:

    21 century people need a new economic and social philosophy to follow!
    Capitalism–Socialism-Communism-Theocracy-
    No one has answers for 21 century people’s needs.

    I have question and not replies.
    But if many people will accept that the followings are the main issues, some will think to find solutions and will act to implement them live will be better and just for many.
    –Social dissonance!
    Protesting is welcomed however the so much needed change require and social philosophy and their adoption by politicians.
    I propose a view of the 21 century social and economic issues from the satellite altitude.
    The technological revolution creates social dissonance.
    Naming only a few: High speed global communication, open markets, laws promoting competition, knows haw sharing and transfer, international banking, global investments, global assets, global mutual cultural influence.
    *The modern technology has changed how business and prosperity are made worldwide.
    As well they change the meaning of being a successful individual and create disorder in the family institution.

    * Unfortunately only few people benefit economically from the technological revolution.
    Many of them get richer only because they are in the junctions of decision making without contributing to create real prosperity.
    (Banks and corporation managers, high level officials and similar but not the few start up entrepreneurs)
    All the others are losing.

    *In addition the technological revolution created means used by the majority of individuals around the globe can easily communicate directly, sharing knowledge, ideas and actions.
    They are bypassing governments and powerful interested party’s shaping peoples’ minds and stirring information.

    *What is considered a successful individual life routine is:
    Bye more-work more-increase company revenues quarterly-imitate movie stars, fashion models, sport icons-(buying dreams).
    All the above don’t create happy people.
    -So, the life has changed and societies have to learn how to use the technical means for the benefits of all people.

    21 century people need a new economic and social philosophy to follow!
    Capitalism–Socialism-Communism-Theocracy-No one has answers for 21 century people’s needs.
    Everyone has pro and cons!
    However all failed the daily real life test.
    The people in the free world have straggled for over 100 years for 8 working hours, illness insurance, vacation, retirement benefits, right of employed.
    The last 3 decades they are losing social rights.
    People on the developing world lucky to get jobs don’t get western social benefits.
    The globalization has a huge potential to create worldwide wealth and social justness.
    However it is used mainly to increase the profit of few and all the other are losing.
    The 99% are working harder and getting less.

    *Governments are losing power to global conglomerates.
    Labor unions lost their capability to protect people rights in the fast changing society.
    Many families are in disorder and children are a high burden.
    The population of the free world countries subjugated to the above life style is decreasing due the birth decrease.
    *Politicians that don’t understand meddle class needs are doomed to disappear.
    Although the life of the middle class by the end of the 20 century has achieved great quality.
    The world middle class needs in the 21 century are not answered.
    In the democratic system one leader is powerless.
    The majority of politicians taking part in the democratic system should understand the needs and cooperate for a solution.
    Politicians from the left or right parties should remember, understand and avoid historic events repetition.

    Systems that ignored the mass needs failed, results being large bloodshed:
    Politicians, economy leaders and philosophers should learn and implement gradual changes in the current systems.
    *;The French revolution ended up with mass executions and Napoleon wars.
    **; The Bolshevik revolution ended up with mass killings, people’s brutal operation and the cold war.
    **; One of the results of the 1929 global resection was the rise of Nazism, Fascism and the horrible WW2.
    ***: The revolution against Iran Shah leads to the rise of Islamist Iran standing against democracy, liberalism and human rights.
    ***The Arab spring turn in power taking by Islamist parties such as the Muslim brotherhood lead by the ideology of imposing Islam worldwide by the use of force.

    Well –this is what I wander and have to say!
    Open end-no solutions-what other people have in mind?

  2. Ariely says:

    I wish Arab people to be successful and getting a 21 century life quality, a democratic system endorsing freedom and equality between all people, genders and religions.

    The Arab spring used cleverly Facebook to spread the word and organizes.

    I am an Israeli Jew.
    For the day I remember myself I am used to hear and read that whatever wrong is going around the world it is because the Jews.
    Facebook founder is a Jew!
    Facebook is one more Jewish contribution to mankind.
    Hey ! – You missed blamimig the Jews of founding Facebook!

    The Arab and Muslim leaders from all the political wings traditionally blame the Jews for all their problems.
    In the Arab spring they forgot to blame the Jews!
    The so called human rights activists are using Facebook to organize anti Israeli demonstrations, flotillas, boycodes and they are blaming the “Jewish international lobby”.
    Not blaming the Jews?
    This is the real revolution.

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