Greta Thunberg calls for a system-wide transformation to society to stop global warming

This topic is so big that it supersedes everything else including any discussions on cats. Climate change affects everybody and everything to the point where discussions about cat breeds and cat behaviour become meaningless.

Greta Thunberg is expanding her campaigning to what she sees as the root cause of climate change; humankind’s capitalist system, the predominant system for organising society.

She demands a system-wide transformation and a change to the current “normal”. She has said:

“We are never going back to normal again because ‘normal’ was already a crisis. What we refer to as normal is an extreme system built on the exploitation of people and the planet. It is a system defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression and genocide by the so-called global North to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order.”

Greta Thunberg in the words she has used about the need to change society and the capitalist model
Greta Thunberg in the words she has used about the need to change society and the capitalist model. Image: MikeB
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And importantly she says this: “If economic growth is our only priority, then what we are experiencing now should be exactly what we should be expecting.”

If you don’t want to be a reactionary from the establishment but instead want to be enlightened, you have to agree with her. Economic growth is the model for the world’s economies. Politicians and economists all demand it as if growth is limitless, but the planet is very definitely limited in its size in case you hadn’t noticed. There is a limit as to how much it can be exploited.

We are not at that limit yet, but we are heading towards it. We are on a collision course to use Thunberg’s words. Future generations will encounter the moment when economic growth hits the buffers.

Greta Thunberg's words from her tweet in which she criticises the current capitalist model which is exploitative of the planet and its people and which is unsustainable
Greta Thunberg’s words from her tweet in which she criticises the current capitalist model which is exploitative of the planet and its people and which is unsustainable. Image: Thunberg tweet.

There has to be a new model based upon sustainability. Many people will disagree, and they will argue that I am one of the doom-mongers presenting an unnecessarily negative commentary on economic growth and the human population.

The counterargument is that global human population is projected to peak at 10.4 billion in the 2080s. In other words, humans are gradually deciding to stop procreating because what they see is the planet being destroyed and life becoming unnaturally competitive. They don’t want to bring children into the world.

In fact, an ageing West is grappling with the problem of how to increase the workforce to sustain economic growth. And the greater number of ageing people who are retired becomes unsustainably expensive. So, the other argument is that some countries will encourage births by providing tax incentives.

But the point made is that human population growth will slow naturally and help to protect the planet in the long term. And technology will allow economic growth without exploiting and abusing the planet. That I think is the counterargument. I am sceptical.

The trouble is that Thunberg is saying things which are very critical of the establishment. The establishment will hate to hear these words because Thunberg is influential, and she has millions of followers.

They will try to undermine her. They will belittle her. They will say “leave running the world to the adults”. But look what the adults did when they ran the world. They screwed up and they continue to screw up. Big time.

Yes, there has been great progress thanks to capitalism in terms of the creation of wealth which has improved lives, and which has extended humans’ lifespan.

But capitalism and the exploitation of nature and the planet is based upon a model which is limited by the size of the planet. But capitalism doesn’t understand that. Capitalism does not take that into account. According to capitalists, economic growth is limitless.

The capitalist model for society WAS effective but its time is up. There has to be change because capitalism is too destructive of the planet due to its necessity to exploit nature and due to the amount of waste that capitalism produces which is dumped into nature.

It seems that the exploitative nature of capitalism always had a limited lifespan because its model is based upon limitless resources and people to exploit those resources. But the world isn’t limitless. It is a globe in space with an atmosphere and gravity. It is quite delicate and very refined. Humankind is very crude. Nature can take so much exploitation before it can no longer absorb it any longer.

Thunberg is saying that there has to be a wholesale change to society and the creation of wealth to fund society. The model has to be based on sustainability. On this page is a screenshot of one of Greta Thunberg’s tweets which sets out her philosophy regarding capitalism, consumerism and market economics.

She sees a failure in all aspects of political ideologies which leads to a need to rethink how to achieve sustainability.

You know what they say? They say that mainstream society rejects outsiders because they see them as dangerous. They also say that when people see outsiders as dangerous, they are frightened of them. And when mainstream society is frightened of an individual they try and eradicate that individual to get rid of that danger and to restore calm to society.

For me, Thunberg is right. I admire her tremendously. She is highly influential (5m twitter followers), and she says things that mainstream society doesn’t say, can’t say, is too blinkered to think. It’s too radical but it is time for radical words and deeds if the planet is to be habitable for generations to come.

Humankind is currently on track to vacate the equatorial area to migrate to places like Greenland and Siberia where temperatures will be acceptable while the equatorial areas will be totally uninhabitable.

There needs to be much more inter-governmental harmony. Countries need to work together rather than compete with each other. And massive distractions such as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sets back the challenge of tackling global warming for years.

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