Capitalocene and Revolution

Two things are clear.  We are facing rapidly accelerating deterioration of environmental conditions, and current approaches to making changes on the scale necessary to prevent these things from spiraling out of control are stunningly ineffective.

It is time for nothing short of a revolution.  The capitalist system is killing Mother Earth and us.  As I study a wide variety of sources about this, the term Capitalocene,  is emerging as an important concept.

Geologic ages are divided into epochs.  Our current epoch is the Holocene epic.

“The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems,including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.”

The following is from the blog of David F. Ruccio Occasional Links and Commentary.

“Jason Moore in Capitalism in the Web of Life proposes that the Anthropocene be renamed the ‘Capitalocene’, since ‘the rise of capitalism after 1450 marked a turning point in the history of humanity’s relation with the rest of nature, greater than any watershed since the rise of agriculture.’”

Capitalocene points to the ways capitalism—the particular tendencies and dynamics associated with the appropriation and distribution of surplus-value, the accumulation of capital, and much else—has both made the despoiling of the natural environment (e.g., through the use of fossil fuels) central to the production and distribution of commodities and shifted its effects onto poor people and minorities, who bear higher levels of water, air, and other kinds of pollution than anyone else.

Finally, the term Capitalocene carries with it the possibility of imagining the end of capitalism, and therefore a radical change in the way human beings relate to the natural environment. To be clear, I am not suggesting that global warming and other environmental problems would be automatically eliminated with a radical transformation of the way the economy is currently organized.

Environmental concerns will require particular changes in thinking to be made central to whatever noncapitalist economies are imagined and enacted as we move forward.

I do, however, maintain that eliminating capitalism will be an important step in setting aside and overcoming many of the obstacles to creating a different, better relationship in and with the natural environment.”

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