Eco-apartheid and the need for systemic change

Reading the amazing posts you’ve all been sharing has helped me get out of the rut I’ve been experiencing lately.

 

@renee.elizabethpeters shared an article on eco-apartheid and eco-imperialism – two terms I’ve never heard of but concepts that I’ve long felt in my heart.

 

The article was beautifully written by @misstej who was herself inspired by Vandana Shiva when writing her article for medium.

 

Eco-imperialism is the attempt to “control the economies of the world” in order to achieve corporate globalisation. It’s “an attempt to engineer the planet” to feed our capitalist system and yield as much profit as possible.

 

From eco-imperialism arises eco-apartheid – the separation of humans from nature.

 

@misstej speaks of Trump’s border – a physical wall meant to separate humans from humans and to reaffirm ownership on resources that were not even theirs in the first place.

 

This naturally made me think of the invisible wall being built around the UK. Brexit is underway and, even if ‘hard borders’ are still a matter being discussed, Brexit represents restrictions put in place to separate people from nature and other humans; to put a claim of ownership on what is supposedly Britain’s although Britain’s power is one embedded in hundreds of years of colonialism, slavery and immigration, just like the U.S.

 

But eco-apartheid is also a spiritual separation from nature. Living in cities has indeed cut us off from the profound connection we inherantly used to share with nature. It’s something I’ve personally felt from leaving my small island (Mauritius) and living in London for the last 5 years.

 

For as long as we can remember, humans have revered and shared a strong bond with mother earth, but in the last 3 decades capitalism has turned our focus towards material gain because if there is one thing that the countless ads have showed us, it’s that the more we buy, the happier and more beautiful we will be.

 

Globalised production sounds great. It’s supposed to help everyone (including the poorer countries). All it’s done is feed the few — the very few sitting at the top of capitalism — and exploit the rest.

 

Capitalism reaches out its big hand and snatches at everything and claims itself as the rightful owner. It feeds and festers and is born with the assumption that it can control mother nature instead of being reverant and grateful for all she offers.

 

The worst part of it, is that the ones at the top have everything to gain while we have everything to lose.

 

I’m not saying I’m pro communism or condone some kind of fascist rule.

 

What I’m saying is this and I’d like to quote ‘The True Cost’ to do it: “They (companies) have fought and won laws protecting their belongings and their interests, but what about the workers?”

 

Where are the laws that protect workers? Where are the laws that protect Mother Earth?

 

We are engaging in zero waste lifestyles but why is everything wrapped in plastic in the first place? Why is PVC bloody everywhere?

 

We are trying our best to recycle our garbage, so why is it that only 9% of plastics get recycled according to @natgeo

 

@vox made an interesting video with @trashisfortossers showing that this sense of guilt we’re having — pushing us to recycle our rubbish —was a concept first initiated by brands through ads. Brands who wanted to produce plastic packaging freely without having to pay taxes for environmental damage.

 

One of the most prominent ad campaigns was called “The crying Indian” ( you can watch it on Youtube) and it pulled all the right emotional strings to instil a sense of guilt in people about their rubbish.

 

Brands were no longer responsible for the litter covering every surface despite them having made it in the first place. We were.

 

Am I saying we should stop our zero waste endeavours and stop putting our garbage in recycling? No. Far from it. It means the world to me to be part of this community that cares so deeply about the environment and other humans.

 

What I’m saying is this:

@alexaslowworld sent me an interesting TedTalk by Sean Davis talking about how governments came together to create The Montreal Protocol when scientists realised that a third of the ozone layer had…disappeared. Nations were suddenly very keen on action and, thus, The Montreal Protocol was created and the ozone layer is now recovering.

 

It goes to show that governments can do a lot when they come together and that our environmental issues should be taken more seriously by our governments. So why do we have to wait till we’re at the brink of disaster for governments to take action?

 

Sean Davis highlighted that we don’t need the certainty of destruction to start preventing it. “Prevention is better than cure” is one of the oldest adages. And for good reason.

 

We need systemic change and it’s not going to happen without brands and governments facing up to the fact that our current lifestyle is wrong and is hurting our planet and it’s hurting our people.

 

Brands, the money you spend on trying to whitewash and greenwash us, spend it on actually reducing your emissions and paying your workers.

 

Governments, make laws that actually protect all of us, including the planet, instead of the companies who can splurge money for everything and anything except for the welfare of our countries.

2 thoughts on “Eco-apartheid and the need for systemic change

  1. You can think of continents as giant puzzle pieces shuffling around the Earth. When they drift apart, mighty oceans form. When they come together, oceans disappear. And it’s all because continents sit on moving plates of the Earth’s crust.

  2. I couldn’t have put it better myself. At the moment it feels like everything is getting worse and worse – corporations are destroying our planet and who’s holding them responsible? It’s just such a shame.
    El xx

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