The flaws of an anarchist ecology
What about the ecologist galaxy? It has its scientists, its spokesmen, its parties, its extremists. No governance. Undoubtedly its major handicap in the face of highly structured mega-industries. Lack of direction that leaves opponents’ lines in the running. Some, radical, cause great harm to the movement. Serene anarchism in the face of contradictions?
Here is an inconsistency never mentioned: part of the solutions is collective management, the other is individual survivalism. Should we overcome the crisis together or try to escape it in its corner? If resources are limited, how many will be diverted by local initiatives without significant effect on the fate of the planet, or worsening the situation of other populations?
The files on the coming climate catastrophe mix major international conferences and stories of a return to a more natural life. Ancestral processes are exhumed for environmentally friendly exploitation. For them to make sense, we must abandon the technology built on top of it. Progression and regression are contemplated in a double page. Dazzled by all these good feelings, we do not find any inconsistency. Yet the slot between the pages is indeed an impassable gap. On the one hand those who want to increase their control over the world, on the other those who prefer to abandon it. Nature deemed surpassable by the former, definitely more competent than us by the latter. Should humans return or not their planetary manager’s apron?
Contradictory efforts have maintained the status quo
This internal struggle terribly weakens the ecological effort, even annihilates it. Technology is a remedy for some, a canker for others. The old green guard has succeeded in bringing down the nuclear industry, fostering an energy crisis and the rise of coal, which is much more polluting. Avoiding an unlikely nuclear catastrophe ultimately led to an increase in the likelihood of climate catastrophe. The lack of consensual leadership is very expensive.
Environmental movements certainly need to gain power. Should it be exercised directly? No, because it is de facto excluding other fundamental drivers of society. Let us delegate this power to independent bodies, capable of synthetic reflection, prioritizing the interests at stake. This is not elitism but collectivism imposing itself on individual interests.
Economies and industries are collective structures that have allowed the multiplication and perpetuation of human lives beyond what simple natural processes allowed. Shaking them threatens all these lives. Politicians seem powerless to control them. But their excesses come primarily from the unlimited power given to improve our lives, without integrating the cost to the planet. Industries do not aim to destroy the environment, only to improve productivity and profitability, for our benefit as consumers. And saver. Remember that degrowth does not only worry the sybarite but also the squirrel in us. Growth incorporates the idea of cushioning difficult years. Its inversions are among the worst episodes of humanity. Degrowth is an unknown in the same way as warming.
Double look: upward approach
Companies are used to managing a multitude of constraints. The ecological cost is only an additional parameter. It still needs to become universal. Two complementary ways: 1) hierarchical, through the creation of supranational agencies measuring the ecological impact of the company, to make it a cost of production; 2) participatory, by consumers evaluating the benefit of the purchase versus the ecological cost. In this way, degrowth remains an individual, voluntary commitment, easier for people who have grown than those at the bottom… of the wave of comfort.
For our double look, this is the upward, ontological direction of saving the planet. Level of human needs, level of production, level of management. The higher level seeks to maximize the average profit at the lower level, according to a paradigm that belongs to it. It takes different forms and tends to stabilize on the most effective, currently a variety of capitalism tinged with socialism.
The downward approach is one that installs theories and corrects managerial paradigms. It is not the same floor of our mind that experiences impulses and imagines the best ways to achieve them. Society, a common emanation of our brains, works the same way. The best inventors imagine solutions capable of increasing the average satisfaction of our needs, sometimes at the cost of large individual differences. The acceptable limit of these deviations, such as the tolerance limit of the planet, but also the resistance limit of the disadvantaged, are parameters that are part of the overall management algorithm. Complex and incomprehensible approach for the majority of individuals. The only way to install it is to recognize the pre-eminence of the collective over individuals. Are they capable of it? Not all of them. Especially when many only dream of becoming caliph instead of the caliph.
The planet may die from the proliferation of self-consecrated experts.