Comrades like myself coming out of political traditions associated with Trotskyism are familiar with Comrade Lowy. Glad to see the "eco-socialist" p-b snake oil still has its Professor Harold Hill. JR
Critic argues while economy drives demand for fuels, wind power equally viable in society
Lukas Keapproth/The Badger Herald
Professor Michael Lowy, emeritus research director at the National Center for Scientific Research, said ecosocialism is the “happy marriage of ecology and Marxism” and has become further developed in the last few decades.
He said ecology is a central issue of social change, particularly in an era where global warming is proving to be an immediate threat.
Humans must learn to combine the pessimism of reason with the optimism of will to address the threat of a generation, he said.
People have an ethical responsibility for the generations who have not yet been born, he said, and may be most directly affected by the issue and the process of global warming is an ongoing process.
“Global warming is the result of the specific human activity of burning fossil fuels, not something natural,” Lowy said. “It is the result of gases that are accumulating in the atmosphere as a direct result of the Western modern capitalist civilization.”
Because capitalist economic systems require permanent expansion, production and consumption, Lowy said the doctrine inherently conflicts with conservation efforts.
He also critiqued recent international efforts to collectively reduce gas emissions. Lowy said though the Kyoto Protocol marks the most advanced attempt to limit emissions, the agreement is lamentable because of its failure to achieve even the most limited aims.
Regarding the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Lowy said the conference ended in “total failure” for failing to outline specific mechanisms to combats climate change.
During the lecture, Lowy said people have to consider radical alternatives to the current system, which is destructive of resources and the environment.
Because ecosocialism is a deviation from orthodox Marxism, he said the pursuit of alternative energy sources, especially solar power, could initiate the dramatic change to the free means of production necessary for revolution.
Teresa Holloway, a UW associate professor of sustainability, agreed most of the warming trends that have been observed and are predicted to continue are from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and gasoline.
While economic growth and expansion are tied to the increasing demand for fossil fuels, she said capitalist societies powered by alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind, are also possible.
“There is nothing inherently capitalist about the issue of climate change,” Holloway said.
She added communist and capitalist countries alike are contributing to emission of carbon dioxide.
Pilar Gonalons, a UW Ph.D. candidate and lecture attendant, said attending guest lecturers provides outlets to better apply knowledge taken from the classroom.
“Education is not only about academics. It’s important that students be aware about problems in society,” Gonalons said.
She added she was intrigued by Lowy’s incorporation of the social struggle for equality with the more newly publicized threat of global warming.
Gonalons also said inundating political parties with a common thread involving the need for social justice and human rights is a more recent trend in political thought.