“Managing the economy to maximize profit for the benefit of a financial oligarchy is…a recipe for economic, social, and environmental disaster.” David Korten
We are eroding the Earth’s capacity to support human life. About forty years ago, the arc of human progress bent towards unbridled capitalism (and neoliberalism). Although leading scientists were already exposing the environmental damage of multi-national corporations, capitalism pushed back with a vengeance. Since the 1980s we have seen increasing concentrations of wealth and power, and increasing denial of the impact of global capitalism on the Earth and on the viability of the human species on Earth.
The first time I came across the term “eco-egalitarian leader” was when I was reading, Capitalism and Christianity, American Style, by William C. Conolly (2008, Duke University Press). It describes an emerging egalitarian leadership culture capable of addressing our environmental threats.
Bill McKibben environmentalist author and founder of 350.org published an article, “Movements Without Leaders” (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175737/) in which he outlined his belief that the environmental movement will succeed because of it’s lack of a clearly identifiable leader.
Certainly there are many high profile individuals involved in the global movement to address our collective environmental challenges: Bill McKibben, David Korten, Naomi Klein, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Al Gore, Wangari Maathai. However, the movement is currently a mass movement with cells and networks of people actively engaged in widely divergent ways.
“This sprawling campaign exemplifies the only kind of movement that will ever be able to stand up to the power of the energy giants, the richest industry the planet has ever known. In fact, any movement that hopes to head off future depredations of climate change will have to get much, much larger, incorporating among other obvious allies those in the human rights and social justice arenas.
The cause couldn’t be more compelling. There’s never been a clearer threat to survival, or to justice, than the rapid rise in the planet’s temperature caused by and for the profit of a microscopic percentage of its citizens. Conversely, there can be no real answer to our climate woes that doesn’t address the insane inequalities and concentrations of power that are helping to drive us toward this disaster.” Bill McKibben (article link above).
It is precisely because environmental justice is justice for all (all people, all living beings, and all of creation) that mass movements of co-leaders or eco-egalitarian leaders is the only way to address the challenges and create possibilities that will save the Earth.
We are the leaders we have been waiting for, and now is the time we must rally together for the sake of the Earth.
More about William Connolly: