Environmentalists have always touted limits to growth as to what is needed to reverse climate change and the destruction of the biosphere.
Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic has already resulted in cleaner air, lower C02 emissions and less pollution. Now we need to find a way for the population to carry on in an economy no longer dependent on growth. Solutions must include reversing what has been a steady increase of income inequality by significantly raising taxes for the wealthy and erasing debts for those who have no hope of ever paying them.
It is only March of the first year of a new decade and already we have seen remarkable shocks to the global system, including a political assassination, the shooting down of an international airliner, massive wildfires in Australia and now a pandemic that is devastating the economy and threatens to kill many. As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, we also face the increased potential for more climate change shocks, such as intense storms, floods and more fires.
Here in B.C., imagine what could happen if this winter’s heavy snowfall combines with a cool spring and sudden, quick melt and heavy rains to result in massive flooding. There could be thousands of people evacuated to community centres where they no longer would be able to maintain social distancing. Another fire season like we had in 2017 and 2018, could pose more risks.
The pandemic has exposed all the flaws in the capitalist system that has siphoned off most of the wealth from the majority into the hands of the few. Canada’s society, which is heavily dependent on oil, gas, tourism, film production and trade with the U.S., will need to morph into something closer to a more sustainable and equitable lifestyle.