Labor and the Environment

By Mark Lipman

Righteously, there is outrage over the state of our environment. Whether mountaintop removal for coal in West Virginia, or the dumping of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we all suffer the consequences. The man-made disasters are already too numerous to count, and affect the health of us all, as well as the stability of the entire planet.

When we look at our economy, how well paying manufacturing jobs, reliant on human labor, have been replaced by robotic assembly lines, prison labor and overseas sweatshops, the rage boils within us, as we face eviction and are unable to feed our families.

It is the poor who suffer – who always suffer at the hands of the capitalist class – and it is through their eyes that this story will be told. For when we look upon the ivory and glass towers stretching to the sky, while we live in poverty and despair, we see the economic injustice that is placed upon us and look for someone to blame.
Rightfully, our gaze falls upon those at the very top, for we know it is they who have gutted this planet for their own benefit – it is they who are to be held accountable.

Yet to solve the crisis that is now upon us, it is we who are responsible. For truth be told, it was through our human labor, and our complacency, that this all came about. Yes, we were paid to produce the consequences that we are now paying for. If we are to approach the problem, with the aim of finding a solution, then we must look scientifically at how we got here, in order to find our pathway out.

We built the society we have by hand. We built it through our human labor. Someone else gave us the job, but we did the work.

If we as a people built the problem, are we not also able to build the solution?

Global warming is the major challenge for this generation. If that challenge is not met successfully, we as a species may not live to see another generation.

Our jobs are gone. They are not coming back. The corporate masters have found a cheaper workforce. They do not need us. All they’re keeping us around for is to find out how much they can take. We are on our own to fix this and the sooner we realize this fact and get to work, the better.

We have an unemployed workforce slowly starving to death – officially, 42.6 million people are living in poverty in the United States – officially, 6 million people are living homeless – millions upon millions of people are ready to work, if only they had something to believe in.

Never before in history have two problems been so intertwined, so that a single solution would cure them both.

The problem began with industrialization – that is where we crossed the line with nature and it has only gotten worse since. The tools and technology are available to solve both our ecological and economic problems. As caretakers of this planet, with a responsibility to our future generations, we have an obligation to produce using clean sustainable methods that do not pollute our planet. It is time to restore our roots of local production and agriculture. It is time also to work with purpose as communities, as the owners of what we produce.

After all this time, after all these centuries, after our grandparents and ancestors did all the work – for us to own nothing of it, while those who sat on their asses live in splendor – is nothing short of scandalous.

The only logical conclusion is that we go back to work for ourselves – and do this collectively.  By combining our resources, and networking with others of the same mind, we are able today to create the foundation of a sustainable future for us all.

By working together collectively, by owning our production, we actually have a say in what we produce and how we produce it; into what invest our time. Through that we become individually responsible for the direction of our labor. At which point, as a collective workforce, we have the power to change the world for the better.

Mark Lipman px

Categories: Environment, Labor, Politics