It’s that time of year again, when world leaders and masses of activists convene to grapple with a dying Earth. Largely indifferent to the effects of climate change, overpopulation, and ecological collapse, this year we’ve seen a slight intensifying of rhetoric from Barack Obama and Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel. Even notorious climate denier Vladimir Putin made a few sympathetic retorts.
Credit the Pope for laying down the hammer this fall on his US trip when he called inaction on climate change “suicide”, and in his 190 page encyclical published this spring. The document is a rousing moral wake up call about the dangers of capitalism, the ways we build cities to divide each another by class, and of how we’ve devastated vast swaths of our natural world.
While 2015 has seen some significant victories like Shell’s failed arctic drilling ambitions and TransCanada’s failed KXL tar sands pipeline, it seems still there are few willing to challenge capital’s roll in creating the climate crisis or to alter their own consumption habits.