A Leftist Australian academic uses the climate debate to call for political extremism.
Extract of speech by Greens candidate Professor Clive Hamilton to Australia’s Climate Action Summit, in Melbourne on April 9:
Clive Hamilton: We need a new environmental radicalism
Sometimes coaxing the public to your point of view reaches an immovable barrier. Sometimes people must be jolted out of their complacency by militancy, even if that means a period of rancour, turmoil and danger.
The task of environmental campaigners is not to pander to public evasions but to make those evasions untenable, to blast away the pretences people use to blind themselves to the science, to make them see what is coming down the road.
A wave of environmental radicalism, of uncivil disobedience, will have succeeded when the conservative press begin praising Bob Brown and Christine Milne as voices of reason and moderation, as indeed they are.
The most committed defenders of the status quo are those who most fear environmentalism — the mining corporations, the defenders of the establishment in the Liberal Party and the ALP, and their boosters and apologists in the media.
These conservatives see environmentalism as a profound threat to their world.
Unfortunately, the threat posed by environmentalism is not nearly as great as they imagine, and is diminished by the actions of pale greens everywhere who believe that working within the system and massaging the public can save us from climate catastrophe.
In the 1990s and early 2000 there was some justification for an incrementalist strategy. But climate science now shows that the situation has become so urgent, and the forecasts so dire, that only radical social and economic transformation will give us a chance of avoiding dramatic and irreversible changes to the global climate.
So let me leave you with a final thought. The historic responsibility of environmentalism cannot be overstated. Beyond women’s suffrage, beyond civil rights, its mission is nothing less than saving humanity as a whole.
Today’s environment movement is no place for the faint-hearted.
From the author’s website: Clive Hamilton is an Australian author and public intellectual. In June 2008 he was appointed Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint centre of the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne … In December 2009 he was the [unsuccessful] Greens candidate in the by-election for the federal seat of Higgins.
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