Hot winters are not normal

The planet is still burning, and no one cares

The world reached another depressing milestone last February, marking it the hottest February ever in recorded human history. This is the ninth month in a row that global records were broken as the planet gets hotter and hotter. It has been decades since experts have raised the alarm on the global climate crisis, yet nothing substantial has been done. Climate change and its effects are reaching catastrophic levels of socioeconomic reverberation. States are spending more every year on climate disaster mitigation and repair. Whether it is forest fires, flooding, or rising temperatures severely impacting valuable crops, governments feel the total weight of Mother Nature’s wrath. Not only are states experiencing unprecedented levels of environmental and economic devastation from climate change, but rising temperatures are threatening to displace millions of people predominantly from the Global South. The long-term unchecked burning of the Earth will unleash the climate refugee crisis already in the works and trigger immense social unrest to degrees that we have never seen before. 

Our addiction to fossil fuels is slowly killing us like a manic disease, driving its victim more insane each day. Our current political and economic system is incapable of responding to this crisis. Borrowing from thinkers like political scientist Robyn Eckersley in her book Green State, we must build a Green State centred around ecological democracy. The current capitalist world order cannot fix the problem if it is suicidal in its design. Humans are in a race to the bottom, dragging all other lifeforms with us. We cannot let this happen anymore. We can no longer stand by as apathetic bystanders to witness the planet’s destruction for economic growth. The industrialists have had fun but must now be brought home and held accountable for their eco-crimes. The new age of the Anthropocene is a dark one. Extinction follows us as more species die out every year. Experts from the World Wildlife Federation are claiming to be the beginning of a sixth mass extinction.

I am advocating for a ‘Green Revolution’ wherein a transformation of the current Western liberal democratic state shall be dismantled and transformed into a fairer, green, cooperative state that prioritizes human wellness and ecological concern. This essay will include critical and problem-solving theory elements, where I will attempt to craft a realistic roadmap to build toward a Green State. However, I have an issue with components of ‘problem-solving theory’ as it seeks to address the symptoms of the climate catastrophe rather than attacking the rotten core of climate disaster. 

For a Green State to emerge and internationalize, it shall undoubtedly occur under great struggle. Several challenges arise that prevent its fruition. The first is the anarchic nature of the global system. States’ self-interested and competitive nature poses a tremendous challenge to the Green State’s birth and globalization. In other words, implementing a Green State would require restructuring the economy towards a direction of degrowth, which means compromising our security in the eyes of realpolitik. Less economic growth means being less competitive in the market. The second problem is the capitalist ethos of the global financial system, which is driven by endless capital accumulation. Economic globalization is the main driver of ecological destruction due to its extractivist nature. The third challenge is the democratic deficits of liberal democratic states that fail to protect the environment. Most of the world population wants change and protection from impending doom, so who is making the undemocratic decisions to carry on with the deadly status quo? According to Eckersley, the liberal state is controlled by capital and has reached levels of corruption beyond intervention.

Gabriel Theriault – Argosy Illustrator


These intertwined challenges are the biggest obstacles to creating the Green State. This could also explain the decades of inaction and rampant climate denialism. Despite the doom and gloom that makes intervening in the planet’s warming impossible, there is still hope. Eckersley provides three optimistic observations that could shift the logic of international anarchy and build a green pathway. First is the rise of environmental multilateralism manifested through environmental treaties, declarations, and global environmental standards. These are crucial steps towards the globalization of the Green State as states become closer accustomed to ecological frameworks to which they can transition. Second, sustainable development and “ecological modernization” emerged as competitive strategies for states and multinational corporations (MNCs). This is where I disagree with Eckersley. Sustainable development does not exist. It is flawed as a concept because the very process of extraction and profit motivation contradicts environmental protection. Capital seeks to exploit the maximum it can and expand the furthest under the laws of capitalist competition. MNCs and the economic growth model must be abandoned in the Green State. Third, Eckersley argues that the emergence of environmental advocacy within civil society reinforces norms of ecological sustainability and accountability in the population.

We need to be more radical and take harder stances as students, environmentalists, and all those who believe that future generations deserve clean air and water. Existing liberal agreements are a good start to enforce eco-justice. It is not too late to roll back on unsustainable consumption, but this will not come easy and require substantial force/coercion. COVID and the war in Ukraine have distracted us and ruined the momentum that the climate movement had pre-2020. The change will be grassroots as existing states are not interested in degrowth. The urgency of the climate meltdown demands the exclusion of global power politics for survival.

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