of this Page: Underlying
Causes of Environmental Destruction
- A. Deleterious
Effects of Interest - B.
Poverty - C.
Population Matters - D.
Prevention of Green
Technological Advance - E.
Terms of Trade and IMF Conditions
for Borrowing - F.
Greed - G.
Power Must Be Spread - H.
Abuse by Corporations - So,
Environmental Justice demands
a trustee of a delicate biosphere whose carrying capacity
we have a duty of care to sustain, every person must
respect the rest of creation and take responsibility
for preserving the environment including the fauna
and flora all of which are interdependent and share
a divine origin with humanity.
on earth is a fragile miracle. Its preservation and, wherever
possible, reconstruction is not possible without a global
and intergenerational perspective – which is what GJM
destruction has underlying several causes some of which are
not always obvious and, even if noticed, are often conveniently
Causes of Environmental Destruction
first such cause is interest whose deleterious effects are
Deleterious Effects of Interest
growth of compound interest
money is not, or cannot be, repaid (and, because of predatory
lending, that is the situation in many countries today) the
total amount owed, at compound interest, increases with ever-increasing
acceleration. Assuming no repayments, the amount owed slowly
increases before beginning to shoot upwards on its way to
infinity. For example, if somebody borrows at 12% to pay for,
say, a farm, and is unable to pay back the money then, after
18 years, he has to pay back the equivalent of not one farm
or two farms, but eight farms! After 24 years it is sixteen
has been calculated that one pfennig invested in the
year 0 A.D. at 5% compound interest would by 1990 have
earned the value of gold worth 134 billion times the
weight of the earth. Today we are in 2003 A.D.!!!
money is owed than is available
$100 is borrowed and $800 is repayable then, on the world
scale, there is a continual and frantic effort to find $700
i.e. the difference between $100 and $800. The only way forward
is to borrow more money!! Thus there are huge, and unnecessary
pressures to increase economic activity merely for the purpose
of paying off the interest (as opposed to paying off the original
of the most sinister consequences is to entrap people
into a frenetic activity with an associated endless
increase in consumption. Combined with advertising,
this makes people believe, and behave, as if they have
limitless material needs, when they do not.
of resources from poor to rich
the time, as a result of the grip that the banking system
now has on the world, a massive transfer of resources is going
on from the poor to the rich. An example from Germany is illuminating.
Between 1950 and 1989 German Gross Domestic Product increased
22 times, while interest paid on the national debt increased
75 times. That is extraordinary remembering that, overall,
80% of the population lose from the effects of interest, 10%
neither lose nor gain, and the last 10% most definitely gain.
borrowing more money generally only worsens the problem. Eventually
capital assets tend to end up in the hands of those who lend
second main cause of environmental destruction is poverty.
Poor people, for example, often have little choice but to
take the shortest route to satisfying their immediate physical
need. Thus if electricity is not available, poor people will
cut down the nearest trees to provide fuel for cooking and
moreover, where the environment is concerned, poor people
do not have much choice about how they earn their living.
It is hard enough for the middle classes and the working poor
in industrialized countries to face up to the choices between
the environment and their livelihood. Still harder is it for
those in poorer nations where, in far greater numbers and
proportions, people suffer and perish for lack of necessities.
if there is to be fundamental advance on the green front,
not only must poverty be addressed but there must be a method
by which ordinary people can be stopped from earning their
living in one way and given another, more green way, instead.
If there is no other way to earn, destruction happens. The
recent history of the Canadian cod fishing industry is an
example. The seas off Newfoundland were being over-fished.
But because, in order to limit the cod catch, fishermen would
have to be deprived of their livelihood, inadequate action
was taken. It is now, alas, possible that Canadian cod will
never be seen again. Unhappily, this dismal history looks
like being repeated in the North Sea.
considering a third main cause of environmental destruction
it can be noted that a large population does not, of itself,
cause poverty. Rather, poverty causes the large population.
Many people believe that the most intransigent problem facing
the world is the burgeoning population. In many countries,
the population increases while, at the same time, there is
a standard of living just above the starvation level; abysmal,
if not non-existent, health and education services; and no
welfare state. In such situations:–
• families have large numbers of children to ensure
that some survive
• children are necessary to provide for the upkeep of
• women have little choice as to whether or not they
have children. This is not just a matter
of economics but also a reflection of a power balance between
the sexes, a balance tilted against women.
there is much evidence that population levels stabilize, even
decline, where there is:–
• a reasonable standard of living
• an education and health system
• some, if only minimal, empowerment of women.
in the USA and Europe today many strata of society are generally
showing a population decline. Needless to say, Global Justice
• a reasonable standard of living;
• education and health systems; and,
• a considerable empowerment of women.
Prevention of Green Technological Advance
environmental destruction will continue while green technological
advance is prevented. Windmills and solar energy-generating
systems are examples of investment projects that can, and
should, be done with interest-free money. However, while,
as at present, all such investment has to be made with interest-bearing
money, the projects have a borderline viability.
interest-free money, however, they become economically feasible.
Getting such technologies into operation is now environmentally
urgent. Indeed, unless it happens within about five years,
it may be too late.
is hope, however, because some mind-bending
alternative energy and other technologies are now on the verge
of practical possibility. Examples are the Motionless
Electromagnetic Generator and various processes for
using hydrogen obtained from water. It is utter madness not
to give these new technologies a chance to save the planet.
The use of interest-free money would be that chance.
at present, vested interests and fossilised mindsets have
induced a deep paralysis. Green technological advance is essential
but while all such investment has to be made with interest-bearing
money, the chances of it being viable are small.
Terms of Trade and IMF Conditions for Borrowing
fifth main cause of environmental destruction is the poverty
and distress arising from the disastrous imposition of unsuitable
terms for borrowing. A recent World Development Report recounts
the reasons behind Malawi’s food crisis. Briefly, the
problem is not harvest failure. Rather it is inappropriate
conditions for borrowing imposed by the IMF and World Bank.
In particular, these conditions, rather like water privatisation,
do not take account of poor people’s inability to pay
more for food. Malawi’s international indebtedness,
moreover, is such that a potentially prosperous country is
being environmentally wasted.
the terms of international trade are often biased against
the agricultural production of poor countries.
case for cancelling the debt of these countries is strong
because, unless the debt is cancelled, they will never get
out of debt (indeed, it will increase) and so, in effect,
will be milch cows for evermore. Putting
countries into never-ending debt is a sure formula for creating
environmental destruction is caused by large-scale over-consumption.
the moment, unfree finance capitalism
has, at its core, a demand for the endless repayment of interest.
That demand necessarily causes an endless expansion because
of the need to repay borrowed money. While the money supply
is almost wholly dependent upon bank-created money issued
with a requirement for the payment of interest, a frenetic
over-consumption is certain.
when conventional economics views humans as being endlessly
greedy (as it does view them) it is only giving expression
to what is required by the conventional economic system.
from the present finance system, moreover, endless greed is
also stimulated by a lethal combination of insecure social
status and the insecurity which comes from poverty or, at
the very least, a perception of insecurity.
the elimination of greed requires:
a fundamental change to the system of finance
• policies to ensure that everybody earns a big
proportion of their income in the same way, and in a
• societies with an obvious fairness.
then can it reasonably be expected that the forces which today
tend towards endless greed will at the very least be mitigated.
Power Must Be Spread
and sustainability of human life on the planet cannot be achieved
with a concentration of power that corrupts people and their
environment. An ecologically rich division of power is required
to provide checks, balances and interdependency to provide
a rational basis for trust and cooperation to sustain humanity
as part of Gaia.
achieve a widespread division of power democracy needs to
be re-defined to eliminate it operating through command and
control bureaucracies. Democracy has been hollowed out through
the public sector being captured by the command and control
bureaucracies of corporations that allows them to minimise
their political accountability.
democracy cannot be achieved without economic democracy. Even
the most advanced economies no longer have a meaningful form
of economic or political democracy. Corporations are beginning
to rule the world. They are more and more becoming accountable
only to investment managers who by law are not allowed to
take action on only social or political grounds. Even on financial
considerations, investment managers are not motivated to make
corporations accountable as they depend upon them to earn
their living! Justice is denied because bureaucrats in the
public or private sectors can avoid political accountability.
Social accountability is denied, as citizens cannot afford
to take court action against power bureaucracies.
depends upon enriching democracy to give citizens rather than
institutions control of society. This can be achieved by adopting
ecological forms of ownership, control and money. See Complementary,
Community and Ecological Currencies.
This would create interdependency between the social and
natural environment to build "Ecological Republics"
based on the bio system of each locality. Dr
Shann Turnbull has made a proposal as follows: —
forms of biota, ecological ownership, control and
money would be subject to environmental changes and
have a limited life. With realty this would mean users
would become owners over time as occurs in squatter
settlements. All alien ownership would become localised
to provide both the means and incentive to sustain
the natural and built environment. Ownership rights
to corporations would no longer extend past their
investors' time horizons. This would substantially
reduce the concentration of wealth from investors
being overpaid. Conversely firms would be sustained
by acquiring as owners, their employees, customers
and suppliers on whom it depends for its existence.
It is for
this reason that such ecological forms of firms are
described as Ownership Transfer Corporations. OTCs
would replace the current static, exclusive and perpetual
rules of ownership with ones that are dynamic, inclusive
and time limited. In this way ownership would continually
be widely distributed to those people on whom firms
depend for their existence. Like all forms of biota,
ecological ownership, control and money would be subject
to environmental changes and have a limited life.
With realty this would mean users would become owners
over time as occurs in squatter settlements. All alien
ownership would become localised to provide both the
means and incentive to sustain the natural and built
Abuse by Corporations
(UK) or corporations (US) were originally allowed into existence
with privileges because they could give benefit to society.
Today, however, the right to create a corporation is increasingly
treated as a right by people intent on abusing the privileges,
indeed, intent on abusing society e.g. tobacco corporations.
Worse, the individuals involved in many corporations are able
to shift the costs of damage they cause onto the public sector.
Corporations located in tax-avoidance countries are particularly
prone to this. Global Justice would review the role of corporations.
word “stewardship” well summarizes what is needed.
All humans alive are, or should be, stewards aiming to hand
on to succeeding generations a world in good shape. Stewardship
using our resources wisely
• a concern for structural justice
• demonstrating financial accountabilities
• preserving the environment
• making decisions on behalf of the future
• earning community trust.
Global Justice Movement gives a
lead in stewardship because it:–
greatly mitigates the deleterious effects of interest
• improves the situation of the poor by providing
two basic incomes
• increases the productive capacity of individuals
• promotes green investment
• allows alternative incomes to those at present
engaged in anti-environment practices
• promotes the voluntary control of population
• spreads power
• strengthens localities
of all, the GJM promotes a positive attitude away from self
and towards others. Without
that attitude there is little hope that people will co-operate
sufficiently to make an impact on environmental problems.
Environmental Justice demands
Interest-free money for public capital investment
Interest-free money for private capital investment
if new owners are thereby created. Tax incentives
for wide capital ownership.
Interest-free money for farms, small and start-up
Non-repayable, debt-free money for a second
Interest-free money-free money for green capital investment
Complementary, community and ecological currencies
A rejection of extreme left-wing and right-wing politics
Good healthcare, education, clean water, sewage and
A proper deal for women – and babies
The cancellation of the debt of poor countries
Review of the role of corporations
has been well said that:—
“the question of rights within
a global system revolves around the right to livelihood for
the human and other species. Livelihood is not ultimately
about money or having a job. It is about the right to share
in the bounty and beauty of the planet, within sustainable
limits – not because the right has been given by someone
else, but as a consequence of being alive.”
five Justices combine in livelihood.
– the world has the technology and productive resources
to eliminate misery, poverty and injustice and save the planet
(particularly if the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator
and other new alternative energy sources become commercially
Over time, in the Global Justice economy, interest-free money
will come to replace interest-bearing money and not be in
addition to it. Since it is replacing, it cannot be inflationary.
join the Global Justice Movement!
those who have joined the GJM! Compare Global Justice
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