Environmentalists have gone a long way for their cause. Originally, they had limited their function to awareness campaigns to inform societies about possible environmental burdens, resulting from their actions or choices they make to improve their standards of living. However, they are now perceived as an extremist cult, a religion and a strengthening lobby group. Rather, than striving to give the natural world a stronger voice in human affairs, they want to give environmentalist groups and corporations a stronger voice in the political arena. Such is the new definition of an environmentalist today.
Recently, environmentalists have added to the pool of ideas for the global recovery plan. Although, for decades environmentalists have been lobbying for their concerns to be heard internationally, their recent mobilization is more towards establishing a new world order rather than merely reducing carbon emissions. They have developed an extreme belief that the world is going to end or mankind will perish if global emissions are not cut down. Not only are they creating out of proportion panic attacks, but are calling for an establishment of a new ‘green economy’ which would eventually lead to green governments and hence a universal ethical man.
The question remains, if liberal democracy is a perfect ethical tool for human governance, then how has it actually jeopardized the conservation of environment. The irony is that today in Copenhagen, the widely believed non-democratic governments such as China and not so perfect democracies such as Mexico, South Africa and the rest of the world are willing to accept large cuts in their carbon emissions while the last man or the perfect American, Canadian, European and Australian is not willing to cut down or pay for its emission. The reason they give internationally is that they do not trust accountability of countries such as China while domestically they believe that the ballot does not favour a new environmental order.
All of the above brings back to the same point, after the cold war, we as humans have failed to develop any new model of governance that can offer a new way out of the depleting capitalist model. The approach of these environmentalists has been the same, a green economy with a capitalist nature. This can be seen in their proposed carbon taxes, carbon bonds, green labels and green accounting. By renaming and restructuring the shelves in a supermarket will not save capitalism but only provide a means to re-market the same produce at the expense of human development.
Unfortunately, Muslim rulers who showed up at Copenhagen had nothing to offer except petro dollars which would translate as Abu Dhabi’s promise to build a new green city in the desert, Qatar’s promise to have green flights and Saudi Arabia’s green mosques project. It was only the Iranian President who directly accused the capitalist system as the main cause of environmental degradation. However, Iran itself has to present a viable economic model which has become even more of a complicated task due to sanctions and parliamentary arguments for and against a subsidised economy.
However, environmentalists have been successful in proving the demise of the “end of history” theory and the last ethical man. This can be reflected in the statement of Antonio Hill, Oxfam’s climate change adviser: “The Copenhagen accord is hugely disappointing but it also reveals how the traditional approach to international negotiations, based on brinkmanship and national self-interest, is both unfit for pursuing our common destiny and downright dangerous.”