Therefore, we must organise, lobby, boycott, vote and vociferously protest. We must campaign for the tighter regulation of corporate power, for environmentally sustainable and equitable transport and housing systems, for higher taxes on the rich and corporates (reversing decades of tax cuts) to enable massive investment in renewable energy and climate-change mitigation and adaptation, for economic equity, and for a socially conscious instrumentalist state that is interested in equity and our long-term survival, not just short-term gain at any expense.
This is a monumental task given the hollowing out of the state via privatisation and deregulation and the hyperindividualism (to reject consumption we have to reject established social norms) that characterises the hypercapitalism of the neoliberal project.
This is made even harder in SA by gangster capitalism. But it is a critically necessary task and one that is possible.
The signs are already there that we can rediscover ourselves as social human beings, intimately connected to one another and to the earth. A diverse community of millions protested against the Dakota access pipeline in the US, about 13-million voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s alternative vision in the UK elections, trillions of dollars are being divested from fossil fuel companies and, closer to home, thousands have supported Reclaim the City’s sustainable vision for SA’s cities while new coal-fired and nuclear power stations have been stopped.
Oh and, if you can afford it, drive that Prius and buy that local, organic food from your farmers’ market. These acts do make a small difference — but don’t expect them to change the world.
• Dr Overy is a freelance environmental researcher.