The sense of déjà vu is overwhelming. An international conference to tackle the already known causes of the ecological disaster unfolding around us.
Two weeks of wrangling, as governments make insincere pledges to change direction; corporations spend up big merely to greenwash their crimes; environmental NGOs realise that they have been lied to again. Perhaps it will be different this time.
Certainly the aims of the current COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal are ambitious.
Among more than 20 draft proposals are the ‘30×30 plan’ to protect 30 per cent of the planet by 2030, the elimination of plastic waste, the redirection of $500bn in corroding agricultural subsidies, and the reduction of pesticides in the environment by at least two-thirds.
Lobbying against these proposals will be intense. Nestlé, for example, steals public water and sells it back to us in plastic bottles.
Dozens of big corporations encourage deforestation and species extinction by using palm oil from Indonesia and the Amazon.
Monsanto makes the carcinogenic pesticides sold in Australia.
The fossil fuel industry is the worst of all, producing most of the atmospheric pollution of the last half-century.
If you were the head of any of these companies, what would be your reaction to the Montreal conference? Let’s assume you are bright enough to know that science is not a left-wing conspiracy, and that the facts are irrefutable.
What you can learn from COP15, if you didn’t know it before, is that your pursuit of record levels of wealth is contributing to a planetary cataclysm. Failing drastic worldwide action, this will happen in a generation or two at most. Or for thousands of animal species, right now. You know your actions today are making the world uninhabitable tomorrow.
Yet all the evidence says you don’t care. You don’t care about the extinction of animals, you don’t care about the warming of the earth. You don’t care about the survival of our children and grandchildren. Perhaps you think your own offspring will be safe, coddled in the bunkers of your extravagant riches. More likely you don’t care about them either.
There is no genuine doubt about the reality of a human-induced catastrophe in the biosphere, there is only anti-scientific propaganda in the mouths of bought-and-sold politicians and in the words of news media owned by right-wing billionaires.
Nevertheless, you are behind the anti-protest laws that most countries are enacting in order to stifle dissent and maintain control.
Your insane greed is the reason our captive economy rewards ecological destruction, and by intimidating protesters you aim to keep it that way.
You are taking away from us clean water, breathable air and a stable climate, all for the sake of an insatiable lust for wealth, to stay in power at the top of the human pyramid, to remain part of the one per cent of humankind which owns nearly everything.
In the face of such calculated evil, the least we can do is call it out. We are dealing with liars and psychopaths, and we should stop being civil.
All of you are less valuable to the world than a single honeybee.
It is hard to remain optimistic in the face of corporate corruption, government hypocrisy and the barrage of disinformation from most of the media, but let this be the lowest point of the earth’s darkness.
The draft proposals are the minimum conditions for recovery, and there is no more time left.
Let this be midnight, with dawn not far away. COP15 will end on Monday. It cannot fail.
David Lovejoy, Echo co-founder