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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Mais où est passée l’écologie?

by Aurélie Trouvé, co-president of Attac France

What Happened to Ecology?

Translated Friday 11 May 2012, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Derek Hanson

To speak up about Ecology, has this become a thing of the past? Ecology has disappeared under the radar, and this became even more flagrant these past two weeks, during the second round of the presidential election.

For the two finalists in the presidential campaign, it was both voluntary and admitted, this forgetfulness, and the debate on 2 May was a perfect illustration. Not a word concerning the climate crisis, biodiversity, pollution, or its consequences for people’s health. Ecology was no more an issue for François Hollande than for Nicolas Sarkozy.

On the contrary, there were repeated appeals, from the now-elected President of the Republic, for economic growth, the content of which was never questioned. Basically, there arose the idea that an increase in production and in consumption, be it of energy or of materials, is necessarily beneficial to humanity, ... forgetting the physical limits of the planet, beyond which the consequences for humanity are irreversible.

Can electoral calculations alone explain why Ecology was cast into the oubliettes [1] during the debates? Was there not an error even more grave, to think that the economic and social crisis demands an immediate response, while the environment can relegated to a second plane?

These recent years, alerts concerning planetary warming and the catastrophe in Fukushima entered people’s consciousness, and bridges were built between social and ecological battle fronts. The idea of transformation of the modes of production and consumption was reinforced. Around this central idea converged political, associative, labor union, and citizens’ movements, for a democratic and collective management of common goods, such as water, and strong local battles, such as that against the exploitation of shale gas, or against the airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes (of which one of the promoters is none other than Jean-Marc Ayrault). Around this idea were constructed international mobilizations, as on the occasion of the Rio +20 in Brazil in June, combatting a "green economy" in the service of finance and the multi-nationals.

Sunday evening there was a moment of relief. Then, very rapidly, we were again confronted by the realities of the "left alternative", which will offer an alternative only if the necessary balance of power is constructed, in a single battle joined against the simultaneous exploitation of Labor and of Nature.

[1prison cellars, ie: was not on the agenda.

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