The environment – what do Workers Party candidates say?

– Byron Clark, Workers Party candidate for Christchurch Central.

As a Workers Party candidate in this year’s election, I am often asked for my opinion on environmental issues. These are important to me as a socialist, as environmental issues are also class issues.

Those who are suffering (and will potentially suffer most) from environmental damage are the poor and oppressed, especially those in the third world. With the climate warming, you get tropical diseases like malaria spreading further north and south, and rising sea levels causing island nations to depopulate, creating refugees. Changes in ocean temperature mean changes in fish migration and breeding, affecting what is a food source for a lot of people; and people world-wide, including in the first world, are currently suffering from rising food prices and lack of decent drinking water caused by drought.

When workers control the means of production they can make the decisions, meaning they could choose “greener” modes of production, and with control over the wealth they create could invest in that technology rather than wealth being expropriated by the capitalist class for private profit. Right now it’s trendy to be green, even if you’re a capitalist, and its likely that some of these green capitalists will play the “we need state subsidy to save the planet” card and get funding from the state for research and development and so on. That would mean that workers will be subsidising these corporations who don’t want to invest their profits into environmentally friendly production.

A system that’s good for the planet – and those of us living on it – can only truly come about through socialism.

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