#196 "Half-Earth Socialism": A plan to stop climate disaster and mass extinction


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Troy Vettese is an environmental historian. He studies the history of environmental economics, energy-systems, and animal life under capitalism. His writing has appeared in New Left Review, The Guardian, n+1 amongst others.

You can play the video game "Half-Earth Socialism" on the website https://play.half.earth/ or on the video game platform Steam.


Dissens is giving away one copy of "Half-Earth Socialism. A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change and Pandemics" among the members of this podcast.



DOS-88 – City Lights: https://youtu.be/egKdVELkKVI


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00:00:00: I think you also have to tell people these problems cannot be solved under Captain's it's not going to happen.

00:00:08: And capitalism is going to ruin the world and we're going to live under this these equites geoengineer disguise was like a bunch of chili there's controlling everything

00:00:18: right that's the future so I think we need socialism socialism it should be understood as is consciously controlled.

00:00:26: Economy that we decide whether interchange with nature will be we decide know how we should live and all that rather than leave them at up to.

00:00:34: Music.

00:00:43: Come to this week's episode of The Descent podcast by guest has the environmental historian try the taser.

00:00:49: He studies the history of environmental economics energy and animal life under capitalism.

00:00:54: Recently he co-authored the book half of Earth socialism which takes a close look at the environmental crisis we are facing today

00:01:01: and proposes a radical equal socialist plan to save the future from Extinction climate change and pandemics try thank you for being on the show thanks for the invitation.

00:01:11: Yeah try saving the future from Extinction climate change and pandemics kind of a bold statement.

00:01:16: Well that what that's subtitle is foisted on us by Verso Irish yeah so the book is a utopian book right and I forget the exact subtitle of Thomas More's Utopia.

00:01:30: Placing a small beneficial book for you know increasing the understanding of something or other by like this idea of like a small beneficial book and I wanted to actually use that subtitle.

00:01:40: At the marketing guys had the final say so Troy let's talk about life after capitalism and you book as well one thing is clear we're facing an increasingly dystopian future with climate disaster and mass extinction on the horizon

00:01:54: in your book you proposed Eco socialism as a solution let's start with our enemy here why do you think is sustainable life within capitalism is not achievable and we need to transition Beyond capitalism.

00:02:06: So I wrote this book half of socialism withdrew and that was

00:02:11: kind of like a fun book on the side right I mean it's all so it doesn't belong to any obvious discipline that gives mix of like philosophy and ecology and.

00:02:20: History and all these others is even fiction in it and all that.

00:02:23: My actual work as a historian is studying neoliberal environmental thoughts I wrote my dissertation on the emergence of cap and trade and then neoliberal debates with malthusians and 19

00:02:34: 80s and so I think I know the other side quite well and I can see

00:02:39: what they're up to in terms of how they want to solve the environmental crisis and to me it's actually quite disturbing that most ideas that are

00:02:47: discussed for how to solve the crisis are new liberal ideas right so we have cap and trade for instance

00:02:54: we set a limit to how much is it carbon is going to be admitted and then the market will price the right to pollute and that's what the European Union has with the ETS system hasn't worked very well I mean the average price I think for like the first 10 or 15 years of the program was like three Euros at 10 so it's useless

00:03:13: and then the other thing they want to do is geoengineering

00:03:16: right in the long-term the idea is we'll get a bunch of scientists entrepreneurs to then solve the crisis by by cooling down the Earth

00:03:25: right there put sulfur to that Miss fear that will reflect sunlight back into space cooling cooling things down but it will cause many many problems or turn the sky why.

00:03:35: You know it would mess up precipitation patterns and my mess at the monsoon and many other things will go wrong very dangerous but it's very likely and people are increasingly adopting this

00:03:43: even socialists and environmentalists are embracing this technology more and more and then the other idea that the neoliberals have is the comments

00:03:52: right to Elinor Ostrom who lots of anarchists and lefties and D growth here is you know like she is it a neoliberal as well and she wrote about the commons.

00:04:03: And her famous book and in 1990 as a small-scale solution to various problems so the fact that we call her again our main ideas for dealing with environmental crisis come from new liberals is probably a bad thing these are some level they're not interested in solving

00:04:17: the environmental crisis what the new labels really want to do is make sure they protect the.

00:04:22: From government interference right they what they really want to do is prevent the government from coming in and saying I went to shut down fossil fuel infrastructure.

00:04:32: We're going to have no private certain activities or bad SUVs or whatever because that will mess up the market mechanism and neoliberals are unusual as far as economists go because they see the market not merely as a site of exchange but really as it submissive

00:04:46: being in some ways they see the market in theological terms right and therefore they have to protect the.

00:04:52: So that's basically the one side and the book begins they are book half of socialism begins with us discussing what's probably going to happen the next 25 years and even if mainstream environmentalist succeed in imposing.

00:05:06: Various kinds of a cap and trade programs are increasing Energy Efficiency and all that it won't be enough to actually cause absolute reductions in terms of

00:05:16: and how much carbon were admitting or how much land we're using for agriculture and all that and therefore the environmental crisis will get worse and we have climate change of mass extinction ropes you know sees and all that and I just don't think kapitalismus

00:05:28: a prism can deal with environmental crisis and I got into Marxism by way of environment the

00:05:34: because I want to understand why is this there this need for growth and I think a lot of the growth here's a lot of ecologically Economist they Describe economic growth is merely a cultural phenomenon right like people like growth is and then we just have to give up on growth at the Marxist approach is that economic growth is part of the system and.

00:05:52: Atlas are competing with each other in terms of increasing productivity or finding new markets and this is going to

00:05:59: increase the amount of the know the world in terms of its commodification right increase the amount of nature that's going to be subsumed and if that doesn't happen then it's going to be an economic crisis of capitalism can't can't stop right it can't

00:06:13: be restrained and if it is restrained the captives are going to find ways around it so and I just don't think capitalism can do with it and therefore the question is we need socialism socialism it should be understood as is consciously controlled.

00:06:27: Economy they lie decide whether interchange with nature will be we decide know how we should live and all that rather than leave them at up to the market.

00:06:36: All right if we give up a markets then we have to find other ways of applying the economy so that's basically what the book is trying to do is to figure out this problem.

00:06:44: Try already talked a bit about why green capitalism is a myth maybe you can elaborate a bit more on that because

00:06:52: I think we still have to repot this hegemonic project that is forming there right now.

00:06:57: That is saying basically you don't have to change the way you're living the amount of energy for example that you consumed as a person living in the global North.

00:07:05: We don't have to change production we don't have to change to consumption change social relations you just have to go in the direction of electric cars for example a retrofit houses expand renewable energies and stuff like that.

00:07:17: But you and your book specifically say that all these things are not enough and as well as Market mechanisms and not enough so maybe.

00:07:25: You can elaborate a bit more about these shortcomings of this mainstream environmentalism that we also see in the green parties that are in power in Europe for example.

00:07:33: For instance here in Germany so the problem with environmental movements is that they.

00:07:39: They come from a philosophical position based on math Uzi nism generally and this was especially clear 1960s and 70s when they said well the

00:07:49: a problem is too many people population is population bomb and all this kind of stuff and therefore we have to reduce population if you want to have a better environment and what's interesting is like back then.

00:08:01: Because of that perspective they were willing to countenance pretty severe government interventions into the market to deal with scarce resources and to try to create a steady state economy of some sort

00:08:12: this is where neoliberals are really a pushing against these like mouth Uzi and environmentalists such as Garrett Hardin or Earley for

00:08:19: and then by the 1980s and 90s that part of the environmental movement was broken.

00:08:26: And lots of ways it seemed like they had lost that debate there are mental movement became much weaker and then they were co-opted by a lot of neoliberal ideas of seeking win-win Solutions and to not be as antagonistic towards

00:08:38: conservatism towards business and adopting say cap and trade

00:08:41: but I think even from Mentalist now there you go weird mix where there still a bit mouth Uzi and and they're a bit neoliberal.

00:08:48: But they're not socialist I get very few environmentalists who really deal seriously with.

00:08:54: Socialism or Marxism and that's really unfortunate because I think if you don't see the ultimate cause of the problem being capitalism then you're not going to find a proper solution to it right you're going to think you can have the

00:09:08: he's been when Solutions are you going to keep blaming poor

00:09:11: people in the global South for environmental problems that we face in terms of green capitalism in general I would say you have to be a real fool at this point is still believe that this program is working right I mean people have been talking about this for 40 years.

00:09:24: And it hasn't delivered anything

00:09:26: right I mean like the amount of carbon being emitted is still going up the extinction rate is still going up it's simply not working so we have to think how can we achieve these absolute reductions and I think

00:09:39: maybe why the green capitalist discourse is still appealing is because it's not clear exactly

00:09:46: what kind of standard of living the works for an ecologically stable Society right like how much can we actually consume.

00:09:54: Right way isn't lecture card enough so should I not be flying you know should I be eating meat or just organic or whatever is kind of thing because we are

00:10:04: only see the market from our own perspective as consumers and we don't see the totality right we don't see what Collective consumption is really like and how it relates to each other then we have these a dumb debates at some level

00:10:16: right and I think

00:10:18: what we're trying to do in the book is you know we draw a lot on this Viennese philosopher named Otto Neuer at annoyed that he would say that socialism is this conscious control Society

00:10:30: is conscious control of the economy and Society regulating itself and to do that Society has to be able to see itself and see the economy so he set up these Museum exhibitions where he would try to show

00:10:41: the economy to the working class of Vienna.

00:10:44: Through graphic design and data visualization so if you can imagine seeing the economy then you have debates but what do we do with the economy and this leads to his definition of economic democracy which is making a bunch of total plans

00:10:58: what do we do with all the resources we have

00:11:01: and so forth what kind of Life do we want to live how many hospitals would be built on the schools we build or whatever and then we compare these total plans and vote on them

00:11:09: so we adopt this in the book as well and we're saying okay to know the green capitalist or to anyone else what is your total plan right like you have

00:11:19: people were very rich in the global North and bunch of poor people in the global South the what's your carbon budget you know how much Extinction are you willing to have how are you going to power all this and then you can you can start having real

00:11:29: debates we can see that electric cars are not going to solve the problem right you can see that organic Meats not going to solve problems but we only do it when we have these two little Platz.

00:11:38: Yeah we're going to talk about the topic of planning a bit later.

00:11:42: Let's talk a bit about your book and your idea of half Earth socialism in general a lot of debate now focuses on eco socialism

00:11:52: is that also something that the publisher pushed you towards name it heifer Earth Socialism or why not Eco socialism but have Earth socialism.

00:12:01: So what we were trying to do if the name of half or socialism was that we wanted to basically signal a few things one would be that the climate crisis is not the only environmental crisis that's happening as in the biodiversity crisis the extinction crisis is massive

00:12:17: is as important or even more

00:12:19: then the climate crisis and but we're not talking about it right so and the half Earth is an idea to actually conserve half the world into

00:12:28: nature preserves of some sort to prevent a mass extinction from happening so we want to really send to that I think it also centers the importance of land

00:12:37: as an issue right this idea that we don't have enough land to achieve all the goals such as you know growing food or energy production or conservation and all that so land becomes essential category it really is essential category.

00:12:49: Of the book and I think the half Earth is also a sign of the kind of socialism where espousing which is really a humble.

00:12:57: Kind of socialism as in like the we can solve the environmental crisis we can ensure everyone has a good life but we do have to give something up.

00:13:05: Right we can't have everything was going to be trade off somewhere.

00:13:08: Right so this is very different from a fully automated luxury communism where everyone gets everything had to think so we only can get half right and then we'll figure out the rest of that's what we wanted to do with this half Earth I mean we definitely are Eco socialists and where and I'm close friends with Andres mom you know for instance

00:13:25: and we're part of that debate but we also don't agree with

00:13:28: no other Eco socialists on everything you think we're doing something also a bit different from other Eco socialists right so we were critical of Marx

00:13:37: in a way that's a John Doe me Foster

00:13:39: or say to cohere Art right where the table marks is actually this the ecological thinker and all that I think you really have to address the Promethean strand with in Marx's and head-on

00:13:50: and I think they really exaggerate the ecological side of marks what you mean by Promethean like a productivist leftist randor.

00:13:57: Yes this idea that we can dominate nature and actually it's good to dominate nature because then we can have this abundance and socialism will actually increase the domination of nature

00:14:07: all right in its idea we will move mountains will like redirect Rivers you know will you know will control the atmosphere the idea of geoengineering actually comes from a Soviet scientist which is quite revealing

00:14:19: yeah and then we wanted to be more definite in terms of what kind of society in a Weber we want and how it would function as I'm like where the planning mechanisms and all that and that's a bit different from again I like andreas's work

00:14:34: quite a lot but he I think if there's not enough about it but it was going to come after capitalism nice we want to do that with the book so that's how we kind of fit into this broader debate.

00:14:43: Yeah that is talk a bit more about half of Earth socialism how it would look like you kind of put forward three simple

00:14:50: Solutions toward the ecological and climate crisis.

00:14:54: Which are like pillars of what you think could be a half of Earth socialism the first one you already hinged upon is planetary while during so giving back space to Nature.

00:15:06: And the second one is widespread vegan diet for Humanity complete vegan diet or predominantly vegan diet.

00:15:13: And the third one is renewable energies and energy quotas.

00:15:17: So let's start with planetary while during where the name of Eureka socialism have Earth socialism comes from just recently I think the question of global ecocide and biodiversity was put into Forefront a little bit more and into mainstream discourse.

00:15:31: But still even within the climate movement and more so on the left even the problem of habitat loss and mass extinction is often overlooked.

00:15:38: So what do you think it's so important for us humans to reserve more space for wildlife so why do you focus so much on this idea of half of Earth

00:15:46: half of the Earth for the environment and half of the Earth for Humanity.

00:15:50: Extinction is tragic I think for the animals themselves and I think we have to ask in a what gives us the right to cause so much destruction.

00:16:00: To be such a brutal force in the world I mean we are on track to cause 50%

00:16:07: of species disappear within a century or so that's the same as what happened.

00:16:14: 66 million years ago when an asteroid hit the earth wake up the dinosaurs and all that so the fact that we are as destructive as a gigantic asteroid should be a problem right we should I think this is a moral problem at some at some.

00:16:28: Point right we have to say why is that okay I mean are we better than animals we should be not care about animals and I think there's really an ethical

00:16:37: aspect you don't get into that into the book so much because I think at some level a lot of people

00:16:43: don't care about animal rights and I think that's a real problem and we are appealing to people who may not even care about animal rights at and say even if you don't.

00:16:54: I think animals are worthy of consideration you should still care about the environmental crisis and the biodiversity crisis because it will affect you regardless right and one of these ways it will affect us is by destabilizing the biosphere

00:17:06: we're going to get a lot more zoonotic diseases emerging so whenever there's a kind of instability.

00:17:11: Is a chance that a pathogen will find a new host and it will evolve and various unpleasant ways and will cause an epidemic.

00:17:20: And this can be anything it could be

00:17:23: no animal testing has been because of the Marburg virus which occurred in Germany for instance you have a suburbs in

00:17:31: Northeast United States causing Lyme disease because of habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss mods for is there no thank the.

00:17:40: Trey but also of course animal husbandry is a huge cause of zoonotic diseases and that's because it causes deforestation so animals have are going to be changing

00:17:50: how they live in separate in Australia because of deforestation

00:17:54: happening there bat populations are fragmented so you don't have a single pool of disease but rather several different pools of disease when the bats actually come in contact with each other then they will have their own outbreaks

00:18:07: and then the other thing is that bats would be

00:18:10: coming into cities much more because they don't have the same wild habitat that they used to and therefore they're closer to people and closer to to livestock and then we get emergence of diseases like Hendra and nipah virus which are extremely nasty

00:18:25: viruses and people are just waiting for something like avian flu to spread which will have a mortality rate of 50% so this is really this is really bad of course of course we rely on

00:18:35: the natural world for many things such as pollinating

00:18:39: crops and so forth but I think it's a mix of being tactical and being empathetic

00:18:45: towards other animals and this is also related to the problem of carbon sequestration so if you have a huge amount of land that's RI wild it.

00:18:56: Then you're going to sequester a lot more carbon so you should think about the carbon cycle.

00:19:01: As really a relationship between the biosphere and the lithosphere

00:19:06: what is the quest of sorry for my non-native speakers sequester does it mean to store the carbon like find it and yes yeah so that it doesn't get into the atmosphere

00:19:15: yes so as in we want to take atmosphere carbon.

00:19:18: And also more carbon from the oceans because the oceans have too much carbon in them and then restore it either mostly in soils or in vegetation.

00:19:26: And then that way we can actually moderate climate change and bring down the amount of carbon in the atmosphere from it over 400 bytes poop

00:19:35: per million down to take the low 300s right which at that point is pretty close to the pre-industrial level and that's possible but it's going to take a huge amount of land to do that and a Wilder area stores more carbon than the see a tree Plantation something.

00:19:51: So and that's because you have all these relationships between a predator and prey species and that will increase the resilience of an ecosystem.

00:20:01: For example when they when the population of sea otters returned off the west coast of North America they were eating sea urchins.

00:20:10: And so that meant that the kelp could come back and kelp can store a huge amount of carbon.

00:20:16: Right but you need to that relationship between the Otters and the kelp

00:20:20: and sea urchins and we see this another ecosystem this a wolves and all that and Yellowstone Park so my point is we should be caring about biodiversity for practical reasons and for

00:20:31: for ethical reasons and it's just like the easiest way to sequester carbon at a huge scale if you want to sequester 800 gigatons of carbon

00:20:39: there's no other way to do it except through rewilding other Technologies such as carbon capture and storage or direct air capture they're extremely expensive

00:20:50: they're extremely hard to scale up their energy intensive and they can't be deployed and the way that rewilding can.

00:20:57: In the book you also call re well during kind of a natural geoengineering yes yes so maybe you can clear up for me how much of the global land area is protected Wilderness right now because I don't know that

00:21:10: and maybe a lot of people out there ask themselves okay so how much more would we have to need to give to Nature and what would this process of renewal during actually look like

00:21:19: so now about 15 percent only 15 okay yeah so it has to go up you know three times or so and probably at that 15 percent is probably.

00:21:29: Leg lots of nature.

00:21:31: Reserves are actually not very well maintained I mean for example and I was in Berlin recently we went to a nature preserve to go bird-watching and there was quite

00:21:41: you know large-scale farming happening in the supposed Preserve.

00:21:45: Right so I would I would not call that a nature preserve if you have a tractors and tons of cows and all that but so it probably is you know

00:21:53: you know ill Wilson says probably more like 10% rather than 15% so we have to increase the amount of protected area by three to five times

00:22:02: and then the amount of ocean has preserved is is minuscule I think it's around 2% or something like that but we enemy also have to care about those should go talk about the sea otters the ocean could also sequester a huge amount of of carbon and we know very little actually about

00:22:17: you know what people called blue carbon Nick how much carbon the the ocean can preserve but you know whales or fish.

00:22:24: Populations needs to be bound because they are also part of the carbon cycle and if they recover then we're actually be sequestering a lot more cars than that way as well.

00:22:34: So you take the idea of half of Earth from the biologists at what Wilson who proposed the world half of the planet to end the loss of biodiversity why actually.

00:22:43: Half of Earth why not a third or maybe even 75% right to end the loss of biodiversity.

00:22:49: And have all these positive side effect on climate as well so why exactly half of the Earth how does it number come about.

00:22:56: So there's a relationship that Wilson discovered with a collaborator in the 1960s we do resetting Island biogeography.

00:23:06: And that meant that the larger and Island was it tends to have more about adversity so basically

00:23:13: nature preserves now are islands on the land right as if they are islands of biodiversity surrounded by civilization of different kinds right and they they're so they're fragmented they act the same way.

00:23:25: As these Caribbean islands at that they studied and the 1960s and the relationship is if you reduce

00:23:33: the land area then you'll see the reduction of biodiversity of cording to the 4th root

00:23:39: right so that means that if you lose 90% of it's a habitat then you will lose half the species.

00:23:46: All right and we're on track for that so they can have setting 10% to 50% is well preserved if all the biodiversity is really in those nature preserves and nowhere else then we'll lose half of those species and that's pretty much just going to happen

00:24:00: right and if we reserve half the world then we actually will reverse that so we would actually preserve 85%.

00:24:09: Of all species that means we would lose you know 10 or 50 percent of species which is still bad of course right so tragic.

00:24:17: It's not on the scale of a mega Extinction event we currently we're living through the sixth Extinction

00:24:25: right this is only happened to five previous times and since life began which is obviously a long time ago switch tells you how how serious the crisis is but a loss of 10% at some level will not threaten the system itself

00:24:39: right little bit of course I'm willing to entertain.

00:24:42: Debates about this and be like well actually maybe we should try to preserve 70% of land and then try to reduce that Extinction rate even further

00:24:50: I mean it's going to be hard to cling each and every percentage from capitalist globalization so well I mean I don't have first can't be achieved within capitalism it's not it's not going to happen.

00:25:00: But we can talk about transition and stuff like that share but I'll say one more thing that in the book you know my co-author he made a linear program.

00:25:08: And that basically says you can put in how you're going to make your energy.

00:25:14: You know is you know are Electrify the transport sector and what is your energy quota how much land you want to preserve what's your carbon budget and all that and then and then it will shoot out an answer it will tell you whether your plan is possible or not.

00:25:28: Based on the these basic constraints

00:25:31: and I think in the book we actually talked about increasing the amount of protected areas is 70% and all that then again we should we should be having these kind of debates about how much do we want to protect what are we okay with it is extinction but that's where the measure comes from or the concept of sir.

00:25:48: Yeah just recently I read that right now it's going on but when this interview is published in January it's probably going to be over the United Nations conference on biodiversity.

00:25:57: And their delegates of almost all of the states came together to strike a new treaty to end biodiversity loss.

00:26:03: There seems to be this commitment to have 30% of the planet surface reserved for nature which is something that could be part of an international treaty agreement.

00:26:12: So how do you think about this aim 30% and how do you think in general about this convention on biological diversity these states coming together delegates and striking up these plans and ideas but we

00:26:25: kind of see with the Paris agreement you can have ideas but if like there's the underlying issue of you have a economy that needs to grow.

00:26:32: Capitalism then we're not going to achieve these aims I forget the exact numbers but when they met

00:26:41: you know like 10 years ago and they set goals for 2020 they didn't meet the goals right beside me like whatever is going to happen 2030 I don't think they're going to meet it but yeah it's not to say that these diplomats are fools right they know that.

00:26:52: Achieving something or trying to achieve something that's very difficult especially with in.

00:26:56: Apple system of course but I think the idea of having this exact 30% by 2030 this a 30 by 30 is kind of a bit of PR right and the end goal for me a lot of people who are pushing this

00:27:09: include EO Wilson's Foundation right the half Earth.

00:27:14: And there's also a group called The Wild Foundation they were the first really to come up with this idea at Wilson later adopted and they have something called nature needs half right and they're also pushing the 30 by 30 and that's kind of a halfway step

00:27:28: to there

00:27:29: ultimate goal 50% right so I think it's it's good that they're trying but I think the more you'll be trying to do this the more you'll see there's going to be a squeeze right

00:27:41: in terms of competing for other goals as in we're going to have a squeeze in terms of egg meat production

00:27:47: right there going to be conflicting there for example I think California must have a 30 by 30 but it's already a something like 60% of all land in California is used as rangeland for

00:27:58: for the meat industry right so it's going to be hard to get that 30 percent space and have space for everything else especially renewable energy.

00:28:07: Infrastructure because they take up you know solar power wind power they're great we need them but they're not.

00:28:13: As efficient in terms of how much space they need as fossil fuels are

00:28:18: right fossil fuels are more power dense as in the amount of energy produced per square meter is many times higher so if we want to have a fully renewable energy system then we're going to need a lot more space for that system and that's going to compete with conservation and with food production

00:28:33: and we're seeing these conflicts happening already I mean there if people are trying to put like wind farms and solar panels

00:28:39: in nature preserves and then people are saying well why are these environmentalist complaining about you know the energy industry don't they like that but it's going to go kill off this endangered tortoise or whatever right like we're already having these conflicts and it's going to get much worse as time goes on.

00:28:55: What I found also interesting and where we need to be wary is that the idea of have Earth you mentioned the wild Foundation that pushes for that idea.

00:29:05: It also has links to conservative and at times races politics and we see also with these nature preservations that there at times indigenous rights for examples are trampled so human rights are trampled.

00:29:19: So how real is the threat of expanding nature preserves is burdening poor and Indigenous people and how

00:29:25: do we associate lists deal with this colonial past of this idea and maybe neo-colonial forms of Heather thism

00:29:32: so I think a lot of lefties they see This Racist Heritage its Colonial Heritage of the conservation movement and then they kind of you know desk their hands and be like well that's bad and we don't want to do that.

00:29:44: And they leave it there right and they don't articulate what does a socialist approach look like and the book is trying to say.

00:29:53: These conservation is e.o. Wilson himself was a very flood figure and he's at some level fairly harmless compared to some of these other people who I can working with the compart tight South Africa

00:30:03: working with a Rhodesian mercenaries these are really unsavory people who are racist anti-socialist and all that but at some level we have to recognize that the biogeography that

00:30:15: Wilson studied is correct right there is this relationship between land area and and biodiversity so therefore we have to say a socialist you know

00:30:26: we want to stop this mass extinction event from happening what is our solution and

00:30:32: it has to be different from what's proposed by these conservationists may they basically are relying on philanthropists to buy up large areas and then turn those areas into exotic.

00:30:43: Ranches where you sell make bizon me to in Europe they have the aurochs again which is like the original.

00:30:53: Cow like the wild cow and that's an illegal sell that for a premium as exotic meat or you have an eco-tourism.

00:31:00: All right I said it the other revenue or you have a game as thank you have hunting

00:31:05: for which people that's not a great model right that's not going to exist at the Socialist so we have to think seriously of integrating conservation efforts with the whole package and say that I know how are we going to help.

00:31:18: People increase their living standards

00:31:21: to do other things and not be just simply pushed off their land but I think this is also where we have to

00:31:29: I think I think more critically about it's a some

00:31:34: small-scale farming now right I think people feel uncomfortable saying to relatively poor farmer

00:31:41: and the global South that you have to change at some level right and they want to romanticize the figure of the peasant but I think we have to

00:31:49: yeah I'm not we have to be careful we have to think further about this I think quite a bit about poyang Lake which is the largest lake

00:31:57: in China and half of it is a nature preserve and the other half is full of poultry farming and this is an industrial scale poultry farming but it's not subsistence poultry farming either rice instead of like having like 10 ducks that people now have 100 ducks.

00:32:12: Which is again small scale but still much more and it's extremely dangerous

00:32:16: because you have all these birds migrating through and they're meeting all these farm duck so it probably you'll have a avian flu breakup therefore breaks it anywhere.

00:32:25: Right and what should we do about this right well we again we should make sure that people are have high living standards and have good education and good good health care and so forth but I think we do have to push a bit and think about

00:32:39: what needs to be changed overall and this should not be done in an authoritarian manner but I hopefully should be done in

00:32:46: Democratic planned way but we need to be having these debates instead of these really romantic pictures of agroecology or you know the figure The Peasant and so forth but it's a figure has to be different from the conservation model they have now.

00:33:02: Yeah but one thing I learned in your book and I can recommend it really to everybody out there it's of course in English is there a going to be a German translation by the way

00:33:11: sadly no we haven't been contacted both that there is a Spanish translation that's going to come out soon in a Korean translation but that's about it so far so hopefully

00:33:22: the gym and Publishers hearing this we talk to me

00:33:25: yeah called Troy called me we exchanged contacts published this in German it's a great book and I think the German climate Justice movement needs to read that and environmentalist need to read it in order to

00:33:35: Bridge differences and to push for something like a Eco socialism so let's talk a bit about the way we are eating so I hinge upon that that one other pillar is veganism widespread veganism.

00:33:48: Or at least like a predominantly vegan diet.

00:33:52: And you already talked about how the way we are eating and the way we are producing food and especially the industrial scale animal farming.

00:34:01: And overconsumption of meat is driving habitat loss and this again is the biggest driver of Extinction of species.

00:34:10: So maybe you can explain a bit more how animal husbandry is the leading cause of biodiversity loss.

00:34:18: So I think when people have debates about land use that often thinking about suburb so we have these like endless dumb debate saying well actually everyone should live like in New York City

00:34:28: and suburbs are bad just like pack them everyone in there's this one architect and he had this super dystopian

00:34:35: vision of the future that was accidentally just hoping I think he thought it was a great idea where you going to pack a 10 billion people into one Mega City like in the line that there are producing red nodes I'm wearing the Emirates right yeah exactly.

00:34:49: And then the rest of the world will be bewilderness right it just like 10 billion people living in one space you know and.

00:34:57: The thing is no cities and suburbs and all that they take up.

00:35:01: I think suburbs are problem of course and you know people shouldn't be having this this urban sprawl but it takes up only one or two percent of the Earth's surface

00:35:12: and habitable surface which excludes a glaciers and mountains and things like that so that's about 10 billion hectares is the amount of land they have to play with in terms of it habitable land.

00:35:22: And around four billion hectares forty percent is used for for livestock.

00:35:28: And if nothing else comes close to that 40% 40% of the inhabited world yes and if the meat.

00:35:36: Industry keeps on growing which is supposed to double in the next few decades right it's going to be it's crazy that we're having to feed all these animals it's going to be going to use up the whole world basically be growing

00:35:47: crops or having pasture for these animals and if they think about it as well as if you're vegan you only need a tenth of a ha

00:35:56: of land to live that will make you enough food right and if you're a vegetarian you need 0.4 hectares of that but if you're an omnivore any more than a ha.

00:36:06: So if we really want to save land the easiest way is for us to give up meat because that saves 90% of the land

00:36:14: so how much a 10 would be then taken up by agriculture globally when it's now like 40% only for animal farming yeah so like 1 billion hectares is used for crops for people

00:36:25: right so that in total is five billion hectares are used for agriculture and what's used for the calories that we get from all this livestock production is around 20% right bit less than 20%

00:36:37: Vera cover calories so you can imagine that if we got rid of animal agriculture then we would need like one point two

00:36:44: billion hectares and that means that we would have a three and a half billion hectares to play around with

00:36:50: for rewilding and for renewable energy infrastructure and that this relieves all these pressures we have a land of saying before there's all these trade-offs if you get rid of the meat industry only do you get rid of the threat of.

00:37:02: Zeno's he's like new diseases and he also get rid of that huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions you have from

00:37:09: animal agriculture animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions that Transportation but we don't talk about that nearly as much and then suddenly you have all these carbon sinks and you have higher biodiversity of the always other advantages and also

00:37:22: even epidemiologist say that we need to have more nature preserves to act as a buffer between us and other animals right so we have all these benefits and only thing we have to pay for is

00:37:32: you can't eat a steak anymore right and to me this seems like a no-brainer I guess I think

00:37:37: you can't say at the same time they've been rather the crisis is like the worst thing in the world it's such a.

00:37:42: Such a serious issue it's a civilizational problem and then say well we can't ask people to make any sacrifices at all I mean like.

00:37:49: You can't I think you can't say both those things and the point with the book is that you're going to have these total plans.

00:37:56: And you say they do you know what a good what trade-offs are you willing to make do you want to have

00:38:02: stable climate and not have diseases or do you want to have like a hamburger right and again for

00:38:08: other issues that we need to do with in terms of dealing with climate change it's a light changing how we produce steel or you know changing how we make cement too many other things that are very hard to decarbonize the changing the agricultural

00:38:22: sector is extremely easy and that can be done within a year or a few years right

00:38:27: versus a making new Subway lines are getting rid of cars and all that or the energy infrastructure needs to replace because the right now only two percent of all energy is produced by wind and solar

00:38:37: but when it comes to the diet I think you have like kind of the biggest opposition at least here in Germany is when somebody is putting forward to actually only reduced the amount of

00:38:45: livestock you have a huge outcry.

00:38:48: Like more so even than when people say okay we need to change from Cars to public transport and two bikes and and stuff like that you know.

00:38:56: There's something that is so unique about this question of diet and so personal so and it's also connected to toxic masculinity for examples or I want to eat my steak Yeah so it's going to be a struggle for sure

00:39:09: but of course it's going to be a struggle right but I think we need to be having these conversations and we're not having the conversations right and you know it's funny we're again Drew and I we wrote this book it's about.

00:39:20: Creating a this vegan socialist world and all that

00:39:23: and people are obsessed with this meet problem and to me the meat thing you know it's people talk about it the most.

00:39:30: And if to me it's much harder to plan the world economy without markets or money that's going to be much harder right that's a real problem

00:39:39: eating tofu is not a problem.

00:39:42: But did you turn Wiegand by studying all these things about the capitalist animal farming industry or where you weaken before that.

00:39:50: I was vegetarian I turned vegetarian late.

00:39:53: Because I also had my own toxic masculinity I was a bit of a bro and working out a lot and all that eating lots of meat and then I began to reflect on that I became vegetarian I have a bunch of vegetarian friends and I became vegetarian

00:40:06: and that's because the really aren't good arguments.

00:40:10: To eat Meats right I mean you have to say like we're better than a Missouri I don't care I can do whatever I want to animals and I think like you can't have a coherent position

00:40:18: really and then then you realize as a vegetarian that you're still implicated in a system that is killing animals so if you're drinking.

00:40:27: That milk comes from cows that are constantly pregnant 60 that they lacked a.

00:40:32: Then they take the Cavs away they keep the baby cows and turn them into veal so excited reveal milk industry are connected right or if you eating eggs all the male chickens are ground up you know and they in a blender.

00:40:44: So I mean it can still connect its that's why I became it was more for the ethical reasons but I think the environmental reasons are just as strong.

00:40:54: Myself I'm not a vegan not even a vegetarian I eat now and then eat meat

00:40:59: that's going to lead probably to some terminations of subscriptions right now here but yeah we need to have these discussions we need to talk about our personal diets also on a global level exporting farming industry.

00:41:14: And for sure we need to massively massively reduce the amount that of meat that's produced amount of livestock that's for sure.

00:41:22: I had persons on the podcast here when it comes to agriculture that argued for some limited really really limited to organic animal farming

00:41:30: which they deem to be necessary for agriculture and also sustainable

00:41:34: but that's a topic for a whole other podcast I could touch on that briefly I mean all right because this is the last word on this and then we go on to the Renewables and energy quarter stop

00:41:45: but go on sure I mean I would just say briefly because in this is like I think a real debate like I was in Spain recently

00:41:52: and Alberto goes on is the Minister of Consumer Affairs he's pissed off a lot of people because he's saying to everyone you should you should eat less meat again not even you should be vegan as you eat less meat and this is already pissing people off yeah and then I'll talk to the activists there as well and they were telling me that there's a huge divide in the environments and boom

00:42:10: between people who are vegetarian or vegan and then there's some people do they have a good little pastoral you know scene with some goats and you know it's not factory farming but

00:42:19: old-school fire me surely that's not right you know and I would say it's a I think people don't really realize how little meat consumption is actually sustainable.

00:42:29: Right if you're only consuming I said five kilograms of meat a year that means you're eating like a little bit of chicken soup once a week

00:42:35: right they get so close already to to veganism or vegetarianism it's kind of wants pointless and say well why not just go all the way at that

00:42:45: point and again with these toys but it also might be that with that we could have like for the Easter meal or for like the Christmas music for example or for some kind of other religious holiday people could have.

00:42:54: Like this small amount of meat that's possible under the restrictions that we have to deal with but I would also say that the animal Liberation movement

00:43:04: is a fairly isolated movement it tends to be very utilitarian and I don't agree with all their politics and all that but they're very dedicated and they engage in sabotage all the time and I think they would be great allies to have

00:43:16: right and it but instead we have ignore climate Movement we have an animal rights movement we have a socialist movement at all fairly divided from each other both

00:43:25: back together I think they could do a lot more.

00:43:28: Okay try it let's talk a bit about the the last pillar of you have a socialism is like a hundred percent Renewables and that also tackles like those people that are

00:43:39: I'm putting forward nuclear power as a solution to climate crisis in Germany not so much because the anti-nuclear movement here is fairly large

00:43:49: but still of course there are some people who are putting that forward and even in the environmental camp and also energy quotas this might be more controversial

00:43:58: so how much less energy would people like me in the global North or people like you have to consume in order to live globally just and what would that actually mean for our lifestyle

00:44:07: it's funny where I went on this one interview with a really hostile meat

00:44:14: eating socialist and he considers like okay I'm happy with energy quotas but don't take away my meat and I think it's again and again to me it's like the energy quote I think is going to be tough

00:44:25: right so we take the the framework from ETA H ceramic and some people they're able 20 years ago they were saying well if everyone had 2,000 Watts.

00:44:36: Available to them which is the global average back then the be a fair world and

00:44:42: I know you won't have a big difference between Global North and Global South and sustainable and so

00:44:48: and that means shrinking consumption at say they can set their colonial countries like the US Canada Australia where they know he's big.

00:44:57: Countries with lots of space and lots of waste they use your own 12,000 W of person yeah right on.

00:45:03: The top 1% met there a way higher than even that right but I mean on average 2,000 Watts but it's not only the one the one percent that sometimes you have like lefties who are overly obsessed with the class distinctions within like the global North and they like they just

00:45:18: cap the one percent their consumption and we were going to be good but like globally

00:45:23: people in the global North like in the middle class they have to also massively reduce like I did this test of the 2000 watt society which is like close to my

00:45:31: Hometown now I live in constant at the lake Constance and it's in Zurich right in Switzerland so and you're not able to meet that goal even if you live like a really scarce life because you rely on all these public transportation and stuff like that so.

00:45:46: So it's like a massive effort that needs to be done in order that everybody can live that way you know if you're definitely right the saying just the 1% but or just a big corporations of the property right everyone has to change right now saying even down to let's say that

00:45:59: poor farmers in the global South it's talk about what do they have to do as well right I mean everyone has to change it's a big problem that we're facing but it's still like you know writing that on average four thousand Watts which is

00:46:10: let's average person is way far.

00:46:13: From 2000 watts and Western Europe is a 5 or 6,000 watts is the average again after two is because you're saying is quite difficult and I think it and

00:46:22: you're talking about this test it shows you the limits of like a politics of individual consumption right because you have to change infrastructure

00:46:30: keep the to use less energy we have to make our cities different so people are more more efficient very sweet they would you need passive homes or Unicode generation you need yeah public infrastructure public transportation

00:46:43: and all that and so that people can actually live a fairly fairly modest lifestyle and I think it's important to say this is not going to be

00:46:51: so brutal are going to be living in caves or something like that I think there's some of these Eco hipstery neighborhoods again Freiburg is called V bar you know there's a few of these a neighborhoods but they.

00:47:04: Built in a passive homes and people don't have cars there and then all this and then people or their things they rent cars and when they need them I think something like living like a hipster in Fryeburg Maine you don't eat meat a don't fly together.

00:47:19: You take a train and all that that should be the goal right it shouldn't be like an all the way again Arco primitivist

00:47:26: you know endpoint we want to have a decent lives for everyone but it's good still going to be serious Cuts as you're saying that also includes meat consumption right Amy conception is also part of that energy quota and but

00:47:39: once we actually have these energy quotas I mean they're important because they make it easier to

00:47:46: make the Energy System fully renewable it if you actually only have to make you know like a quarter of the system renewable rather than trying to replace everything

00:47:56: right then you're going to get to that goal faster and it also going to take up less land so in the biggest land use it would be

00:48:04: no biofuels big and even wind and solar use up a lot of energy so if you have a Germany or the UK if they were fully renewable

00:48:13: According to some estimates say from value some Blacklist meal the whole country we have to be covered like a biofuel plantations or wind farms and all that but if you reduce that energy quota

00:48:23: to 2000 Watts then even if you have a you know.

00:48:27: Some inefficiencies such as biofuel plantations you still would only have like a third of the land being used for

00:48:35: so valuable energy so even a country like Germany could have like a first scenario where half the country is wild it and all that so I think we need to play around with these problems and then we have to talk with the internationalist aspect right I mean you can't say you know

00:48:49: Us in the global North we're going to stay rich and have a good with the use of a lot of energy and they Global South has to stay poor I mean that's not fair and then

00:48:58: the nuclear question is related to this because we're talking about these total plans right and I think environmentalists mainstream environmentalists who allowed them to become pro-nuclear they're making the wager that okay we want to decarbonize so we can't.

00:49:13: Ask people to make any sacrifices whatsoever because their politics are pathetic

00:49:17: and therefore we have a some kind of decarbonization we need to have but with high energy production we have to rely on nuclear

00:49:27: hmm

00:49:28: so you know Excel and burger or even a James Hansen I think Mom Bo goes back and forth on this I can't remember where he is now but they all support support nuclear the thing is if you actually

00:49:39: have that many nuclear reactors if you actually increase the number of nuclear reactors tenfold

00:49:45: right then you're going to quickly run out of uranium that's easy to mine and then your carbon intensity of the uranium mine is going to go up so much that nuclear is no longer a carbon-neutral source of energy

00:49:59: right and then they have to rely on you know they know this they they're not idiots for the so they then say well will rely on other forms of nuclear power like Fast breeder reactors and this is a technology that simply doesn't work.

00:50:12: Right I mean this fast feeders which produce plutonium as a by-product they're attractive to Nations because they want to have

00:50:20: basically plutonium Factory is for their h-bombs right

00:50:24: but they're not good at producing energy because if there's any leak at all the coolant is made of liquid sodium so it catches fire

00:50:32: you don't want to have your nuclear reactor on fire right so they're always down for repairs they actually produce very little energy so it's it's a total mess like I don't understand the I think the nuclear Burrows

00:50:43: are similar to The you know the guys who don't want to want to eat meat all the time because it's kind of like this weird Macho

00:50:50: energy source at some level but it's a it's not going to work and I think the nuclear question is like the most popular thing.

00:50:58: The environmentalist movement has ever come up with right that's the only thing that wins the majorities.

00:51:03: They can referendum say nothing else does okay so to actually say we're going to be a pro-nuclear is the best way to demobilize the environmental movement.

00:51:11: Yeah and when we look at the war in the Ukraine Russia's war against Ukraine and we see what happens

00:51:17: put up a nuclear power plant there or what could happen and what happened with power plants in the past Plastering the word like with the hundreds hundreds of nuclear power plant seems like it's done really dumb idea.

00:51:28: And volatile times it's insane yeah so that leaves us obviously with energy quotas and with sacrificing some of our consumption in the global North because

00:51:38: renewable some people think that Renewables are kind of Limitless and endless in Supply but

00:51:42: they're actually not there's this problem of storage for example when when you have like it's called Tonka float in touch when you have like the skies are gray in Winter and the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing right.

00:51:56: So that's one part of it which I don't think can correlate with a growing capitalism

00:52:01: that's the one side and the other side is the land you was the land mass that you focus in your book about yeah it's going to be extremely hard to have 100% renewable energy

00:52:10: right I mean it causes lots of instability and using his problems with storage and and one way to deal with this problem is to actually have redundant capacity which means you need more

00:52:21: sa this infrastructure right but to aim for a guy less to let em for Less production but that

00:52:28: this makes the problem worse right if you want have a twelve thousand watts per person may need a huge amount of renewable energy infrastructure and again as I saying we're only a 2% of global energy Productions is going to take us a long time to get to 100%

00:52:43: and there's some things are extremely hard to decarbonize as I was saying big cement and steel and aviation fuel.

00:52:49: It's pretty much impossible to decarbonizing very hard to decarbonize and.

00:52:54: We'll have to figure that out as well so I think this a idea of like over noodles will solve anything as simply Incorrect and of course when we have to have all these electric cars that's going to make the problem harder.

00:53:06: As well right so if we actually just had more efficient kinds of public transportation with trams and then Subways and all that then it makes a

00:53:15: transition easier to accomplish because again we don't have much time as well to build all this out.

00:53:21: This brings us to the topic of planning that's also a big part in your book because one thing is for sure like re well during half of the earth dismantling the meat production.

00:53:31: And like strict energy quarters or energy chorus that would reduce the mass of our consumption.

00:53:37: That can't be actually achieved within capitalism that can only be achieved when we transition.

00:53:42: To post-capitalist society so how would we actually organize such a production and consumption without markets.

00:53:50: So yeah and he got to the hardest part of the book so and the most controversial even within lefties yeah and I think we are just sketching out

00:54:00: in the book we try to be more concrete than most books I think a lot of Lefty books they just kind of do a hand wave saying well we'll have socialism than

00:54:08: it'll be awesome like just trust me you know and we think you know you and we are utopian socialists as well as being Marxist and we say we need to think seriously about what is the tobia that we're fighting for how is it actually going to work and Utopia

00:54:21: you know and utopian thinking it's not just like daydreaming but it's really practical work I think we need to convince him Lee show.

00:54:29: How a non-capital society would actually function because like why would anyone trust us right why would anyone say it's get rid of this

00:54:37: civilization that we know and try something completely different even though we have no idea how it would work like it's be a fool

00:54:43: to do that so we need to really think through these problems big and what is socialist democracy and what is I have you planned it out markets and all that so most.

00:54:53: Again I organized a.

00:54:55: Planning conference at my University a few months ago and most socials are some kind of Market socialist they want to include Marcus they want to replicate

00:55:03: the information gathering that that markets do with in socialism I'm cautious about this because I think the dangers with Market socialism is that you would do that you keep on reintroducing certain Market mechanisms.

00:55:18: Such as unemployment or bankruptcy and so forth and then you end up back up at capitalism

00:55:24: right within the problem of capitalism again is like this is decentralized known as a control where investment actually happens and it will go under its own momentum rather than us deciding what we want to actually do

00:55:36: so therefore we can't have markets or at least marks of three extremely Limited.

00:55:41: The way we see it is that we would rely on linear programming so this is a form of optimization

00:55:48: mathematics and this again was a thing in the book that Drew made his own very simple program you have a more complicated program in actual soldiers democracy where people

00:55:58: play around with total plans are various kinds right like what is what is their energy quota how much land are you saving for for nature preserves

00:56:07: what is a carbon budget and how much how much warming are we happy with and all that and then you would see

00:56:13: if your total plan works out right if it actually is possible and then we will have a debate and then we would vote on this and

00:56:21: or they'll be the various kinds of democratic mechanisms maybe there will be a lottery for 4 people would be elected or maybe you have a town halls or whatever the world is a big place I'm sure could be many different ways

00:56:33: doing it but let's imagine that they're rough goals.

00:56:38: Write a broad goals set at a global level because we can we need some centralization we need some Global coordination lots of socialists you know are still uncomfortable

00:56:49: with this but I think we have to return to internationalism because problems like zoonotic disease or problems like climate change can only be solved internationally.

00:56:58: Right so we set this at a global level and then different regions and localities with have more detail and actually how to solve that problem.

00:57:07: Right so if we have a 2000 Watt.

00:57:10: Quota and then we have to be like 50% renewable over the next 10 years then the region will then make up a plant actually fulfill that because the center can't plan everything informational problems are serious like new Liberals are right about that.

00:57:23: You know and then sa sa I'm in I'm in a Tuscany right now.

00:57:29: What's the best way to produce energy and Tuscany well maybe it's solar power or something like that you know where should we put the solar panels and so forth that can be decided locally but they still have to fit these broader Contours of the plan

00:57:41: that's it globally and then you rely on different cybernetic mechanisms this is where Jews

00:57:48: background as a climate model is quite nice where you would

00:57:52: find out ways to assimilate a lot of data and also update that data continuously because obviously the plan isn't going to go smoothly

00:58:01: over a five-year period is going to be hiccups is going to be bottlenecks is going to be emergencies that we have to deal with and but with these this mix of like a static linear

00:58:10: program complemented with various kinds of cybernetic approaches you could hopefully plan and economy without.

00:58:18: Markets that you still are dealing with many other problems right so if you don't have markets how do we make sure we're getting the right information.

00:58:25: Some people are how do we actually get people to be motivated to work and not deal with the absenteeism and all that and this is where I think socialism has two at some level

00:58:34: be a fairly modest system that's this is where the energy quotas are good actually because you can't have people doing work they don't enjoy.

00:58:44: Right so those people won't give you the right information they won't want to do the work right if there's no unemployment or anything like that and that means if that means I'm more artisanal

00:58:53: approach to the kind of work that we're doing there will be some things I'm sure that will require some kind of factory labor.

00:59:00: And there's ways of dealing with his either you get people a higher compensation for unpleasant work or maybe everyone has to do like two years of unpleasant work and some kind of Labor Battalion of some sort but these are the kinds of problems we have to.

00:59:14: Think through but I don't I don't think it's impossible to actually to actually do it so Julie and I are getting no deeper and deeper into planning Theory and.

00:59:24: You know we're hopefully going to write another book that would kind of sketch this out more but these are just the basic Contours of the other proposal.

00:59:31: Yeah maybe you can lower it a bit about what actually comes historically close to your ideas of Eco socialist planning that might give the audience.

00:59:41: Bit of an idea of how this could look like you talk about the cybersyn experiment in Sheila in the I ended time.

00:59:50: So maybe you can talk a bit about that well there's a few things that come close I would say so definitely cybersyn wasn't

01:00:00: interesting proposal because first of all this is a government that comes to power legally

01:00:06: to democratic elections and they're not trying to do this again revolutionary break

01:00:11: and all that and but they're also quite serious about socialism where they're nationalizing huge amounts of the economy and they want to move away from markets and they hire Stafford beer who is a British cybernet Titian.

01:00:24: A Management Consultant actually

01:00:26: and he becomes more of a socialist afterwards and then he is in charge of managing the system and this is where you have a bleep stick a five tier

01:00:36: for the viable System model that he proposes where

01:00:40: the different parts of the system will react to each other through Basics happened mechanisms such as feedback but they're still be coordination.

01:00:49: Over also from you know the central planning unit all the way down to the factory floor you want information to go back

01:00:55: back and forth and this actually was fairly effective for dealing with certain problems even though they were using a Telex machines which are kind of like

01:01:05: Proto fax machine to actually coordinate the whole of Chilean economy so they actually was a strike.

01:01:10: Organized by the CIA where most like the overwhelming overwhelming majority of truckers went on strike and the try and strangle the economy and they only had several dozen loyal truckers to move things around and they were actually able to

01:01:24: to do that through this cybersyn program

01:01:28: things have changed a lot since the early 70s in terms of cybernetic advances again so there is this close relationship between social planning Theory

01:01:38: and Earth system science so

01:01:40: a lot of these techniques were developed by Soviet theorist in the 1960s and 70s they were not allowed to implement their ideas

01:01:49: because the bureaucracy and the Soviet Union and the party liked its powers over distribution and they don't want to give that up which is why socialism really has to be Democratic in order to function.

01:02:00: So they went instead to ISA which is in Horry ASA I figured how you pronounce it.

01:02:06: IAS a and lack Sandberg and Austria which is international institute for Applied systems analysis and they built a lot of the early Earth system models.

01:02:18: Using that the mathematics they developed to plan the economy and what we were basically proposing is ever turned of Earth Systems approaches back to economics.

01:02:29: Right so we need.

01:02:31: To have that back and forth and in terms of other real life examples there was a planning theorist in the Soviet Union in the 1980s named Olga Burma Tova and she did a lot of interesting work.

01:02:42: On the railway line that the Soviets built in the 80s across our Siberia where she was trying to include a lot of ecological parameters Within.

01:02:52: The overarching plan right and she didn't have great data to actually do this but this was a great like a valiant

01:02:59: attempt and then the other thing I would say is a very unpopular thing to say would be Cuba in the 1990s as another way to think about what you go socialism might look like and again of course

01:03:09: a society went through a real shock I mean they're people went hungry it was quite a quite terrible it was it as bad as the Great Depression in Cuba in the 1990s they they can be contracted by 30% or something like that but

01:03:22: they basically went from having lots of petroleum where they actually use more petroleum

01:03:27: for the agriculture in terms of a fertilizer and pesticides to having pretty much no petroleum

01:03:33: at all when the Soviet Union collapsed it stopped shipping petroleum to Cuba and they couldn't afford to buy it on the World Market so they had to re wild a huge amount of the island simply because they couldn't

01:03:44: have these very large industrial Fields anymore people gave up eating meat or they very little meat

01:03:50: began because I couldn't afford to farm at that scale people were riding their bikes and and and they were able to actually maintain educational and health

01:04:00: you know programs even though there was this this crisis so this is a little bit of maybe what equal social Society might look like I have no I would it be what is society look like if you don't have fossil fuels so these are a few of the

01:04:12: influences on on how we think about these things so any discussion about planning an alternative economy.

01:04:20: Has to take into account the failures of historical and existing socialism's above all the dangers of authoritarianism you hinged upon that.

01:04:28: Economic inefficiency as well and the destruction of nature as well which all these past socialism's did.

01:04:36: So what do we have to do better as socialist today I'll say one more thing about socialist influences and.

01:04:43: What we think about socialism is its China right because China is this weird Society where it's a calf capitalist but also still still a party state in many ways

01:04:55: and you know the Chinese they do Implement quite large-scale environmental plans

01:05:01: as well as for example like 40% I think of the country has some kind of rewilding initiative underway which is just massive because they're really afraid of does if

01:05:11: so that mean there's too many herders especially in the Northwest and the 1980s and 90s there was a big boom for Cashmere.

01:05:20: Go population that too high they destroy the grass that now it's just being you know the ifs and that's going to inundate

01:05:27: Beijing and they have to engage in light of equally quite concentrated and large-scale environmental programs in terms of a dealing with ignore what you do is.

01:05:36: Pastoralists who you trying to get them out they'll Bend and then how do you re wild how do you have a large-scale renewable transitions

01:05:43: how do you know Electrify your car Fleet and all that and try and actually does this in some ways fairly well through planning mechanism so but of course China has many other problems right now is like this weird society that has like the best and worst Environmental Policy so I think we have to learn but also be very critical as deeply undemocratic we have to sing

01:06:02: yeah of course I want to be clear I'm not a tanky you know like yeah I this many problems

01:06:08: and I think we have to be honest about that right there guys like what you know why is it so difficult to have like a really functioning.

01:06:15: Democracy in a socialist society write a quite why is it so hard and what would it actually look like if it were to work and then for existing

01:06:24: all right you know past social societies like the Soviet Union or the Eastern Bloc there's a lot to learn

01:06:31: as well again make you had very smart people studying the problem of planning and trying to reform planning for decades.

01:06:40: And it's I think it's a waste to just try to start from scratch in terms of like trying to imagine what socialism is so in the book we do engage a lot with this this Legacy which has some level been forgotten

01:06:52: right I think we're very few people really working on planning Theory seriously today that's that's one thing.

01:06:58: But you know I think it's also a mistake for a lot of solutions to just say well that wasn't socialism 8 like the Soviet Union

01:07:04: but that wasn't socialism it we can learn nothing from it I again I think we need to be critical but we can we can learn from it as well and

01:07:13: and definitely.

01:07:15: These societies have a bad bad reputation for environmental problems I mean there was there's a term in German really Austin wolf try to keep the bad air.

01:07:24: And East East Germany and the internal bull was a probably as many problems.

01:07:29: I think it's also mistake amongst a lot of historians to just say Well they're both productivist right they both they both the Soviet Union and the US they both want is make lots of stuff

01:07:39: and there it's very similar societies and instead

01:07:44: if you look at the economic Logics of both societies that capitalism produces certain kinds of environmental problems that socialism.

01:07:50: Doesn't produce holsters and produces certain kinds of problems but not others they for example in Soviet Union you had code generation.

01:07:57: Pretty much everywhere which means that you would use the heat from industrial processes to warm your water to heat homes which is extremely energy efficient a really didn't have that in the United States you had a lot of public transportation because people didn't

01:08:11: cars were relatively rare you also relied on rail instead of trucks for transportation so in some ways the Soviets.

01:08:21: System you know did quite well environmentally but also did quite badly and other things but I with the book is trying to do and I think social is to do in general is the learned from the past but also be be very critical at the same time.

01:08:34: I think it's interesting that discussion on planning is gaining traction right now and I think it's also.

01:08:40: Because of the wake of the corona pandemic and we see the states like intervening we see more industrial planning a state-wise in Europe for example.

01:08:50: And of course we have all sorts of planning regimes within capitalism within for example big companies like Amazon or Apple or Google Etc.

01:09:00: I'm really looking forward to how this plays out and I would like to see.

01:09:04: You discussing this on the panel with for example a market socialist or the proponent of economic democracy or somebody who is

01:09:12: more from the camp of commons-based peer production.

01:09:15: Which are criticized in the beginning as being a new liberal but I think there are certain strands of leftist common based peer production.

01:09:22: Which could also fit into a socialist future.

01:09:25: And this brings me kind of to the point that at times when I read your book which is so interesting and again recommendation for everybody that listens to us.

01:09:33: But at times when it comes to planning I found it a bit picky and I think we have to be more a bit more agnostic especially in this situation.

01:09:41: That we were right in now we need to be more agnostic.

01:09:44: On which kinds of economic planning and ownership models for example perspective of transition can integrate and should integrate

01:09:53: and what comes from that that is also up to the Future to a certain degree

01:09:57: but when it comes to the here and now and different strengths of socialist planning and socialist ownership Theory we have to be a bit more agnostic and and see bit more common ground.

01:10:07: But maybe a Miss portraying you and Drew in the book I'm I mean this is not like the final word on

01:10:13: what does she look like now we're just ridges to two dudes riding and had some level and trying to think through these problems for ourselves right because we were we started writing the book and be like

01:10:25: you know what is the cause of environmental crisis and what does it really look like to overcome it right and this is this is what we came up with for our proposal but I think we in general I welcome a debate and then we I think we make this clear in the book like.

01:10:38: You can disagree with us you know you maybe you don't want energy quotas maybe you don't want veganism whatever but it put your own future forward right put your own Utopia forward and as debate Utopias and then in terms of planning I think

01:10:51: you know it's been a process for us to delve into this literature this often you know decades old

01:10:57: but we want to spark or is encourage other people to think seriously though planet we don't want socialist to keep saying yeah you know we have this builder for both to know we don't want to think about the future.

01:11:08: Instead we should be thinking quite

01:11:12: technically quite quick concretely about socialist political mechanisms and socialist governance so I wear I'm happy to do you know debate different planning theories of course.

01:11:24: Yeah and the cool thing to audience out there is that you as well can participate in this debate and very playful way sort of.

01:11:33: Because Troy Andrew also put out a video game.

01:11:37: How cool is that socialists are not boring they put at video games so they put out a half Earth socialist video game out there where you.

01:11:47: Take up the role of planner after socialist Revolution

01:11:51: and you plan the future with all the hurdles and all the difficulties what is going to be produced how much space do we reserve for nature but you also have to.

01:11:59: Keep the populace happy yeah because anarcho primitivist where is not the way that anybody of us once and you won't find majorities for that.

01:12:08: So maybe try you can briefly just briefly because time is almost up you can talk about why you put out this half Earth socialism game.

01:12:16: Which I also played a little bit but I'm looking forward to playing it more and how has it been received so far so do you and I were

01:12:25: looking for designers to make a book I mean make a site for the book

01:12:29: and then we want to include that linear program that I was telling you about you know and and then these designers in Berlin at the trust Network

01:12:38: they said we're not going to make your website will make you a video game that's like

01:12:43: that's hard to turn down right and so we work with a bunch of designers including the main game designer Francis sang he's at the in New York at the Jane Family Institute

01:12:54: and we work together with a bunch of you know it is a musician there's a researcher

01:13:00: we had to take a reading group within many people were involved and we put together this game and it is trying to do what Noibat did back in the 1920s oh no I write is like I'm going to have the museum to show people the economy.

01:13:14: We don't have them as IAM right so the game is like a mini version of that where you want people to visualize what the future could look like and also see all these interconnections between

01:13:26: the global environment the global economy and see trade-offs

01:13:29: all the time I guess you can't have everything right so what are you going to pick and then hopefully it'll courage debates of looking at what kind of future do you want do you want to have nuclear do you want to geoengineering do one of veganism Let's talk about it

01:13:41: right and the game I think it's been pretty well reviewed for an indie game it's on Steam which is the big gaming hub

01:13:49: there's lots of Engagement there I think around 80,000 people have played the game which you know as many more people who have read the book so yeah

01:13:59: and some people have tied it in the classes I've done class visits to help people play the game as well

01:14:06: and it's hopefully put the link for the game for this interview because it's a played half dot Earth and it's free and if you're interested in or want to talk about it no email me and

01:14:18: happy to chat yeah yeah yeah totally for sure I'm going to put that link in the show notes because you don't actually need Steam on your computer.

01:14:27: You can play it on your smartphone in the browser by just typing in that website.

01:14:32: Try just two more questions one is regarding strategy and one is just question what we could gain from socialism because it seems to be that.

01:14:42: In Eco socialism we will have to sacrifice some of the stuff that we might grown accustomed to.

01:14:47: So regarding strategy having a clear understanding of capitalism having a clear understanding of the problem of environment Christ and how that is linked to capitalism that's one thing

01:14:56: another thing is of course formulating like a broad Narrative of Eco socialism that

01:15:02: different people can fit into and of course discussing concrete politics and how to plan the economy as you do in your book that's also important

01:15:11: but besides all of that there is also the necessity to think about coalition's think about the people that could lead to that transition because

01:15:20: new video game starts with the sentence there was a socialist Revolution and now you are going to plan but the biggest difficulty right now for us is to actually get to that point to that socialist Revolution or

01:15:32: even only a green New Deal for example you know so who in your eyes is the Revolutionary subject so to speak and what do you think will be necessary for us to achieve such an Eco socialism.

01:15:44: And I told you at the beginning that I study neoliberals right as I story and neoliberals they're extremely well organized

01:15:52: they have around 500 think tanks around the world with a 20,000 people working in them Plus.

01:16:00: Many journalists many economists many political theorists and all that a different University departments

01:16:07: they can always make more think tanks I'll be they even have like a foundation called Atlas Foundation that is in charge of like franchising think tanks they have like an annual meeting the Mont pelerin Society but it's 500

01:16:21: most important members get together and talk about strategy and all that you know they have lots of funding they have AstroTurf groups you know and they're able to.

01:16:31: Think about the long-term goal because at some level they are utopians of the sword there I can't I humanist utopians who believe in their God like market and want to set everything on the markets

01:16:42: terms

01:16:43: right so that's the end point and then they can because of that endpoint they are cohered as a group as they all believe in this and then they can think about medium and short range strategy and they can imagine that who can they work with to achieve those goals.

01:16:59: Now environmentalist and the left don't have anything like that we don't have an endpoint.

01:17:04: It's too vague I think to be useful as a mega environmentally stable Society or I got an equal Society I think that's too vague we need to think more seriously about

01:17:13: but what we know what does it mean to be an environmentalist or a socialist now and we need to have organization

01:17:19: and we need to have medium and short range and long range goals right so we need to build that app from scratch and the neoliberals they did that

01:17:29: pretty soon after their initial two seats and the 1930s the Great Depression showed that nothing works that laissez-faire doesn't work.

01:17:36: So they reformulated their ideas and the 32 organized.

01:17:40: Socialism and also the environmentalist movement we're really badly defeated in the 18 1980s and they never really

01:17:48: be covered I think they never really did the work of laying out how are we different from those previous approaches to socialism and environmentalist and said they were.

01:17:57: Some level co-opted by by neoliberals are they just leave things very vague so that what the book is trying to do is trying to say okay let's at least have these like foundational

01:18:06: debate say what is our philosophy right now what do we think what is the future we want right and then we can start to think about who our allies are to actually achieve such a.

01:18:16: So it's a very modest contribution in that respect I don't you know I don't think that I'm going to become

01:18:22: the head of some like giant movement I don't think so instead this is a part of you know I'm not a megalomaniac right now me so this is is this is like a part of a broader debate.

01:18:33: To be more specific about our goals

01:18:36: and to encourage that instead of you don't have time to be vague any more about who we are or what we want right I mean that that was time was over for that 30 years ago

01:18:45: we're still doing it and it drives me insane you know so the book is trying to push that and then you know our approach our solution again I hope there are many

01:18:54: proposals is that you can imagine environmentalist should become

01:19:00: socialists right socialist you care about animal rights if you care about the environment right we all need to include a feminist critique as well I mean you were saying

01:19:10: before that how I toxic masculinity is our only reason why people eat so much me too for instance we also have to care about

01:19:17: the post-colonial critique and and use that to inform our environmental policy in our conservation

01:19:23: policy right so we need to build on all this bill so we have to be critical of every group

01:19:29: that I just mentioned as well right again animal rights people have to at some level give up their utilitarianism right give up their fad with with crypto and things like that and become social this they can't achieve animal Liberation under capitalism.

01:19:42: You know and all these groups have to change their belief to some degree and begin to agree on something that unifies them and that's what the book is trying to do is to criticize each group and hopefully

01:19:54: offer a unifying through line for everyone as well and I think such a coalition.

01:20:01: Could you know they would probably number around the maybe twenty percent of the population or something like that from there you can really start to think seriously about about policy but organizing and all that and I'm actually very optimistic for the Spanish left the Spanish left

01:20:16: they equal social stuff very closely connected between activists right take the fires for the future

01:20:22: you know people are part of this you're close to connect between intellectuals.

01:20:26: Right so people are translating is a group that I really like called Contra El diluvial and they translate leko social work in Spanish and they think very seriously about this stuff and there.

01:20:36: Clever and then as politicians

01:20:38: right here also Associated and even in government where you're connected to these intellectuals and to these activists and I think what you have like this Triad

01:20:47: yeah right then you can begin to see some movement and this is why we've seen debates and Spain about like well we have to eat less meat

01:20:54: and all that right Ma they're getting more organized having another big meeting in March to do more work and all that so I mean I think it's possible to actually change the world

01:21:04: Renewables have shown us that but we need to build up our ideas and need to build up our connections between I think politicians and intellectuals and activists

01:21:14: because I think we're very far behind right and we need to we need to change that very quickly and hopefully the book in the game spur a bit about discussion

01:21:23: that regard I went on tour with the book

01:21:26: over the last several months and it's been quite rewarding to talk to activists and to intellectuals and politicians who have found the book useful so it is maybe some hope but we're losing very badly I would say

01:21:38: yeah.

01:21:40: One last question try living within planetary boundaries that would certainly entail material sacrifices at least for us living in the global North.

01:21:49: And since luxury communism is a hoax I think so as well there need to be sacrifices in the future but could also be Gaines.

01:21:58: So gains in life quality for example so what

01:22:02: would you tell people that are uncertain whether Eco socialist future with all the material sacrifices that come with it as something that's desirable.

01:22:11: So what you tell them in order to make them part of a Eco socialist front or Eco socialist future

01:22:17: I would say just one thing on fully item a luxury communism and generally I'm a skeptic that I would say Aaron best Annie who wrote the book you know that name

01:22:26: he's been very kind and open-minded about these debates and I will say that you know to is.

01:22:32: And it also and just interested in like entertaining ideas of rewilding and veganism and all that so but some people are not but

01:22:39: he is at least to tell to talk to people about the future was going to hold and to give this kind of model the unpleasant set of parameters are set goals

01:22:51: hopefully they'll see that these proposals are at least more realistic right there more practical than more concrete

01:22:57: then just saying well we live in a Utopia and everyone can do whatever they want and we'll all live like millionaires right I mean I think that was never never convincing to people outside of like the small.

01:23:07: That kind of socialism and then I think you have to tell people you know what are you willing to trade off right and have these no ratan

01:23:16: debates and I think if you

01:23:18: present that feature is a okay you can have all your meat consumption you have your high energy consumption but you're going to piss off billions of people in the global South and you're going to need

01:23:27: geoengineering and have celiac disease then I think the people are going to change some ice because I think having a stable

01:23:34: biosphere is actually quite appealing is worth paying a price for and I think you also have to tell people that these problems cannot be solved under

01:23:44: under capitalism it's not going to happen

01:23:47: and capitalism is going to ruin the world and we're going to live under this you know these equites Jew engineered Skies was like a bunch of chili there's controlling everything and it's remember that

01:23:59: capitalism has never offered a so little it's not like the 1950s and 60s break everyone seems to be doing better and generations are actually improving

01:24:06: in terms of the Living Center things are getting much worse capitalism is in crisis fascism is going to take over.

01:24:12: Right that's the future so I think we can make a better alternative than that at the very least but we have to be practical because we have to convince others but also be ready to take power eventually otherwise we're just

01:24:27: we're just playing around this is all just theater if we're not actually serious about replacing cap has something else actually addressing the climate crisis.

01:24:36: Thank you so much thank you so much for the invitation he has.

01:24:40: Music.