GLOBAL GREENS POLITICAL ACTIONS
The majority of the world’s people live in countries with undemocratic regimes where corruption is rampant and human rights abuses and press censorship are commonplace. Developed democracies suffer less apparent forms of corruption through media concentration, corporate political funding, systematic exclusion of racial, ethnic, national and religious communities, and electoral systems that discriminate against alternative ideas and new and small parties.
The differences in living standards and opportunities in the world today are intolerable. Third world debt is at an all time high of US$3.7 trillion while Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries give just 0.31% of GNP in aid. The richest 20% of the world’s population has 83% of global income while the poorest 20%, including nearly 50% of the world’s young people, share barely 1% and 2.6 billion people live on less than US$2 a day. 60% of the world’s poor are women. 130 million children never attend school while 800 million adults can neither read nor write, two-thirds of them women. Population growth has slowed but world population is projected to grow from 6.1 billion in 2000 to 8.9 billion in 2050, an increase of 47%. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) infections remain severe problems.
The climate crisis is both the greatest challenge facing the global community and the greatest opportunity for humanity to rethink how we live, in a way that is socially just and within the Earth’s ecological limits. The Greens are committed to limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Global emissions will need to peak well before 2020 to have a chance to stay within this temperature limit.
Healthy ecosystems are essential to human life, yet we seem to have forgotten the relationship between nature and society. Extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times higher than in pre-human times. Only 20% of the Earth’s original forests remain relatively undisturbed. 80% of fish stocks are already depleted or in danger of being overfished. Invasions by non-native plants, animals and diseases are growing rapidly. Habitat destruction and species extinction are driven by industrial and agricultural development that also exacerbates climate change, global inequity and the destruction of indigenous cultures and livelihoods. Agricultural monoculture, promoted by agribusiness and accelerated by genetic modification and patenting of nature, threatens the diversity of crop and domestic animal species, radically increasing vulnerability to disease.
Fifty-three of the 100 biggest economies in the world today are corporations. With the collusion of governments, they have created a legal system that puts unfettered economic activity above the public good, protects corporate welfare but attacks social welfare, and makes national economies subservient to a global financial casino that turns over $US3 trillion per day in speculative transactions. The Global Financial Crisis has increased volatility and insecurity in all economies, with the most significant impact on poorer individuals, groups and countries. The IMF and the World Bank have contributed to this crisis rather than been part of the solution; the prerequisites on which they are based are not fit to create a global, sustainable and just economic system.
Denial of human rights and freedoms goes hand in hand with poverty and political powerlessness. Millions suffer discrimination, intimidation, arbitrary detention, violence and death. Three-quarters of the world’s governments have used torture in the last three years.
Hundreds of millions of people remain undernourished, not because there is insufficient food but because of unequal access to land, water, credit and markets. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not the solution, because the immediate problem is not production but distribution. Moreover, GMOs pose unacceptable risks to the environment, independent smaller farmers, and consumers, as well as to the biodiversity that is our best insurance against agricultural disaster. Water shortages loom, both in above-ground systems and subterranean aquifers. Deforestation of catchments takes a devastating toll in landslides and floods, while desertification and degradation rapidly are expanding. One bright spot is the rapid growth of organic agriculture.
Consumption in industrialised countries is excessive by any measure, and largely responsible for environmental decline. Newly industrialising countries are also increasing their consumption, which will add significantly to the ecological pressure. Changing to a green economy – which mimics ecological processes, eliminates waste by re-using and recycling materials, and emphasises activities that enhance the quality of life and relationships rather than the consumption of goods – brings a promise of new jobs, industries with less pollution, better work environments and a higher quality of life.
We understand peace as being more than the absence of war. To strive for peace has always been at the core of the Green agenda. The causes of conflict are changing. The impacts of climate change, competition for water, food and resources will become increasingly significant. The distinctions between war, organised crime and deliberate large-scale abuses of human rights are becoming progressively blurred. Since 2001 the ‘war on ‘terror’ has also led to the erosion of human rights in the name of security. The arms trade is growing and globalising, nourished by a unique exemption from WTO rules against subsidies. As a global network, we have a vital role to play in strengthening the links between community organisations working for human rights and peace, and supporting and shaping the emerging concepts and institutions of global governance.