This article is reproduced from the Communist Workers Party of Russia website with thanks.
The fifth of June was World Environment Day. This ecological holiday, designed to draw attention to environmental problems, is celebrated every year on 5 June. It was created by the United Nations general assembly in 1972. Since then, the day has become a symbol of the fight for nature conservation and sustainable development.
It may be a discovery for some, but the USSR has been a pioneer in solving many environmental problems. In 1924, the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Nature was created. The idea for such an organisation was approved by the leaders of the People’s Commissariat for Education Anatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky and Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya.
Members of the society planted trees, collected seeds, cleaned springs and small rivers, and created school forests. Thanks to them, many specially protected natural areas were created, many of which still exist today. As far back as 1960, a law on nature protection was passed in the USSR.
The so-called ‘circular economy’, which is only talked about in the west, was widely implemented in the USSR. Everyone who found life in the USSR remembers that they then handed over waste paper, bottles, rags, collected scrap metal and other recyclable materials. Admittedly, in terms of packaging levels, the USSR lost a lot, but there was a lot less waste than there is now.
The same applies to the quality of food products. Yes, the indescribably bluish Soviet chicken looked miserable compared to the juicy hormone-inflated capitalist chicken. Well, the fact that it was environmentally friendly, the understanding of that didn’t come immediately …
Of course, the Soviet Union also had serious environmental problems linked to accelerated industrialisation, without which the country would not have survived. But they would have been solved in a planned economy.
However, the theme of ecology in the late 1980s was also used by the new ‘democrats’ to undermine socialism. However, if Russian capitalism was able to solve some of the existing environmental problems, it was only through the complete collapse of certain industries …
The same can be said of the global situation as a whole. For example, the 100 largest companies alone are responsible for 71 percent of global emissions. Yet bourgeois governments around the world are competing to reduce their taxes. And if you take the plastics industry worldwide, for decades it has been allowed to operate with minimal government regulation.
To sum up: plastic production and consumption are becoming a major driver of the climate crisis. What’s more, plastic waste, particularly single-use waste, is accumulating in landfills, along roadsides and in rivers, which carry huge quantities of plastic into the ocean.
And no wonder. The capitalist will always and everywhere strive to extract the maximum profit, whatever the consequences. Consequently, within the framework of capitalism, it will never be possible to overcome environmental problems.
Our planet can only be saved by scientific planning of human production and economic activity, taking into account all the consequences for nature. In the elements of a market economy, while maintaining private ownership of the means of production, competition and the pursuit of profit, such an organisation of human life is simply not possible.
Or, as the Brazilian trade unionist and ecologist Chico Mendez put it: “Ecology without class struggle is gardening!”