“The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.”Klein also made the point that climate change increases the urgency in the need for change as it provides us with a deadline. I guess the reason her emphasis on environmental issues is less prominent at Zuccotti Park is that protestors might believe the deadline of other social and economic problems is even closer, so they rather focus on these issues. You can certainly understand why protestors who lost their jobs recently or whose house was foreclosed tend to be more worried about these issues than of overuse of natural resources or the risks from the Keystone Pipeline project. An interesting point Klein made was about the fact that what we need is not necessarily more regulation on bank sand taxes on the rich, but a change in “the underlying values that govern our society.” Although this vision is very clear to some it can be difficult to wrap your head around. This vagueness is partly what makes this movement so interesting to the media, despite the fact that media outlets find it difficult to report on messaging like “This occupation is first about participation,” (the headline of the Editor Note on the second issue of the Occupied Wall Street Journal.) The result is that Zuccotti Park had become a bit of a media circus, where there is one journalist for every two protesters, with each media representative trying to figure out what’s going on. I guess what everyone is trying to figure out is what’s next. Will Zuccotti Park become some sort of Tahrir Square, where the tables have really started to turn, or just another name that will be added to the long list of unsuccessful anti-capitalist and anti-globalization protests we had in the last decade or so. My heart hopes it will be the former, but my brain is afraid it will be the latter. Image credit: emilydickinsonridesabmx, Flickr Creative Commons Raz Godelnik is the co-founder of Eco-Libris, a green company working to green up the book industry in the digital age. He is also an adjunct professor in the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.
Raz Godelnik is an Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of the MS in Strategic Design & Management program at Parsons School of Design in New York. Currently, his research projects focus on the impact of the sharing economy on traditional business, the sharing economy and cities’ resilience, the future of design thinking, and the integration of sustainability into Millennials’ lifestyles. Raz is the co-founder of two green startups – Hemper Jeans and Eco-Libris and holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University.