1.2 Dimensions of the planetary emergency

The recognition that we are faced with a planetary emergency in which the life sustaining features of our natural and social environments are at risk is growing, ranging from some who may be just beginning to move beyond the denial stage to the increasing number of people in action to counter these existential threats. Even among the morally retrograde members of the economic elite, some are beginning to show a little concern that goes beyond clinging to the hope that they can purchase their own escape from the environmental crisis.

The social dimensions of the crisis evidently include vast wealth and income inequality within and between countries that has grown during the decades of the neoliberal era and which continues to leave approximately one-fifth of humankind in poverty in spite of continual gains in labor productivity and per capita gross domestic product globally and in most countries.

The environmental dimensions of the crisis include waste production that exceeds the Earth's capacity to absorb and recycle it. Among these unabsorbed wastes are greenhouse gases that are now causing the global average temperature to rise and weather variability to increase, already causing havoc across the globe, well before the worst effects of the current level of greenhouse gas accumulating in the atmosphere are experienced. Other effects include ocean acidification, the loss of an increasing proportion of the Earth's glacial covering and the melting of the permafrost, each of which ensures even further increases in the average global temperature and weather variability.

Equally serious is the threat to the Earth's supply of clean water and fertile soil, with life threatening consequences. Loss of species diversity and non-renewable mineral resources, together with consumption of renewable resources, such as wood and fish, at rates faster than their renewal are additional long-term threats to human life and possibly civilization itself.

Readers interested in more comprehensive accounts of the environmental dimensions of the planetary emergency than we can offer in this work are encouraged to consult Naomi Klein (2017, Random House) No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Ian Angus (2016, Monthly Review Press) Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil fuel capitalism and the crisis of the earth system, Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams (2017, Monthly Review Press) Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation, and Naomi Klein (2014, Random House) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (or, first, our review of it at http://www.greensocialdemocracy.org/reviews/83-reviews/177-why-you-should-read-naomi-klein-2014-this-changes-everything-capitalism-and-the-climate). These recent works are also informative about the global response to the crisis.

Other recent works we recommend include John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark, "The planetary emergency" Monthly Review 64(7):1-25 December 12, 2012 which can be read online at www.monthlyreview.org/2012/12/01/the-planetary-emergency, Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster (2011, Monthly Review Press) What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism (or, first, our online review of it at http://www.greensocialdemocracy.org/reviews/83-reviews/169-a-dominant-capitalism-or-a-sustainable-environment-why-we-can-t-have-both), Lester R. Brown (2010, Earth Policy Institute) Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (or, first, our online review of it at www.greensocialdemocracy.org/reviews/83-reviews/133-saving-civilization-global-warming-s-critical-challenge-to-our-future); and Annie Leonard (2010, Free Press) Story of Stuff(or, first, our online review of it at www.greensocialdemocracy.org/reviews/83-reviews/132-annie-leonard-s-story-of-stuff).


This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New


Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them


Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement


Charles and Karen McFadden, “The Shape of Water” as an Antidote to the Age of Trump 

Charles McFadden, Decolonizing the U.S. & Canada: The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.


William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class


George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP


Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018



1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism


1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems


2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.