Ukraine war is not an isolated problem

In this excellent article, Naomi Klein takes a very broad perspective on what is currently happening in Ukraine, pointing out links between seemingly very different problems in many areas of our world. The war in Ukraine, the rise of right wing populist movements, and violent trucker protests in Canada all have a common root: a, as the author calls it, toxic nostalgia, rooted to a great degree in the comfort and the easy money achieved through fossil fuels (the benefits of which are gained by some, while the costs are deferred to others).

But not only them: Most of the so-called liberal governments are also rooted in the same ground.

We will not defeat the forces of toxic nostalgia with these weak doses of marginally less toxic nostalgia. It’s not enough to be “back”; we are in desperate need of new. The good news is that we know what it looks like to fight the forces enabling imperial aggression, right-wing pseudo-populism, and climate breakdown at the same time. It looks very much like a Green New Deal, a framework to get off fossil fuels by investing in family-supporting unionized jobs doing meaningful work, like building green affordable homes and good schools, starting with the most systematically abandoned and polluted communities first. And that requires moving away from the fantasy of limitless growth and investing in the labor of care and repair.


In their defence, she calls it “marginally less toxic nostalgia” :grin:.

We will not defeat the forces of toxic nostalgia with these weak doses of marginally less toxic nostalgia

Given the blood stained hands Big oil and governments supporting Big oil have, I would argue it’s “ considerably less toxic nostalgia”

1 Like

As I understand it, these governments are what she calls “marginally less toxic”, compared to those who, in addition to that, turn to right wing populism and open suppression of certain groups of people, or are even engaging in war.

Which ones do you think are “considerably less toxic”? I’d be curious to learn which governments exactly are not supporting Big Oil in one way or the other.

1 Like

isn’t the above much more toxic, by orders of magnitude, than

Of course, we have to be realistic about what can be achieved, but what’s the alternative? Climate disaster is staring down at us.

I also feel any “ Green deal” agenda touted by any politician gets demonized thanks to well-funded spin and lobby campaigns.

They all do :joy: what choice does one have? it’s like an overbearing mob boss you have no choice but to invite to the party. They hold the strings of our modern society unfortunately……

1 Like

That’s exactly the point. We probably mean the same, but just don’t express ourselves the same way. That green new deal is what the author wants to encourage, but it doesn’t currently exist anywhere. Of course it would be much less toxic. Those governments who claim to be a counterbalance to the most destructive forces are just marginally less toxic themselves, that’s what she is going to say, as I understand it.

Yes, exactly.


Thank you for introducing the subject. The transition from one age to another is a gradual process over hundreds of years. Any country that’s developing wind or solar is moving away from past nostalgia and those in northern Europe seem to be leading the movement. South Australia is also a standout:

Bringing this to a meditation perspective, it’s worth contemplating how oil is a liquid element, so there’s been a move away from ‘water’ to air and fire (solar). This represents the respective ages:

Cycles of impermanence vary in length from the short lived small creatures right through to the long cycles of the ages. They all have the repeated pattern of birth, growth, maturity; decline, ageing, death, and nibbana is the unconditioned element discerned by contrast.

1 Like

That’s true. But I believe it still doesn’t go far enough: it’s still solutionism.


There’s ~3 carbon neutral or negative nations, the most extreme of which is Bhutan, which is not just a aforresting nation but a green energy exporter. They do import and burn some gas for transportation etc.

They also engaged in a major ethnic cleansing. So, I’m not some huge Bhutan propagandist. But there are certain areas they are modeling good behavior and other’s they aren’t.

1 Like