Privatization of the Air Turns Lethal
"Pay-to-Pollute" Principle Kills South African Activist Sajida Khan

by Patrick Bond

first published 30 December 2007

Durban activist Sajida Khan's death in July 2007 calls attention to the life-and-death consequences of the climate justice struggle, even when conflict arises over a seemingly arcane topic such as carbon trading. If South Africans are to be at the cutting edge of progressive climate activism, not partners in the privatization of the earth's carbon-cycling capacity, three citizens' networks -- environmentalists, community groups, and trade unions -- must join forces to identify the contradictions within both South African and global energy sector policies and practices and help synthesize modes of resistance.

Only from a renewal of opposition to environmental racism, unnecessary respiratory diseases, excessive consumption with its waste overdoses, and the Kyoto Protocol's commodification of the atmosphere will it be possible to move climate activism from 'pay the polluter' to a response worthy of eco-socialism.

This tribute to Sajida Khan was published in Capitalism Nature Socialism, Vol. 18, Number 4, December 2007, pp.6-37.



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