Monday, July 17, 2006

Green is the colour

Green is the colour, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

My friend Philip wrote this on his blog (Ruscombe Green):

The Citizen ask why is environment growing in importance

The Citizen regularly do column's on a whole range of issues by various politicians and local people. The Green party have rarely had this opportunity so I was very please to have been asked to do 350 words on 'Why is environment growing in importance?' Below is my draft:

Green groups can take significant credit for the growing importance of the environment on the political agenda - but it is also becoming increasingly difficult for all but an ostrich to ignore the signs around us. Over-harvested fish stocks, stretched freshwater supplies, massive deforestation plus the coming end of cheap oil while scientists warn about the severity of runaway climate chaos.

In the UK our lifestyles are using resources equivalent to three planets - this is wholly unsustainable.

People do care about the environment, and more are seeing we can make a difference by our individual actions. Politicians rarely act unless they have public support. More are waking up to our concerns, but we need to be wary of their hypocrisy. It isn't good enough to one minute talk green, the next, airport expansions and road building!

It is not true that living sustainably means living miserably! We can create a green future of greater employment, healthier food, stronger communities, warmer homes from better insulation and a future where, instead of hours in traffic jams, we have clean, safe, reliable public transport. A future self-sufficient in energy: a safer world where foreign policy isn't about securing fossil fuels in unstable parts of the world.

To build this future we must also challenge the very notion of economic growth based on ever increasing use of natural resources. The planet is our life support system: we need to take care of it for ourselves and future generations. Many poorer developing countries need economic growth, but once basic needs are met, research shows that more and more money doesn't make us happier. We are talking about quality of life, not quantity of consumption.

Martin Luther King isn't remembered for having a nightmare, he's remembered for his dream - a positive, inspiring, vision of what the future can be. There are many opportunities. We know what needs to be done. The challenge is for all of us to build sufficient will to start making the changes happen. As more people take the environment seriously we can be sure something better is on it's way - but it needs all of us to do our part.

I responded with the following comment:

Well done, Philip!

I really wonder whether or not all major established political parties do not just talk green and find an over-riding excuse, based on economic growth, to chose a policy which is, in fact, anti-green.

As I was cycling around today, in the warm heat of a beautiful summer's day, I was thinking how ironic that the world is currently rewarding us in north-western Europe for our over-consumption of energy by giving us warmer winters and hotter summers. Not a very good incentive, on the face of it, to take action.

Anyway, I think the clue is to break away from the slavish addiction to economic growth at all costs. We already have such rich economies in western Europe, why do we need to grow them, and thereby create an even greater gap between ourselves and, say, our neighbours in the Middle East and Africa. The consequence of which is that they are taking great risks in trying to sneak into Europe, and Europe in turn is doing its best to keep them away (indeed Europe even managed to get African countries to agree to try to keep people in their own countries and help the European countries protect their fortress, at a recent meeting in Rabat).

We need to consume less and they (the Arabs and Africans) need to be saved from the tyrannies of their dictators, and in this way we can look forward to living in a more peaceful and susatinable world.

So there you have it!
Good luck, Philip with all the great work you are doing!
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