It breaks my heart to have to write this. As someone who loves the natural world, biodiversity and the human race, I find the realisation that we are unable to co-exist is sad.
Now, as Friends of the Earth has just discovered, the coalition government is about to rip up its environmental commitments.
Listed as negotiable are:
The Climate Change Act.
The clean air acts.
The rules are governing ozone-depleting chemicals.
The Town and Country Planning Act.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
The rules enforced energy efficiency and hazardous waste.
All of which protect us from other people’s greed and selfishness.
So what next?
Many people see environmental supporters as negative whiners. Don’t do this; you can’t-do that, do as I say, not as I do. Confronting capitalism has not won the hearts and minds battle.
The big problem is that everyone wants cheap flights, cheap supermarket shopping and free plastic carrier bags, even in the knowledge that they are unsustainable in the long-term. Everyone is hoping for others– either the Government or commercial enterprise to do the hard work.
Another problem that the environmental lobby has is that it’s managed to divide itself up into factions with diametrically-opposed opinions.
Stuart Lovatt from Heat my Home, says, “I feel an increasing need to be realistic. I’ve become a virtual carbon accountant and abandoned the ideal thing that was important to me as a younger man. I look at the supposed green projects (new rail services; low impact housing projects, eco-cars) and fail to see how any of them will do anything much more than minimise the impact of an environmental disaster.
A big disappointment is that the main religions of the world have let God’s Eden and its biodiversity down. If I was religious, which I am not, I might say that the Devil has convinced us all to do his work and actively participate in the destruction of God’s creation’.
Families, people with offspring who have a vested interest to pass on a better environment than they inherited, must also join the fight.
As a parent, I believe that we must protect the natural world for the next generation. We clean up our rivers now we have become more environmentally aware, so this positive approach must extend to other issues.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that we have all changed from the old optimistic language of opportunities we used in the 1990s (we can fight the threat if we choose to, Adopted a new approach of compulsion (we all have to cut emissions, so policies are unavoidable.
The cold reality of global warming would break down any opposition, but infighting within the environmental and scientific communities has left people confused.
I don’t think we can pretend anymore than 4 degrees Celsius of planetary warming will be fine once we get used to it, but we’ve also got to have a positive, inclusive way to describe to people the journey ahead.”
The words of Carl Sagan are central to this debate:
We have arranged our civilisation in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This situation is a prescription for disaster.”
In short, this translates as “We have become the destructive Eloi species (The Time Machine by H. G. Wells) confined within our modern world and destructive to anything outside.
This situation shows the commonly held notion that the natural world is a netherworld: out there somewhere, as a visitor attraction only, watched from afar on TV with David Attenborough, but found irritating if it gets in the way of a road-widening scheme.
They are mere perceptions: the environment is none of those things. The reality is that the biosphere is everything, including the human race. If the biosphere engine miss-fires or even stops functioning, we will go down with it.
We should be fighting to make sure everyone understands that:-
Our life support system must get preserved, even if only for our selfish means. The issue is inevitably becoming more and more pressing and just as ecosystems have thresholds and limitations, so too does modern civilisation.
Oil and minerals may seem abundant, but the quality extracted now is declining, while the cost of conversion to alternative energy is rising too. These factors will create a resource and an energy crunch sooner or later. As doctors say about alcohol, oil has become a false friend.
I have swallowed the bitter pill of nuclear power as a necessity, but we need to find a way of engaging with the landscape environmentalists who oppose wind farms, as an example, to see the long-term needs and benefits over the short term media hype.
I would even go as far as to say that the media’s brainwashing of the population, created by their agendas, has created the bad science, misinformation and confusion we now see.
Of course, the elephant in the room concept is that the planet can only support a population that will be ultimately finite. We all know that we are over-populating our small country and sterilising it of nature/wildlife, but this is also true on a planetary scale.
The environmental and governmental institutions, which most of us depend on to save our world for us, cannot!
A positive movement can only achieve through individuals and families who must act individually and unite socially for our government to strengthen their environmental commitments if we are ever going to prevent the destruction of our life support systems.