Out going environment minster Owen Patterson has expressed his frustration at us small-minded greens who oppose everything and stand in the way of progress and prosperity.He has lumped all us petition-signing, flag-waving, letter-writing annoyances under a single heading, Green Blob. The Times came out with an article this week saying he is basically right. Between greens and NIMBY’s we are consigned to return to the dark ages. It is time to get fracking, to break out the GMO’s and get busy building on the green belts, our economy needs it.
I have no doubt that there is plenty of well meaning but ill-informed and misdirected campaigning going on and plenty of NIMBYism to boot.. but lumping the whole environmental agenda together as a green blob is really unhelpful and actually is pretty revealing about how people like Patterson must actually think.
So we have been told that during his period in office Mr Patterson declined to be briefed by the Government advisor on Climate Change. Let’s say that again, declined to be briefed. Words fail. Anyway maybe from that we can deduce that perhaps those outside the Green Blob are more motived by political outlook and inner conviction then they are by science, debate and academic rigour (see video in previous post). If we are to be charitable with our judgement lets say that the view is one of pursuing short term economic objectives rather than looking at the bigger and rapidly changing bigger picture. Very short term objectives indeed as we rush headlong into the post peak world of uncertain energy futures and teetering global economy.
From where I am sitting the Green Blob isn’t about resisting progress and change, it is in fact the very opposite. We have a vision of economy that measures service provision, food security and biodiversity, not the simple throughput of materials ,as does GDP. The growth model rewards the destruction of natural capital and rewards polluters, the exact opposite that is required to value and protect the biosphere. We have a vision of vibrant local economies that produce a majority of our food and energy and absorb and cycle most of our waste. A largely localised system sharing heat, composting waste, building wildlife friendly low-embodied energy, affordable housing from natural materials like straw, mud, wool and lime that would actually add biodiversity to where ever they are located. International trade will still have its place but the low carbon world will be a wonderful mix of high tech and low tech, a people-centric system that values nature and society as well as the freedom of the individual.
Unfettered capitalism is essentially a race to the bottom, a race to externalise the costs of production onto society and environment, to avoid social and ecological responsibility. It is our values as expressed by economic indicators that need to change, rather than a growth based system driven by corrupt bankers seeking fat bonus to enable them to escape the mayhem the have caused. The scope for change required is well beyond the brief of an individual minister, and I for one am certainly not waiting for the government to articulate these ideas. But I am certainly getting on preparing and building for the post carbon world. Somehow we do need to find people brave enough and with the right profile to begin to frame the future in front of us honestly and positively.
Killing a few badgers wont solve the woes of intensive factory farming Mr Patterson sir and fracking the country side for the remaining pockets of natural gas smacks of desperation. In a world about to go fully digital we are investing in VHS players, in a world of renewable energy with the potential for a thriving and super energy efficient re-localised economy, we are planning to burn tar sands and borrowing a load of money we don’t know how to pay back to buy everyone a new S.U.V.
Wake up Mr Patterson the Green Blob is more than a figment of your imagination, it is here to stay and it is a world of new opportunity.