Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Why don't people 'get it'?

Posted on Bevan Foundation blog on April 8th


I'm not an 'environmentalist', whatever that means. I think I'm fairly ordinary. Until two years ago I was reasonably content living in the Cardiff Bay bubble, gossiping, pontificating and lunching politicians.

But two years on, trying to do 'my bit', I'm growing increasingly alarmed about the way our politics works and the way we live.

I was never any good at science, I always used to muck around in lessons. So I make no claim to understand the complexities of global warming. But I do know that those who do understand it are shouting at the top of their voices to warn us about a growing crisis.

And every week the emerging evidence grows more alarming. Here's this week's: "A lot of the impacts we're seeing are running ahead of our expectations," said William Hare of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

However, all the experts seem to agree that it still not yet too late to turn it round. But it is urgent.

I don't believe it will happen though. I'm fairly pessimistic. All my experience over the last two years is that when presented with practical things that must be done now to help bring about the change, politicians and officials at all levels of Government don't want to leave their comfort zone.

In fairness to them, they don't want to get too far ahead of public opinion. The fate of Ken Livingstone and the outcome of the Congestion Charge Referendum in Manchester is alive in their minds.

The Sustainable Development Commission (hardly a radical outfit) has just published a report which said that 2009 will be a defining year. They say “this is a moment that demands unprecedented leadership, robust policy, and decisive action…The economic crisis of 2009 has the potential to seed the economic opportunities of tomorrow. But it demands courage and vision today”

We need not be too concerned though, WAG are working on another new strategy.

...perhaps I'll book a holiday in New Zealand.

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