Probably one of the most unhelpful arguments being conducted, then pushed by the media is the question over climate change, global warming and who or what is to blame or at fault.
It’s a dead cat debate, doing considerably more harm than good, simply because it is preventing reasoned discussion and action being taken to alleviate the impact on us all from the changes to the weather that are already evident and plain for us to see.
I cannot disagree with the concerns and arguments about the approach of big business and the consequences for the environment and serious risk to our quality of life from industrialisation, mechanisation, globalisation and the driving forces of greed and the motivation for achieving profit whatever the true cost.
But before we can even begin to tackle that problem in a way that will prove to be meaningful for all, there has to be an epiphany in governments right across the world. With it the recognition that public policy and the responsibility of government sits at the heart of the entire environmental debate, and that there are few areas of public policy which do not touch or fail to be influenced by the green question and environmental issues in some way.
The UK itself is already facing a range of problems from the climate changes taking place. A very good example of how different policy areas overlink in ways that are very serious, whilst being overlooked by our MPs and politicians would be the increasing problems that we are experiencing with flooding. Here, a rather large blind eye is also being covered over too, simply because housebuilding has become the obvious answer to a housing crisis that our politicians will not deal with in more appropriate ways. In so doing. Our political class are condemning existing homes, the villages, communities and towns around them to what might soon be very serious flooding problems, when taking responsibility and doing things differently could make this in many cases much easier to avoid.
Building green policy on what looks good in the media, what wins votes and what is easy to do is no way to tackle a worldwide crisis. One that will reach an inescapable point where its impacts are going to become very serious for us all.
Government cannot avoid the way the world works and why people and businesses are invested so heavily in things remaining as they are.
Ironically, the behavioural science that has been so heavily relied upon to coerce people into doing what the government wanted them to do as part of the political response to the Covid Pandemic, could be put to much better and constructive use. It could be applied to providing ‘nudges’ that govern the way people are thinking about their own impact on the environment and what they can independently do to help us all to go green.
However, using policies to force people to change does not consider the practical realities such as affordability, accessibility and what other policies green policy itself will impact – bearing in mind that you can be certain that with each step taken, there will be practical and in many cases hard-hitting consequences for us all.
To hear the Government, the media, the activists and academics preach, you could easily conclude that the UK is one of the worst sinners of the World. But it is not.
Whilst Government may feel galvanised in its ability to ‘impose’ green solutions on us all by the ‘success’ it has ‘achieved’ in forcing the UK to indulge all the unnecessary and costly responses to the Covid Pandemic it has imposed, taking this stupidity even further into the imposition of green technologies will end up in a disaster for this Country. One that will arrive much quicker and be far more consequential for all of us than the alternative of starting to deal with climate change the hard way and the right way. Currently, they are taking the easy route, as control freaks inevitably always do, concluding that giving this date or that date and a reliance on technology that doesn’t even exist, that future change is safe to impose upon us all.
In terms of the environment and the wider green issues that are involved, it is important to remember that the idealist’s viewpoint is that the problem will be solved with unilateral solutions that only affect people and businesses based in the UK. Yet isolated action will only hurt us, whilst doing nothing to address a problem that is the worlds, not just the UKs to own.
The reality is that we will not influence anyone or any other Country in a way that will be helpful to anyone, if our politicians just force through legislation such as heat pumps for homes, that are wholly impractical and consider none of the impacts on anything other than the environment itself – just as the Johnson Government has been doing by undertaking all policy decisions in isolation where Covid has been involved.
One of the biggest obstacles to progress on environmental issues worldwide, is the sordid fact that money is always and inevitably involved.
Money motivates people deeply in an emotionally entrenched way. And people who have lots of it and want more of it will not let issues that don’t agree with their own narrative get in their way.
Corporate interests are a massive part of the climate change problem. They will continue to be so until those responsible can be convinced that the same or more profit can be achieved for them, by conducting their business in a very different and environmentally friendly way.
Sadly, like most things historically, the biggest profits and margins are to be made when whatever you are doing means that you are in a position to exploit.
Morality and ethics are at a rare premium in business these days. It is the same people who are accumulating this wealth who already possess the deep pockets that our politicians suck up to and treat as if they are sacred cows.
There is as such a dangerous inevitability about the level of damage that is going to be done, before that moment of reason land collectively, and everyone starts working together voluntarily to address the issues and work better – because they have come to the decision as an informed and unselfish choice.
The saving grace to all this – strange as it may sound, may turn out to be the Covid Pandemic itself and the decisions that poor politicians have made in response.
Covid has literally seen governments around the world take decision after decision that has exponentially speeded up every problem that poor leadership has created over decades.
It means that a point is approaching where going greener will simply become the way that we all start to do things, rather than us having to wait on people who are so far choosing not to make the green choice.
Globalisation is over and done with in the way that we have known it before. The media are making very little of what is happening with shipping, supply chains and the provision of goods from around the world. But goods are not going to be available as they were before, and as the coming financial crisis beds in for the long haul, the realities of genuine localism, food and the supply of essential daily items from within a very local area, if not the immediate community itself, is going to become prevalent once again.
However, to make the very best of the opportunities that will come from a very serious crisis, it is vital that we have the right people influencing and making all of the key decisions that will need to be made.
Whatever happens next, it is essential that the decisions being made are not aimed purely at an electoral echo chamber as they have been now for decades.
Every decision being taken from now onwards will have very serious consequences for us all.