Who Noticed Earth Day?

It was Earth Day yesterday, although you would not have known this in the United Kingdom where politicians are much more concerned about being elected to office than they are in protecting our planet and the environment in which we live. 

All the political parties have been accused of “negative campaigning” which is where they concentrate on the faults sins and omissions of their opponents instead of concentrating on their own proposals. Negative campaigning simply recognises the fundamental reality of present day politics- the electors have to choose the least worse person rather than the best. Like the old joke about how do we get to Dublin  – I would not start from here – most electors would not start with a choice from the political parties that they are being offered but that is the choice that they have and most electors are too lazy to do anything to change the system.

There is no point in being a democracy if the people do not participate in it, and participation is not limited to voting every few years.

There is also no point in complaining about environmental degradation unless we are prepared to do something to prevent it. Unfortunately, the Green party have too simplistic a view of what is required; UKIP have their heads firmly in the sands on this topic and the other parties have nothing to propose about the environment.

At the heart of this is the tension between economic growth, which is considered beneficial and environmental protection. Economic growth occurs almost only if there is significant environmental degradation. People may believe in climate change or may disbelieve in it, but there are other environmental problems which are happening – pollution, destruction of rain forests, flooding, severe weather events- which may or may not be linked to climate change but in themselves are all directly linked to humanity’s greed or desire to improve its lot.

It is not terribly popular to tell people that in order to live comfortably they must not aspire to great possessions and wealth, but that is the undeniable truth on the day after Earth Day.

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