It is my usual habit, as is evident from this blog, to write posts quite early in the morning. However, given the state of the weather this weekend, my wife and I were out on the river in Ely at seven in the morning, walking and bird watching.

It was peaceful, beautiful and rewarding. Common warbler, linnets, and what appeared to be a young male reed bunting seeking to claim his first territory and singing loudly as he did so were the highlights, but the usual rewards of river watching, from great crested grebes to herons and young moorhens, plus the sound but not the sight of a kingfisher, were all there.

Granted, it was also fun to go out for coffee afterward to take time to reflect on the depressing morning news.

The Greek government is evacuating Rhodes.

Simultaneously, both the Tories and Labor appear to want to backtrack on their environmental commitments because of the alleged marginal impact it may have had on the Uxbridge election results.

Newspapers are enthusiastically declaring today that enormous pressure is being put on Sadiq Khan to reform his ULEZ policy, despite the fact that the current government made it a condition for funding Transport for London. In truth, therefore, Starmer is demanding that a Labor mayor step back from the already pathetic level of environmental commitment that our current government has.

For a long time I suspected that something like this would happen. It was always obvious that at some point a political commitment to climate change would run afoul of the neoliberal growth policies that have long underpinned the thinking of our major political parties. That conflict is now taking place at exactly the same time that it is becoming abundantly clear in many places around the world that the cost of that growth is already unsustainable.

Early commentators on this topic, from Schumacher in the 1970s onwards, predicted this would happen. For a time it was possible to pretend otherwise, especially after events like COP 26. The truth, however, is that the commitments made there were just a sham. Big business, committed governments, and politicians living in fear of mainstream hate media against any alternative to current environmental destruction, as well as the idea that there might be a social purpose to politics, meant that those politicians were always going to oppose the policies now needed to address the threat of climate change.

The threat created by climate change is now greater than that created by Covid.

It is bigger than the threat created by the global financial crisis in 2008.

It is also likely that the threat is now at least as great as that created by World War II because as many people as then are now at risk from demoted governments.

The problem we are facing is that we have to live with politicians who deny all these things. In fact, they now seem to deny the basic facts of climate change and the resulting fact that climate change demands that we must change the way we live.

It will no longer be possible for us to consume as we used to.

It will not be possible for us to travel the way we did.

It will not be possible for us to loot our planet the way we have.

We won’t be able to eat the way we did.

What, however, is possible despite all these things is that we can live well. That, I think, is possible because what gives us the most pleasure in life is, almost invariably, the company we share, the experiences we have on a daily basis and the feeling of well-being that both can generate.

What does not give us a sense of well-being is the sense of inadequacy that is central to almost all advertising that is used to promote excessive material consumption, advertising and excessive consumption that are always linked to the desire to stay in debt, on the outcome of which almost the entire financial services industry depends, which is why it is also a threat to our survival.

What definitely causes us stress in life are threats to our health, our ability to make ends meet, and threats to those we care for, including all those younger than us.

As a result, what is inarguably true is that most politicians from most major political parties (Labour, the Tories, LibDems and SNP) pose a major threat to the well-being of all young people in our country, and therefore to the well-being of all of us. Their collective denial of climate reality, coupled with their refusal to deliver the required changes needed and to make clear how those changes should be financed (largely through a major redistribution of wealth to offset the impact of the necessary spending that needs to be done) represents a complete denial of responsibility on their part.

I still believe that it is possible for the human race to continue to inhabit the earth and lead rewarding lives. But I have to stress the word possible in that statement because that possibility is threatened by timid political leadership on almost every side of our so-called political spectrum.

Will we see the recovery of the body politic in the UK to find the courage to tackle these issues? I don’t really know, but I’m pretty sure the need to do so is essential to our survival.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *