Economy vs. environment

Here in Australia, draft legislation for an emissions trading scheme has been unveiled. The legislation has all sorts of holes; but the point that is particularly troublesome is the opposition to it based purely on the state of the world’s economy. Some are saying implementation for any scheme should be put off for a couple of years due to the current financial crisis.

It’s a bit like a pregnant woman saying that she’ll put off having the baby she’s carrying for 12 months (speaking of which, overpopulation is something that’s contributing significantly to our environmental woes). It’s not logical.

If the planet, or more accurately, human “civilization”, is under so much of a threat from climate change, putting things off will only make our problems worse and any action that is taken will need to be more drastic. Better the short, sharp shock now than an even more excruciating fix later.

Also disappointing is the amount of money in stimulus packages that’s going to unsustainable industries, or at the very least the cash not coming with the caveat that the money needs to go toward greening of an industry. We have this perfect opportunity to address 2 major issues and to finally get off this hyper-consumption roundabout that not only enslaves us as drones working for the megacorps, but that threatens the planet we live on.

This doesn’t have to be an either/or situation – the economy and the environment can be addressed at the same time instead of just having comparatively chump change thrown at creating low carbon economies.. in the future.. and maybe.

Jobs do not have to be lost, they just need to be changed; the same type of change we saw with the computer revolution that many thought would cause mass unemployment. However, we cannot go back to what we were before and still currently are in terms of our lifestyle expectations. An economy based on infinite growth on a planet with finite resources just isn’t workable.

The environment will not wait for us to change in our own good time and the environment does not care about politics or our squabbles over whether climate change is real.

We invaded a country just on the premise that it may have weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq invasion so far has cost the USA USD$ 604 billion and around 100,000 lives – and absolutely nothing has been gained, nor were WMD’s found. Yet here we have a very clear and present danger; but we show nowhere the same passion and fervor for wading into this battle.