As COP26 – December’s international convention in Glasgow – becomes a major media focus, the scrutiny of environmental plans and policies will be intensified.
Parties across the political spectrum are now preparing proposals that will sound good but not offend their core supporters. They’ve had plenty of practice. References to fine words buttering no parsnips date back to at least 1634.
To identify the underlying causes of ecological distress one must first strip away mis-characterisations (it’s just a natural cycle) and finger pointing or ‘othering’ (it’s all their fault) and vested interests that stand in the way of progress. It’s time then to critically review where leaders think they are leading.
Under Ed Davey the Libdems don’t just have a plan – we have a Green Recovery Plan – but is that enough to get to the heart of the issues? Given the scale of the challenge, are the plan’s elements sufficient? Will many millions of small initiatives be practical and effective, or are major policy reforms required?
- Save British Countryside
- Green Every Home
- Clean Air for Kids
- Transport revolution
- Energy Switch
Looking at the details behind these headlines there is much to applaud – and nothing to cause offence. But will these elements be enough to arrest the current levels of our planet abuse?
Should we not also consider:
- stepping away from economic growth targets?
- Ending planned obsolescence
- Cutting advertising?
- Shifting from ownership to usership
- Scaling down destructive industries?
- Reducing the working week?
- Reducing Inequality?
- Restoring health and caring services?
- Expanding the commons and demonetarise public services?
- Envisaging Debt Cancellation?
- Introducing Universal basic Income?
- Strengthening Democracy?
- Rebalancing central/local governance with a restoration of municipal autonomy?
Tell us your ideas on how these and other measures could combat climate change – we’ll pass them on for consideration by our Conference and other policy-making bodies.
The proponents of a complete rethinking of the economic systems that have gotten us into this mess could probably generate an even longer – even scarier – list.
How many floods? How many fires? How much coastal erosion? How much pollution? How many more virus variants? When will enough be enough? And when will we get to the real reasons for systemic inequalities and unexpected consequences of addiction to ecological destruction.
Back in the 1600’s we made food more palatable by ‘buttering it up’.
‘Great men, large hopeful promises may utter;
But words did never fish or parsnips butter.’