Sunday, January 06, 2008

In today's Observer, Gordon Brown claims that by pushing ahead on nuclear power, airport expansion and the building of three million new homes, he's taking a "long-term" view. Click here. It's also interesting - but entirely unsurprising - that this government will break another pledge (namely, not to subsidise nuclear power), by offering a bribe to communities willing to accept the dumping of nuclear waste in their back yard - see here.

All three of these decisions will have major environmental ramifications in the years to come. All three are easy fixes for long-term problems. All three expose Brown as the charlatan he is when it comes to protecting the world we live in. People still think economics is the be all and end all, but for the umpteenth time: what will all your money buy you if the air is too polluted to breath or the world's food supply falls apart when the planet is no longer able to sustain agriculture for six billion people? You might just find stuff you take for granted - mobile phones, games consoles, weekend trips to Europe or New York - start to matter less when you can't even survive to enjoy them.

If people truly want to think long term, now is the time to make things uncomfortable for ourselves so we have a future to look forward to, never mind our children and grandchildren. If I'm unable to fly, or use more than 'x' amount of gas and electricity a day to achieve it, or even rationed on water, food consumption and other essentials (never mind foregoing a mobile phone a year, or the latest console from China), then bring it on. I suspect most people will find that such an "uncomfortable" lifestyle is still preferable to the poverty faced by millions all over the world, or the hellish existence that beckons us when we refuse to do even the smallest thing to prevent climate change rendering the planet uninhabitable for our species.

No comments: