Tuesday, August 28

We don't live on concrete alone

The title is based on a quote from the Bible. The point Jesus was making was that people need spiritual fulfilment as well as worldly goods. I guess a modern interpretation is that people need to balance various aspects of their lives. The reason I used the title is that it reflects the neglect current political ideology has for environmental issues and the spiralling decay that neglect is causing.

An alternative was 'It's the Environment Stupid' which is based on a quote by President Clinton - 'It's the Economy Stupid'.

So what's the problem?
Actually the question should be - Where do I start?.

I guess the first place to start is food. Unfortunately we can't live without it and the point I was making in the title is that we can't live by continually building our way out of recessions or in this case a 'depression'.

You have to ask yourself:
What would you rather have, a nice house built on some new estate on green fields, or would you rather have some food?
The ultimate choice would then either be to live in the nice house for a couple of weeks before you die or have food and live to a ripe old age. A balance needs to be drawn, but based on events of 2012 we certainly do not have the balance right and local politicians propose further folly with their building plans.

The last 20+ years of economic growth and carbon emissions have resulted in a year of crop failures, caused by massive world wide changes in climate effecting the weather. Next year might not be so bad, but the trend is well known and more severe weather is to come in future years.

This year severe drought in the USA has resulted in massive reductions in wheat, soya and corn production. Here in the UK we have seen the opposite, although the start of the year looked like it would follow the same US pattern. We started with a very serious looking drought with hardly any rain in spring and winter, followed by near continous rain throughout the summer, with June breaking all records, not just in this borough but right across the nation.
The result in the UK is that wheat, apple, potatoe and many other crops are all significantly down in quantity and/or quality this year. Food prices will most likely go up as the agriculture crisis hits harder in the coming months.

Building our way out of a problem (which is the only policy Havant Borough Council appear to have) increases the damage to the environment that provides us with food. Instead of continuing with this neglectful blindness, we have to start acting on the reality of our long term situation.

The drastic change in weather patterns have always been predicted by the scientists studying climate and global warming. Warming = energy = movements of air, water etc. = droughts, flooding etc.
We know that our activities cause these problems, there are far to many lines of evidence that show we are responsible and that we need to take action.

The other biggest indicator this year appears to be the Arctic sea ice extent which - as I write this - is heading for an all time record summer low. NSIDC are stating the record has already been reached.
This should be shocking news to anyone, because it is well known that where the Arctic leads, the rest of the world will follow. Indeed without drastic action now, emissions we create today will push temperatures up by a couple of degrees, and more heat = greater extremes in weather + sea level rise and other issues.

So where am I going with this??

The environment must be prominent in policy and integral to all decision making. No environment = no economy.
At a national level any thought about building on green belt or green field land or the third runway at Heathrow should be at the bottom of a very long list of policy choices. At a local level we need some major changes in local councils. Changes that don't pander to the short term problems that are vote winners, but instead take into account the long term needs of the community.

We can't live by only building homes and factories, we need food and water as well.

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