Land and Protest
“What did you do in the EC0-war daddy?
Did you stand up, did you speak up enough?
Was it your voice that shouted?
Were you there when it counted?
Where were you when the tide turned?
Did you act with honour?
Did you think about the future?
Did you know that one day
………………. I’ll be standing there with you?”
In May 1970 the government published a white paper titled “The Protection of the Environment – The fight against pollution”. In its introduction, it states:
“This White Paper is about man’s impact on his environment, and specifically about the pollution of his environment. The degree of control we can exert over that pollution is a major factor in the quality of our civilisation. To exert a proper control, three things are needed. First, scientific and technical knowledge – knowledge of ecology, which is the science of the way the animal and vegetable worlds interact with each other and with the physical environment; and knowledge of the technology to control pollution at source. Secondly, we need the right framework of economic analysis and economic priorities. Thirdly, we need the right legal and administrative framework to translate priorities and decisions into action”
It was a response to the “Club of Rome” conference at which the leaders of the nations of the world were told of the environmental castrophy to come if the humans do not mend their ways….!
All re-affirmed by United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972.
This United Nations conference supported the idea of `spaceship earth’ ie. a small lump of rock, floating in space with a delicate life support system. With this as a `mental model’, it is obvious that our impact on the planet should be measured against such ideas of `sustainable development’, minimal impact, energy efficiency, and not exclusively by the `profit motive’ alone.
All of these matters, I remember, were discussed by some of us at the time with great urgency. This is over 25 years ago now and although small tokens of effort have been made by many governments, the situation grows yet more desparate. The international conference on Global Climate Change at Koyoto, Japan in 1997, re-affirmed to need for changes. However, yet again, this amounts to few `pious’ words with little effect. As usual!!
Really, look around. How much of this do you think has been done. To my knowledge, no government has ever taken an environmental initiative on its own. ALWAYS it seems to do so as a consession after much civil protest and direct action on an issue. Then they bring up the rear.
I believe that the communities described here represent genuine endeavours in discovering enduring and sustainable ways of life and conducting experiments in how we and the planet may survive.
I wish them well in these uncertain times.