In this election season Paul Cockram argues we’re educated, well fed and blessed with a copious amount of free energy. We should welcome a slowdown in the harmful activities that are destroying our natural environment.
“Ladies and gentlemen, these are your captains speaking. We’re in for a spot of turbulence and we advise you to return to your seat and put on your seatbelt.”
Imagine it’s the jumbo of all jumbos and we’re all on it. From the high-rollers up in first class, through the junketeers in business class, to the standby hoi polloi down at the tail end.
Nobody noticed when we took off that we’re not carrying enough fuel for this many passengers, the flight crew are not sure of our actual destination and that the airline had to scrimp on engine maintenance to pay for its executive salaries.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the captains wish to advise that the increasingly downward angle of the nose is not of great concern yet. The captains have a great many levers and little switches left to try. “Please remain in your seats, drinks will be served soon and the same reassuring in-flight movie will screen again. Thank you.”
Back in the less allegorical world, capitalism has been flying on autopilot for many years now and the flight crew (the G20 leaders) can agree only on the wording of the reassuring cabin announcement. There are far too many levers and variables in our modern interlocking economies for confident manual control.
But can we please go back a couple of headlines? Like when the world was on the brink of ‘climate catastrophe’?
As I recall, we were exporting record amounts of raw materials to countries that were making record quantities of consumer goods and that so much fossil fuel was being burned it was ‘tipping over’ the atmosphere. Energy conservation became the hope of the future. Slowing economic growth while we calculated the balance between sustainable and suicidal seemed like a good strategy.
Lo and behold; when the economy falls over of its own accord somehow it’s now seen as a disaster rather than a saviour.
Not many commentators, if any, are seeing a world recession as a good thing. But for every other form of life on this planet, a slow-down in human activity promises a reprieve from a disaster not of its making. Let’s not fall for putting environmental repair on the back burner while we figure out how to reinvigorate the system that causes the problem.
In this country we’re educated, well fed and blessed with a copious amount of free energy from the sun shining down on our vast land area nearly every day.
Give us this day a politician or two with better ideas than simply getting back to selling and buying more stuff and we could easily build the most sustainable society the world has ever seen.
Failing that, pull down the window blind, enjoy the in-flight entertainment and wait for the announcement that it’s time to adopt the brace position.