Modern living has an insatiable appetite and continues its quest so that society can benefit from the spin offs generated by production of vast amounts of cash: many of us can say that we have benefited on a personal level with the ability to buy modern labour saving devices; foreign holidays; new cars; house ownership; and the list goes on ad infinitum:
However, Capitalism is also a rapacious creditor: In the short period of the last one hundred years or so the price we have had to pay for these short term benefits appears to be the pending destruction of our environment and the consequential suffocation of our wildlife and possibly even the annihilation our own existence.
Putting things in perspective the formation of the earth as we know it has taken 4.5 Billion years to develop, finalising into a finely balanced eco system that supports incredible complex life systems. This process of development has, in the past, changed very gradually allowing the opportunity for the eco system to compensate for climate irregularities and planetary seismic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis:
However, over the last hundred years or so, due to a sudden explosion of so called “development“, we have brought the life on our planet to pending extinction: Whatever the reasons for the destruction and whatever the foolish political decisions made if we don’t act soon to reverse this process the planet will suffocate and within a short period of time life will not exist in any meaningful way if at all:
Is it too late? Yes. If we continue to produce, consume and power our lives the way we do right now, forests, oceans and weather systems will be overwhelmed and collapse. Unsustainable agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure projects, mining and energy are leading to unprecedented biodiversity loss and habitat degradation, overexploitation, pollution and climate change. While their impacts are increasingly evident in the natural world, the consequences on people and businesses are real too.
Is it too late? No. Technology will no doubt change our lives and we are already seeing breakthroughs in conservation. The renewable energy revolution is probably the most impressive example of the positive impact of new technologies. Remote sensing technologies allow to monitor the state of the planet like never before. Thoughtful methodology is being used to establish systems of auditing for agricultural products and fish so that consumers can be assured of their origin, legality and sustainability.
Financial institutions have a huge role to play. The banking sector at large is failing to redirect finance away from environmentally and socially destructive business practices, and importantly not yet tapping into growth opportunities needed to finance the transition to a sustainable economy, whether they are renewable energy or sustainable water projects.
Business must also be at the forefront in halting climate change and biodiversity loss. The latest World Economic Forum Global Risks report lists climate instability, extreme weather events and water scarcity as major challenges faced by business today. As the effects of climate change worsen and our planet’s resources come under increasing strain, sustainability issues will increasingly hit companies’ bottom lines as well as their social license to operate. Protecting land, oceans, rivers, forests and communities not only helps mitigate risks in the supply chain, but makes perfect business sense.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, if fully and urgently implemented, are an opportunity to fundamentally shift the way we produce, consume and safeguard our natural wealth. We can still bring the planet back from the brink. We have made commitments, signed declarations, and started to make progress with implementation. But what we are doing is not enough. Business as usual has the planet at breaking point. We must see a quantum leap in the speed and depth of change. Companies can be both profitable and socially and environmentally sustainable by delivering triple bottom lines: planet, people and profit. The time to achieve this is now.
Has Labour Meaningful Environmental Policy?
As the leading political Party on the protection of our Environment the Labour Party has developed a policy called THE GREEN TRANSFORMATION: Click the link below to read in full:
What can I do? Far more than you may think: Either join the Labour Party or vote for us in the upcoming elections:
Do you just want our votes? We really are not that cynical: We do care about the environment and at our local Branch in Swanley we have robust debates about the future of our planet and our duty as a mainline political party.
“Our legacy should be the survival of our youth”
By David Griffiths
Labour Party candidate for Crockenhill & Well Hill