We seem to be at the same point economically as about two years ago, with so many official, governmental, institutional pundits forcing their features into a smile and saying that, yes, we do seem to be coming out from what might have been a deep recession. There are features, they say, which they can determine mean that things are looking up.
Some would say that we’re all so low that, frankly, the only way to look is up. Still others would say “But I’ve never had it so good”. Truth seems to be that the hoarders are gingerly investing in projects which they see could support their current, traditionally acquired prosperity.
BP, once “Beyond Petroleum”, have dropped the bulk of their Green posturing ( Solar, marine wind farms etc) and plumped for their traditional core business. Oil and gas, from wherever. In this they are not alone. China is today seen to be attempting to join the quest for Arctic oil, smiling as she offers financial backing to cash strapped explorers like the good people of Iceland!
Vast excavators and equally large high-pressure-water-injection-cleaners gather tar shale oil from the Northern steppes of Canada, playing havoc with a once pristine ecosystem. In a very different climate Jordan has probably even more of this oh-so-messy-and-hard-to-extract apology for a resource. Luckily they don’t have the water to go for it yet but I guess they’ll engineer a solution. One pipeline to import sea-water, another to export the product, maybe!
Meanwhile methane leaks, toxic chemicals pollute aquifers and earthquakes shake the ground where the oddly desperate pursuit of “Fracking” has taken hold. But it has taken hold and looks set to greatly increase. People talk of the UK becoming self sufficient in gas (Remember the North Sea?!).
Here the side effects have been well documented. So RT broadcast programmes on the personal and environmental havoc so apparent in the USA. They love to chronicle American disasters and have plenty of material these days.
It’s all producing more of the same. Pushing our Global economy on once again, extracting more resources and producing more stuff for eager consumers, now borrowing from their great grandchildren to afford these luxuries. Borrowing financially and yet also having another impact on these so far from even being born unfortunates.
For these brave souls will also have to make their way in whatever vestige of a natural, clean environment they can imagine up. Current structures and despairing governments allow vast, impersonal and irresponsible international conglomerates to make their own rules, steamroller over any complaints and always keep profit maximization as their overriding driver.
Carbon Offsets? Yes, they laugh at them. The price of carbon is being driven through the floor and it’s the Voluntary sector only which has kept the topic alive. There, though, it’s use is largely to build wind turbines, install insulation or build better tortilla baking ovens for Mexican peasants who can no longer afford the maize flour to make them anyway. (Because of the use of corn for bio-diesel.)
Oh yes, and, of course, it builds up, shores up the reputations of the companies who voluntarily put this money into the system. Yes, they are like some medieval sinners, purchasing favours and forgiveness, assured of our absolution when they seek our support in the market place.
There is indeed talk today of the importance of a new philosophy being blown into the international business community. I discovered Dr Sheelagh O’Reilly, once my MSc tutor, working with a group calling themselves IOD PARC – International Organisation Development Ltd – and having a strong line in tailored, appropriate models emerging. Global but local in impact.
Then I came across Pavan Sukhdev fresh from a meeting of similar minds summarising his wishes for a new global business model to emerge along IOD type lines:
and part of GIST, Green Initiatives for a Smarter Tomorrow:
So, yes, it’s time for the next stage in restoration, in wresting the tools of destruction from the hands of those who so carelessly wield them. There is, however, one crucial question not asked by the likes of Sukhdev. Simply, are the people ready for this? Do they even care? There is still a chasm between two realities. One is that portrayed above and the other is the individual’s comfort.
Everyone then sympathises with the former. They really do care. However if they sense it will impact negatively on their own lives to actually act, then they will not. That’s the current status. I feel that there is some considerable activation energy needs be injected to overcome this inertia but, yes, I do also sense an alternative route…………..