Saturday, 3 December 2011

Hard Times-Green Times?

There is presently an urgent need to intensify efforts to limit anthropogenic effects on world resources and climate change (not helped by burgeoning population increases). This is, however, occurring at the very same time as world financial pressures make lives very difficult for many people in the so-called 'Western world' (not to mention elsewhere). Studies of animal behaviour suggest that this will be a toxic combination. Species do not show any tendency to take account of longer term issues (it is difficult to think of any evolutionary mechanism that could do this). They are essentially programmed to deal with the immediate needs for avoiding starving or being eaten as well as finding enough resources to breed. Most of the immediate political responses to the current financial problems suggest that 'our' response will be exactly the same. For example, it has been claimed that attempts to limit carbon release into the atmosphere have forced more UK people into 'fuel poverty' (where more than 10% of their income is spent on lighting, heating and cooking). It has also been suggested that we in the UK need a relaxing of the planning laws (including the protection of 'green belt' land) to generate affordable housing and to improve transport links. The prognosis doesn't look good.

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