Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Believe...

Rebecca eating a dumblieI believe our leaders have become too short-sighted. Everywhere I look I see us creating problems for generations to come.

We are using up all the fossil fuel, so there will be none left for our children. And by burning the fossil fuel we are increasing atmospheric CO2 levels which will cause severe climate problems in our children's generation.

One proposed solution to this is to build nuclear power stations, which generate electricity with lower CO2 emissions. But there is still no good solution to the storage of nuclear waste containing isotopes with half-lives of hundreds of thousands of years. And there are serious questions about the security of transporting and storing both waste and fuel rods now that international terrorism has become a fact of life.

The fuel companies have been pushing biofuels as a "green" alternative to fossil fuels. But from the beginning the green movement has been saying biofuels can never replace fossil fuels. For a start, even if we used every productive acre of arable land on Earth we could not grow enough biofuel to replace the fossil fuel we use at present. And anyway, if we used every productive acre of arable land on Earth, where would we get our food from? Most biofuel produced presently comes from palm oil, which is a whole bad kettle of fish.

Short-sightedness isn't just evident in our energy policies. Conventional farming methods which rely on over-use of pesticides and herbicides are killing our native plants and animals. Other conventional farming techniques such as over-ploughing and monoculture (producing the same crop year after year for mile after mile) cause unsustainable soil erosion. Conventional farmers compensate for this by adding artificial fertilisers. But when the soil is eroded completely our children or grandchildren will not be able to produce food by adding fertiliser to bare rock or sand.

Everywhere I look I see evidence of short-term thinking. The list would become too long and too political if I let all the bees out of my bonnet. The way we run our industries. The way we house our population. The way we fund our health service. The way we treat our children. The way we manage foreign affairs. They are all based on putting off problems until the future. Our children will have reason to damn us for the legacy we are leaving them. It makes me ashamed.

The Iroquois chiefs were required to make every decision by considering the effects on the seventh generation to come. I believe we urgently need to adopt this way of thinking. Urgently.

13 comments:

Katie said...

Well said Melanie. It seems we have the same bees in our bonnets!

kate said...

Our leaders aren't showing many signs of adopting this line of thinking ... short-term gain seems to be the path we're on.

Green Bean said...

Hear, hear! Gosh, if we chould just get our leaders to consider the next generation it would be a miracle. For those of us with children, I think it is especially heartbreaking - and gives us more will to fight.

jane said...

Depress me why don't you! I do wonder what will happen in my children's lifetime. I feel there has to be a revolution coming from the people as the government are too much in the pockets of big business. It's never going to happen until the ordinary people realise that this lifestyle of constant consumption has a very high price. We all need to break away from the brain-washing of advertisers and marketing experts who've created this 'must-have' culture.
I just wonder, in a post oil world, will I still be able to get tea?

Skipweasel said...

The other problem with nuclear power is the availability of fuel. There's not /that/ much of the stuff still in the ground, and a lot of what there is lurks in conflict zones.

Fusion - now that's a different kettle of isotopes but it's been 40 years off for the last 40 years.

Chile said...

The problem with getting the leaders to consider long-term solutions is that it often means sacrifice in the short-term....and that means they won't get re-elected. Therefore, it is not in their best interests to do what is in the world's best interest. Sucks.

Nicky said...

You are absolutely right Mel. The world is not, unfortunately, run by those with such a clear view ahead. It's run by economists. Frankly, the current economic system that relies on never ending growth is completely unsupportable. We need a global system that will reduce overconsumption in the western world or we will render this planet uninhabitable.

ilex said...

Our Western way of life is completely wrongheaded and driven by one big, fat factor- profit. That's why we never hear about conservation. Conservation would provide instant results, but there's simply no money to be made from it. How tragic.

Skipweasel said...

Perhaps we should all drive one of these...
www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwrXdsFUmRQ

The fun starts about 45 seconds into the clip.

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