I read every few days about some climate change carbon deal, legislation to curb unsustainable resource consumption or inter governmental panel on the environment grinding to a halt – or falling over, or being patched together into some weak and largely meaningless form – and I am frankly dumbfounded.
All of these deals are (in essence) a negotiation between two concerns – our planetary environment, resources etc and the world economy. The truth is that (for some reason that I cannot fathom) these people involved treat the interests of the economy as sacrosanct. There is somewhere buried in there a belief that past a certain point we cannot go.. that there is an impact or cost to the economy that cannot be countenanced.. a line we cannot cross – a price too high to pay for bowing to environmental concerns. This ‘hard point’ around which legislation and accords must bend to be considered viable.
Pull your head out of the ant hill and think about this mind boggling situation for just a moment. Economies are completely conceptual. You can’t pick it up, you can’t eat it, it only exists in our minds – only the minds of one species on the planet I might add. It has – like money – relative importance (relative that is to the importance we grant it) but it is completely a work of fiction.
Our environment – on the other hand – is quite a bit more real. You don’t have fresh water to drink; you die, you run our of food; you die, you run out of clean breathable oxygen; you die, and so on.. What are we supposed to do with our safely preserved capitalist economies once there is nothing left to eat, drink or make things from?
All things being equal it’s great to protect economies and all (if that’s what you’re into), but why are we trying everything we can to keep the party going while the building is smouldering and threatening to burn down around us?
Out of the two concerns – economies and the environment – it seems pretty clear which one has the most finite and pressing limits around which everything else should be worked around – and it’s not the one we invented.
Am I alone in seeing this?