The first of the new guest post feature. Liam Batch, A Level politics student from Kent, writes about the lack of environmental discussion by our political leaders.
With issues cropping up in recent years such as the recession, civil unrest in Libya and Egypt, controversy over wiki-leaks and the infamous ash cloud which to their credit, are all topics that cannot be understated in their importance, it appears however that one topic is slowly disappearing away from both the political agenda, and from the headlines.
The state of the environment has been subject to much anxiety and concern in previous years, but has the issue progressed into becoming a fundamental element of Party’s manifesto’s? The subject appears to have noticeably declined in recent months, and for one reason or another, nothing substantial appears to be getting done.
Anthony Downs once created a ‘five stage model’ in which he outlines the five stages in which public interest gains and loses mobility in the event of a monumental crises. Number four of the cycle is the ‘gradual decline of intense public interest’ which has substantial resonance to the situation we face today. With the complexity and cost attached to this environmental disaster we face, public interest has inevitably plummeted and progress is racing along at a snail’s pace. One possible answer is the style of politics within the UK which unfortunately sees politicians focussed on the short term issues which will ultimately win an election, and not the long term goals which will not be completed within a five year term in Governance. Gone are the days of the selfless politician, they are indisputably a dying breed of few who are here to represent the people, and are not conversely fixated upon getting as far as they can climb up the political ladder, professional politicians as they are often labelled. The competitive nature of British politics has blinkered those we elect away from actually solving the monumental problems of the world, and instead merely doing what is necessary to insure power is sustained.
Last month, the BBC reported that Global Carbon emissions have reached an all time high and were recorded 5% higher than the previous recording in 2008. We are too often manipulated in to believing by Cameron and his cronies that ‘they are doing all they can to preserve the environment’, when in actual fact, it is sitting at the bottom of their agenda. A few weeks before the most recent general election, Conservative party leader David Cameron promised to limit new power plants to be as clean as a modern gas plant. However, shortly after the Election the Guardian reported than ministers were set to raise the amount of emissions that coal and other power plants were allowed to omit more into the atmosphere. How can politicians tell us to act more ecologically, when they are evidently at the height of anthropocentrism? To the Conservatives credit, they have already implemented one of their pre election promises by ensuring every household has access to a ‘green deal’ of up to £6,500 to improve energy efficiency. But is this enough? Is this really sufficient in the grander scheme of things, it is my view simply both a sweetener and an illusion designed to persuade the electorate that they are making substantial efforts to tackle the environmental problems we face.
However, this isn’t just a British problem, but a world problem as repetitively the efforts of many are stamped upon by World leaders at Earth summits where the Governments around the world are too busy weighing up the cost the proposals make to their economy rather than the cost they are causing to the Environment by doing nothing.
With resources scarce, and the Earth showing increasing signs of entropy each and every day, it is vital that Politicians wake up to the idea that action is needed, and needed quickly. It isn’t an issue that will disappear, and if action isn’t taken soon, the damage we are causing will be ultimately irreversible.