I often mention the fantastic work done by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). But where all its recommendations have the world’s best interests at heart, only some of them have a real chance of being immediately implemented.
The prosperity Jackson writes of is our ability to flourish as human beings. It transcends material concern. It has to do with such matters as physical and mental health, access to education, relationships and sense of community, meaningful employment and the ability to participate in the life of society. He argues that in the developed countries we can (and must) have such prosperity without the economic growth paradigm that currently rules our thinking.
Jackson recognises the difficulties of the situation we have landed ourselves with. On the one hand growth is unsustainable, at least in its current form. The burgeoning consumption of finite resources and the heavy costs being imposed on the environment are accompanied by profound disparities in social well-being.
The upcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen have highlighted an interesting dilemma. Nations worldwide are trying to shirk their responsibilities around emissions and their economies.
So called “developed” nations like the U.S., U.K., and Australia are having a difficult political time getting industries to swallow the fact that big changes need to happen. Industry needs to clean up its act. Of course, then the political dance begins:
“But what about xyz country? Are they going to do it too?” Yes, yes, always point the finger somewhere else. Someone else should be the leader, start things off, too risky for us.
“Developing countries should do their bit!” Undoubtedly the case, but perhaps those who have been polluting in droves since the start of the industrial revolution should take the first step.
“But it will RUIN industry! It will be a calamity! Jobs destroyed! Lives ruined! We simply cannot afford to change!” Unfortunately, the same logic was used at one point to justify slavery, and many other sad practices. It is a classic technique used to frighten and scare people away from the real issue at hand. In this case, the cost of climate change will pale all other costs by comparison. Can we really take that risk?