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2012 was not a good year

Tuesday 1st January 2013

2012 was not a good year

One of my favourite environmental writers in the Guardian newspaper wrote a scathing summary of 2012 in terms of action by politicians and decision-makers not to take ANY meaningful action about the collapse of our natural world. You can see George Monbiot’s article here:

George will not object to my quoting some extracts from his article that are especially hard-hitting:

“I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century.”

“Remnants of the global megafauna – such as rhinos and bluefin tuna – were shoved violently towards extinction. Novel tree diseases raged across continents. Bird and insect numbers continued to plummet, coral reefs retreated, marine life dwindled. And those charged with protecting us and the world in which we live pretended that none of it was happening.”

“In the UK in 2012, the vandals were given the keys to the art gallery. Environmental policy is now in the hands of people – such as George Osborne [Chancellor], Owen Paterson [Secretary of State for Environment], Richard Benyon [Undersecretary of State for Environment] and Eric Pickles [Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government] – who have no more feeling for the natural world than the Puritans had for fine art. They are busy defacing the old masters and smashing the ancient sculptures.”

“To avoid another terrible year like 2012, we must translate these passive concerns into a mass mobilisation. If this annus horribilis tells us anything, it is that action, in the absence of such mobilisation, is simply not going to happen. Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change.”

George Monbiot also points out that citizens demand much more positive action on positive environmental measures but are not getting it – the decision makers would rather hand out 55 billion Euros per year as farm subsidies than consider spending even 1/100 of that amount on conservation. The major conservation organizations have become ineffectual corporate entities more interested in fundraising than conservation. We will mourn it when it is gone, but continue to remain silent while it is being killed and indeed facilitate the killing by not being heard. We continue to allow our natural world to be placed in the hands of those not qualified and/or interested to represent what we believe is our heritage – and that of our children. Someone more clever than me said we deserve the governments we elect. And like George Monbiot said “nothing changes unless we change”.

Picture credit: Sebastian Wutkke

Categories: Politics & Policy

Posted by Pieter Kat at 14:06

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