Which Will Be the First Nation to Act?

In Blogs, Economics, Politics by Ross JacksonLeave a Comment

I came back from the UN Rio+20 environmental conference with very much the same feeling as most of the NGO participants—an immense frustration with the total lack of global political leadership at this critical time. The gap between “The Future the Politicians Want” and “The Future the People Want” has never been greater.  It sometimes seems as if we live on different planets. There were no commitments by governments, only weak, unenforceable declarations of intention. The major difference is that NGOs generally take the multiple threats facing humanity seriously, particularly global warming and unsustainable over-consumption of our natural capital. The political leadership is in a state of denial with no solutions whatsoever, as it continues to promote more economic growth, the very factor that NGOs identify as the major problem rather than the solution. Even the most logical and modest proposal from civil society: “cease all subsidies for burning fossil fuels” —currently $775 billion per annum—was rejected. All we got from the UN document in this area was a weak suggestion that governments might take a look at that—a depressing example of moral bankruptcy.

The only new twist to the growth mantra was the latest buzz word from the corporate-infested UN: “green growth”, which is intended to suggest that we can go on with “business as usual” if we just add a few green feathers. But this newest buzzword is just another excuse for doing nothing. If the political leadership truly wants to promote a “green future” then a necessary first step is to replace the dysfunctional and destructive neoliberal economic system with ecological economics, which prioritizes ecological sustainability above all else, including economic growth and jobs. Anything less is not serious about our collective survival.

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