Environmentalism has trudged a long, winding, often silent road, with many cul-de-sacs of defeat, desperation and despair.
In the last few years there has been a raising of the collective consciousness about how many problems are interrelated with an obscure corner of gas chemistry, which offers grave prospects for the whole of Life on Earth.
Ecologists and treehuggers of all varieties have started to gather round the camp fire of Climate Change, finding that people will pay attention to the destruction of Nature if they pay attention to their own fate first.
A new unity has been forged, centred around the most important problem : Global Warming.
For decades, the architects of behaviour in society, those puppet-pushers of state propaganda, have viewed environmentalists as dangerous, radicals, on the edge of sanity and constantly at risk of disorderly or violent behaviour.
Much divisive debate has been seeded and nurtured, just to keep the radical elements disorientated, targetless, make loners out of groupies, make sure the protests have no teeth, make sure the media show no sympathies.
Environmentalism is now no longer the preserve of people with dreadlocks. Since Climate Change rose to the podium at every major political and world management event, ecologists can lift their heads high, proud to have had some influence on the sense being talked on the global stage.
Finally we can start to have action on Climate Change, which necessarily involves action on deforestation, toxic mining (all mining is toxic), waterway poisoning, dirty Energy. We can start to answer Biodiversity loss if we get policy on Climate Change. We can get protection of marine environments if we get policy on Ocean Acification. We can get protection of forests and all the life within if we get regulations on paper waste and farming practice in relation to Climate protection.
All environmental problems are linked, and have many threads. For example : the pesticides that killed much wildlife in the 20th Century were made from petrochemicals; much of the anoxia in lakes and bays and oceans is caused by run-off of agricultural petrochemicals; much of the asphyxiation of life and respiratory problems in urban areas is due to gasoline/petrol/diesel vehicles; Global Warming is mostly caused by the burning of Fossil Fuels.
If we could make a chink in this sooty curtain, we can start to see the light on so many issues. And this is what Climate Change is for us : clarity on an issue so large and so serious that it influences all the other issues that greenies worry about.
When the original conventions were drawn up in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit : Biodiversity, Desertification and Climate Change, some thought this was a dispersion of effort : and welcome the reunification under Climate Change.
Climate Change is causing a massive loss of habitat and threatens Biodiversity more than any other cause. Climate Change affects ground water retention and rainfall patterns and so affects Desertification more than any other cause.
It is right to focus on Climate Change. It doesn’t take away the significance of saving endangered species, or cleaning up waterways, or defouling transportation systems, or creating sustainable livelihoods. If anything, without the incredible unity amongst politicians, statesmen, campaigners, NGOs and Science around Climate Change, there will be no effective environmentalism in future.
So why does the BBC journalist Richard Black try to make the case that Climate Change has hijacked other environmental causes ?
“Hijacked by climate change ?”
He focuses on air quality issues, without admitting that to solve air quality you have to solve Climate Change, because the use of Fossil Fuels causes them both.
He focuses on biodiversity, without admitting that to solve biodiversity issues you have to solve Global Warming, and that the misuse of natural resources causes them both.
He focuses on human population growth, without admitting that this cannot continue with Climate Change threatening food supplies.
Does he not recognise that Climate Change is the overrarching problem, and a major factor in all Environmental problems ?
Why does he not admit that collective effort around Climate Change is perhaps the one chance we have to address any ecological problems at all ?
When you talk to the average person in the street about Polar bears, orangutans, little iddy biddy birdies in remote Pacific Islands, they just don’t care.
You have to make environmental problems relevant to pulic concerns. Yes, it’s good to focus on health, because that’s the local, human environment, and everybody can feel anxiety about it and want to do something about it.
Air Quality issues may affect thousands in major European cities each year, but Climate Change is going to affect way, way more as food supplies are stressed.
Stick with the central issue, Richard Black. To address Environmental problems of all kinds, we have to address Global Warming. To solve Climate Change, we have to solve the Fossil Fuel Energy dependency problem.
The reason a new Government Department was created, for Energy and Climate Change, is that you can’t solve one without the other. It wasn’t an attempt to lose the other Environmental concerns in the other Government Departments.
Richard Black : you have built your straw man, and we will gently pull it apart stalk by stalk.