It is time to get excited about the possibilities of a life lived in harmony with planet Earth!
The possibilities for happiness, social justice, economic and emotional fulfilment are still available on our precious and delicate planet, if we are only prepared to change now.
A few weeks ago, four graduates from Cambridge were tasked by our district council to produce a report on ‘A Green Economy for Uttlesford’. Their presentation was inspirational. In a very short space of time, they researched the scope for new, sustainable technologies, industries and jobs. They discovered that in Thaxted there is a new business developing hemp as a building material. It is amazing! As an insulator, as a rigid board, as building blocks and as a green form of concrete. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our farmers started farming it, our workforce started manufacturing it and our builders started building warm, affordable, carbon-absorbing homes with it!
They had ideas for a ‘technology incubator’ where research scientists collaborate across a vast range of sciences, networking with entrepreneurs who can see commercial applications, financiers who are looking to invest in the future, green economy and finally transferring to local production sites around Uttlesford. Wow!
We just need to open our eyes and transform our mindset to see that the frightening challenges we face are, in fact, golden, God given opportunities!
‘But who will pay for it all?’ you ask. Firstly, we are realising that the cost of failing to transfer to a fossil free economy is going to cost many times more in financial terms (fire and hurricane destruction, flooded towns and cities and food shortages) and infinitely more in human lives, de-stabilised societies, mass migration and war.
Secondly, governments can achieve massive change simply by regulation. They just need the courage to upset their lobbyists and big donors! Simply by legislating the cessation of petrol and diesel car production has sparked a massive transition in research, development and investment in the car industry. It was, I imagine, instrumental in Nissan’s decision to locate a major battery manufacturing base in Sunderland, creating 6,000 jobs.
Such courage to legislate stimulates industry by providing a new, level playing field on which to compete. The first to change wins the market, whereas without such legislation, the first to change loses… Imagine what such changes could do to the construction industry!
Thirdly, talking to an old college friend of mine, who made an embarrassing fortune in the City, said that ‘a massive wall of money’ hits the City every month from pension contributions. They have to invest it somewhere and at long last, pension fund managers (Larry Fink included) have woken up to the fact that their old portfolios have led us into a scenario of ever-increasing disasters and that they should actually be looking towards long term investment in the future: a green future. One Planet Economics.
And in our own lives, especially for time-rich baby boomers, wouldn’t it be nice to learn to travel again? I mean properly travel. To feel the change in landscape as we pass through it; to observe the changes in culture; to connect with the people we meet; to learn from and enjoy experiences of otherness. Living more slowly, more deeply, more respectfully in an exciting new world! I can’t wait!
Wild Flowers in St Mary's Churchyard Saffron Walden