A pound invested in energy efficiency buys seven times more energy solution than a pound invested in nuclear power.
The food system is not a free market. In this country, we impose reasonably high standards of animal welfare – but we haven’t applied the same standards to food we import, so all we’re really doing is exporting cruelty from Britain elsewhere, and at the same time undermining our farmers.
Europe believes that providing clear labelling for genetically modified food is a consumer right, but such practice is absolutely opposed by the vast majority of states in the U.S.
I can’t be bought. I don’t need to be bought. I’m not a careerist. I don’t need to have a career in politics. I’m in a very, very luxurious position, but I am in a position of strength.
‘Green’ is likely to be a big issue in the 2008 U.S. presidential election – largely in response to George Bush’s suicidal refusal to engage with environmental issues.
The Conservatives are a confusing lot. They first denied climate change was a serious issue and then suggested strengthening the nuclear industry as a solution to it. They oppose the European Union, but support joining North American Free Trade Agreement, despite its obvious failure.
Politicians usually get the blame for dragging their feet on environmental issues. And fair enough. Most of them do just that. But the blame isn’t theirs alone. For politicians afraid of losing votes, a bristling media waiting to transform good green ideas into monsters is a colossal disincentive.
Politics colours everything, and anyone who wants change is necessarily political. As an environmental campaigner more or less since I left school in the early ’90s, I have always been involved in lobbying, campaigning and pushing for changes.
Politicians are so detested. And the main cause is not policy; it’s the fact that there is no trust.
Sense About Science is much more than an innocent fact-checking service. It is a spin-off of a bizarre political network that began life as the ultra-left Revolutionary Communist Party and switched over to extreme corporate libertarianism when it launched ‘Living Marxism’ magazine in the late eighties.
We’ve all heard of the surveys revealing that teenagers think cows lay eggs, and others where children can identify more brand logos than trees, by a staggering margin. My view is that children will form a significant part of the green fightback. They instinctively understand the value of the environment.
More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world. We are well-connected, we have ample capacity, and we are starting from a position of strength. The problem is that we don’t use that capacity well.
I could just go to the horse races and take lovely holidays, but I have some strong views, and I want to make a difference.
‘The Ecologist’ has lost money from the day it was launched in 1970, and will continue until the last edition is printed. It was never set up as a business venture. It was set up as a campaign, and like all good campaigns, it costs. Its various backers have, over the years, been happy to pay that cost.
There are clearly many good politicians who are guided by religious belief, so the mix can work. But there’s a line to be drawn. It would be hugely dangerous for a country’s laws to be set by the scriptures, and particularly those of the expansionist religions.
Climate change – for so long an abstract concern for an academic few – is no longer so abstract. Even the Bush administration’s Climate Change Science Programme reports ‘clear evidence of human influences on the climate system.’
I think sometimes if you are too interested in day-to-day politics, you lose sight of the long term.
You know I don’t really have faith in politicians – this is quite a sleazy business. But there is no law which says that all politicians will turn out to be scumbags.
If there was a time when ‘The Ecologist’ appeared not to be making a difference at all, not doing something useful, I wouldn’t do ‘The Ecologist,’ but I think it is useful.
Yes, Heathrow is the U.K.’s busiest airport, but new runways or a new airport are not the answer. It is far better to focus on improving capacity.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a rare phenomenon. Whereas for so many celebrities an interest in the environment is a fashionable accessory, for DiCaprio it is a thread that runs through everything he does.
‘Green’ cannot be allowed to become an excuse for stealth taxes. And nor should ‘green taxes’ be about punishment. Instead, they should represent a switch of emphasis. So if domestic flights are taxed, it should be on the absolute condition that the money is ploughed into improving the alternatives, such as trains.
Even Karaoke needs higher standards than I can reach, so I have gone great lengths to avoid being bullied into it.
The 5,000 or so acres of Royal Parks are one of the things that make London special.
Some of the world’s most appalling abuses have been justified by religion because it is possible for people to find vindication in their scriptures for any of their prejudices.
I am cynical about politicians. My experience of politicians has been thoroughly negative. I have found that politicians are people that can not be taken at face value. There are very few politicians I have been impressed with.
All schools should teach children basic cooking skills. Every school should be able to buy sustainable, good quality food wherever possible from local sources. Every school should include food-growing in the curriculum. For some, that will mean twinning with willing farms. For others, it will mean literally building their own small farms.
A number of countries around the world, and indeed the E.U. as a whole, have chosen not to allow the import from the U.S. of beef from cows fed a diet that includes the hormone ractopamine, because of the fairly grave health concerns.
We always hear from newspapers that while people understand the environmental challenge, they are unwilling to stomach the solutions. The trouble is, we only ever hear about the solutions from the media, and for whatever reason, they are almost always caricatured beyond recognition. If there’s no appetite for green, it’s not surprising.
While big business gain subsidies and political access, small businesses drown in red tape, and individuals now risk being classified as terrorists for complaining about it. Economic globalisation is about homogenising differences in the worlds’ markets, cultures, tastes and traditions. It’s about giving big business access to a global market.
If we want to preserve Heathrow’s hub status, we need to stop clogging it up with point-to-point flights to places such as Cyprus and Greece, which between them account for 87 weekly flights, and contribute nothing to overall connectivity.
GM has never been about feeding the world or tackling environmental problems. It is and has always been about control of the global food economy by a tiny handful of giant corporations. It’s not wicked to question that process. It is wicked not to.
I wanted to weave a green thread through the Conservative party; that’s my job, and I signed up imagining that I would be in a very small minority within my party, possibly even on my own, battling away on these issues.
Of all the waste we generate, plastic bags are perhaps the greatest symbol of our throwaway society. They are used, then forgotten, and they leave a terrible legacy.
I don’t know David Cameron very well. I like him. I think you can judge a book by its cover – whoever said you can’t is wrong – that’s the whole point of nature giving us intuition, instinct and so on. I think the cover is pretty good.
By uploading 40 years of ‘Ecologist’ editions online, we will be creating the world’s most extensive ecological archive. ‘The Ecologist’ will continue to set the environmental and political agenda here and abroad.
If you tell people, ‘that old banger of yours, we’re going to tax the hell out of it,’ they’ll rightly tell you to get lost. But if you tell people that when they next buy a car, the tax will be adjusted so that the cleanest ones will cost less and the polluting ones will cost more, most people would say ‘fair enough.’
I do not organize my private life with an eye to my career.
Green policy is about triggering a shift to a cleaner way of doing things. To be effective, it needs to incentivise the right behaviour, for example through tax breaks, and that needs to be paid for by disincentives on polluting behaviour.
Anyone driving through London after the school term ends will notice immediately how much easier it is to get around. The school run contributes massively to congestion.
In North America, more than half of all children travel to school by bus. We need a similar programme in London.
More than half the world’s largest 100 economies are corporations. They have no loyalties to place or citizens.
The two million or so residents who live beneath the Heathrow flight path are accustomed to the noise. However, they are right to feel that any expansion would represent an unacceptable broken promise.