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<< News >>

National News

Wednesday, 26 December, 2007 5:31 PM

Can Americans Save The Planet?

Americans take the initiative ahead of the government

LONDON -- Ecological concerns are growing on an international scale. Government after government across the globe are recognizing the issues and beginning to act accordingly. The notable exception has been our own Federal Government who continues to remain passive on any subject considered remotely green.

However, indications are filtering through that while Washington might not be over-eager to do anything, the American people are not just aware that changes need to be made, but are showing the pioneering spirit by taking the initiative and acting where the government fails to do so.

Recently the Mayors of the major Texan cities joined forces to implement an air pollution clean-up of heavy industry. Texas is not often associated with radical change, but this unlikely band of Mayors knew that change was necessary and so set about eliciting a transformation. What is perhaps most surprising in all this is that the target for change was the State’s very cornerstone – its beloved oil industry.

It is a solution that eminent government advisor Jonathon Porritt has been advocating for some time. Whereas most green campaigners attack big business and the capitalist system, Porritt says that not only is heavy industry essential to eco-friendly change, but that capitalism can actually continue to thrive from it.

“We must embrace capitalism as the overarching system capable of achieving any kind of reconciliation between ecological conciliation and the pursuit of property and personal wellbeing.” explains Porritt of his solution. “This means working with the grain of markets and free choice, not against it.”Porritt’s model acknowledges the work of individuals and collectives (such as the Texan Mayors) but uses capitalism itself to bring about permanent and effective change – a model perfectly suited to the consumer-driven American way of life.

It would also be a major coup for America to suddenly jump from being the non-starter to world leader in environmental issues. “Is it really possible to retain the best of the dynamism and efficiency of capitalism while simultaneously learning to abide by the laws of nature?” asks Porritt in his book “Capitalism as if the World Matters” before going on to prove that it could.

It is a compelling thought; America being able to save the world from environmental Armageddon through capitalism and the wills and wants of the people – something that has hitherto been frowned upon. But as Porritt points out “Changes have to be seen as desirable changes. Changes which are good for people, their health and their quality of life.” It’s almost as if he is telling us we can eat our cake, and have it too. Change towards a more environmentally sound future is inevitable, but thanks to Porritt there is now a method by which industry can continue to thrive and we can retain a prosperous and comfortable lifestyle.



About Jonathon Porritt

Jonathon Porritt is Co-Founder of Forum for the Future (the UK’s leading sustainable development organization), he is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development. Porritt was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair as Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission in July 2000 – the UK government’s principal source of independent sustainable development advice. In addition, he has been a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency since December 1999, and is Co-Director of The Prince of Wales Business and Environment Program which runs Senior Executive’ Seminars in Cambridge, Salzburg, South Africa and the USA. Porritt was formerly Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90); co-chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member; chairman of UNED-UK (1993-96); chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001); a Trustee of the World Wildlife Fund UK (1991-2005). For his services in environmental protection, he was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in January 2000, which is the highest honor one can receive that does not confer a knighthood.

Source: News and Experts

 

 

 

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