March 14th, 2007

The word ‘ecofacsism’ seems to be quite popular recently. Personally I see two sorts of eco- facsism, ecological and economic battling it out for governmental attention.

I happen to believe that the combination of climate change (and its effects), resource depletion and the C20 style ‘westernisation’ of human activity to be unsustainable. Whether or not climate change means warming, cooling or turmoil and, man-induced or naturally caused, its effects will be felt more considerably in the coming years. The only way we are going to remain ‘comfortable’ is to be more fluid in our activity, face up to challenge of moving targets rather than fighting for vested interests.

This includes changing how we deal with depleting resources, a move to renewable energy (or nuclear fusion) would decrease the re’liance on fossil fuels (and extend their lifespan) increased usage would bring down costs, etc. Resource depletion does not only mean fuel though, it includes waning fish stocks, decreased nutritional value in industrially produced fruit and vegetables (and industrially reared animals).

At the moment people are generally carrying on ‘as normal’ which is leading to a situation where the market will provide a tightrope situation between affordability and ‘sustainability’ (i.e. borderline extinction or artificially managed ‘nature’) this will ultimately reduce choice and the viability of alternative methods leading to a highly corporatised market and is the failure of holding strictly to the market model whilst hoping ‘things will turn out alright’.

The reaction of the ‘ecological fascists’ in the form of demanding punitive taxation or quotas will backfire. It will lead to resentment amongst those who cannot afford such measures and are coerced into changing their habits, those who can afford to ignore such restrictions will of course continue to live their lives as before, quotas will not be effective against those who can afford to take business elsewhere. In addition the increasing of the tax burden to offset ecological issues takes evermore power from the individual and gives it to the State to prescribe solutions (which of course will be shaped by those with the greatest lobbying power) and inevitably succumb to bureaucracy, monitoring and, above all, control.

What is needed to avoid falling into the traps of either extremist viewpoint is a generation of people who have been educated to evaluate and question the options available or presented to them rather than blindly accepting (or proposing) blanket ‘solutions’ or deluding themselves about the wiider impacts of their actions. Such an education cannot even begin when children are innured to the ideas of ‘control’ be it through fingerprinting for library access or implicit supression of individual action. Once you have people who can think and act for themselves – and realise that this means acting beyond ones immediate self interest – then the worse implications of self determination (the market) fade and the need for the invasive measures of ‘command and control’ environmentalists disappear.

I write this as the current November-March heating period for my home comes to an end, cool but comfortable in a jumper.

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