Thursday, May 13th, 2021

The Future of the Natural Environment

In 1970, the incoming Conservative Government of Edward Heath made this nation’s earliest Department of the Environment.

In the 45 years since he wrote we’ve lost green area, cut trees down, forfeited meadow and heathland, polluted our ground, water, and air, we put species at risk.

And in precisely the same time, across the planet, we have seen climate change undermine both delicate natural habitats and growing human societies, we have enabled extractive and exploitative political methods to put waste to natural sources and we have placed species of creatures and plants in fresh and deadly danger when gambling with the future health of the entire world.

Until we choose the ideal environmental actions, we risk seeing more species expire, with possibly undreamt-of consequences concerning the health and balance of character. We hazard flood damage to the houses where we reside and devastation into the islands which others understand because of their only residence.

Truly, in the end, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the energy that powers business, are threatened if we don’t practice proper stewardship of Earth.

When we believe the fate of previous societies and civilizations, it’s been, over and over, environmental elements which have caused collapse or catastrophe. Even the Pulitzer Prize-winning academic Jared Diamond has, brightly, anatomized the forces that led to previous civilizational destruction — deforestation and habitat destruction; dirt issues like erosion, salinization, and soil fertility decreases; water management issues; overhunting; overfishing; along with also the effects of introduced species on indigenous species.

He’s also summarized the modern environmental dangers we currently face with irresistible clarity — climate change, the accumulation of toxins from our land, waters, and air, and the spiraling amount of consumption.

Currently, of course, there’s a big difference in the scale and length of seventeenth-century climate influences and the present artificial tragedy. Along with the technological breakthroughs which humankind has pioneered in the last few decades, the larger scientific knowledge we enjoy, the computational power of their machines in our hands.

The long-run could be better
The primary reason for optimism is that the idealism and devotion of so many in our society, of all ages but particularly among young men and women. Environmental organizations — from WWF into the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts to Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth-like memberships in the thousands of thousands, along with the aid of more and a capacity to transfer hearts more powerful than every other group of associations in our civil society.

Along with their campaigning energy and idealism, while sometimes uncomfortable for those people in power, that must stay in a world of compromise and deal-making, is crucial to ensuring that we continue to create progress in safeguarding and improving our environment.

On everything from alerting us to the threat posed by compounds from our oceans and nitrogen oxide within our atmosphere, to the dangers posed to dinosaurs by poaching and cod by over-fishing, it has been environmental organizations that have driven authorities to make progress. They’ve shown that we could, with sufficient will, stop and reverse those trends and forces degrading the natural world and we could, if we’ve got that can, enhance the environment we’re handing on to another generation.
Shaping a greener future

Now previously, that the United Kingdom played a major role in creating the world’s strongest environmental treaty — the Montreal Protocol that has shielded the ozone layer by phasing out the chemicals that UK scientists had revealed was ruining it.

We’re lucky that in this nation we do have advanced private sector players that will work with authorities and react to both clever, and challenging, regulations and aims to help us meet new environmental requirements while also producing expansion. I expect to say more about some of those aspirations we need the private industry to assist us to achieve real profits around green, clean, expansion.

And authorities and the private sector must work together because technological advances and technological discoveries are seldom the sole preserve of this nation or the marketplace. The enormous commercial success of America’s Silicon Valley was constructed on Government investment. It had been the state-run Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and the federally-funded NASA that created the first discoveries about which subsequent business success was constructed.

Likewise, the achievement of Israel’s amazingly innovative tech industry was built on that country’s investment since it occurs in defense technology. Along with the private sector innovation that has been produced by a country investment in R&D in the USA and Israel might be matched with private industry innovation here assembled on public sector investment and leadership in demanding environmental science.