Friday, 30 January 2009

It's the (Sustainable) Economy, Stupid!

Last night Dan Barlow of WWF Scotland spoke at the Edinburgh meeting of Friends of the Earth about ideas around sustainable economic growth. There was a lively discussion afterwards around whether the Scottish Government has really taken on board the ideas of sustainability or whether it sees sustainable economic growth as just a cover for business as usual. I think the consensus was that despite progress in eg improving rates of recycling, that the Scottish Government is acknowledged as not really being committed to genuinely sustainable economic growth. Then we questioned whether any economic growth could be genuinely sustainable. There was here acknowledgement that if large amounts of money are poured into genuinely environmentally friendly measures to cut our carbon footprint (eg investment in home insulation and solar panels) then we could see genuinely sustainable economic growth but that really we need a different way of looking at things, one that doesn't focus on money to the detriment of the environment and the community.

Dan also told us that the Donald Trump plan to build a golf resort on a beautiful unspoilt area of Aberdeenshire has been voted the Worst Planning Decision of the Year in the Carbuncle Awards. You can read my previous blog posts about the Trump fiasco here.

9 comments:

Dave King said...

Probably the greatest crime against the environment in quite a long time, the Trump development.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh dear Juliet - not a happy prospect - can there ever again be sustainable growth. All this spend, spend, spend and hang the consequences has got to end. As for the Trump thing - it is money again, isn't it. No one is their right mind could agree to it.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

It's really rather difficult to keep the government in in line....

Annamari said...

I remember that I had an argument once with a friend because he acts as the “idealist” type sometimes. He was writing a grant and I suggested to “give them what they want “– some stupid numbers and he had to re-organize the way he did the intake for some leads. And he was trying to tell me that “it’s not the point, these things should be done because it is good for the community and not for some stupid numbers”. I insisted and I got the look …
However, I hold onto my opinion: you have to give them what they want, speak their language –if it is money and you can argue that your project means profit – do it.

thomas connelly said...

made a link from my site http://bogong-moth.blogspot.com/ cause i think we have similar views and you were supportive of my blog. you should add the followers function to your site, then we can know when you make a new posting

Crafty Green Poet said...

Dave - isn't it just...

Weaver - I know, we need to change our perspectives...

D Moll - indeed!

Annamari - having been a fundraiser I entirely agree that community work to be funded needs money and needs to be presented that way. However my point here and the point of the talk was that we need to move away from valuing things purely in financial terms and from thinking purely in financial terms.

Thomas - thanks - you can follow any blog even if they don't have the follwer function on their blog

lettuce said...

i really have problems with the "growth" thing, it doesn't seem to be questioned, despite all the current problems. why does the economy have to grow? couldn't it just be sustainable?

i agree with you, the heart of the problem is that growth always means growth in wealth - and mostly for the very people who don't need more.

i find it hard to be hopeful for change

Annamari said...

I agree that we should change the perspective on sustainability and protecting the environment. However, having worked for/with politicians in the past I got to agree with d.moll … I’d focus rather on the average person, which I am sure you have already done. And that brings me back to my issue: How did you convince people to recycle more? Was it a campaign? How did you organize it…

Crafty Green Poet said...

Annamari - there has been a big campaign in Scotland to increase recycling and also coulcils have made it easier for people to recycle, by adding more recycling facilities in more convenient locations, eg we have paper and packaging recycling bins at the end of every street in my part of Edinburgh. However there are always some stubborn people who put their cardboard in the waste bin rather than in the packaging recycling bin.

As for who to focus on, we need to get governments local and national to make things easier for everyone to do their bit as well as encouraging ordinary people to be doing their bit...