A lot of people claim that environmentalists want us to go back to the dark ages, back to living all our lives in one small village and not being able to travel more than 20 miles away from it and only by horse and cart. To live in a world where we each have to do back breaking work in garden, where our cities are demolished and the airports closed and where nobody is allowed to make any money.
These people paint a picture of environmentalists as a bunch of hippies who just want to live in communes wearing sandals and hair shirts, and having dodgy hygiene standards. And these people in their big gas guzzling 4x4s earning bug money in the city call the environmentalist’s luddites.
But, environmentalists aren’t luddites…
At the beginning of the 19th century the luddites (led by General Ned Ludd) destroyed factory machines because they were scared these new machines would meant that they would lose their jobs. The luddites ultimately lost because they wanted to keep the status quo (you can’t, after all, stop progress). So is it the environmentalists who want to stop progress?
I have a dream, a dream of a world where cars can run quietly on electricity, and don’t belch out polluting fumes that create smog in inner cities. One where people walk around with mp3 players & mobile phones that don’t need batteries because they can charge themselves from the movement of our bodies. A world where people can download any film/book/music they want wherever they are to read and watch even while they are on the move. A world where long distance travel is possible but the planes landing at Heathrow, or any other airport, do not keep people awake at night with the noise of takeoffs and landings. Where we don’t rely on other, often unstable, countries to supply our energy because we can produce enough ourselves through sustainable means. A world where teleconferencing is commonplace because the quality is almost as good as being there face to face.
These things are all possible, and a number of them happen now, for instance the best performing fund in the three years to the end of 2006 was the CIS Leaders trust a fund that buys shares only in ethical and green companies. These are the companies of the future not the oil and petrochemical companies who are fast becoming the dinosaurs of the modern age.
The new luddites are not the people we think, they are not the environmentalists who want to develop technology and provide innovation to make our lives better, they are the people who want to keep the reliance on oil despite the damage it does, the people who want to keep the status quo.