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Financial bailout for $700 billion..what about an environmental bailout?

The current global financial crisis caused by what Alan Greenspan calls “a once-in-a-century credit tsunami” is on nearly everyone’s mind. These are definitely difficult and panicky times, markets are crashing, jobs are being axed and there is anxiety galore. The crisis is a result of excesses created by sub-prime mortgage lending. And excesses have a nasty way of catching up. Governments have responded by bailing out financial institutions, the US Government pumping in $700 billion of capital into the system. No doubt, this is “crunch time” for global financial markets.

No doubt too, that in due course, we will somehow crawl our way out of this.

Another tsunami of mammoth proportions is in the making, and this is due to excesses of a different kind, excesses caused by consumption of natural resources in a manner that is way beyond Nature’s ability to replace itself. Some excesses are already catching up, with global warming, melting of polar ice caps and rise of sea levels, collapse of fisheries, extinction of species, creation of dead zones in water bodies and desertification of rainforests. It would be really heartening to see governments the world over responding with similar speed and alacrity to the environmental crisis that has been unfolding over the last 20 years or so.   Can we bring back species and cultures which have been lost for ever, even if we pumped in billions of dollars, if it is too late? Do we really have to wait till the “11th hour”, before we take significant global action, before “bailing out” the environment? Can we really crawl our way out of some of the permanent and irreversible damages to the environment?  The time to take more concerted and co-ordinated environmental action by governments is NOW, way before things spiral out of control.

Harvard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson said poignantly, way back in the 1980s (and it is still relevant today):
“The worst thing that can happen during the 1980s is not energy depletion, economic collapses, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in the 1980s that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly that our descendants are least likely to forgive us for.”

EcoWALK suggestion for governments:

- Have a sense of urgency about an environmental bailout.

- Out of the financial crisis, encourage a new economy which grows on environmentally viable energy technologies, and sustainable development concepts.

As Van Jones, president of Green for All, and author of the forthcoming “The Green Collar Economy” says,

“It’s time to stop borrowing and start building. America’s No. 1 resource is not oil or mortgages. Our No. 1 resource is our people. Let’s put people back to work — retrofitting and repowering America. … You can’t base a national economy on credit cards. But you can base it on solar panels, wind turbines, smart biofuels and a massive program to weatherize every building and home in America.”

Now, that makes a lot of EcoWALK sense.

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Posted by on Oct 24 2008. Filed under Sustainable Development, Sustainable Investing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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