With the situation in Greece still dominating the press headlines - even after the last-minute deal between Brussels and Athens - and with continuing anxiety across the EU (and beyond) about the potential consequences of the unfolding Euro crisis, I wonder why nobody of real influence in the worlds of politics or business has yet made the connection between the state of the world economy (generally speaking, up the creek without a paddle!) and the state of the natural environment (even worse).
The one underpins the other, yet we never hear this plain and inescapable fact highlighted by our so-called 'leaders' and 'opinion formers'. Indeed, the political answer to any and all economic problems seems to be to fire up the engine of unsustainable economic growth in such a way that the only possible impact can be further environmental destruction. What we have now is a global population explosion and a mad rush to exploit natural resources, all in the name of 'development', and without a thought to what this means for the world's delicately balanced ecology and biodiversity.
Scarce resources are being gobbled up, climate change is accelerating, wildlife species are facing extinction, and at the same time the overall quality of life of the planet's burgeoning human population is falling just as rapidly as the standard of living of the wealthiest people is rising, and the gap between rich and poor widens. How can any of this secure the future of the Earth and the human race?
Casting my mind back to halcyon days of childhood, I have a very clear recognition of my very first science lesson - and being given as homework the task of mapping out the food chain on a large sheet of paper! Well, something that was taught in schools to my generation has now, under the stewardship of that same generation, been allowed to break, not just once but umpteen times. Politicians and corporate CEOs who were my contemporaries at school have obviously forgotten, or chosen to ignore, what their science teacher taught them as the essential building block of existence on Planet Earth. No wonder these same 'leaders' have so decisively screwed up both the environment and the economy at one and the same time!
Yet they accuse others of being irresponsible! How often have you heard European politicians accusing the Greeks of living on borrowings far beyond their means? As if the rest of the Europe wasn't doing the same thing! It is bankers, bureaucrats and politicians who are the cause of Greece's woes, and it is this same cartel of bankers, bureaucrats and politicians who are incapable of finding (or perhaps are unwilling to even look for) a long-term economic solution to that unfortunate country's plight.
Nobody thinks holistically. A truly holistic solution to Europe's - and the world's - problems would involve embracing the challenges of habitat loss and species loss as well as that of budget deficits and credit crises.
What nobody is saying is that, whatever the fiscal and economic issues, we are all - every one of us - living on borrowed time. We cannot continue to run an environmental deficit in the same way that we have run a financial deficit. As damaging as the effects of an economic crisis can be, the effects of an environmental one are infinitely more far-reaching and devastating. Nature is being taken for granted, and the result is a catalogue of floods, typhoons, forest fires, plagues and famines, far more numerous, more frequent and far greater in scope than anything we have faced before.
Yet, while our leaders panic over where or not the Eurozone will survive, they say and do nothing about the survival prospects of Planet Earth.
When will they wake up?
Simon CowellSuggest a correction