Image credit: Reverandandys

Well – I have to confess, it’s been quite a year on environmental matters. After the news blackout of Standing Rock last year – and the swift (and I suppose inevitable) reversal of the decision to arrest the Dakota oil pipeline last year by newly inaugurated Trump – we now learn from Stanford University economist Tony Seba – that he believes all diesel & petrol cars will be a thing of the past within just eight years. He further goes on to say even driving your car will be a thing of the past in urban areas – as organisations such as Google will pilot your vehicle from A to B for you.

I’ve spent a while reading through various documents around clean air proposals in a number of metropolitan areas – and transport features heavily. Bring it on. Although I drive a diesel (mainly as towing anything heavy with an electric vehicle is a nightmare), they are (and always were) a ridiculous answer to a petrol engine. Viva electric (though charging points will soon be more hotly contested than a wired network connection point for your laptop in a late 1990’s airline business lounge).

Transport has always been a political poison chalice in the UK. We follow an American model – though with a greater sense of guilt, and for most of my driving life – much more expensive fuel prices. Add in our biblical national debt – which is making any sort of sustained economic recovery look a bit flaccid, and one cannot help but wonder where this leaves our environment? In fact – what do we mean by environment any longer? In many cases – it’s being reduced to a slogan. One of those tiresome expressions like “I’m passionate about….”

I’m suggesting it needs to be much more – a lot quicker. Parts of American society are now embracing environmental matters in the light of analysing two simple facts. One – a rapidly rising population, and two – the relentless loss of biodiversity not seen since the Earth was hit by such force by external asteroid showers – it killed off the dinosaurs. We have about twenty years to avert what an increasing number of grounded, forward looking people are seeing as a very real tipping point for humanity.

I have been saying for some time now – we must start to re-appraise where we place energy, resources and value. There are many ‘systems’ in the world – some natural and others man-made. Today I still mainly supply what I’ve collectively referred to for some years as ‘cosmetic’ green infrastructure. In a world obsessed with teeth whitening, celebrity weight loss (and financial gain), and other assorted trivia, there are also a few rather more pressing ‘time-bombs’ about to go off in the form of food production, seed integrity and diversity, health, community and energy.

The good news is – many of us in the core and fringe elements of the industry are aware of this, and working on ever more accessible and affordable fixes. For instance, we can clear your stale air every day naturally for the price of a few coffees from your local barrista! This small, but rapidly ramping industry is not really the problem. Apathy and habit are. Please don’t reduce environment to sidelined and ‘tick box’ gimmick, bling add on or afterthought. It is not just our future that depends on that – it’s yours too.

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