18 May, 2009

Addicted to growth (part 2)

The latest in the Japanese Government's drive to get people back into the shops and spending again is a policy offering so called 'eco-points' to people who buy new energy efficient appliances. A good idea at first glance. After all, in Lester Brown's Plan B3.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization there is a full chapter dedicated to the importance of energy efficiency. But here is the part which to me screams Green-wash! The bigger the TV, the more 'Eco'- points you get ... the larger the fridge, the more 'Eco'-points you get. ...What!?

Similarly, the government is spending billions on reducing the cost of highway charges so that people will get out and travel more and hence spend more. In the same article was the governments claim that it is committed to fighting global warming. So again .... What the !!??

When environmental collapse is becoming more reality than remote possibility, the Japanese government, as with most other governments still fixated on economic growth, would do well to reflect on the words of Meadows in his 2001 article Economic Laws Clash with Planet's:
Economics says: Compete to perform efficiently. The reward for successful competition will be growth.
The Earth says: compete yes, but keep your competition in bounds. Don't annihilate. Take only what you need. You're not in a war, you're in a community.
Governments: Just forget about growth. Instead, how about committing yourselves to real policies of substance that are clearly thought through, are genuinely based on long-term goals which favour stability over growth, reward fairness rather than greed and power, and that will genuinely give the planet a chance to provide a lasting quality of life for future generations.