The creation of a new ministerial post for ‘green economics’ was the suggestion from an international policy group, Globe International; the post would see the appointed minster overseeing ‘natural capital’. Globe International also suggested a new valuation approach to the natural world (called “natural capital accounts”). The only problem I have with this is that it seems to be very capitalist oriented, as shown by the inclusion of the word “capital”. It illustrates the capitalist promotion of the commoditisation of nature as a ‘natural resource’, and the capitalist obsession with growth. Regardless, it illustrates movements in the right direction.
However, any suggestion of an incorporation of natural value within the government’s economic policies seems a long shot for the supposedly “greenest government ever”. The suggestions come with the news:
Many of England’s best-loved forests and woodlands may be sold to large landowners, housing developers and international power companies in what could be the UK’s greatest change of land ownership since the second world war.
In response, Caroline Lucas rightly argued:
If this means vast swathes of valuable forest being sold to private developers, it will be an unforgiveable act of environmental vandalism. Rather than asset-stripping our natural heritage, government should be preserving public access to it, and fostering its role in combating climate change and enhancing biodiversity.
For one, this clear ideological driven privatisation illustrates this government’s obsession with making money in any way it can without any care for the social, economic and environmental repercussions. However, the sale of the land will, relatively speaking, raise little; and, will be nowhere near the social and environmental value that these natural areas provide for many humans and the interrelated natural ecosystems.
Secondly, whilst the natural world is so much more than this, I have a specific affinity with the argument that the natural world can be part of an ascetic creative expression that is essential for natural connection – especially within the wilderness areas. These connections between humans and nature will be undermined and overtaken primarily by industrialists who are wanting to make a quick buck. It is infuriating, and another sign that this government just doesn’t get it. It doesn’t understand the seriousness of the environmental crisis. All it cares about is lining the pockets of the bourgeoisies essential for propping the government up.
To top it off, you get this pathetic email from Chris Huhne; as he tries to absolve himself of moral hypocrisy. Supposedly, the government is helping Britain to become the “fairest and greenest”; of course it is – that’s why they recently championed an even more pathetic attempt of a green investment bank, with a lousy 1bn capital.
The more time goes on, the more damaging this government becomes – economically, socially and environmentally. They can say they are doing it for the “future generations” or the “national interest” – but there is nothing discussed above that is in anyone elses’ interests other than those with the money and the ‘power’.
Note: If you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition to “save our forests” here.