Sunday 23 November 2008

Barack Obama: The new saviour of Planet Earth?

Barack Obama has said this week that he is going to lead the way on Climate Change. Early next year in Copenhagen world leaders will meet to thrash out an updated version of the Kyoto protocol. There is no doubt this is exciting news after the eight years of obstructionist activity by Bush. On The Independent website someone had commented that Obama had only Geopolitical reasons for wanting to lessen the dependence on Oil.

Does Obama have to have one sole reason for seeking an alternative to a reliance on Oil to run the American economy? There are very good geopolitical and environmental reasons to invest in cleaner sources of energy. The alternative, as I counter-commented on The Independent page, is to march on down the unsustainable road, a road that cuts straight through the middle of a war field.

Will the American public come kicking and screaming into a brave new world of lower energy use and lowering rates of material consumption, ‘for the sake of the planet’? Or, will Obama set up the huge education programme that is needed to bring the public along with him, a public that might one day let go of their over-consumptive ways in an entirely voluntary way, a public that meets its basic material needs in a sustainable way and its non-material needs in real and authentic ways?

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