It's about the economy

Good Sunday Morning

suzuki.jpgGreens often feel misunderstood when we are perceived as being a one issue party. Fact is Green policy platforms have repeatedly demonstrated that we offer a comprehensive approach and that we seek complete solutions to the challenges of our time. But all those solutions are, in the end, intrinsically linked to the environment. When David Suzuki wants journalists to forget about the Dow Jones and report on climate change every day, it's because he understands that our civilization (which includes the Dow Jones) depends on it.

Except for the nuclear option, all our energy is generated by the sun. Plants capture that energy through photosynthesis and power the food chain. Ancient plants used photosynthesis to capture carbon and sequester it underground over millions of years. Eventually this made it possible to have a 10,000 year sweet spot of climate stability that allowed us to invent agriculture. We all depend on the natural processes powered by the sun. As we have exploded our human numbers, we depend on our ability to grow food reliably for our survival. And when we feel all powerful and in control, it's good to remind ourselves that the industrial revolution has not yielded a single new staple in our food supply.

But it's not just agriculture. All our natural resources come from our environment. Forestry, fishing, mining, and yes, even oil, are not human constructs. They all come from the natural world that surrounds us. It's obvious to most that our tourism industry depends on the environment but so does every other sector. Every programmer, every designer, every tech entrepreneur needs clean water and food to survive. Every waitress and administrator depends on clean air to breathe. Every one is hoping for a better future for their children. The wealth that makes it possible for us to invent, innovate, even to enjoy sports and culture is extracted from our environment.

It's a simple economic argument that even an investment banker should understand. Do we live off our interest, or do we draw down our principle? Are we prepared to leave an empty bank account to our children? Or do we protect the future and draw our wealth from the fruits of our ecological assets? Do we really want to mortgage our future to supplement the income of large corporations and the billionaire class? Sustainability and responsible government is about answering these questions.

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