Phil's Environment Page

In the various travels I have undertaken around the globe (and particularly my diving activities with the Bandanna Club over the last few years), I have had some wonderful times, met some great people, seen some marvellous sights and beheld a fair few of the wonders of nature first-hand.

That said, I have also seen first-hand the damage that we are wreaking on our environment in the name of "Progress" and the more I learn about just how fragile and delicate our eco-system is, the more concerned I have become.

I'm sure you've noticed (as I have) that over the last 10 years or more, political power has shifted steadily out of the hands of the politicians and law-makers, and into the hands of big business. Too often, our elected representatives have been more than happy to pass the responsibility for the difficult decisions to the so-called "Captains of Industry", using that old chestnut "Let the market decide" as their justification for doing so.

Unfortunately, big business is only concerned with the bottom line. The few business ethics that existed within large companies 10 years ago have been slowly eroded away by the blinkered company accountants and greedy CEO's whose short-sighted and selfish views prevent them from looking past the end of the next quarterly profit announcements, never mind the next 25-50 years. The Politicians aren't much better; They can't see past the end of the next term-of-office.

Hardly a week seems to go by without some ecological disaster occurring; An oil spill that pollutes and severely damages miles of coastlines, the releasing of toxic chemicals and products into our air and water, the dumping of hazardous and dangerous materials. In most cases the clean-up efforts made by those responsible are token and negligible, the fines and penalties not sufficient to comprise anything more that a "slap on the wrist". Rarely, if ever does the punishment seem to fit the crime and it certainly doesn't seem to act as a deterrent to the worst offenders who carry on doing the same thing over and over again.

The overriding theme of "Profits before People" was really brought home to Su & I, when our county council decided to build an incinerator just down the road from us. See the link for details. I think it makes you wake up a little when you start to see it happening right on your doorstep.

And to some degree, we must all share responsibility for what is happening to our world. We all drive cars, use electricity, gas and water. We demand cheaper and more plentiful food that has a longer shelf-life and provides us with more choice. Particularly here in the west, we have all bought into the fast-food, convenience-packed, mass-production, mass-consumption ideals to such an extent that most of the time we fail to notice the impact we have on our environment at an individual level.

As I have become more concerned about our environment, I have started looking at my impact on it and have tried to find ways to minimise the impact I have. See my Environmental Ideas page for details.

Big business has become all-obsessed with the pursuit of the almighty lucre. Our politicians have become so apathetic when it comes to implementing effective legislation to make big business accountable for the damage it causes (largely because they have been bought off with huge campaign contributions) that the only recourse left to most people, is direct action through organisations such as those below:

  • Visit Friends Of The Earth

    Friends of the Earth

    This is the UK Branch of the international organisation. They have been campaigning for over 40 years (their first action was to dump 1,500 non-returnable bottles outside the Schweppes headquarters in London).

    They have two main aims:

    • "To see nature being better protected and recovering."
    • "To see people across the world enjoying a better standard of living."

  • Visit WWF

    WWF (originally World Wildlife Fund, then changed to World Wide Fund for Nature ... now known only by initials)

    "Best known as the world's leading independent conservation body" with a "passion for safeguarding the natural world".

    The WWF understands that "the health and security of people, wildlife and the environment are all interlinked", so they are involved in other environmental action. Such as "tackling the urgent threat of climate change (with big global campaigns like Earth Hour)" and "promoting sustainable use of resources"...

Their ability to influence those who make the decisions grows every day ... with your support.

In the past, such organisations have been repeatedly accused of being "unrealistic" by government and big business. But consider this; 10 years ago, who would have believed that a pressure group could successfully campaign to make the Antarctic continent a protected environment or prevented a large oil company like Shell from dumping the Brent Spar oil platform into the sea? Who would have thought they could persuade the big food retailers to remove GM ingredients from their own-brand products, by making the consuming public aware of potential dangers?

Perhaps such organisations are more "Realistic" than the powers-that-be would like to admit...? And if that is the case, it begs the question, "Why don't the people in power want us to know that?" Could it possibly be because big companies don't like their profits being squeezed...even a little? And big business and government are old bedfellows? You do the math...

Recent actions by the big Bio-tech companies in relation to the issues involved with GM foods have demonstrated their complete disregard and contempt for us all. By their actions, they have made it clear that our health and wellbeing is at best, a secondary consideration to the profits they make.

I don't know about you, but personally I object to the idea of being an unpaid guinea-pig/lab rat so that the fat-cats in the Big companies can increase their annual turnover.

"The only thing that evil needs to succeed, is for good people to do nothing" - Edmund Burke.

Anyway - I guess you can draw your own conclusions. Check it out for yourself...

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