Climate-change activists often insist theirs is the right way. They insist that everything we do (or more often not do) must help ‘save the planet’, rather than make us richer or more secure. Yet, in all fields of human activity, the two can co-exist, even help each other…. If we look at green policies and practices through a long-range telescope, looking at the bigger picture and taking a long-term view. (I know we are facing a shortish-term crisis …..but bear with me.)
Take agriculture. If we reduce, or preferably stop, the use of pesticides and fertilisers, and use ‘old-fashioned’ approaches to improving and protecting the soil, we can save money, reduce the damage to the planet and improve yields (and therefore productivity).
If in industry, we stop trying to clean up the mess produced by manufacturing processes, and instead redesign them to avoid producing that mess in the first place, again we can reduce our costs, reduce the damage to the planet and, in the longer -term, improve yields.
We have to start thinking strategically and holistically, instead of looking for short-term measures and failing to think through linkages and unintended consequences of these short-term measures (which is, by and large, what we do now). We could transform.our stuttering attempts at climate-damage limitation into a climate-improving strategy which at the same time improves productivity across a range of industrial sectors.