Behind the clamorous news reports on the unravelling global financial crisis, which is forcing environmental issues off centre stage, is a steady but growing drumbeat calling for epic change.
This new revolution would see a dramatically different approach to the economy, the environment and energy, a so-called ‘3E’ movement for the 21st century.
Like the Earth circling the sun, this radical shift would revolve around the synergistic ideas that governments can indeed take part in the marketplace, that humankind can be innovative, that the environment needs to be respected and that wind power and other renewables are already providing a pathway to a better future.
In order for this new shift to succeed, however, important elements of our society can no longer be seen in isolation. Clearly, now is the time for economic considerations, environmental values and energy supply to come together, the time for politicians to lead instead of lag, the time for all of us to accept our global responsibility, if not for us, then for our children and grandchildren.
For some time now, science has clearly demonstrated that global warming is occurring and human beings are mostly responsible.
For a longer time now, governments have known the world is running out of readily accessible energy and that some of those sources, especially coal, oil and gas, are assaulting the planet with their emissions.
Most of us know now, especially after the past six weeks, that our ailing financial system is strife with speculation, corruption and manipulation.
Many of us are already beginning to deal with the inevitable fallout: job losses, vanishing portfolios, reduced pensions, and a lower standard of living.
Despite all this gloom, wind power technology is already pointing the way out of our shared morass. It is a proven technology that is local, unlimited, non-polluting, sustainable and affordable. If the politicians allow it, wind can be depended upon to make an even greater contribution to providing a secure energy supply while helping to heal a planet besieged by more than a century of fossil fuel-produced CO₂.
The wind sector also creates well-paying jobs, carries out research and supports scientific advances.
In short, it is a perfect example of what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was referring to last week in a column.
“The commingled problems of climate change, economic growth and the environment suggest their own solution,” he wrote.
“Only sustainable development – a global embrace of green growth – offers the world, rich countries as well as poor, an enduring prospect of long-term social well-being and prosperity.”
The secretary-general added that humankind is now starting to understand the message.
“We have experienced great economic transformations throughout history: the industrial revolution, the technology revolution, and the era of globalisation. We are now on the threshold of another – the age of green economics.”
The European Wind Energy Association agrees with the Secretary General, and would like to remind politicians and business leaders that although the convergence of today’s problems presents a complex challenge, it is one we can overcome with co-ordinated efforts.
If we can put men on the moon, then we are definitely up to the task of de-carbonising the world while creating a vibrant new green economy.
It’s that simple.
28 October 2008