George Monbiot, in today’s Guardian, also links the financial crisis and the ecological crisis.”The financial crisis shows what happens when we try to make the facts fit our desires”, writes Monbiot. “The two crises have the same cause. In both cases, those who exploit the resource have demanded impossible rates of return and invoked debts that can never be repaid. In both cases we denied the likely consequences.The rules are the same in both cases. Ecology is the stock from which all wealth grows (but) if you extract resources at a rate beyond the level of replenishment, your stock will collapse”. Monbiot concludes, “Now we must learn to live in the real word.”
This is a good cue for me to head back to St Etienne head back to St Etienne for the coming days. I’m more convinced than ever that working at the level of the region – as we are doing there – is a better use of one’s life energies (which are also finite) than making demands of national politicians that they are in no position to meet – nor even, for the most part, to understand. As Jonathon Porritt puts it in his new book Globalism and Regionalism at least two of the basic foundations of civilised life – energy, and food – are readily and satisfyingly available at a regional level. “A watchword of sustainable economics is self-reliance. This entails combining judicious and necessary trade with other countries with an unapologetic emphasis on each country maintaining security of supply in terms of energy, food, and even manufacturing”.