Monday, 6 October 2008

Jon Williams on living beyond our means

Three great keynotes at this month's Green Monday, the first from Jon Williams, former partner for sustainability and climate change at PwC and now a consultant on such matters. His provocation was that both the credit crunch and climate crisis arise from living beyond our means; in one case economically and the other ecologically. We simply don't have the resources on our planet to live in the manner to which we have become accustomed. Even less so when you take into account the effect of population increasing to 9 billion by 2050 and the additional pressure placed on natural resources by urbanisation and wealth creation. In fact, he posited that climate change could the next sub-prime crisis.

The problem is that when global warming reaches the same degree of crisis that provoked this global economic meltdown, there will be no prospect of recovery. Economic cycles are relatively brief and, whilst many may suffer genuine hardship, we all understand that if we can weather the financial storm it will pass in a few years and equilibrium will be re-established.

Somehow we need to harness the kind of hysteria which is generated by current financial fears and transfer it to climate and population issues. Because once the planet is bankrupt, there really is no going back.

No comments: