Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Zac Goldsmith at the launch of EcoConnect

A good showing at tonight's launch of cleantech network EcoConnect, encouraged no doubt by the presence of Zac Goldsmith. His address was brief, witty and to the point - and, by his own admission, less depressing than the editorial content of The Ecologist. Departing from the political convention of grouping ideas in threes, he began by highlighting two key points about sustainable technology. The first was, rather surprisingly, that it's not really about climate change, but rather the depletion of resources, from fossil fuel to food, which should be compelling even to those who remain unconvinced by the science. The second was that this represents an unparalled opportunity, a point which has clearly not escaped those present.

Moving on, he offered four solutions. Our economic systems must learn to value the environment. Our leaders must match rhetoric with action. Taxation must be relevant and transparent - and here he cited the futility of vehicle duty changes that penalise people for historic purchases rather than taxing gas guzzlers at the point of purchase. And finally we must recognise that sustainability is about more than carbon, we need to reconnect with the natural environment in order to understand our relationship with it and address our impacts on it.

His closing point was that far from being overwhelmed by the scale of the problem, we should be encouraged by the fact that if we take best practice in each sector now and make it the norm tomorrow, we're half way to success. Judging by the buzz at EcoConnect, that seems a realistic aim.

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