James Murrays interesting article in the website Businessgreen illustrates the disarray that a global financial shambles has brought to the green movement.
He wants to divide the environmental camp, depending on how pro-growth we are.
I don't think I fit into any of these categories because I believe that we must address far more radical change in order to create environmental improvements.
Does that make me unreconstructed?
I certainly don't agree with Murray that we can go on much as before, making just a few tweaks, in order to save the planet. But I feel that the solution to our environmental woes can be found in the current dissatisfaction with economic practice.
We've all become so familiar with the theory that success can be found by nurturing growth, expansion at any price, that we've forgotten the finite nature of our world.
If humans behave like locusts, they are destined to succumb. Nature is cruel to excess. It wipes it out. There are hundreds of examples. Think of the way moulds grow and die, the way plagues and viruses wipe themselves out, how any natural surfeit will tend to crash and burn.
In nature the organisms that survive find a natural balance.
If we subject economic thinking to biological understanding, then we should not go for growth, but steady state. From the position of steady state, genetic improvement proceeds gently and healthily. Steady state does not rule out improvements. In biological terms that improvement is in health, robustness, specialisation. In economy the improvement could be measured in level of national health, educational achievement, even contentedness.
At the moment there is a lot of discussion about how the Chinese need to encourage consumerism amongst their population in order to maintain their impressive (or do I mean frightening?) level of growth.
I wonder what Confucius would have said?