I’m in a taxi, and after the obligatory nod to the weather and the state of Dublin’s one-way systems, the driver is telling me what he thinks about my choice of career.
“Environmentalists: you’re just like the taxman, making everyone’s lives awkward.”
He has a point. Environmentalists are often accused of being anti-progress or anti-development, which often translates as anti-people. Just like the taxman, we call society to account and demand what looks like compensation for birds, bees, trees and all the rest.
We’re not usually listened to – in spite of having science on our side. Evolution has programmed people to value the short term over the long term, and it’s a big part of the reason our species has been so successful in the first place.
But our success has altered the mechanics of the planet, and so if we want to continue to live on it in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed, we need to think long term.
I’m an unusual environmentalist in that I’m one of the few working in natural capital – a new concept that’s using the language of economics to preach to the unconverted and make it clear why the total liquidation of natural assets isn’t in anyone’s best interests, long term or short term.
Read more at The Irish Times