The Green response to terrorism?

Conservationists have been quick to point out that the war in Afghanistan will result in the death of snow leopards on the brink of extinction.

Ray Crowley

Topics Politics

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In response to the events of 11 September and the subsequent attack on Afghanistan, President George W Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair have been urging Jo Public to go about her business as usual.

Of course, the more desperate these pleas become, the more Jo Public begins to feel like a character in Pulp Fiction, told to ‘just be cool, Honey Bunny’ while a gun is pointed at her temple. News vox-pops show commuters nervously making their way to work in the City while the classified ads in local papers list stockists of gas masks.

It seems that the only people still going about their usual business are environmental campaigners. Conservationists are still worried about species loss and have been quick to point out that the war in Afghanistan will not only result in human casualties, but also in the death of snow leopards on the brink of extinction.

In a recent letter to the Independent entitled ‘The Green response to terrorism’ (Monday 8 October), Charles Secrett, director of Friends of the Earth, reasserts the principles of Agenda 21, the global blueprint for implementing sustainable development, in light of the destruction of the World Trade Center’s twin towers.

‘As President Bush and Tony Blair work to find a precise and proportionate response to September the 11th’, he says, ‘they should use these opportunities to address the inequalities of resource use, wealth and political decision-making that divide nations, breed resentment and provide support for violent revolutionaries. The Climate Change Convention…is a model framework for replication across UN institutions. It stipulates that the wealthiest nations must act first and hardest, while temporarily allowing poorer nations to pollute to develop economically.’

After reading that, I got confused. As far as I was aware, there had been no developments in the science of climate change between 10 September and 12 September that begged new action. But then, given that everybody seems to be reading into the events of 11 September the lessons they want to read, maybe Mr Secrett’s arguments are not that outlandish.

Mr Secrett ends his letter by urging us to implement the principles of Agenda 21, to ‘dissolve that fundamentalist intolerance born in bitter poverty’. I too would like poverty to be eliminated – not because I’m afraid of terrorists bombing Canary Wharf, but because I think everybody should have the same living standards as I do, or better. And I thought that before the tragic events in America.

I really don’t see what Agenda 21 has to do with preventing terrorism in the USA. Perhaps Charles Secrett’s letter would have been better entitled ‘The Green Response to Everything’.

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Topics Politics


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