The Winds of Change…
When watching footage of this month’s Climate Camp, I couldn’t help thinking it could be the mid-nineties all over again with the dreadlocked hordes descending upon a perceived environmental criminal armed only with some scaffolding poles, handcuffs and a vegan cookbook. Back then it was the roads, now it’s the skies.
The outcomes of such direct action are never immediate. Whether the topic is the environment, world poverty or war, protesters tend to lose the battle, but win the war. The bypass protesters of the 1990s undoubtedly changed Government road building policies forever, third world debt is being taken seriously to a greater or lesser extent, and I doubt the UK will be standing side by side with the US if they attack Iran. So what effect will the Climate Camp have?
A recent Government survey suggesting that 50% of Brits still don’t believe that their lifestyle is having an effect on the climate. Until very recently, politicians were happy to pontificate on standby switches, efficient lightbulbs and phone chargers left plugged in, but got nervous when asked the difficult questions. But this week the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats published quite radical proposals on the environment and sustainability.
Such big changes provide both big opportunities and big threats to business. Those who are flexible enough to change without losing their business nous will survive, but the dinosaurs and the naive will be left behind.
Will the Climate Camp change the world? Possibly, but more likely it was the sign of things to come.