My legs. I have designed my life for the last 20 years so that I can walk from where I sleep to where I work.
Biggest environmental “vice”:
Most recent major consumer purchase:
A cappuccino. But I like to live my life so that my loved ones give me the things I need as gifts and I give them the things they need. Frankly a society built around consumerism is hell.
What is most important about sustainable development?
Recognising that we are going down a very serious road towards non-sustainability, which threatens the very possibility of our survival as a species on this planet.
Is there a conflict between reducing poverty and protecting the planet?
No. Poverty has been created by processes that appropriate resources from people - who then become poor. When people’s land is taken away because of indebtedness, or damaged by chemicals, or when they are displaced to build large dams, or when Indian peasants are driven to sell their kidneys and commit suicide by the global seed and pesticide companies’ attempts to turn them into a market – those are the sources of poverty and of ecological destruction. The two have the same root and the same solution.
Consumption – how much is too much?
This issue is usually reduced to what happens at the end of the consumption chain. The problem is that more and more resources are being used up in the production chain, which is increasingly taken over for maximising profits not maximising need or welfare. Instead of simply turning potatoes into chips, we have this amazing system where we mash up the potatoes, reconstitute them into chips and then transport them 2,000 miles. Economic value is added at each level, but ecological and health value is taken away. It is the chain of production plus consumption that is too heavy for the planet.
Technology: threat or saviour?
Inequality: an inevitable evil?
There are societies that prioritise justice and equity and create it through the policies they make, and there are societies that encourage inequality. Equity is a result of policy, and policy is a result of politics.
What should we do?