Sustainability needs sensible approach to benefit planet, not just few
To shock and disrupt are the most effective methods militant climate groups have to bring attention to their beliefs and push their agenda.
In a world where nothing shocks anymore, this is leading to more and more dramatic acts. There has been an increase in such news. The main stated objective is to stop the production of fossil fuel. We are now seeing on a daily basis roadblocks used to disrupt traffic. And last week two protesters threw a can of tomato soup on a Van Gogh painting to push for a future without fossil fuel, while another spray-painted Scotland Yard’s sign.
A new wave of protest is now starting which targets farming, specifically cattle farming. The aim is to push for a plant-based food supply chain. Protesters believe that traditional farming has the biggest negative impact on climate and needs to cease.
There has been a series of incidents in the UK and Europe by groups spilling milk in supermarkets to bring attention to their demands. They want a shift toward plant-based products and a move away from the traditional.
These acts by nongovernmental organizations and various non-profit groups are just one part of the picture.
There is, on the social media side, a great focus on pushing their agenda. The social media campaigns bid to apply pressure on politicians to make drastic changes.
When it comes to energy and fossil fuel, politicians for the past decade have yielded and taken drastic measures without making sure the substitute was ready.
They have cut off nuclear energy because it was deemed bad for the climate. They have made it more difficult to invest in oil refineries. They have chosen to ignore geopolitical realities for the greater good of the climate.
And so today, and mainly because of decisions disconnected from reality, the energy supply chain in Europe and globally is broken. Politicians have been focused on saying they have achieved total renewable energy without thinking of the capacity needs and their durability.
That is why we hear politicians asking their constituents to save energy with crazy ideas such as showering in a group. The current situation is also leading to the reactivation of coal-fired power stations. Hence, in yielding to pressure, politicians have brought the energy cycle to a breaking point.
I am worried that we are following the same direction when it comes to food supply. We are already seeing the banning and blocking of farming techniques without considering what takes their place. No one is asking how these bans will impact the levels of crops and their quantities.
Cities in Germany have even started to ban the advertising of meat, just like they did for alcohol and cigarettes a few decades ago.
These hasty and drastic decisions aimed at pleasing the social media mob will have catastrophic effects and will lead to regions of the world facing starvation.
And this is the important point: Whether energy or food, the ones to suffer the most will not be in Europe or the West, they will be in Africa and in Asia where resources are missing.
This is something most groups that finance these NGOs tend to ignore. Europe and the West have a greater capacity than the rest of the world to absorb shocks. Even with the current energy situation, Europe will be able to get through.
Other regions in the world do not have this capacity, nor the financial resources, and this can lead to complete breakdowns. Therefore there needs to be a more focused and sensible approach to sustainability that cares for the entire planet, not just one side of it. And one that takes care of all and not just pleases a few.
We need to take better care of Earth; we need to make sure we reduce our impact on climate.
We all want to live in a non-toxic environment, wish for a balanced and varied agricultural landscape, and we want to see a rich diversity of plant and animal life. The objectives of sustainability are important to everyone. It is common sense, yet the actions taken by Western politicians to achieve these goals are becoming counterproductive and damaging. It is the problem of making decisions in a hurry. Unfortunately, they have even produced reports to justify their moves.
The energy situation cannot be blamed on post-pandemic demands: It is a succession of bad decisions that have led us to it.
There needs to be a more focused and sensible approach to sustainability that cares for the entire planet, not just one side of it.
Khaled Abou Zahr
We cannot have the same situation happening in the agricultural sector because if we face the same disruptions with food, it will mean starvation for entire populations. If Western politicians continue taking these hasty decisions, millions will starve in the coming years. Who will they blame then?
No one has a monopoly of caring for the environment and our planet; no one should impose an agenda of what needs to be done, especially when it comes to agriculture. We need more common sense and innovation and less bullying and banning.
- Khaled Abou Zahr is CEO of Eurabia, a media and tech company. He is also the editor of Al-Watan Al-Arabi.