In Eden’s 10th birthday year, Jonathon Porritt reflects on the highs and lows of a decade in environmentalism, looks forward to the next 10 years, and gives some rousing advice to young people.
Best moment of the last decade
In 2005, we launched the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Strategy, which has been widely recognised around the world as one of the most far-reaching and effective ‘frameworks’ for sustainable development.
We on the Sustainable Development Commission were involved in every aspect of this, working very closely with all the progressive elements in the old Labour Government to see off the dark forces of the Treasury and elsewhere.
Worst moment of the last decade
In 2010, the new Coalition Government decided to get rid of the Sustainable Development Commission, and kick the 2005 Strategy into the long grass. Short-sighted, ideologically motivated and crass.
It also gave the instantaneous lie to any notion that this was going to be the ‘greenest government ever’, an insight confirmed in the 2011 Budget which has to be one of the most environment-unfriendly Budgets over the last decade.
Hopes for Eden’s next 10 years
Eden does a lot of things really well, but for me there are two things that will matter more than anything else over the next decade.
The first is Eden’s ‘green economy’, demonstrating to people in practice that creating wealth sustainably actually works, provides jobs, improves skills and so on. Eden is doing this through its approach to food, energy (particularly all the renewables stuff), waste – there’s really a lot going on.
And the second thing is education – creatively helping more and more young people to really understand what sustainable development is all about, and how incredibly exciting it is.
Which is why my one piece of advice is aimed particularly at young people:
Get angry – before it’s too late!
Get stuck in – to ensure it’s not going to be too late!
Inspire others to do the same!
Environmentalist and writer Jonathon Porritt is Founder Director of Forum for the Future and former Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission. His latest book is Capitalism: As if the World Matters, and he blogs regularly at www.jonathonporritt.com
See how Eden works with young people on everything from climate change art to survival skills.