Although protesting for climate action is a noble cause, there is still an underlying issue that effects nearly every single country in the west.
In March of this year we first witnessed what we now know as the climate strikes, where teens across the world didn’t show up to school in an effort to protest climate change. Reasons for attending were mixed but the central theme of all these protests was that attendees wanted politicians to know that climate change is an important topic that needed to be addressed.
The timing of these protests was not coincidental. The main strikes in September were organized so that the protests would occur three days before the UN’s climate summit. Although there were many criticisms, both unnecessary and fair, the message was heard and the political landscape has started to change ever since.
With any major political topic that people care about, whether it be immigration or abortion, there is always a new wave of politicians that are eager to tell people that they’re listening. The green movement that we are now witnessing is not new in that regard.
In 2018 America witnessed a new and exciting revision of a green new deal where on top of dealing with issues such as renewable energy and “cow farts”, the deal called for some outright unattainable goals such as upgrading the energy efficiency of every building in the country and creating 200 million jobs. This combined with some strange references to race and class struggle left a lot of people scratching there heads as to how they were planning on implementing any of this.
Those who were in favour of the green new deal and its proponents were quick to point out that critics were missing the big picture and that this wasn’t to be taken as a literal solution. This issue of politicians trying to implement change in an area they have no area talking about is the real topic of this article.
My country (Ireland) certainly has had no shortage of problems when it comes to politicians legislating on issues they don’t fully understand but this is not just a problem with central conservative political parties. In 1999 the leading party Fianna Fáil were in a coalition with The Green Party. Among the various acts passed one notable one was the Electricity Regulation Act, which completely banned the production of nuclear energy in the country.
At the time nuclear energy was so synonymous with weapons of mass destruction, that it really wasn’t uncommon for people to object to it regardless of the environmental effects. This has become a point of great contention in Ireland lately considering The Greens also banned the mining and exporting of Uranium in Ireland because “ It would be hypocritical to permit the extraction of uranium for use in nuclear reactors in other countries, while the nuclear generation of electricity is not allowed in Ireland”. This is despite the fact that with Ireland’s inter-connected grid with England and now France (a country with over 70% of its energy coming from nuclear fusion) we are now currently using nuclear energy on the island.
This isn’t an argument for nuclear energy as there are some significant issues with it that have still not been addressed (especially with uranium). The point I am trying to make is that there is an underlying issue with the current political climate that not many people are talking about.
As the industry around us changes so dramatically and more and more professions are becoming extinct, the workforce and general population has adapted to it. In the same amount of time we have transitioned from the industrial revolution to the current tech industry, the demographic of our elected officials has remained relatively the same. A brief look at your local parliament will display very many solicitors, barristers, accountants and teachers but extremely few scientists, engineers or industry professionals. Nobody in their right mind would try to plan out a major public project that encompassed many different industries without at least knowing something about them, but we see it happen every day in politics.
As the problems we are trying to tackle become harder and more complex the people in charge of dealing with them need to adapt. Until we have a larger demographic of politicians with actual technical knowledge we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes generations before us did. The new generation of people protesting for climate action need to become the change they so demand.