Creating an Industry as if the Planet Mattered
Preface: The Era of Eco-Austerity
Like a winter dawn creeping chill and grey over the land, the realization is growing that we are entering a new era. While the people of the world have endured previous periods of economic hardship, the new era is different. There is a real and justified fear as communities seek to comprehend the new language of crisis with its sub-prime borrowers, toxic assets, negative equity and quantitative easing, and somehow to trace cause and effect from the urban poor of America to the glittering bonus payments of the City of London. Factories and offices are closing their doors. It feels like the whole world economy has frozen solid with fear: investment has ground to a halt, sales have crumbled into bare minimalism, nobody is recruiting and nobody is selling a house. There is a collective holding of the breath while we wait for things to get back to normal. Only they will not go back to normal, if normal is what we have experienced in the last 20 years or so. This really is a new era. For a start, it will take many years to recover the losses of the last 12 months that have been witness to wealth destruction on an unprecedented scale. More fundamentally, we cannot allow a repetition of the fevered bubble of speculation upon which our economic lives floated – because in the end all bubbles burst. At the same time, the environmental challenges have not gone away. In fact, with every passing of a new...