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Heart of the People

"The heart of the people was not changed!" means that though people might move towards a sense of environmental (and other) responsibility for a year or two, it soon evaporates. That people might favour responsibility for a problem at some stage does not guarantee that they are on the route to solving the problem, because usually their current favour has been generated by discourse in the media, rather than by a real change of heart. The media is fickle, and next week turns to a different discourse, and a week later the people forget their original passion for responsibility. So-called enlightened self-interest and 'the art of politics' do not work. This pages has some examples.

2009: Climate Change and Credit Crunch

For a few years in the early 2000s the UK government began to acknowledge that climate change is the most important problem facing us, and this culminated at the end of 2008 in the UK government passing the Climate Change Act, which imposes on the Secretary of State the duty to reduce UK climate change emissions by 80% by 2050.

But the so-called credit crunch was then starting to dominate the public's discourse - the downturn in the global economy led by failure of credit. A mere five months later, the UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, cited the three major problems his government were facing, and climate change was not among them. This was not the first time he 'forgot' about climate change. Climate change was no longer seen as a major problem that we face.

They (politicians, people, press and business) still privileged their own interest over responsibility. Though they did allow themselves to recognise the importance of climate change for a time, the main reason they thus allowed was because they deemed it in their interests to do so. The heart of the people had not changed.

1990s: Small Cars

During the 1980s there was a growing recognition among public, media, business and politicians that environmental responsibility was important. Smaller, more fuel-efficient cars became popular. People began to want smaller cars and the industry began to design and offer them. Japanese manufacturers secured a sizeable foothold in the USA market.

But in the 1990s this changed. Smaller cars were no longer sought. People carriers and SUVs (sports utility vehicles) became the types of car that people sought and aspired to. These cars are 'gas guzzlers', emitting huge amounts of pollution compared with smaller cars. Bull bars appeared in millions on the front of SUVs, which did much more damage to children in accidents.

The media opinion formers were fickle, one minute advocating responsibility, the next telling us that being 'kule', feeling the power of acceleration, and largely-spurious 'protection' of one's own family were more important than protection of the planet for later generations. The car industry had a hand in this. The people soon forgot responsibility and too easily accepted the media's message. Raw power can indeed be exciting, if one thinks only of it. Of course one has a duty to one's family, even if the protection is spurious. And, of course, one does not want to be a 'tree-hugger'. "I want" still reigned in people's hearts. The heart of the people was not changed.

What's the answer? I believe spiritual revival is the only thing that change people's hearts on a wide scale. Think about the revivals brought about through Wesley and Whitefield in the 1700s, the move to not only abolish slavery in the early 1980s, the Welsh revival of early 1900s that "did more in two months to reduce drunkenness than governments had managed to achieve in two years". See page discussing this.

See also sibling pages on lifestyle and attitudes to Kyoto agreement.

This is a 'rant' in which I express a view, usually one that does not get through the biased and narrow-minded and narrow-hearted so-called liberal Western media. Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2009.

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Created: 15 June 2009 Last updated: