How ironic that the poster-child of the low-carbon tech-future – the Toyota Prius – is being recalled en-masse.
This seems like just one more blow for the green movement after Glacier-gate and the UEA email fiasco. Now we are told that numerous polls are showing a reverse in confidence around climate change science.
This is sending shivers down the spine of many in the green movement. Is this yet another backlash against all things green? Is this fatal a set-back that the failure of Copenhagen has brought about?
I think not. For several reasons I think this will be a temporary stalling for the movement but not a fatal one. And no doubt the laziness and lack of attention to detail which led to things like Glacier-gate was bound to come home to roost eventually. In fact it could be argued that this backlash will shock the movement into upping the ante and making sure it gets things right from now on. And by getting things right I mean not just facts but framing and communicating.
The reason I don’t see it as fatal is maybe partly because I am an eternal optimist. But it’s also because I think we have sufficient momentum of societal values sea-change, corporate engagement with sustainability and even Government action. There are many large companies who have staked considerable investments of time, money and brand in becoming sustainable. And for all the failures over sustainability, the UK Government has at least finally set a decent level for the feed-in tariff. The direction of travel is positive. It’s a faltering journey but there are signs that we are beginning to win the hearts and minds of citizens.
So yes the wheels might have temporarily come off the movement. But it’s no reason to lose heart. We need to regroup and make sure from now on we get things right. We need to change the way we do things and the way we communicate but also remember the words of one of the fathers of the green movement – Aldo Leopold – when he said “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering”.