How to save the planet after BREXIT
“You need to do a SWOT and PEST analysis” I was told back in 2015 when I was putting together my ambitious business plan for 2016-2018. SWOT I knew -Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, but PEST was new to me – Political, Economic, Social and Technological. This was possibly the first time I’d actually written down how these things could affect the business. 2016 has been a year to experience the very worst effects of political events on our business.
I knew we were on the slippery slope when the BREXIT campaigns began and the topics of discussion excluded “Climate Change” despite it being, arguably, the biggest threat to all of our lives. The Guardian noticed this omission as did all those operating within the environmental sector. It was a concern then and has proved to be of further consternation since Trump was voted in as the next President of the USA.
Looking after the environment is carried out willingly by a few, with the majority of people needing a big stick (fine, tax, prison sentence) or a carrot (financial incentives, such as the Feed In Tariff, reduced car tax) to “do their bit”. For many, BREXIT, and the lure of dropping the legislative shackles imposed on businesses by Europe was too tempting. No more form filling, no paying for waste to be recycled, no tax imposed on energy consumption. It seemingly offered businesses guilt free consumption of resources. Where incentives were cut, developers cancelled renewable projects with immediate effect. Then to compound the situation Teresa May gets rid of The Department of Energy and Climate Change AND appoints Andrea Leadsom Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the MP that wrote to the Prime Minister calling for cuts to subsidies for wind farms and criticising the signing up to renewable targets. Another sign of environmental issues slipping down the political agenda.
Our PEST analysis was being borne out. Our work load stopped over night because of a vote. It’s been a tough year. We’ve been trying to read the signs for the future of the environment and so far, what with BREXIT and Trump, a climate change denier, the future is looking disappointingly complacent. Fortunately business cannot afford to sit around waiting for politicians to make decisions and after a fairly wishy washy summer, there are tentative steps towards getting on with it. There will always be “waste”. There will, for the foreseeable future, be floods, droughts and storms, and there will be lots of moaning when people lose their homes and businesses and blame the Government/Environment Agency for not doing anything. Rest assured I will sit at my desk and say – “You were warned long ago”.
Actions for the new year:
- Read Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything
- Think global act local – get your own house in order, recycling, reduce energy and resource consumption
- Get out of your comfort zone – give up your car for a day, week, month and walk/cycle/ use public transport
- Be more food aware – reduce wastage, think about best before dates.
- Ask your fellow human beings what they are doing to save our planet.
- Do not let the wealthy and powerful spoil the planet for the rest of us.
Together we can make a difference.