This paper tours briefly through the challenges of global water and the inter-related big issues (such as, population, resource depletion and climate change) and then explores water in the UK in relation to those same issues whilst juxtaposed with other big UK issues such as current economics, spatial planning, infrastructure, food and energy.
Whilst the concept of climate change risk is generally acknowledged within current urban policy-making, there is little apparent distinction made between true (long term) climate change (CC) and the short term imperative of responding to climate variability (CV). Election-based governance systems tend to focus on relatively short-term responses, addressing CV. The risk is that the “quick-fix”, vote-earning, policy responses to CV make future adaptation to CC much harder, less likely, and perhaps even unlikely.
Co-authored with Neil Cousins of Five Oceans Environmental Services Limited.
The ubiquitous use of the word “green” as a proxy for sound environmental endeavour, for energy efficiency, for all sustainable ambition has devalued the proposition it was meant to reflect. Being “green” can apply equally, it seems, to a tree hugger (in itself a term of derision or condescension) or a government (recall a certain prime minister aspiring to lead the greenest government ever). Yet, because of its hijacking by all sorts of spurious groups and intentions, the word “green” has become a liability.
The premise of the “Big Society” programme is to re-distribute “power” from a centralised, Big Government hub (Westminster) to “the people”. The intention is to deliver “government and its services” at a more local level. This paper will explore various dimensions to illustrate the opportunities for sustainable development and the risks if the shift of “power” is superficial. To do this, the paper will look briefly at the really big issues (climate change, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone, biogeochemical nitrogen and phosphorus cycle, global freshwater use, land system change, biodiversity loss, […]