One rude awakening
Here’s Juncker’s Commission. The bad news is that it’s unpalatable for anyone who cares about the planet. The good one: it can be fixed.
by Luca Bonaccorsi
The day Jean Claude Juncker announced his designated Commission has been a rude awakening for the environmental movement.
It’s a long list of sorrows the one that took our sleep eversince: some, the main ones, are listed in the open letter to Juncker and in the brief to European Members of Parliament written by the Green 10, both attached to our newsletter.
But more painful than the individual parts, the whole: the approach of the new Commission, in terms of political and economic culture. “Growth and deregulation” are just two of the many totems resurrected from Jurassic politics. Decades of research, scientific and public debate on development and sustainability, as opposed to the obsession for growth and GDP, have been wiped out overnight. Years of analyses on the importance of institutions and rules after the devastating banking crises erupted in 2008, a crises caused by deregulation, cancelled by the most ideological and trite rethoric against “red tape”.
Regressive interest groups like Business Europe have hailed the new Commission and the mandates as a victory. The bottom line, therefore, simply being that, as it stands, Juncker’s Commission is unpalatable for anyone who loves nature or cares about human health.
The wake up call has been perceived with different degrees of shock and outrage across environmental NGOs. And yet eventually, following different “paths” and thoughts and emotions, we’ve all converged to the same conclusions: this Commission must be rejected.
The good news is that it can be fixed, the solutions are spelled out clearly in our brief to the MEPs, but in order to do that Juncker must aknowledge that there are serious problems with the environmental credential of his team.
For us, the biodiverse family of eco-warriors, nature lovers, climate experts down to the last fan of woodpeckers, one important public/private reflection and one action point.
The intense meditation should regard this frightening reality: how little media coverage the announced annihilation of EU’s environmental policies has gotten so far. True, we’ve only just started to denounce Juncker’s “faux pas” and yet the efforts required to get stories out is scary. “Can you call environmental/nature journalists and tell them it’s important? Well, actually –replies my portuguese collegue - most of them have been fired during the crisis”. Not the guy who covers politics, or business, or sports.
Clearly one of the reasons why Juncker’s Commission took environmental and health issues so lightly is just a reflection of what has happened to the public discourse during the recession. Jobs vs. nature and rights is the unacceptable trade off that jurassic politics has managed to reinstate in the public narrative. We have a lot to meditate on this.
The action point is simple: go out and tell the world. Tell everyone you know that Europe cannot go backward. That the age of coal and iron belongs to Dickens pages. Tell your friends, the journalists you know, your local politician, the man in the street.
Tell them that Europe has good laws to protect nature and our health. Laws that only have one problem: they’re poorly implemented. Tell them that this Commission wants to “overhaul” these rules and that we all must stop it.
Cause being “the one in the right, fighting those with the might” is simply not enough.