I believe our leaders have become too short-sighted. Everywhere I look I see us creating problems for generations to come.
We are using up all the fossil fuel, so there will be none left for our children. And by burning the fossil fuel we are increasing atmospheric CO2 levels which will cause severe climate problems in our children's generation.
One proposed solution to this is to build nuclear power stations, which generate electricity with lower CO2 emissions. But there is still no good solution to the storage of nuclear waste containing isotopes with half-lives of hundreds of thousands of years. And there are serious questions about the security of transporting and storing both waste and fuel rods now that international terrorism has become a fact of life.
The fuel companies have been pushing biofuels as a "green" alternative to fossil fuels. But from the beginning the green movement has been saying biofuels can never replace fossil fuels. For a start, even if we used every productive acre of arable land on Earth we could not grow enough biofuel to replace the fossil fuel we use at present. And anyway, if we used every productive acre of arable land on Earth, where would we get our food from? Most biofuel produced presently comes from palm oil, which is a whole bad kettle of fish.
Short-sightedness isn't just evident in our energy policies. Conventional farming methods which rely on over-use of pesticides and herbicides are killing our native plants and animals. Other conventional farming techniques such as over-ploughing and monoculture (producing the same crop year after year for mile after mile) cause unsustainable soil erosion. Conventional farmers compensate for this by adding artificial fertilisers. But when the soil is eroded completely our children or grandchildren will not be able to produce food by adding fertiliser to bare rock or sand.
Everywhere I look I see evidence of short-term thinking. The list would become too long and too political if I let all the bees out of my bonnet. The way we run our industries. The way we house our population. The way we fund our health service. The way we treat our children. The way we manage foreign affairs. They are all based on putting off problems until the future. Our children will have reason to damn us for the legacy we are leaving them. It makes me ashamed.
The Iroquois chiefs were required to make every decision by considering the effects on the seventh generation to come. I believe we urgently need to adopt this way of thinking. Urgently.