THE NEW ECONOMY053
otherwise why would it be making plans to move itsentire population off the islands because of the threatof the rising sea level?And what about the really alarming messages thatscientists and explorers like Pen Hadow bring backfrom the Polar regions? The trouble is that they are notjust about short-term changes - though they canprovide a valuable wake-up call - they are about thelong-term trends that cannot be dismissed as a "blip"or explained away as "natural cycles". It is these long-term changes to our world that we ignore at our peril.And it is, let us face it, the only world we have. Wecannot just throw this one away, as we do so muchelse, and somehow expect to zoom off to anotherintergalactically convenient one. The stakes could notbe higher.Scientific concerns about the potential consequencesof increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere go backmore than fifty years. But to those who seek topersuade us that there is no such thing as climatechange, in the face of the now overwhelming peer-reviewed scientific evidence, I would ask just onequestion. Are you prepared to take the risk of beingwrong? Let me explain. If the scientific predictions areproved correct, it will be the poorest people on thisplanet who will suffer first and worst. In fact, they arealready suffering in those other parts of the world that,for us, are out of sight and out of mind.Just think about what will happen if and when theglaciers of the Himalayas and the Andes dwindle away- and it is irrefutable that they are dwindling. Theagricultural systems of entire continents will bedramatically affected. Climate change will also bringmore extreme weather events to many parts of theworld, causing ever more frequent havoc for those leastable to cope. I do not know about you, but I happen tomind very much about the sort of world in which mychildren and grandchildren - and yours - will be living.For all of them, I believe we have a great responsibilityto do the right thing by them and so I, for one, am notprepared to play some sort of Russian roulette withtheir futures.That is why I remain determined to do all I can toencourage people to think about how we can bestchange the way in which we live to stabilise our climateand secure those ecosystems and the associatedrichness of their biodiversity - such as the Rainforestsand the world's oceans - on which human lifedepends. To do this, I think we need to overcome thefear that environmental measures will be expensiveand will somehow return us to the Dark Ages,destroying all the improvements that were first given tous by the Industrial Revolution.Yet this reaction is hardly surprising, if the only way weexplain sustainability is to tell people that their energybills will rise, and their cost of food will spiral togetherAbove: The Prince ofWales is turning to theInternet to get thesustainability messageacrossINNOVATION 070TECHNOLOGYwith the price of petrol. A cursory look at most of theweb sites that talk about climate change will revealthat it is full of this negative language: "stop", "cut","reduce", "do not". That is only one way of looking atit. Far too few talk about the potential for a sustainablefuture to be better and more rewarding - both for usand for Nature - than the lives we lead now. Thispotential needs to be communicated across thecountry and, indeed, across the world. Just how muchare we persuading people that a "sustainabilityrevolution" is a good thing?