Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

George Monbiot is as incisive as ever

with 9 comments

I admit it, even though I am (or would like to be) socially conservative, George Monbiot is one of my heroes. His long track record of illuminating the stupidity of climate change scepticism was one of the reasons I decided to pursue the subject in my MA research.

In his most recent offering on his blog (and in the Guardian on 20 August), George has brillianly highlighted the astounding double standards at the heart of current UK energy policy:

“The government is introducing a special veto for local people to prevent the construction of wind turbines… [Whereas the] government’s new planning guidance makes [Fracking] developments almost impossible to refuse… If local voters don’t like it, they can go to hell…

It has taken me 20 years and an MA in Environmental Politics to work out why I was so uncomfortable being involved in the extractive industries (i.e. mineral exploitation). George achieved this in little more than a few minutes:

Extracting resources, like war, is the real deal: what politicians seem to consider a proper, manly pursuit. Conserving energy or using gas from waste or sustaining fish stocks are treated as the concerns of sissies and hippies: even if, in hard economic terms, they make more sense.

Written by Martin Lack

22 August 2013 at 10:30

9 Responses

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  1. I love George Monbiot too. It’s a pleasure to read his stuff.


    22 August 2013 at 11:05

    • Thanks for the feedback, Rachel. I must in turn thank Paul Handover (of LearningFromDogs fame) for bringing this piece to my attention.

      Martin Lack

      22 August 2013 at 14:05

  2. George Monbiot does have a wonderful way with words. One should also, in the same breath, as it were, congratulate the Guardian newspaper for so boldly campaigning the issues that GM writes about.

    Paul Handover

    22 August 2013 at 14:19

    • Thanks for the comment and the visit, Paul. Thanks also for alerting me to this article. As you can see, I opted not to ask for permission to re-blog it. This is because I suspect GM thinks my blog is not read by enough people for him to even bother to respond to my emails. However, I would be disappointed if the absence of responses was because he thinks my blog is a single issue blog. That is to say, can “the politics and psychology of all our environmental problems” really be considered a single issue?

      Martin Lack

      22 August 2013 at 15:34

  3. It seems to me that George Monbiot is expressing an (entirely artificial) duality, each with a clear ideological bias:

    + renewable energies imply distributed responsibility, ownership and control

    + extractive industries imply (nay, demand) centralised ownership and control, maximising (political) power, not to mention money, in the hands of the ‘worthy’ elites — while sidestepping responsibility almost entirely (see ‘bank’ and ‘too big to fail’)


    23 August 2013 at 14:24

    • However artificial (or ”unnatural’?) it may be, I assume you agree that this duality exists solely because our political ‘leaders’ have failed (due to willful ignorance or ideological blindness) to construct a level playing field…?

      Martin Lack

      23 August 2013 at 15:25

  4. Dr Nafeez Ahmed has written a cracking series of articles in the Guardian recently. I’m not quite so keen on George Monbiot (though I’ll grant he does do well exploring the social issues around a lot of this) – he managed to ignore ESAS methane (despite attempts to bring it to his attention) for a couple of years while covering all sorts of rather minor issues. I guess the small scale stuff is more interesting for people though perhaps than the bigger picture view Nafeez Ahmed focuses on (

    Maybe I’m just jaded – I’ve spent several years waiting to see any media outlet anywhere properly tackle these bigger picture issues. If one has no credentials, people just don’t tend to listen to what one has to say.


    23 August 2013 at 18:10

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