There is blanket coverage this week about Margaret Thatcher wherever you look. The papers, TV news, Radio, Twitter, Linked In and just about anywhere you care to imagine. Perhaps rightly so, love her or hate her she made an indelible mark on our country and our society, none more so than my generation.
But whilst those MPs from the Conservative Party are waxing lyrical about all of her ‘achievements’, and the Daily Mail, Telegraph et al trumpet the same eulogies one thing seems to slip under their radar. Margaret Thatcher was the first global politician to speak out and warn about the dangers of anthropological climate change.
I doubt you’ll hear Lord Lawson, Owen Patterson or George Osborne, or many in the Tory party talking about her great foresight into Climate Change. I doubt it will make the front pages of the Daily Mail or Telegraph this week. They won’t be sharing her significant speech to the UN in 1990 on the issue. So, those of us in the ‘green’ movement, whatever our political allegiances, have an opportunity to do so. Perhaps, just perhaps we can convince a few of the many with ‘Thatcherite’ tendencies to take a fresh look at climate change, its dangers and what we can do to mitigate and adapt. Not least of which in regard to our shambolic energy policy.
If you haven’t heard the speech in question you can watch snippets of it here , or you can read the full transcript here. I was amazed when I read this in full. Few climate change activists could articulate the situation so well, or so succinctly. How I would love the Daily Mail to print this on their front page the day of Mrs Thatchers funeral.
“For two centuries, since the Age of the Enlightenment, we assumed that whatever the advance of science, whatever the economic development, whatever the increase in human numbers, the world would go on much the same. That was progress. And that was what we wanted.
Now we know that this is no longer true.
We have become more and more aware of the growing imbalance between our species and other species, between population and resources, between humankind and the natural order of which we are part.
In recent years, we have been playing with the conditions of the life we know on the surface of our planet. We have cared too little for our seas, our forests and our land. We have treated the air and the oceans like a dustbin. We have come to realise that man’s activities and numbers threaten to upset the biological balance which we have taken for granted and on which human life depends.
We must remember our duty to Nature before it is too late. That duty is constant. It is never completed. It lives on as we breathe. It endures as we eat and sleep, work and rest, as we are born and as we pass away. The duty to Nature will remain long after our own endeavours have brought peace to the Middle East. It will weigh on our shoulders for as long as we wish to dwell on a living and thriving planet, and hand it on to our children and theirs.” – Margaret Thatcher.
This was 1990 remember, twenty-three years ago. Long before Al Gore or anyone else in global politics took up the cause.
The sad thing of course, and again something that won’t be on the front-pages this week, is that Thatcher was stabbed in the back by her own party (et tu Brutus). Sad for me in the sense that she never recovered from that, and shrank away from the front line, and never fought the climate change skeptics in her party, of whom there are many. But then she was the Iron Lady no? Not after her Caesar moment she wasn’t.
Now I’m not talking about her policies or legacy (personally I think she did much good for our country, and much to the detriment of our society), but you have to agree, whatever your political persuasion, she was a great leader, a great speaker, articulate, resolute, passionate and determined to win her arguments at all costs. How we could do with someone like that leading the charge against the climate skeptics now!