Our Environment – Our Common Pension?

Pensions © guardian.co.uk

Pensions © guardian.co.uk

Us humans have a tendency to undervalue the future compared with our immediate needs. That’s why banks pay us interest on money we don’t spend.

Despite this, and because security is important to us all , many of us have the foresight to save, provisioning for our future old and infirm selves.

At first, we may rally and moan against the short-term sacrifice of saving for pensions, but we soon settle down. We’d rather make a sacrifice in the short-term to ensure our security in the long-term.

Yet governments around the world are unwilling to make the same sort of decision – failing to recognise the value of security in our future.

Ecuadorean Amazon (c) Guardian.co.uk

Ecuadorean Amazon (c) Guardian.co.uk

Ecuador’s announcement of their plans to auction off more than 3 million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies (as reported by Jonathan Kaiman) is understandable. As described by Ecuador’s Ambassador when addressing the Chinese delegation at talks, this would establish “a win-win relationship” between the two countries. Meeting both Ecuador’s development needs and China’s energy requirements – the arrangement is one which the West could not denigrate without being hypocritical.

Yet this decision prioritises immediate reward over the natural capital offered by forests, important for both national and international security in just decades. Our collective environment is akin to our common pension.

Governments are charged with responsibility, to lead their nation for today and tomorrow, and within that to look after the commons. So we need to let them know, we want to save some for humanity’s future.

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