With reference to your leader in last month’s issue (CM May), you are correct in everything that you say

Most people only want things to return to the way they were: a nice pension; a new car every three years; at least one overseas holiday each year; the latest gizmos; a wardrobe full of new gear every six months; new furniture every five years; a new kitchen every 10 years.

The politicians talk about kick-starting the economy with car schemes and exhorting banks to persuade people to take out loans. All designed to return to the status quo as quickly as possible.

In the past, it took world wars to change the way we all viewed the planet and our place in it – politics and social behaviour were forevever altered by the long years of austerity, changed roles of the people and the destruction of old industries and power bases.

This latest ‘world war’ will be just as bloody, as companies fight for survival and watch every purchase or sale, every missed payment or late delivery, every hint of industrial espionage or corporate fraud. Rules will be ignored and loopholes will be enlarged.

The other thing that the last ‘world war’ had that is lacking now was the feeling that ‘we are all in this together’ and attitudes were very helpful and uncomplaining, as the government set about telling people how to Dig for Victory and do more with less. Today, our mindset is insular and not so public spirited.

There needs to be a think tank to figure out the basic parameters of the future low-carbon world. The knowledge has been there for years (Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth et al) but we all carried on buying SUVs and installing hardwood doors from Borneo while we ate beef from Brazil and shrimps from lagoons where the mangroves used to be.

The old politics of ‘let the markets decide’ won’t do any more.

John Ashford MCIOB