Once upon a time, a friend of mine lost her job. It was a good job, and by any measure she was good at it. It wasn’t a difficult job - but then, like all jobs, the difficulties aren’t apparent until you have to cope with them yourself. Only by walking do we discover if the shoe fits.
Her challenges were those of time management. By putting in more hours and upping her work-rate, she masked her problems but did not remedy them. Just as when milk is poured unceasingly into a cup, eventually, inevitably, it must overflow.
And so there came the point when my friend could do no more.
She had three options. Continuing the analogy, the first was to enlarge the cup. But the cup size was fixed. It couldn’t be done. The second was to reduce the flow of milk. That proved not to be fixed but steadily increasing, and could neither be slowed nor stopped. No luck there.
The third option was to acquire another cup - not as large as the original, but large enough to capture the excess. That would keep the process running, at least temporarily. It could be done, but she had no power to authorize the purchase.
And that’s when she made her fatal error. She reached out for help.
Her situation required understanding, an open mind, an ear sensitive to the issues at hand and feet willing to take steps to deal with them. In short, she needed trust.
She found none. Instead, she found abuse.
And thus, just as the spillage from an overfilled cup will stream in rivulets down the cupboards to the floor, we stream into the subject of this rant. When the wrong people are in charge, things can change for the worse very easily.
Such a state of affairs has descended upon the UK. The Tory government has announced plans to cut subsidies for small-scale renewable energy projects. This comes hot on the heels of cuts to large-scale renewable energy projects, announced back in January.
Small-scale projects are those which can be installed on twenty-five acres or less, supplying enough electricity to power about one thousand five hundred homes. They are perfect for smallholdings with unproductive soils.
They are easy on the eye, they don’t poison rivers or dirty the air, and they are healthy places to work. Significantly, they don’t cave in, trapping fathers, sons and brothers underground to await suffocation or starvation.
Not every government is taking the same backward steps. Just look at the Emirates: with GDP from non-oil sectors growing six percent to two hundred and seventy billion in just one quarter, the leaders of the UAE are taking responsibility for the future, preparing for a lower-carbon economy.
They acknowledge both environmental and economic problems, and projects such as Masdar, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant demonstrate they are prepared to act to solve them.
Perhaps only emerging economies are nimble enough to pull off moves like these, going several directions at once like a newborn calf as they find their feet, building up infrastructure without having to run the gauntlet of vested interests who prey on the vulnerable.
The Captains of Carbon are at it again. Faced with a challenge, they know but one response. Lash out. Choke that baby while it’s still small enough to kill. It’s a shame they can’t see past their fairy-floss egos and learn to love the thing.
But what am I talking about? There’s no telling them how to run their business…