Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Let’s face it: we can’t all be heading off overseas in carbon-neutral boats for our annual holiday. And not just because of the pirates we might meet along the way. Nevertheless, Greta Thunberg and the millions of youngsters demanding urgent action to tackle global heating are onto something.

But the sad reality is that urgent action is unlikely. Such demands have been around for decades. The thing is, we’re locked into a consumption-driven economic growth model that pretty much requires the destruction of our environment. A large part of this is down to what economists call "externalities", such as the pollution caused by fast-fashion production processes. The owners of "see now, buy now" retailers such as H&M and Zara have become fabulously wealthy by churning out "inexpensive" stuff for fashion-conscious youngsters. All that stuff would be far more expensive if the environmental damage they cause had to be included in the price. But since the early days of industrialisation...

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