Environmental Secretary Micheal Gove. Photo: flickr user ‘Number 10‘, Creative Commons license

 

There’s a real environmental catastrophe happening, right now. Michael Gove’s twisted vision of a capitalistic ‘green’ future puts us all at risk from excessive pollution levels; especially children, the elderly and those with health problems.

As his appointment as environmental secretary, Michael Gove has not progressed far enough to establish the safety of our future. The announcement of a ban on diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 clearly indicates that the government is forcing through the interests of car manufacturers and oil companies ahead of not merely the environment but the health of everybody in this country: the ban should be entering into effect by 2025 at the latest.

More recently, Gove has announced CCTV in slaughterhouses in England but there are nevertheless no controls on chickens being cooped up in harrowing conditions and other animals never seeing the light of day. As environment secretary, he will continue the greed driven meat industry in which there’s a twisted sense of pride from people who eat from unsustainable, brutalised food sources.

I am by no means blaming meat-eaters for the scandalous actions of the industry. When policy doesn’t deal with the root of the issue, suddenly we have problems like this that will spiral out of control. The CCTV is just like the ban on diesel and petrol vehicles; a means to appease some individuals while neglecting the consequences.

There seems to be a mis-match in government policy too. Despite the Government’s undertaking to crush local council’s authority on fracking in Lancashire, Michael Gove has stepped in to stop tree felling in Sheffield. Whatever his reason there’s a bizarre conflict between the Department of Transport and the environment secretary which demonstrates how unorganised Gove and the Tories are. Do you want somebody so irresponsible to protect your future?

Considering he has voted regularly against halting the climate crisis and been absent to various bills on the environment (you can have a detailed look at Michael Gove’s record on the environment here), there is no reason why anyone should trust him in his position. Now that the climate dinosaurs – the DUP – are propping up the Conservative government we can simply expect environmental legislation to either grow worse or that there’ll be a sketchy attempt at forming a smokescreen to deter your attention to short-term issues that sound good come the next general election. With little seen from the DUP so far, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them reach the headlines by negatively influencing environmental policy.

As a young person, my future is at risk from an inexperienced Michael Gove (and by extension Rupert Murdoch), the pro-fracking Conservatives and the anti-science DUP. This government is a dangerous, unstable coalition that will proceed to oversee 40,000 deaths a year from our negative environmental impact.

With Gove as a leading figure in the campaign to leave the European Union, it is only certain that environmental campaigners will be disappointed by the significant ‘watered down’ EU environmental rules and regulations post-Brexit. Gove’s re-emergence in the Brexit campaign and in the Cabinet suggests he is a symptom of the hyper-normalization of career politicians who will continue to disenfranchise voters and push important issues aside, like the protection of our environment.