The changes needed to safeguard the future of life on earth threaten many vested interests and call for longer term thinking than our present political system displays.
The market gives producers a vested interest in making goods that don't last. Mandatory minimum guarantee periods of several years could be used to force manufacturers to make goods more durable and repairable. We also propose a variety of incentives to encourage designers to take into account the reduction of pollution during manufacture and the use of materials which can be recycled.
Far too little money has been invested in researching alternative sources of energy, in contrast to the huge investment in nuclear power. Solar, wind and wave power, barrage and hydroelectric schemes, the incineration of waste and geothermal energy are all worthy of further exploration.
An often overlooked "source" of energy is to use less of it! Many products and buildings could be made much more energy efficient.
Liberals propose an EU "pollution police force" to investigate actual and potential causes of pollution and bring prosecutions. This would have a duty to respond to questions and complaints from the public. We also support company "environmental audits" with reports filed on the public record at Companies House.
Surplus capacity now provides an ideal opportunity to move away from intensive farming methods. We would like to see legislation to phase out battery farming and the institutionalised cruelty and poor hygiene that go hand in hand with such practices. We also support the campaign for a permanent ban on the export of live animals for slaughter.
Recent research indicates that toxicity tests, for example, can be as effectively taken using cultures of postmortem animal or human cells and skin tissue. We believe that it will soon be possible to end experiments on live animals altogether. In the meantime existing regulations should be strictly enforced. We strongly support moves towards a common European acceptance of national testing, which should mean that testing need only be done once.