Economic diversity

Agriculture has a core role, but it will be primarily producing local food, not an export/cash crop business.

Eco tourism is a possibility. Assuming the price of fuel hasn’t driven the cost to travel too high, we could develop an eco tourism industry. This would only be really plausible if as an island we are coherent and cogent in making the environmental and sustainable living an integral part of life. We would have to protect our open and wild spaces, make transport to the island easy and low emissions. We would have to make the stay here low impact and high in sustainability. Everything from the building construction standard and materials to the food we supply would have to contribute to a plausible and credible offering.

We clearly need to be alert to the possibilities of developing new sectors, as well as reviving existing ones. Already reputable universities are teaching and the principles of Ecological Economics (e.g. This thinking has yet to make it to the mainstream accounting and financial professions, but it is coming. Jersey has a great opportunity to prepare itself by acquiring and developing expertise in this area from among our existing finance community to develop a niche in providing that expertise as consultancy to others. A far-sighted government might even see potential in promoting our indigenous software industry through the intellectual property rights associated with this new economic approach, in addition to the tools and suites to facilitate it.

Individuals, communities and even some local governments round the world are looking for solutions to cope with oil dependency, climate change and food insecurity. Consistently the themes they identify as core to dealing with these issues include–localisation, resilience, and community activity.

Paris has a free bicycle scheme (velib), not unlike the green bike scheme we abandoned some years ago. Totnes and Lewis have both introduced local pounds accepted by local business to encourage local spending. Llandeilo set up a community orchard where in 1905 there were over a hundred orchards and today there are none.

Look at Jersey and you realise we have faced many of those challenges in our recent history. Our tradition of small somewhat mixed farms is exactly what the rest of the world is thinking of moving towards. We long ago set up our own pound, with good effect. We trailed the use of electric cars ( . Just within living memory we have the experiences of the last year of the war and what it means to lose your supplies of fuels and other necessities and rapidly adapting to those circumstances.

The island that gave the world the Royal potato, the Jersey cow and a world beating Durrell has a lot of credibility in talking localised growing and conserving. Developed properly we could organise the information, the skills and the training to offer the world the chance to learn that we have done and how they can do it too on a local, sustainable way. Were we to adopt genuine sustainable, localised approaches we could be an education, training and skills resource the world wants, and be in the position to make a contribution far in excess of our size.

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