Environmental concerns play an increasingly important role in political affairs across the world these days. Closer to home, however, green issues rarely top the agenda.
From time to time major environmental issues arise which dominate the headlines and exercise public opinion but, by and large, these are usually confined to specific areas rather than broader policy issues.
And unfortunately, like so many other issues, when they do arise they often descend into the everyday realities of party politics or fall prey to traditional community divides.
While this is, to an extent, predictable, it doesn’t make any sense.
The communities here have very different, and at times intractable, views on the past as well as contrasting visions of the future but one thing that is clear is that regardless of the constitutional or political status of that future, we will share the same environment.
For too long the question of environmental policy has been used as a political weapon where one ‘side’ has to take an opposing view from the other.
Some positive steps have been taken to counteract this in recent years but the temptation to run to the default party political position, particularly when an election looms, often proves too great, regardless of the environmental cost.
All of those in positions of political leadership and responsibility need to understand the difference between being politically green and environmentally green.
Endorsing green policies, even those championed by one particularly party or other, should not be seen as a dilution of political principles.
A greener future may be a loaded term which is too hard to stomach for some but it the sooner it is embraced by all the brighter the outlook will be.