Readers not already on James Robertson’s massive mailing list are advised to consider signing up to receive his Newsletter which has a wide overview of current issues, drawing on a range of sources and reaching people in many different countries. Here are a few extracts from Newsletter No. 58 – August 2017
FACING THE FUTURE
Viral essay: The Uninhabitable Earth. “It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.”
See David Wallace-Wells at www.ecologise.in/2017/07/15/viral-essay-uninhabitable-earth.
WE THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD MUST ACT, IF OUR LEADERS WON’T
14 years have passed since the British Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, offered us Our final century. “I think the odds are no better than 50/50 that our present civilisation will survive to the end of the present century”. See www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk2000/newsmakers/ 2976279.stm. If the leaders of our countries pay no attention to those warnings, we the people of the Earth must respond.
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE RESPONDING INCLUDED:
- The Ecological Land Co-operative works towards a living, working countryside (Ed: co-founder Shaun Chamberlin). “Our mission is to provide affordable opportunities for ecological land-based businesses in the UK. We support rural regeneration by developing affordable sites for farming, forestry and other rural enterprises which are viable and ecologically beneficial”. Their current 2017-2020 Business Plan sets out more about their work. See www.ecologicalland.coop.
- The Farmer Is The Future, by Julian Rose. See www.notthembutus.wordpress.com/discussion-papers/the-future-is-the-farmer-julian-rose.
- Localise West Midlands works towards local supply chains, money flow, ownership and power for a more just and sustainable economy. Its joint co-ordinator is Karen Leach. This not-for-personal-profit thinktank, campaign group and consultancy exists to promote the environmental, social and economic benefits of:
Local trading, using local businesses, materials and supply chains
Linking local needs to local resources
Development of community and local capacity
Decentralisation of appropriate democratic and economic power
Provision of services tailored to meet local needs.
And finally: The overwhelming negatives of the Hinkley Point deal.
“The Chinese and French have made British consumers the equivalent of a gargantuan payday loan. The case for the project, says the NAO, was “marginal” and the deal “not value for money”. That is auditor-speak for crazy.” See www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/23/hinkley-point-cancel-theresa-may-hs2.
Diana was responding to the riposte to Professor Minford made by Molly Scott Cato whose work she has long admired:
“She has made a much neglected point about all those small overlooked timing and communication factors which should be taken into account in any rational economic decision.
“However, in my view, the referendum decision of 2016 should have been debated much more fully and three-dimensionally beforehand.
“Brexit is essentially not just about economics, statistics and accountancy (which was, I believe, the main reference point), but about affirmation of much more lasting and enduring issues such as political and cultural unity, integrity, solidarity, harmony and mutual humanitarian support in the face of creeping materialism overruling basic human values”.
Shaun opens with a reference to a workshop at the first national gathering of the U.S. Transition movement: “All 180 attendees at that gathering were gifted a copy of Surviving the Future, courtesy of a wealthy fan of the book, and to honour Fleming’s influence on the birth of Transition“. He refers to Mark Boyle’s article in The Guardian and we note this paragraph:
“The late David Fleming – one of the greatest thinkers you’ve probably never heard of – said in his recent posthumously published magnum opus, Lean Logic, that “localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility, but it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative”.
A Spanish publisher has now signed up to translate and publish Surviving the Future for the world’s half-billion Spanish speakers!
Shaun continues: “And filming is now underway for an hour-long film on David Fleming’s life, legacy and vision, provisionally titled The Seed Beneath The Snow! BAFTA lifetime achievement award winning director Peter Armstrong is at the helm, and I hope to be able to include an early teaser clip in the next update – stay tuned…”
The books were also named in ‘best of 2016’ lists by both GreenBiz and The Times Higher Education Supplement!
This dedicated page on the Fleming Policy Centre website has at-a-glance summaries of the reviews to date, videos from the launch events, links to buy the books etc: http://www.flemingpolicycentre.org.uk/lean-logic-surviving-the-future/
VIDEO (8 mins): 2016 event at Trinity College, Oxford University, Jonathon Porritt and Shaun Chamberlin discuss the work of David Fleming (Trinity alumnus ) focusing on economic collapse and the rediscovery of culture grounded in place. They were celebrating the launch of ‘Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It’ and the paperback ‘Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy’.
Follow @LeanDictionary on Twitter to stay up-to-date with all the latest
Mary continues to work for a better health service (as a retired health professional) and serve rural India with Assefa and Action Village India. She was recently snapped (below, far right) with the able MP Clive Lewis, supporting CAAT’s campaign to ban the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the UK’s biggest arms customer. It represses its own population and has used UK weapons to help crush democracy protests in Bahrain. UK-made warplanes are now playing a central role in Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen.
The High Court rejected the claim brought by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) against Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, over the decision to continue to grant licences for the export of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia. CAAT is now pursuing an appeal.
In lighter vein we must celebrate Mary and other networkers who introduce other splendid people, one instance being Richard Douthwaite who made the link with the late David Fleming.
Mary introduced James Bruges at the launch of Steve Schofield’s 2002 report: The UK and Non-offensive Defence: An Introductory Study on the Implications of the UK Adopting a Non-offensive Defence Stance, launched in the Commons by former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle. James has done excellent work on so many fronts and we note that so much has been omitted from his profile here: his ‘Little Books’, the contributions made by his family trust and his work on biochar, which has attracted many readers.
More recently Mary introduced Fran Wilde, also a supporter of Assefa and Action Village India. Amongst many other activities she is a leading light in organising and running the Madras Café at music festivals such as WOMAD. What started as a chai stall has now become a festival institution, serving Indian food to thousands of people. Staffed entirely by willing volunteers, all the profits from Madras Cafe go back to Action Village India to support rural initiatives and help to combat poverty and social injustice across India.
Highly recommended: Fran has produced a short film about her time in Minjur near Madras where women are involved in upgrading their homes from traditional mud and thatch which are vulnerable to the elements.
CAAT’s campaign ‘Arms to Renewables’ will be holding an event on September 6th, calling for jobs that create a safer, rather than a more dangerous world.
Earth, Culture, Economy – The Power of Local, UK
Monday, July 24th to Friday, July 28th, 2017
The Old Postern, Dartington Totnes, TQ9 6EA, Devon, UK
Helena Norberg Hodge
What would the world look like if humans lived harmoniously with nature rather than creating environmental mayhem? An important pathway for achieving this is to create an economic system which enhances both human and ecological wellbeing.
Drawing inspiration from Gandhi, Schumacher and the fundamental laws of Gaia, this course will explore urgently needed alternatives to business-as-usual economics. Our focus will be on the power of economic localization, a solution multiplier which restores the fabric of community, while simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions, unemployment and the gap between rich and poor.
You will join an in-depth exploration of the steps involved in moving toward integrated, human-scale economic structures in which deeply personal, heartfelt relationships matter most of all. Envisioning a shift from global to local entails grappling with a number of difficult questions: Just how localised should we strive to be? What strategies can be employed to overcome the entrenched power of big business, big banks, and big government? What is the role of technology in a localised economy? How do we start from where we are? We’ll discuss these topics and more.
Together, we’ll address the shifts needed at both policy and grassroots levels. We’ll honour the wisdom and practical knowledge of indigenous cultures and envision a society based on the proven principles of connection and community. We’ll learn from the kaleidoscope of people-powered movements around the world—a source of real hope for the future which has been almost completely ignored by the mainstream media.
Our approach will be very broad and holistic and we will consider a range of themes from perspectives of both the global North and South, including:
- How to measure real progress
- Putting food and farming at the center of the local economy
- Reducing energy use while creating meaningful jobs
- Tackling climate change through localization trade
- The balance between urban and rural
- The spiritual and psychological benefits of connecting to nature and community
- Healthcare in a life-based economy
- Resolving the roots of racial, ethnic and religious conflict
- Restoring democracy through localization
This course will give you a global perspective on localization and equip you with practical strategies for fostering and supporting genuine social, ecological, and economic renewal, wherever you may be.
Fee: £ 795.00 Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon, and includes four nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.
To register: Login/ Register Schumacher College. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Feasta*, Afri, Comhlámh and Friends of the Earth organised a public meeting at The Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, Dublin last week.
An online search revealed that the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) is is the legal team for the ceremonial resistance camps at Standing Rock, North Dakota. The Energy Transfer Partners‘ Dakota Access Pipeline in the northern United States was projected to run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois, crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, as well as under part of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
WPLC is dedicated to protecting the sovereign treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and providing legal representation and coordination for Water Protectors engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing the Missouri River which constitutes a threat to the region’s clean water and to ancient burial grounds.
It maintains a presence on-site and provide legal advocacy, jail and court support, criminal defence, and civil and human rights protection to the native people and their allies gathered there. There is more information about events there and several videos at: http://bsnorrell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/standing-rock-prayers-at-water-live-now.html
For new readers: Caroline Whyte links us with the work of the late Richard Douthwaite, co-founder of FEASTA, whose books included ‘The Growth Illusion’ and recently we received the information-packed annual report for 2014 & 2015. See their website: http://www.feasta.org/.
“We launched our new video series at Petersham Nurseries Restaurant, London, featuring Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mark Hix, Amelia Freer and a host of other celebrated chefs, and the farmers who provide their pork.
“The videos champion high animal welfare British farming and urge us all to join the #TurnYourNoseUp at pig factories campaign. Could you taste the difference between pork from a high welfare farm, and pork from a factory farm? Mark Hix, Damian Clisby & James Golding hosted our event to showcase the difference.”
“We screened the second episode of our ‘Rooting For Real Farms’ series at the event. Watch it here: farmsnotfactories.org/rooting-for-real-farms/ep-2. In this video we meet Harry Boglione, a passionate advocate of Slow Food and sustainable living and owner of Haye Farm Devon, which he founded in 2014 after escaping London with partner, Emily. The now fully organic mixed farm supplies pigs, chickens, rabbits, ducks and seasonal vegetables to Petersham Nurseries, as well as other renowned London restaurants. Harry set up the 66 acre farm with no formal training and rears Oxford Sandy and Black and Gloucester Old Spot pigs. He believes the way to achieve sustainability is by “doing a bit of everything”, adding, “I am yet to give a pig antibiotics, they are incredibly resilient creatures so if you’ve got to give them antibiotics your doing something incredibly wrong. Not only is it cruel but its not healthy, and its not sustainable”.
“Animal factories cram pigs into such overcrowded and unhealthy conditions that they need to be routinely dosed with antibiotics just to keep them alive. The sheds become a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, bringing us ever closer to the time when antibiotics no longer work as a cure for animal or human diseases. By only buying pork with high welfare labels we can close pig factories. It’s that simple!”
Tracy urges readers to share the video on social media channels.
Julian Rose sends news of the Belweder Declaration
“We, the undersigned, believe that industrial methods of food production constitute a very serious threat to the Polish people and the Polish countryside, and therefore we URGE the President and the Polish Government to respect the voice of the majority of their electorate and immediately implement the postulates of the BELWEDER DECLARATION: ‘The Charter of Real Farming and Real Food’ “
Its demands make many valuable points, including:
The need to recognise the key role of small and medium farms in the protection and preservation of food sovereignty that is essential for the basic supply of food for the nation.
The removal of restrictions concerning the possibility to buy a full range of products from local farmers by shops, schools, restaurants and other institutions.
Support for the processing of foods on farms and the use of renewable energy sources.
Implementation of an immediate ban on the sales, cultivation and production of GMOs, as well as an effective strategy for the production of GMO-free Polish animal feeds.
The introduction of organic farming methods into schools’ and universities’ curriculums as one of the main directions and not just an alternative to industrial methods of food production.
We urge the President and the Polish Government to stop promoting the current agricultural policy based on highly chemical, industrial farming that can lead hundreds of thousands farmers to bankruptcy, soils to degradation and the country to food catastrophe.
Reviews of the book which Christine recently finished writing: “Three Generations Left? Human Activity and the Destruction of the Planet” are coming in. We direct readers to the latest one which was written by Caroline Whyte and first published on the FEASTA website,
Christine’s book outlines how so-called progress has combined with a host of other factors, including free trade, a market economy, population increase and the development of a super-rich minority owning most of the wealth of the planet, to bring about global warming and climate change which could lead to a loss of many species and mass human extinction before the end of this century. (Right: book signing at seminar)
It is also constructive – see some proposals published on the West Midlands New Economics website which are to be structured and extended.
Young readers in Uganda and India
Her target audience is aged 15-18 and any adult new to the subject. The writer was struck by the reaction of a teenage visitor from Mumbai (left) when given a copy recently. He looked delighted and not only gave thanks, but after leafing through the book repeated them far more emphatically.
When Charles in Uganda (below) was 15 he wrote about the drama project he founded, focussing on corruption: “You see a change maker doesn’t need to sit and keep quiet when there is an enemy ruining people that is why I never gave up with Drama project because I believe it create changes in this country and all over the world . . . It hurts me so much when I see some NGOs have stopped to offer their aid to this country because of the rampant growing of a big-headed corruption in this country Uganda and maybe in some other countries also. So you find that the people deep in the villages are the one to suffer – and they suffer a lot.”
Recently Charles – now 19 – who has obtained good exam results, ‘topping’ his schoolmates in economics, history and literature – made a video with the primary purpose of seeking help with fees to enable him to attend university. Like all the young people on the Butterfly Project, he is from one of the poorest of families in his area.
After introducing himself, he refers to the way in which Christine’s book inspired him and strengthened his desire to study economics at university, an education which would enable him to work to address the gap between rich and poor. He speaks of reading about the way economic activity can affect our environment and social lives and of the modern economics in her book – free of greed and selfishness (perhaps referring to New Economics – NEF?)
He ends by saying that he seeks education to fit him to create change in his community.
A UNA reviewer called Christine’s book a wake-up call: “A succession of well-researched and wide-ranging facts substantiate its warning. She addresses readers who are likely to remain sceptical of her predictions, piling fact upon fact, ending with the entreaty, “Look at the evidence”. However sceptical the reader may be, a close consideration of the evidence set out by Dr Parkinson must surely cause such a reader to reconsider his or her opinion”.
Full details about the book, and many articles of interest, may be seen on Christine’s website.
Elizabeth Way writes:
In the title of her book, “Three Generations Left?” Dr Christine Parkinson sounds an urgent note – a wake-up call. She follows this with a succession of well-researched and wide-ranging facts to substantiate this warning.
She addresses those readers who are likely to remain sceptical of her predictions, piling fact upon fact, ending with the entreaty, “Look at the evidence”.
Elizabeth believes that however entrenched in scepticism the reader may be, a close consideration of the evidence set out by Dr Parkinson must surely cause such a reader to at least reconsider his or her opinion.
She indicates some steps that could be taken to ward off the coming destruction – asking: “But will they be taken? And will they be taken in time?”
Christine Parkinson’s book, “Three Generations Left? Human Activity and the Destruction of the Planet”, outlines how so-called progress has combined with a host of other factors, including free trade, a market economy, population increase and the development of a super-rich minority owning most of the wealth of the planet, to bring about global warming and climate change which could lead to a loss of many species and mass human extinction before the end of this century. It is quite constructive, despite its title. Her target audience is aged 15-18 and any adult new to the subject.
John Bunzl comments, “Christine Parkinson lists the essential pointers towards a just and sustainable global economy. Many of the policy recommendations she lists are likely to require a transnational approach because of the first-mover competitive disadvantage problem, so Simpol would potentially be one way to approach it. With the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) campaign citizens don’t need to hope politicians will act, they can force them to do so.
“By using our votes in a completely new way that makes international cooperation in politicians’ vital best interests, Simpol offers us a useful electoral lever for achieving global solutions. To see how it works and how you can join in, go to http://uk.simpol.org”