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”
Next week John Bunzl will be co-hosting and speaking about the Simpol solution at the Laszlo Institute’s conference: “New Paradigm in Politics & Economy” which will be held on the 23rd-24th May 2017 in Bagni di Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.
This conference will bring together some of the world’s thinkers who recognise that a new approach to economics that can underpin new political structures is urgently needed, requiring creativity and resourcefulness as well as the willpower to change an outmoded ‘Establishment’.
They recognise this need for change and will be presenting innovative and sometimes radical examples of real world initiatives that are changing the face of politics and economics and introducing more adaptive approaches to world problems.
Rupert Read reviewed Colin Hines’ ebook, Progressive Protectionism in RESURGENCE AND ECOLOGIST May/June 2017
It calls for a change of direction: away from acquiescence in the trade treaties which shaped the deregulated world that spawned the financial crisis — and toward protection of nature, workers, localities and national sovereignty, as the key locale where democracy might resist rootless international capital.
Progressive protectionism’ is completely unlike the ‘protectionism’ of the 1930s, that sought to protect one’s own economy while undermining others; this by contrast is an internationalist protectionism, aimed, “at reducing permanently the amount of international trade”, and making countries around the world more self-reliant/resilient. ‘
Read believes that too many ‘progressives’ have sleepwalked into tacitly pro-globalisation positions incompatible with protecting what we most care about.
And partly because of this, a new political power is rising that threatens to trash the future: The Brexit vote and (in particular) the election of Donald Trump have restored the word ‘protectionism’ to the popular political vocabulary.
Hines argues that we need to take back protectionism from the Right. He means that only policies of progressive protectionism can make real the idea of “taking back control”. Read thinks that’s right. If we embrace progressive protectionism, we’ve something better to offer the voting public than they have.
The chapter on ‘free movement’ will be the most controversial of all. Hines (Ed: rightly) points out that countries such as Romania and the Philippines are being stripped bare of their medical personnel, and argues that no decent internationalist can support this sucking out of ‘the brightest and the best’ from their home countries.
We can take control of the agenda, rationally and seek to minimise such movement; for example by helping to make conditions better in home countries, tackling dangerous climate change, stopping foreign wars of aggression, encouraging ‘Site Here to Sell Here’ policies everywhere, and bringing back capital controls which helped the world prosper safely from 1947 till 1971 (and which certain countries, such as Iceland, have already brought back).
Capital controls are crucial, because they stop the threat of relocation which multinationals have used to ‘discipline’ democracies for too many years now (Ed: and capital can then be reinvested in the communities from which that capital was accrued).
Hines argues that the Treaty of Rome needs transforming into a ‘Treaty of Home’ that will allow peoples to protect what they hold dear – and Read thinks politicians on the Continent need to read his book if they are to prevent further exits, starting possibly with France. Read ends:
“This book is a necessary read. Perfect it ain’t; it’s slightly repetitive, and there are problems of substance too: most Resurgence readers will (rightly) dislike how soft Hines is on economic-growthism, and will wish that he were readier to embrace the post-growth future that is demanded by the acceptance that we are already breaching the limits to growth. But if there is to be a future, then progressive protectionism will surely be part of it. This book is crucial thought-leadership for us, away from the political dead-end of globalisationist fantasy, and toward a localisation that can transform the debate – and then the world”.
Progressive Protectionism – Park House Press, 2017; ISBN 978-0-9544751-2-3
It was therefore particularly pleasing to receive this letter forwarded (but not written) by Peter Walker, the Chairman of the lively award-winning Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum in Birmingham:
You may have read the news on Twitter already but, for those of you who haven’t, here is an update on Birmingham City Council’s planning decision to approve demolition of Fitness First/PSL Bowling in favour of a Lidl supermarket on the site.
Thanks to ongoing free legal support from the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), a national UK charity that helps people use the law to protect and improve their local environment and quality of life, we have some good news to report. With ELF’s tremendous help in checking over the planning case, and a Stirchley resident and a SuperStirchley supporter willing to be named as the person challenging the public body, we sent a Pre-Action Letter for Judicial Review to Birmingham City Council.
Last night (20 March) SuperStirchley attended a public meeting at Stirchley Community Church called by Cllr Rob Sealey on the topic of Tesco’s withdrawal from its planned Stirchley site. Simon Turner (Planning Officer responsible for city south planning applications) and Ian MacLeod (Assistant Director of Regeneration and Planning) were in attendance. However, before the Tesco discussion began, Cllr Sealey made an announcement on the Lidl application:
“Following the pre-action letter setting out grounds for a judicial review that was sent to the Council by ELF on behalf of local residents, BCC has accepted that the decision had been incorrectly decided. The council will therefore agree to quash the planning permission previously granted to Lidl. This will not prevent Lidl from making a further application but such an application will be treated as a new application”.
Lidl could still submit another planning application – which would be their third – but it’s possible that would be more difficult to approve following this consent to judgment. We don’t want to raise false hopes if there are implications yet to come out – we are merely stating what was said at the meeting by council officials.
We want to thank Environmental Law Foundation for their incredible help. Please consider becoming a member to support their work – without them we wouldn’t have been able to do this.
Peter adds: “We hope this shows other locals that standing up for things that matter really can make a difference. And as we have always maintained: we are not against Lidl, we were opposing the loss of our facilities”.
Reading around the subject it emerged that Birmingham University has joined the growing national network of pro-bono ELF student law clinics. The University of Birmingham Law Clinic Contact Birmingham FLAG has No 5 Chambers in Birmingham as their supervising partner. Two very interesting cases were initially sent for their students to work on – the first was a matter concerning a Parish Council’s statutory duties to local people to provide allotments (where private allotment space had been promised and not delivered.