|CHRISTIAN ECOLOGY LINK
Living Life and LOAFing It – Green Christians ask churches to “Use your LOAF !” on sourcing sustainable food
In the run up to Easter, Christian Ecology Link is asking supporters to think and act on how they source food for their church communities, with the aim of reducing the impact of unsustainable agriculture on their local area, and the wider world.
|CEL have launched a new colour leaflet on the LOAF programme principles in time for Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras), or Pancake Day, on 21st February 2012.|
Carbon Detox 2012 : Shed Unwanted Pounds With Our Unique Formulation
George Marshall, well-known sustainable living guru, will be asking us to challenge ourselves, our routines and bad habits, and make a 2012 all-year resolution to shed the excess carbon from our lives.
On 21st January 2012 at a convenient central London location, he will ask us to take action to get control of our personal energy, and add vitality to our lives with new aims and goals.
|The aim of the event is to help us acquire the psychological tools we need to lead slimmer, healthier and more ethically satisfying lifestyles.
Speaking from the experience gained from his decades of research and practice in the field, and giving tips and tricks from his bestseller “Carbon Detox“, George will be guiding us expertly through the carbon counting maze.
One of our leaner life activities group said : “Cutting down has been hard work, but has become much more fun now I am involved in my local group. I am looking forward to meeting my buddies on Saturday.”
Tony Emerson, the coordinator for the ecocell 2 programme said : “In three years our household has managed to halve the amount of greenhouse gases we produce – by topping up loft insulation, converting to double glazing, installing a wood stove and learning how to best use it, new heavier curtains, wall insulation, changing to a green electricity supplier, continued monitoring of timings and temperature of the central heating – and of course taking part in the ecocell 2 programme. However we still have further to go and I am looking forward to hear what George Marshall has to say. One way we are encouraging people in ecocell 2 is to have a buddy system, whereby people pair up, or group up, by phone, so that people with similar houses can support each other.”
To register for this free, all day event, including a selection of facilitated workshops and to receive your take-home worksheet pack, please email Tony at email@example.com
For photographs of the day’s events, and feedback from the workshops, please contact Jo on 0845 45 98 46 0
NOTES FOR EDITORS
a. Climate change activist and author George Marshall will be addressing green Christians during an all-day conference on Saturday 21st January 2012 in Central London.
b. The Christian Ecology Link ecocell project team will facilitate workshops on “living the truly sustainable life” at the Magdalen Centre, St Mary’s Church, Eversholt Street near Euston train station between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm 
c. George Marshall, author of the easy-to-read book “Carbon Detox : Your step-by-step guide to getting real about climate change” will be offering his fact-packed and lighthearted insights into action on climate change, drawn from his experience of over a decade of community and policy work. 
d. The event will be suitable for anybody already taking part in the ecocell project, or anybody interested in starting. The workshops on the day will be pitched at several levels.
e. The ecocell-1 workshop group will look at the introductory programme to help your family or church group take their first steps to reducing their impact on the environment. 
f. The ecocell-2 workshop will look at the more in-depth project, to provide mutual support for those who want to reduce their carbon emissions to sustainable levels within five years. 
 The Magdalen Centre, St Mary’s Church, Eversholt Street, London NW1 1BN is located about 7 minutes’ walk north of Euston train station.
For details of Christian Ecology Link, please phone Jo on 0845 45 98 46 0 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|My lovely friends.
I received a wonderful gift over Christmas – bamboo socks.
The gift of socks is a massive present cliche – often a “faux pas”.
Describing a gift of foot socks as a “faux pas” is highly amusing, because that expression is French for “false step(s)”.
|But this particular present of footwear was not embarrassing or laughable in the slightest.
It was extremely well thought out – inspiring, Zeitgeistian, educational, novel and fun – it even came in a bright orange pouch.
In Summer, by chance I was at an event where I heard the outlines and some conclusions of Lucy Siegle’s research into clothing fabrics.
Essentially, cotton is under threat worldwide – if you buy anything made from cotton, you should perhaps consider it an investment and hold onto it as long as you can. It could become quite irreplaceable.
There are solutions, even in a climate changed world – bamboo and hemp being two avenues for sourcing sustainable clothing fibres.
Fabric made from bamboo is soft and comforting, and in this particular case, quite, quite funky.
I have the obvious criticism of the use of retail – that we cannot expect to green up our lives purely through shopping – because consumerism is part of the climate change and energy crisis.
But I think that something functional like organic and recycled clothing can come into the category of truly green spending – after all, we do need to replace our clothes from time to time.
To cap it all, the socks had green stripes !
So top marks to my clever friend for cracking a superb seasonal joke and demonstrating the future of fabrics at the same time.
Raising a toast to a Sustainable 2012.
|So, after rumours and quashings of rumours, Giles Fraser has resigned as canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, “resigned in protest at plans to forcibly remove demonstrators from its steps, saying he could not support the possibility of “violence in the name of the church”…Fraser, a leading leftwing voice in the Church of England, would resign because he could not sanction the use of police or bailiffs against the hundreds of activists who have set up camp in the grounds of the cathedral in the last fortnight.”|
But just why did Giles Fraser resign ? What has it achieved ? What could it possibly achieve ? Now he’s no longer in the Cathedral organisation he cannot influence what happens. What pressures has he had to endure behind the scenes that gave him no option but to jump ?
Somebody I know has been praying that there would be heavy rain in London, just so the conditions would be impossible for the Occupyer camp to continue; that they would have to pack up and go home.
What on Earth is this @OccupyLSX protest for ? A camp of principle, to defend the right to protest ? A camp of demands, pursuing a just economics and a just society ? A camp of non-violence, when it deliberately provokes a stand-off between demonstrators and police forces ? How can the Occupyers claim to be peaceful when they know their actions have a fragmentation bomb-like effect on the society around them ? How can the Cathedral Campers evidence their intentions for a juster, saner, economic system, when the net effect of their actions is likely to be a huge law court struggle at taxpayer expense ? It’s not a revolution, it’s an irritation – or at least that is the way that it will continue to be viewed by the governing authorities.
Somebody on the inside track of campaigning in London has told me that the Occupy protest is destined to transmogrify into a Climate Refugee tent city in late November, early December. If it survives that long, then at least it can claim to be a piece of living art reflecting what is happening around the world because of climate change disasters.
Unless and until the Occupyers can take on relevance, everybody with even just a slightly-left-of-centre agenda will attempt to co-opt the Occupy London camp for their own purposes.
Remember, dear Occupyers, you are not “rising up” like the people in Libya – they were supplied with arms from around the world, forces overt and covert from Qatar, Europe and quite possibly America, and fed into a huge psychological operations narrative, ably supported by the media.
The Libyan conflict wasn’t about Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, may he rest in peace. The information management of the North African and Middle Eastern unrest shows that mass propaganda still works, and that media consumers continue to fall for the same fabrications, time after time.
|On Wednesday, I received a telephone call from an Information Technology recruitment consultancy. They wanted to know if I would be prepared to provide computer systems programming services for NATO.
Detecting that I was speaking with a native French-speaker, I slipped into my rather unpracticed second language to explain that I could not countenance working with the militaries, because I disagree with their strategy of repeated aggression.
|I explained I was critical of the possibility that the air strikes in Libya were being conducted in order to establish an occupation of North Africa by Western forces, to protect oil and gas interests in the region. The recruitment agent agreed with me that the Americans were the driving force behind NATO, and that they were being too warlike.
Whoops, there goes another great opportunity to make a huge pile of cash, contracting for warmongers ! Sometimes you just have to kiss a career goodbye. IT consultancy has many ethical pitfalls. Time to reinvent myself.
I’ve been “back to school” for the second university degree, and now I’m supposed to submit myself to the “third degree” – go out and get me a job. The paucity of available positions due to the poor economic climate notwithstanding, the possibility of ending up in an unsuitable role fills me with dread. One of these days I might try to write about my experiences of having to endure several kinds of abuse whilst engaged in paid employment : suffice it to say, workplace inhumanity can be unbearable, some people don’t know what ethical behaviour means, and Human Resources departments always take sides, especially with vindictive, manipulative, micro-managers. I know what it’s like to be powerless.
|Once again, the BBC has allowed to pass unchallenged the impression that green power policy and renewable energy investment are behind the dramatic rise in British domestic energy prices.
Disappointingly, this has come from John Craven, whose accuracy is renowned.
However, on this occasion, he has allowed a blooper meme to consolidate in the public mind.
Here’s how Countryfile went yesterday evening :-
[ Countryfile, BBC One, 16 October 2011, 18:25. Part way through recording, starting at approximately 20 minutes 32 seconds. ]
[ Ellie Harrison ] Earlier in the programme we were looking at the expected huge rise in wind power across the UK. But in the race to create more of our energy this way, who will win and who is set to lose out ? Here’s John again.
[ John Craven ] Earlier, I discovered how the plan to put wind power at the heart of our future energy supply is creating a building boom in wind farms, both on land and out at sea. With billions being poured into wind power, and with it being at the centre of the Government’s strategy on renewables, the future seems certain. So who will the losers and winners be in this wind revolution ? The most obvious winner is the environment as less fossil fuels are burnt. But who else benefits ? Well, another clear winner is big business. Companies building the wind farms get a generous price for the electricity they produce. […]
Thank you, Coal.
Thank you for the asthma, the mercury, the mountain top removal, the birth defects, the mine fatalities, the grossly inefficient electricity networks, the lack of investment in electricity networks, the smog, the heat, and above all, thank you for giving us Glenn Beck, on a platter – this is so much fun to watch !
When people like Mark Lynas accuse Greenpeace and other green campaign organisations of failings, there is any underlying theme – accusations of manipulation – both of facts and people. The sub-text harks back to the combat against fascism and Nazism in Europe.
We’re never going to make any progress on climate change if those advocating for energy change are equated to early 20th Century dictators and totalitarians.
Energy is a Social Good
I recently wrote an essay called “Energy for Democracy” making a first attempt at connecting the dots on grassroots democratic mobilisation and energy change. The subject set was in the field of “Environmental Communication”, and so I went back and looked at the development of mass media, advertising and public persuasion. I then went on to think about how propaganda and governance are interrelated. And I also looked at philosophy, and politics. I looked at the early 20th Century ideological splits in Europe, and the part that industrial development played. I looked at how democratic and other forms of socialism dealt with the problem of energy.
I posited that, since energy is produced for the Common Good, it should be subject to democratic management. I found myself “channelling” the spirit of Ramsay Macdonald, and going back to the questions of society and the integration of new industries that were pervasive before the two so-called “World Wars”.
Energy Of A Similar Wavelength
And today I find this very theme picked up by Ulrich Beck in The Guardian newspaper, along with the expression “energy change”, which is a term I am using increasingly to encapsulate the pivotal and essential response to climate change :-
“Germany is right to opt out of nuclear”, he headlines, “The rejection of nuclear power is a result not of German angst but of economic thinking. We must invest in renewable energy”.
I was gladdened when he stepped from economics to democratics :-
“…Ultimately, the rejection of nuclear is not a result of German angst but of economic thinking. In the long run, nuclear power will become more expensive, while renewable energy will become cheaper. But the key point is that those who continue to leave all options open will not invest…People everywhere are proclaiming and mourning the death of politics. Paradoxically, the cultural perception of the danger may well usher in the very opposite: the end of the end of politics…what is denounced by many as a hysterical over-reaction to the “risks” of nuclear energy is in fact a vital step towards ensuring that a turning point in energy generation becomes a step towards greater democracy…The novel coalition between the state and social movements of the kind we currently see at work in Germany now has a historic opportunity. Even in terms of power politics, this change of policy makes sense…”
The British are stumbling towards democracy, too, but they keep tripping over old divisiveness, and create new divisions too, just to complicate matters.
People Power – Not Potty Nor Puny
The Climate Camp has just been a baby step on the pathway to democratic movement on energy. Camping in coal trucks and dropping banners from power station cooling stacks has been a sign that democracy has been ailing – if there were genuine engagement between the governments, private enterprises and “campaign” groups over the future scenarios for energy, then people wouldn’t need to camp outside banks and coal-fired power plants.
As a consumer of mainstream media, all you see is the blockade of a Biofuel refinery, or people gluing themselves to the entrance of the Royal Bank of Scotland, or the occupation of a plant nursery at the site of a proposed runway. If you think “what a ramshackle bunch of unwashed hippies, straining the last of their voices, railing at the State, in a vain attempt to roll back the tide of industry, progress and Thorium reactors”, then you haven’t understood the bigger picture.
People want to be engaged in the decisions made about energy in this country – properly engaged. People want to use their knowledge to influence decisions. If the only means they have of expressing their democratic will and their opposition to hydraulic fracturing is to D-lock themselves to Shale Gas drilling equipment, then perhaps they might just do that. This might happen in Poland too. The alternative would be a proper discussion between the people groups and the governments. Where’s the European Union environmental legislature while all of this is happening ? Shale Gas could destroy Poland.
Energy Collectives – Expressing Collective Democratic Will
Groups like Fair Pensions are building momentum between people groups and investing institutions – raising the flag for clean energy. This isn’t about fighting – let’s drop the battlefield language, including that word “campaign”, which is so often used in a derogatory, dismissive, belittling way. This is about getting people working together on a new, sustainable future, and it requires all the righteous anger rising up to be channelled into a positive, productive movement, fully expressing the will of the people.
Consultations and placard-waving demonstration protests are not the way forward – we need energy change, and that’s going to require a whole lot more democratic energy. People don’t want dirty energy, and they don’t want nuclear power. Dirty energy should be asked to leave the building, nicely, politely. Firm but fair.
Group Thinking – Democratic Intelligence
Investment in renewable and sustainable energy is creating long-lasting assets for the UK and other countries. We don’t need and we don’t want dirty, radioactive energy any more. A thousand cheers for German democracy !
James Delingpole hardly ever sets his delicate foot in Wales, the country he archaically refers to as “the Principality”, apart from, ooh, about ten days a year when he holidays there, but nonetheless, feels he has some kind of inherited ex-colonial right to be affronted that large electricity generation and transmission infrastructure are going to be built there :-
He gets top marks for being rather offensive himself – achingly rude, in fact, about the Welsh Assembly, besides his getting untethered about the wind farms and pylons for the transmission cables :-
“…The wind farms are bad enough on their own. But to make matters far worse […], in order for these bird-crunching, bat-chomping, view-blighting, rent-seeking monstrosities to be connected to the grid a huge 400kv power line is going to be constructed all the way from Montgomeryshire through some of Britain’s most spectacular scenery to the equally beauteous Shropshire…”
I was encouraged to take in the audiovisual presentation of “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”, wherein Adam Curtis demonstrates what appears to be a lack of understanding regarding failure in the financial markets. Most foundational year ecologists can tell you that systems are self-correcting, that virtual bubbles get popped, that hubris gets torn down, that over-population gets underfed. Rabbits and foxes. Owls and mice. George Monbiot’s “War On Slugs” because of missing hedgehogs and thrushes. It all depends on the natural resources available to feed the participants in the game. The global economy can only accelerate growth so much before it implodes. There are Limits to Growth. Curtis could be said to be expressing his suspicions that the fake “Knowledge Economy”, the Asian “Shock Doctrine” and the Property Crash were an artefact of a secret evil cabal formed from the vaguely impressed followers of Ayn Rand – but the rest of us all know that’s silly. She was a lovely, sensitive, principled woman, although she could have done with a little more kindness in her life to inspire altruism in her worldview.
Image Credit : Earth Beat Radio
New Year, new hate campaign against Climate Change scientists :-
“Singing in the Rain : 26 January 2011 : In the past 2 – 3 weels I received a deluge of nasty-language messages saying that I should be fired, deported, run over, etc. Such a sudden burst of malice seems unlikely to be spontaneous.”
“Perhaps recent articles and internet stories provided stimulation, e.g., an article by Pat Michaels in the Washington Times and a statement by Richard S. Courtney on a blog. Michaels distorts the facts and uses quotes out of context. The Courtney statement […] mischaracterizes my testimony.”
“…The essence of my testimony, in both trials, was that the evidence for human-caused climate change is clear. I emphasized that the UK government, the fossil fuel industry, and the utility EON were aware of the effect of continued coal-burning on the future of young people. But instead of addressing the problem effectively, they engaged in greenwash…”
Over at MediaLens, the two (three) Davids are blanking the “every little bit helps” approach :-
“Focusing on personal consumption, and each of us ‘doing our bit’, is what we mean by the ‘debate’ being stuck on square one.”
Asking the general public to kindly remember to switch off their lights has had about as much impact as a light dusting of sugar. Looks pretty, but causes coughing fits when eating the cake.
I can’t wait for their comments on Climate Week :-
“One week to show how we can combat climate change…inspiring millions to act.”
Supported by David Cameron ! Sponsored by Tesco (owners of a very large and unnecessary carbon footprint) !
A zero carbon supermarket ? I really cannot believe it :-
Note in the following that Tesco don’t intend to carbon label their transport systems, warehousing or stores – only the products that consumers buy :-
In conversation yesterday evening somebody summarised the behaviour of banks and the energy industry as “greedy”, but I simply could not agree.
“It’s not greed”, I said, “most people are just trying to make a living.”
The corporations have an obligation to make profits for their shareholders, business managers have to be pragmatic, governments have to negotiate compromises and consumers are just looking to make the best use of their cash.
This is how we find ourselves locked into a vicious cycle of energy waste, through the production and use of cheap fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are so cheap, nobody can spare the investment budget to make vehicles and power generation more efficient. Natural Gas is so relatively inexpensive that it’s cheaper to heat leaky homes than insulate them. Petroleum is so cheap (even with the rising global trade price and proposed increased taxes in the UK) that a high proportion of its energy value is wasted.
“It’s not greed,” I said, “look at who owns the wealth. The overwhelming proportion of people don’t have any control. They’re just trying to get by.”
To talk of “greed” anthropomorphises the machine of the economy, imbues it with a human emotion where it has none. To say that bankers are “greedy”, or that corporations and their Chief Executive Officers are “evil” entirely misses the point. Almost everybody is employed by somebody else, and has to follow instructions.
Even High Net Worth Individuals are under pressure to respond to their “electorates”, those who consume their intellectual property rights.
However, “just following orders” is no excuse to let people off the hook when it comes to carbon emissions, just like it is no excuse for war crimes.
But it’s not “greed”.
That would imply guilt, but guilt is not a lever that can be used successfully to correct excess carbon emissions.
In the orange light-filled advertising corner : the oil and gas companies proclaiming new, untold riches beneath the melting Arctic. Technology will make us stronger, less polluting and improve the lives of the countless poor.
In the blue chain-smoking activist corner : Climate Change and Peak Oil are really, really serious, destabilising and horrible and we should all get depressed and go and lie down in a darkened room for a while.
On the other hand, most people don’t fall in one camp or the other. We worry about Climate Change some days, but we’re too pre-occupied with trivia on other days.
We have a natural in-built “happy button”, according to recent research mentioned in New Scientist magazine, so we can’t sustain feelings of doom and gloom for too long unless we’re clinically unwell :-
We’re born to be sunny, optimistic (Teddy Miliband’s favourite word) and relaxed, only reserving adrenalin and noradrenalin for times of stress.
So why does George Marshall try to convince us that everyone is dangerously susceptible to “apocalyptic” language ?
People can cope with being given bad news as long as they have some strategy with which to combat the problem.
It’s not wrong to tell people the truth about Climate Change just in case they get scared and worried.
Alarm is a good thing – I’d rather a fellow pedestrian shouted at me to “look out !” if I’m about to be mown down by a car as I cross the street, rather than just watching on and wincing at the crunch moment.
The British Government is about to announce that the people be left to the ravages of Climate Change and cope by heaving-ho and a rolling-up of the sleeves and display war-time grittedness through voluntary “Big Society” :-
“Britain must adapt to ‘inevitable’ climate change, warns minister : As experts call for action now, the coalition withholds green funding and appeals to private enterprise : By Matt Chorley and Jonathan Owen : Sunday, 12 September 2010 : Britons must radically change the way they live and work to adapt to being “stuck with unavoidable climate change” the Government will caution this week, as it unveils a dramatic vision of how society will be altered by floods, droughts and rising temperatures. The coalition will signal a major switch towards adapting to the impact of existing climate change, away from Labour’s heavy emphasis on cutting carbon emissions to reverse global temperature rises. Caroline Spelman, the Tory Secretary of State for the Environment, will use her first major speech on climate change since taking office to admit that the inevitable severe weather conditions will present a “survival-of-the- fittest scenario”, with only those who have planned ahead able to thrive. Adapting to climate change will be “at the heart of our agenda”, she is expected to say…”
“Climate change is inevitable, says Caroline Spelman : Britain can no longer stop global warming and must instead focus on adapting to the ‘inevitable’ impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels, Government ministers will warn this week. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published : 13 Sep 2010 : For the past few years Government policy has concentrated on trying to make people turn off lights and grow their own vegetables in an effort to bring down carbon emissions. But as global greenhouse gases continue to increase, with the growth of developing countries like China and India, and the public purse tightens, the focus will increasingly be on adapting to climate change. The Government will set out plans to protect power stations from flooding and ensure hospitals can cope with water shortages during dry summers….”
[ UPDATE FROM JOABBESS.COM : ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH, CLIMATE CAMP SITE HAS BEEN TAKEN. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION FROM email@example.com, Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:59 PM : “Site taken! People needed NOW! At 9.15PM tonight Climate Camp took the site on RBS HQ. Get on site as fast as you can! Defence help urgently needed. Come to RBS Gogarburn Gardens, off Gogar Station Rd. More info later. x” ]
Al Gore has been telling all the young people, and well, all of us, really, to protest, in public, to make a downright law-unabiding nuisance of ourselves :-
“Gore calls for major protests on government’s climate change inaction…In a post on his personal blog headlined “The Movement We Need”…”
Well, it won’t work to call people out onto the street. Most people are too busy credit-crunching, wage-slaving or favour-scraping to be able to commit to a short-term, potentially self-defeating public display of annoyance, frustration and shrill demands.
And if people do come out to the big protests, it won’t achieve much. News reports can be swept into the trash. Activists can be swept into holding facilities. Politicians can conveniently ignore anything that isn’t violent.
Drop the loud-hailers and home-made placards, I say, and do something more…focussed.
The Climate Camp want to target the Royal Bank of Scotland for financing Coal power plants and Tar Sands oil projects, which are very bad things to be doing, and smacks of huge corporate irresponsibility, considering the bank is largely owned by the British taxpayer, and I say, if you can’t make the camp (and I can’t for reasons which I shall not go into just now), do something about money in other ways instead.
What’s your money doing ? Which oppressive regimes in oil-rich countries is it supporting ? Which Fossil Fuel companies trashing your Environment do your bank support ? Why not switch your money to an ethical financial organisation ? Why don’t we all try to do this at the same time ? “Crowd-banking” could have an impact, you never know until you try.
Let’s pick, say, Monday 23rd August 2010. And let’s all spend our way out of Climageddon together on that day. Transfer your money to an ethical bank, or pledge to do so. Phone your bank and tell them you’re leaving for a sustainable bank.
Other actions possibly useful :-
1. Refuse to buy Fossil Fuels for a day.
2. Refuse to use any hot water for one day (most hot water is produced by burning Fossil Fuels). It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere – come on – a cool shower won’t hurt you.
3. Don’t spend any money on anything that had Petroleum-based plastic or Natural Gas-based chemicals in its production – which would rule out 85% of non-food purchases, I reckon.
4. If you’re working for a company or an organisation who have anything to do with the Energy industry, make a point of asking your boss, or their boss, or the Chief Executive or something what the company/organisation intends to do about moving the whole business to Renewable Energy.
5. One short telephone call could have you moving from burning Coal for your home electricity to a Green Energy account.
This is not a riot – but it is an emergency, and the response should match the scale of the problem.
Our Climate – Not for Sale.
Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway recommend that grassroots Internet writers focus on Climate Change Policy, in this Climate Science Watch interview shot at Netroots Nation 2010.
The subject of government policies to deal with Climate Change borders on the excessively dull – which is why most Internet web loggers (or “bloggers”) don’t want to touch Policy even with a full HazMat suit on.
It’s the kiss-of-interest-death to try to open up discussions on Carbon Taxation, Cap-and-Trade, Cap-and-Share, Cap-and-Dividend, Cap-and-Giveaway, Contraction & Convergence, Kyoto2, Border Tax Adjustments, Clean Development credits, Carbon Intensity and the like.
Only really seriously geeky, mildly obsessive people really want to think about the Big Picture. And many of us get stuck in a corner of unworkable aspiration, where we know something has to change, we fix on just a snippet of the giant problem, and then we find we cannot communicate it well enough for others to understand.
For example – very public insistence that the Coal-burning power generation industry has got to cease trading doesn’t make it happen, despite excellent reasoning and even entire Climate Camps of resistance and protest amongst the activist community.
This is probably because (a) most people don’t understand how banning Coal fits into the bigger Carbon picture, (b) most people don’t know how to go about asking the right people to ban Coal and (c) most of the Coal-burning industry don’t want people to look into their business too deeply so they have invested lots of money in public attitude smokescreens. No, it’s not a “conspiracy”. It’s a documented public relations exercise. Just ask Naomi and Erik.
It’s great to see David Mitchell tucking into a big bite of the “Voluntary Behaviour Change” posse’s pie.
Let’s be honest : nobody wants to stop consuming and burning, but we’re going to have to if the Big Energy companies don’t change the way they provide us with power and fuel.
Yes, guilt is so old-fashioned. You can’t tell the public to change their consumption behaviour, trying to make them feel personally responsible for Climate Change, whilst still providing them with environmentally damaging products.
All electricity should be Renewable, all heating systems Carbon-neutral, all manufactured products Low Carbon.
Until that day, governments will continue to hire Public Relations consultants to convince the public to make different choices, and continue to fail to make any converts.
The Economic Recession has had a clear impact on the rate of British Carbon Dioxide Emissions.
However, peoples’ individual behaviour change has not been an additional factor :-
Hat tip goes to Paul Mobbs for his note :-
“Have a look at Chapter 11/Chapter 12 for some eco-gems — e.g. “Domestic energy consumption for lighting and electrical appliances in the UK between 1970 and 2007 increased by 155 per cent…”Between 1989–91 and 2008, the proportion of children in Great Britain of
primary school age travelling to school by car rose steadily, from 27 per cent to 43 per cent…”
Asking people to curb their energy enthusiasm simply isn’t working.
Image Credit : Gilbert & George, “Nettle Dance”, White Cube
I’m in the Climate Union. Are You ?
Soon we could all be, if the expansionist plans of a group of social campaigners come to fruition.
Taking in the unions, faith communities and the usual rag-tag bunch of issues activists, the Climate Union aims to establish itself as a political force for Low Carbon.
First of all, however, it has to tackle the uneasy and prickly problem of the exact name of the movement, and the principles under which it will operate.
The flag has been flown : a set of principles has been circulated for discussion amongst the “Climate Forum”. I cannot show you the finalised document yet, but I can offer you my comments (see below).
If you want to comment on the development of this emerging entity, please contact : Peter Robinson, Campaign against Climate Change, mobile/cell telephone in the UK : 07876595993.
Comments on the Climate Forum Principles
28 June 2010
I am aware that my comments are going to be a little challenging. I made similar comments during the review of the ClimateSafety briefing, which were highly criticised.
I expect you to be negative in response to what I say, but I think it is necessary to make sure the Climate Forum does not become watered-down, sectorally imprisoned and politically neutered, like so many other campaigns.
A few new melodies…
Global Campaign for Climate Action :-
James Hansen :-
Pacha Mama, Cochabamba :-
So, I’m standing in the G2 theatre at the School of Oriental and African Studies, after the “Sceptic Backlash” event, talking with two Climate Change activists, one Irish, one American.
The question arises : since our lifestyles are causing deadly Climate Change for people in other parts of the world, maybe we should have communications based around pictures of suffering children ?
I disagree. I point out that when the environmentalists put out posters about Polar Bears, that the audience pretty quickly realised that the Polar Bears were being used as a “poster child” for Climate Change, and they started to mock the campaigning.
Every now and again, some well-meaning, or even lightheartedly jokey relative or friend lets me know I should calm down with the story of the risk of Climate catastrophe as it’s (a) not effective; (b) not necessary or (c) way off the end of the scale. Apparently I’m crying wolf, but there’s not even a messy puppy in the neighbourhood.
There are two narratives at work here. One is that people don’t like being preached too (neither do I), and they feel that the sum total of Climate Change communications amounts to somebody high up the authority chain telling them to change their behaviour, somehow making the common man (and woman) responsible for a problem that should actually be fixed by the governments, who have the power (or large companies and international corporations, who have the financial resources).
The moral of nearly every cultural telling of the Climate Change story is “ten things you can do to make a difference”, and a lot of people feel it will mean shivering in the dark with no car and more tax. People are so not into self-sacrifice and abstention from consumerism, and they react badly, even to the extent of skin rashes, to the fear of micromanaged austerity being thrust upon them.
But that’s not why I talk about Climate Change.