Avatar 2 should make us completely rethink our relationship with the planet
The Way of Water is a movie for our times – a rallying cry to make us cherish and protect the oceans that are so vital to life on Earth
Mourn and organise: On the power of truth in a world awash with lies
This article first appeared on ABC Religion and Ethics. Upon learning that he was about to die, the Swedish-American labour activist and songwriter Joe Hill wrote a telegram to Bill Haywood, the founder of the Industrial Workers of the World. It read: “Goodbye, Bill. I die like a true blue rebel. Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!” The (para)phrase “don’t mourn, organise” received a boost in popularity when a collection of Hill’s songs were released under the title “Don’t Mourn — Organize!: Songs of the Labour Songwriter Joe Hill”. The phrase was subsequently used by the Boston Globe as the title of an article honouring the American playwright, philosopher, and socialist thinker Howard Zinn when he…
Biodiversity: Targets, Optimism, and Lies
This piece, with Victor Anderson, was originally featured in Green World here. Great rejoicing has followed the biodiversity agreement recently arrived at, just in time for Christmas. For example, ‘The Times’ editorial began: “The agreement in Montreal by 195 countries to protect wildlife and ecosystems, with 30 per cent of Earth’s lands and oceans protected by 2030, is a rare piece of good news in gloomy times.” The Environment section of the European Commission tweeted: “The new global #Biodiversity Agreement will ensure that nature keeps sustaining communities & economies for the next decades.” The nub of our claim here today is: this “ensure” is a lie. Target-setting is very different from implementation and achievement.…
The King’s Speech
This article first appeared on Brave New Europe. An alternative to the Queen’s traditional Christmas message has been broadcast since 1993 which, more often than not, gives insight into a serious issue. What if in 2022 it wasn’t needed? Eco-philosopher Dr. Rupert Read, urges King Charles to use his massive platform to highlight a critical issue close to his heart. What follows. Drawing frequently on words that he has already publicly spoken, is the speech that Charles III ought to give, in his address to the nation on December 25th. Good afternoon, on this, Christmas Day. Sadly, as many of us have experienced especially in the last few years, there…
How dolphins and whales can teach us to survive
Who are you? You go to work, hang out with friends, care for your family. You may have a favourite meal or song or movie or memory. You read certain books, purchase a specific newspaper, have your own affiliations, and vote in a certain way. You are you in a way no one else can be. But how much of you did you chose? From the day you were born you have been bombarded by person-shaping experiences, from your parents, teachers, friends, media, and society at large. No opinion you hold about any subject can exist without these shapely experiences, and thus the ‘pure’ you, unhindered by others, is practically…
‘Stubborn Optimism’ Will Pave the Way to Climate Disaster
We can’t seriously address the climate emergency until we admit that some of our hopes have died, writes Rupert Read.
EARTH VS. FUTURISM
From the way stock markets and for-profit firms operate to the way the media news-cycle works, chronic short-termism is landing humanity in desperate straits. We’re hurtling off a cliff, and hardly even preparing to make our landing softer. We’re crossing what scientists call planetary boundaries, which we ought to have stayed on the safe side of. The most well-known boundary is: maintaining a safe climate.
Will disruptive action help save the planet?
Is there any point throwing soup at a Van Gogh painting and mashed potato at a Monet? Two activists give their views
“Adversity is the first path to truth”: How climate grief could be the making of us
This article was first published on ABC Religion and Ethics, here. Gone is the age of natural disasters. The climate disasters of today are of a profoundly unnatural character. They are the product of pumping the atmosphere full of carbon dioxide, methane, and a litany of other greenhouse gases. The dire wildfires, droughts, and flash flooding we have seen in the past few years are only a taste of things to come. When confronted with the sobering reality of climate breakdown, it is tempting to give in to one of two impulses. On the one hand, there is the allure of wishful thinking, naïve optimism, and New Age (toxic) positivity.…
Is “longtermism” the cure or the sickness?
This article was first published by ABC Religion and Ethics here. Central to my work in recent years has been an anguished concern that our species and our political and economic systems are dangerously short-termist. I contend that we need to become long-termist. We need to practice precaution, looking before we leap. We need to plan for the seventh — and, indeed, the seven-hundred-and-seventy-seventh — generation. And so we need to overcome the tendencies of politicians to look no further than the next election (or even the next news cycle), of companies to look no further than the next quarterly report, and increasingly of Stock Market investors to look no…