Writings from 2017

How whales and dolphins can teach us to be less stupid

For those tens of millions of us who have been watching the extraordinary

‘Blue Planet II’, the final programme in the series (which looked at the human-caused threats facing the seas) may have come as both a wake-up call and a disappointment. Disappointment, at what we’ve done to this beautiful planet. And perhaps also, disappointment that the BBC didn’t look deeply enough into why these harms have happened.

What emerges when we reflect more profoundly in this way?

Ideas for a Radical Green Manifesto

Ideas for a Radical Green Manifesto

Introduction: the big picture

Green politics starts from the realities we now find ourselves in. Human beings are changing the planet in fundamental ways – altering the atmosphere and climate, reducing biodiversity and trashing ecosystems. This is the Anthropocene, and human impacts are going beyond the boundaries that have maintained the planet in a relatively stable state.

At the centre of human pressures on the planet are two forms of growth – economic growth and population growth. Both are powerful and complex forces.

Gaia is dead: we have killed her, you and I: A reworking of Nietzsche’s ‘The Madman’

‘Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: “I seek the living Earth! I seek our planet, with all its riches of life. I seek Gaia!” — As there were many people standing about who did not believe in Gaia, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why! is Gaia lost? said one. Has Gaia strayed away like a child? said another. Or does She keep Herself hidden? Is She afraid of us? Has She taken a space-voyage? — the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub.

General Election 2017: a Green realignment of British politics?

Theresa May has called an election allegedly to secure her ‘mandate' for a hard Brexit - although in practice it is difficult not to see this as cynical party political maneuver to elect more Conservative MPs in the face of a weak opposition.

Despite the slew of positive opinion polls for the Conservatives that have become a distressing feature of this year's politics, the reality is that their ideology, Neoliberalism, is in deep crisis...

Alternative Brexit? Could this be the change the Greens have been waiting for?

The triggering of Article 50 earlier this week starts a new phase in the arguments about Brexit. The various negotiations that are now going to take place will in a big way determine what sort of country the UK becomes - and even whether it continues to exist at all.

Several different types of future are possible. The ones already on the political agenda are easy to outline:

(1) The UK does a deal with Trump's America to become effectively the 51st state - lowering environmental, labour, and corporate standards in order to get a deal done.

Climate change is a white swan

At the advent of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal force in the human heart: one very reasonably invites a man to consider the nature of the peril and the means of escaping it; the other, with a still greater show of reason, argues that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger since it is not in man's power to foresee everything and avert the general march of events, and it is better therefore to shut one's eyes to the disagreeable until it actually comes, and to think instead of what is pleasant.