The Ecologist

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The ecologist is a magazine offering radical thinking on environmental issues. It provides news, analysis and critiques of a range of interrelated global social and environmental concerns and challenging the political and economic thinking behind them. I’m proud to contribute on a range of issues, from alternatives to growth to democratic reform.

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.

Trump's coming ‘climate moment': and why we should be careful what we wish for...

Electoral democracy has largely failed. It has been captured by big corporates, suborned and crudified (de-deliberationised) by the corporate media, and sidelined by neoliberal globalisation (and the consequent minute-by-minute power of ‘the markets').

Perhaps the most spectacular ever instance of the failing of electoral democracy has been very recent indeed: it is the election of Donald Trump to (what is still, even now) the most powerful office in the world.

The Rise of the Robot: Dispelling the myth

Robotisation is probably going to be a temporary phenomenon: planetary limits will (within a generation or at most two) severely limit the supplies of raw materials and energy needed to enable large-scale robotisation, and pollution-crises - part-speeded-up by huge investments in automation/robotisation - will have the same effect. The question is whether we can rein in robotisation soon enough to ensure that ‘Peak Robot' occurs under our control, and not as a result of a crash forced on us by collapsing ecosystems.

The delusion of endless growth

After Brexit and Trump: don't demonise; localise!

The election of Donald Trump was a rude awakening from which many people in the US have still not recovered.

Their shock is similar to that felt by UK progressives, Greens, and those on the Left following the Brexit referendum.

In both cases, the visceral reaction was heightened by the barely-disguised racist and xenophobic messaging underpinning these campaigns.

'Progressive Alliance' is now the only alternative to the Tories

If we've learned anything from politics over the past year, it's that the era of two party politics seems to have crashed into a long-overdue end.

We are now faced with a crossroads: either we allow the UK to succumb to single party hegemony, or we pry open the door to pluralistic politics and allow a truly democratic multi-party politics to thrive.

Failure to achieve proportional representation could leave us facing unending Conservative governments for the foreseeable future - something we desperately cannot afford at this time of poverty and climate crisis.

The Precautionary Principle: the basis of a post-GMO ethic

A swathe of Ecologist articles have recently considered various different aspects of the case against GM crops.

The purpose of the current article is slightly different. It is to take a step back, and think through systematically the reasons why GM crops are (and will for the foreseeable future probably remain) wrong.

From the point of view that is increasingly, I believe, becoming understood as the ethical basis for such reasoning: that of the Precautionary Principle.

We must localise the EU and curb corporate power - but does that mean in or out?

Most voices in favour of Brexit seem to offer little more than narrow nationalism, xenophobia and racism.

Such associations make it feel impossible for most Greens and progressive thinkers on the left to vote Leave in the upcoming UK referendum.

And that settles it in the minds of some: one 'has' to vote Remain. Anything else feels 'unprogressive', reactionary, even downright dangerous.

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