One World Column

The logo of the One World Column.

The One World Column is a Norfolk-based collective blog which I co-founded in 2004 to provide a positive voice for the future and represent voices in the Eastern Region of the UK on peace, environment, sustainability, international development and social justice.

A burning issue: embodied emissions

I recently submitted evidence to a key Parliamentary Select Committee on a key issue of our time: the huge increase in carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels relatively inefficiently in parts of the world which have low levels of state regulation (e.g. China). This ‘outsourcing’ or ‘offshoring’ of emissions completely undermines Britain’s supposed reduction in carbon emissions since 1990.

Are we a consumerist society - or a 'producerist' society?

We are thoroughly used now to thinking of our society as a ‘consumerist’ society, and of ourselves as, above all, ‘consumers’. This seems to many of us now quite simply an obvious truth, and in some ways a good truth: think of ‘consumer protection’ and ‘consumer rights’ organisations, from Ralph Nader to Which? Think of ‘ethical consumerism’.

But: what if this self-image were in fact both misleading and disastrous?

Our responsibility to the future: justice or love?

How ought we to think of our relationship to — our responsibility for — future people? Is this question (a question pressing all the harder in the wake of the recent failure to adequately safeguard those future people, at Copenhagen) essentially a question of justice? The rallying cry at Copenhagen was, "What we do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!" But what if it's not enough to call for justice?

We told you so

If something bad happens, people who had warned that it was likely often say, "I don't like to say it, but, I told you so!"

Why is it that one is supposed not to like to say it?

Is it perhaps that we don't like to admit it when we were wrong, especially when we were warned that we were wrong? Are people who make us realise that we made a predictable - almost wilful - mistake unwelcomed because of that fact?

The honest truth is that we ought to listen to those who told us so. They saw it coming – they will be better at heading it off, next time.