I had a chastening experience the other day. I went to my local municipal dump (aka ‘the recycling centre’), to recycle (or, as it turned out: to dump…) some old carpets that had been covering ground where no growth was occurring, at my allotment. What chastened me was something that I, perhaps like you, somewhere deep down knew was true, but had managed to make myself forget. Namely: how much of our rubbish is still just that. Stuff that cannot be recycled, but is simply destined to be stockpiled, burned, or landfilled.
This winter, now finally ending, has seen disturbing early signs of the Earth’s climate starting perhaps to go out of control. The fierce cold snap in the UK occurred because the Arctic’s normal weather came down here; meanwhile, the Arctic was off-the-scale warm.
It’s time we faced up to reality: humanity is almost certainly going to have to learn to live in a world that has been radically damaged and transformed by human-triggered climate change. We are – virtually all of us, either softly or (less often) explicitly – in climate denial. The greenhouse gases we have polluted the atmosphere with have already set us down a path of serious and possibly irreversible environmental disruption, and the prospect of technocratic rescue is as unlikely as it is worrying on its own terms.
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
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.
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...
Why a project to find common meaning in our common struggle to prevent climate-catastrophe deserves the name 'Apollo-Earth'
There is a mission brewing and building, a mission that needs all hands that are ready: To bring the 'un-named movement' - the 'for-life' story of our time - to a tipping point.
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.
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