Future generations

How cinema can change the world

Film is the great popular artform of our time. It may not always be – perhaps it might be displaced by interactive games of some sort, at some point – but right now, it is.

Artistic representations, if they are good enough and powerful enough, can catalyse. They can impact our worldview, by changing how something is conceptualized and presenting it in the context of an actual life, which abstract thinking on its own cannot do.

Extinction Rebellion: I’m an academic embracing direct action to stop climate change

Not heard of the “Extinction Rebellion” before? Then you heard it here first. Because soon, everyone is going to have heard of it. The Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent direct action movement challenging inaction over dangerous climate change and the mass extinction of species which, ultimately, threatens our own species.

After the IPCC report, #climatereality

Climate-nemesis is near-certain. But “near-certain” is not yet “inevitable”. On the contrary, it is still uncertain. By making it sound inevitable, we run the risk of fomenting inaction at the worst possible time. We need to prepare for what is near-certain. But if we give up trying to stop it then it will become inevitable. We need to try to stop it: roll on the eXtinction Rebellion.

The Domain of the Dump: A Story of Stuff

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.

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.

Guardians of Britain's future generations?

Last week in Parliament the new ‘Green House’ thinktank launched with a report I’ve authored on how to restructure our democratic institutions to take account of those who are not here yet: future people. The 30 page report prepared with the assistance of the new ‘Alliance for future generations’ umbrella-group of NGOs is called Guardians of the Future.

The starting point of my thinking on all this is this question: ‘Democracy’ means ‘government by the people’, but who are ‘the people’?

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?

The last refuge of prejudice

It is no longer socially-acceptable to exhibit prejudice against ethnic minority people on grounds of their ethnicity, women on grounds of their gender, or working-class people on grounds of their class. The last bastions of discrimination are being overcome: such as prejudice against gay and lesbian people, and against disabled people.

But is there one crucial bastion of discrimination still strongly in place?