Blog posts by our members

November 2016

A few outline thoughts on Progressive Alliances from Wandsworth Green Party member Bruce Mackenzie

 

We live in critically challenging times.  We need to do whatever we can to bring about the transition to a truly sustainable, fear-free world.  The ecological imperative becomes more urgent by the day, while corporate short termism and other vested interests remain intent on their own agenda, and obstructive of alternatives.

 

Electorally, in a fist-past-the-post system, Greens remain on the fringe.  In some policy aspects we have had a positive influence, but the mainstream fixation with the harmful, damaging illusion of perpetual economic growth confines, as does environmental degradation and increasing socio-economic inequality.

 

To maximise the uptake f a new (local as global) paradigm – Living more, using less – various opportunities unfold:

 

  • Living lightly on the planet
  • Developing links/connections with individuals and groups
  • A fierce and protective love of the vulnerable, natural world
  • Conscious outreach to the wider community-leaflets,stalls,campaigns etc.
  • Standing candidates in local, regional and national elections
  • Forming alliances with other progressive groups/political parties.

 

Personally, I view the current, many faceted crisis (local, regional, global) as a potential evolutionary turning point, in which we – humankind – might possibly opt for a future rooted in care/share, cooperation, compassion, discarding our exploitative habits and distorted priorities.

 

To change the nature of the political process will need shifts of attitude, the introduction of P.R., plus effective devolution (local forums/assemblies etc) on a national and regional basis.

 

At the moment, there is minimal mainstream, consideration of P.R.  In their initial message, (September 2016) to the Partly, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley stated: “WE are resolute in wanting to explore the potential for alliances with other progressive parties in order to deliver votes.”

 

Exploration inevitably involves risk.  In the recent Whitney by-election – which was won (on a much reduced majority) by the conservative candidate, it was pointed out that if the left (Lab. Lib Dem, Green) had united with a single candidate, it could have changed the face of politics in Britain.  (see Anne Perkins in the Guardian).  The article concluded: “Instead it will be business as usual.”

 

It will be difficult – if not impossible – for Greens to achieve the necessary changes by ourselves.  The growing membership, the spread of policy ideas (eg. Citizens Income) is positive and welcome.  This trend will be enhanced through working with others in cooperation.

 

There are various formats for electoral alliances (eg. Tactical, Open ‘cross-party’ Primaries). As important, if not more-so, is the on-going process of working with others in the community, seeking to build something of a wider movement – with political edge and bite.

In the challenging task of societal transformation, the breaking down of barriers/transcending differences can serve to establish common ground, grow trust, working for the common good.

 

 

July 2016 from Wandsworth Green - Liam Morgan

Parks for people not for profit

“Oi, get off your bike, the road through the park is closed, you’ll need to walk it along the footpath”, such were the pleasant words I was greeted with one summer’s evening in late June this year whilst attempting to cycle home through Battersea Park. The disruption to my journey was down to the preparations being made to turn the park into a full scale Formula E (Electric) racing track, for the second consecutive year.  This event results in Battersea Park being partially closed for one month and entirely closed for four days, bar a small strip of land in one corner.  With around 800 highly polluting flat bed lorries and heavy machinery constantly in and out of the park in order to construct the track walls and stands, and with poor health and safety standards in place, much of the park becomes off-limits to residents and visitors for a number of weeks.  The fact that the event is held in mid-summer means that even more people have their access to the park curtailed.

Preparation for Formula E at Battersea Park

 

In the run up to the first Formula E event at Battersea Park in 2015, Wandsworth Green Party worked alongside local residents to raise awareness of the upcoming closures and disruption to park users.  In reference to the fact that a private company was making profit from the park to the detriment of park users, we launched a campaign called Parks for People not Profit.  The campaign involved Wandsworth Green Party members actively engaging park users on the issue, distributing around 5,000 leaflets and encouraging them to sign a petition against Formula E being held in Battersea Park to Wandsworth Council.  The leaflets also drew attention to the Save Falcon Park campaign to resist plans to install a pay to access 3G artificial grass football pitch in the middle of the small park near Clapham Junction.  We also highlighted how in both cases there were minimal levels of consultation between Wandsworth Council and local communities who use the parks.

Falcon Park

While the Save Falcon Park campaign continues, the campaign to prevent the annual Formula E event retuning to Battersea Park in future years has been successful.  Building on the awareness raising campaign in the summer of 2015 the excellent Save Battersea Park campaign was launched by Battersea Park Action Group (BPAG) made up of local residents (please see their website for comprehensive details), which put increased pressure on Wandsworth Council and Formula E to end the 5 year contract they had signed.  Following the real threat of legal action being taken by a claimant supported by BPAG, Formula E organisers informed Wandsworth Council in May this year that they would be looking for an alternative location in 2017. This is no doubt a great victory for the users of Battersea Park and clearly shows what can be achieved through community mobilisation.

Formula E at Battersea Park

It will not surprise many to know that the campaign against Formula E was not the first against commercialisation or privatisation in Battersea Park. Over the last couple of years Wandsworth Green Party has again been active in supporting community groups including Playgrounds Uncut, Wandsworth Against Cuts and Occupy London in resisting the privatisation of an adventure playground.  Sadly despite getting over 2,000 people to sign a petition against the privatisation this campaign was not ultimately successful.  The free to access adventure playground has since been replaced by basic swings and slides for younger children and by a pay to play (£18 – £33 per child) ‘Go Ape’ adventure playground aimed at older children.  Wandsworth Green Party member Lois Davis who was involved in the campaign produced this video which presents the views of children, parents and campaigners who were opposed to Wandsworth Council’s decision.

The privatisation and commercialisation of public parks in London is part of a growing trend across the country as a direct result of the Government’s austerity policies. A report by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014 found that 45% of local authorities are considering either selling both parks and green spaces or transferring their management to others. Indeed just last week MPs on the Commons Communities and Local Government Committee launched an inquiry into the impact of budget cuts on public parks. The Green Party was the first political party in the UK to be actively opposed to the political ideology of austerity. We believe that as one of the richest nations in the world, the Government’s budget deficit resulting from the 2007-08 financial crisis should not be shouldered by the poorest in society through cuts to social security and public services. 

In addition to the environmental benefits associated with green space in urban areas, research indicates a long-lasting positive impact on people's mental well-being, with people displaying fewer signs of depression or anxiety. The role of green space becomes even more crucial in this regard with the cash strapped NHS unable to provide the mental health service that is needed by so many people. In order to better protect London’s parks we support the Mayor of London’s All London Green Grid policy framework and the initiative to make London a National Park City.  We are also keen to explore alternative models for park management which could include Community Land Trusts such as that proposed by a group of South London Green Parties for the management of Crystal Palace Park.  On Love Parks Week it is more important than ever that we protect, improve and promote our green spaces in London.

 

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July 2015 from Wandsworth Green - Neil Partridge

London Pride March 2015

London Pride March

 A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of joining the Green Party marching at this years London Pride March. I have been attending this event since the late 1980's. I used to march regularly at Pride every year. But for several years i have just stood on the sidelines applauding and watching the Parade and marchers. 


Since the I first began marching much has changed politically for people from the LGBTQ community. Back then I once stood outside Downing Street with my then boyfriend and we kissed each other along with other couples, which at the time was an illegal act for which we could have been arrested, or physically attacked. We demonstrated for equality in the age of consent for gay men to be able to have sexual relationships at the same age that heterosexual people were legally able to have sex, marry, and have children. (there was no such disqualification for Lesbians as Queen Victoria did not believe women did such things). We were being told that people were not mature enough to decide whether they were gay or not at 16. I was interviewed on the news at one demonstration and the point i made was it was ludicrous that you were mature enough to be a parent at 16, but not  enough to be able to decided your sexuality and act upon it. There were some in the Common's & the Lord's that said equality would make young men become prey to being raped (they did not seem to mind that girls by their argument might already be in this boat). Thankfully through campaigning long and hard these inequalities have been consigned to history. Though at that time i never imagined Gay marriage would ever be introduced in my lifetime, and neither did I that LGBTQ people would be able to serve in the armed forces. 

So on this march I reflected on the battled past. I watched gleefully at young LGBTQ people enjoying the freedoms that I was a small cog in bringing about. Many young people will not even remember a time when such inequalities exited in law. At the march which was boosted by great weather, I sensed an air of celebration; not just because of gay marriage becoming law in the UK, but of course the march came hot on the heels of the same changes being approved in Ireland and the US. Many organisation's march at Pride. And though it does annoy me that the march was sponsored by Barclays bank, I was pleased to see many groups represented. Some that marched were doing so representing the many countries, communities etc where LGBTQ people are still today being punished brutally because they love a person of their own gender. We all know that somewhere in the world right now there are people awaiting being hanged for simply being gay. Even in countries that the UK Govt does deals with are acting in this manner. We also must remember that still in the UK people are subjected to being called names, being physically assaulted etc just because of their sexuality. I doubt that their are many LGBTQ people who have completely escaped from some form of prejudice in their lives over the years due to this. 

There were not as many people marching behind the Green Party banner as i had hoped to see. I know some people where involved in Green Party events at Glastonbury, and some members were marching with other organisation's like the Quakers or Trade Unions etc. We received a great response on route from the masses that were watching us march. I hope that in future more people will take the opportunity to march with us. I would also like to see non LGBTQ people marching, because this battle for the freedom to be who are we are and that we should be able to do so without fear of discrimination or abuse, should be battle that belongs to all of us. I am not from an ethnic minority, and have been fortunate not have experienced racism, but I regularly march in solidarity with those who do experience this on a regular basis at anti-racism events. For me wherever we see inequality & discrimination we must all stand together and challenge it. See you all at Pride next year!!!!

 

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August 2014 from Wandsworth Green, Richard Carter

PUTNEY GREEN CLOSURE


Putney High Street rush hour nowPutney High St normal

 

changes to traffic levels in the High Street - a wonderful vision of how things could be

The temporary closure of Putney Bridge has brought bliss to the streets, with traffic – and the pollution it causes - hugely reduced.   The experience has been so positive that some people have argued for the bridge to remain permanently closed.  This is not only unlikely but inequitable.. Although some traffic will have ‘evaporated’ as drivers decide it’s not worth it, and the summer holidays have brought reductions in road use there has clearly been significant? traffic displacement onto neighbouring bridges.  Putney’s joy comes at the expense of others.

If that’s the wrong lesson to draw from the closure, what’s the right one? Actually, this closure has demonstrated dramatically what could be achieved if only governments could summon up the courage to introduce effective traffic management on all roads so that people drove only when really essential. As well as restrictions such as extending congestion charges,,there could be incentives, for example for drivers who took one or more passengers . Much stronger measures are needed to reduce atmospheric pollution from NOx gases and diesel particulates.  Real reductions in car and fuel use are essential for helping towards achieving targets to mitigate global warming .

The Putney Bridge closure  has given residents a tantalising taste of low traffic living - if only government could shake off its obsession with the car lobby and take decisive action for planet and people!

 

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September 2013  Wandsworth Green Lois writes


It’s really worrying – opinion polls tell us that huge majorities in the US, France, Germany, UK and all over the world are against military intervention in Syria but it’s very likely to happen anyway so where does that leave democracy?.  Here in the UK, we have been able to object through a vote in Parliament but we have John Kerry flying in trying to get that decision reversed.  We are told that it all has to do with the crossing of red lines.  Seems to me that Kerry is also crossing a red line; intervening in our democratic process.  The UN is supposed to provide us with an agreed red line on acts of aggression but that’s also being ignored.  And with the world’s biggest arms fair taking place here in London there are a whole load more red lines being crossed. What about the lethal weapons being sold to Bahrain and other ruthless dictatorships at the arms fair?   Who’s selling white phosphorus (and the means to unleash it) to who this week, not to mention who has used it as a chemical weapon already.  Where was the department of Trade and Industry’s red line when they approved export licences to sellers of chemicals used in sarin gas recently?  In such a climate of red lines and moral confusion it’s been a huge relief to see the Green Party making a principled stand.  I was on the march against an attack on Syria on Saturday 31st August and Natalie Bennett was there at the rally in Trafalgar Square reminding us of the dreadful consequences of military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq and of the importance of a UN sanction for military intervention.  She was here outside the arms fair today too(8th Sept) calling for an end to government subsidies for the arms trade.  Thank goodness for the Green Party –they understand where those red lines we must not cross really lie and as a pacifist and defender of democracy I’m proud to be a member.


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April 2013. Wandsworth Green Bruce writes:


Benefit cuts, bedroom tax, rising charges - an attack on poorer families/households 
 
Overall, the impact of the cuts  falls greatest on low income households. Cuts focused on Housing Benefit are already causing the break-up of families from their communities and support networks. Increased poverty, debt and evictions are sure to follow.
Wandsworth Green Party opposes all cuts in benefits and tax credits. The national deficit was the direct result of irresponsible bankers, with a casino mentality set within a deregulated market (the true legacy of 'Thatcherism'....!). We reject the scapegoating that is current governmental strategic mode, along with the false divisions and attempted stigmatisations of people who are low-paid or unpaid (the majority - some 60% or more - of those on Housing Benefit are in work).
We are involved locally with Wandsworth Against Cuts (WAC), who are campaigning in support of residents of estates who have already received letters from the Council regarding bedroom tax charges.
The national Benefit Justice Campaign is holding a Summit gathering on Saturday 11 May, 11am, at Central Hall, Westminster. To register: benefitjustice@gmail.com
 
This is a campaign that will grow, and keep growing. Get on board....!
 
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Mar 2013. Our long-serving member Roy Vickery writes:

I want the best! All too often people tell me ‘a Green vote is a wasted vote’, or ‘I would vote Green if you stood a chance of being elected’.

What nonsense. No vote is wasted, every vote cast shows all political parties what people care about. Look at the way Cameron is trying to bend over backwards to scoop up UKIP votes. If more people voted Green other parties would make substantial changes to their manifestoes and adopt genuinely green policies . Perhaps the Green Party doesn’t stand a chance (perhaps if it did stand a chance it would have changed to the extent that it was no longer green), but Green Party members demand change: we want the world’s resources to be used more carefully so that we bequeath a healthy planet to our grandchildren; we want the world’s resources to be more equally used to the benefit of all; we want to build healthy communities which put the need before greed.

We need these changes now. As I see it, it doesn’t matter which political party starts bringing them about, but it’s important that the Green Party maintains its pressure and encourages everyone who shares our aims to vote for the only party which at present continually pushes truly green policies.



‘Gay’ marriage

Roy Vickery writes:

Regardless of how they categorise their sexuality many people consider same-sex marriage to be of little importance. But it’s a matter of equality: how can we say that love between you and your same-sex partner is less valid than the love between two people of different genders? How can you measure the strength of love between two people? When romantic love grows between two people, why should some couples be allowed to marry, and others denied the opportunity of so doing?

We must allow all those who want to do so to celebrate their love by being allowed to marry.



Ash dieback

Our member Roy Vickery, a botanist, writes:

During the winter the threat to our ash has been dropped from the news headlines. How did ash dieback reach the British Isles, and how can the invasion of similar diseases be prevented in the future?

It appears that ash dieback arrived in the British Isles on imported young ash trees. Why did we import these trees? Ash trees produce masses of viable seeds each year, and these seeds readily germinate – ash is one of the first trees to colonize neglected gardens, cemeteries and waste ground. It can, in some places, behave as a woody weed. Why didn’t we grow our own ash trees? This could be done neglected areas in school grounds, odd scraps of waste ground, and similar places. It could provide an occupation for the unemployed, an opportunity for people who have no access to gardens to grow things, help fight obesity, and help connect school children with the natural world. It appears that the main reason why ash trees (and trees of other species) are imported is that there’s money and prestige in planting trees, but very often it’s better to not plant trees but to allow woodland to naturally recolonize areas. This means that local seeds naturally grow and local clones, which are uniquely suited to the local environment, eventually create new woodland. So the ash trees which have over thousands of year become peculiarly adapted to the geology and climate of south London, rather than continental clones, fill our newly wooded areas. This also means that the developing woodland goes through the natural stages of regeneration, providing as it does so a changing variety of habitats, which provide food and homes for a wide variety of insects, mammals and birds.

At the same time we need to be aware that Britain’s flora and fauna is threatened by climate change. We need to decide: do we want to maintain our native wildlife, in which case we need to prevent climate change, or are we happy for our native wildlife to be threatened by an ever increasing number of alien species?

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Jan 2013: Party member Lois Davis wrote the following blog:

Standing on platform nine at Clapham Junction again – fares have gone up but the service is still the same.  A very  loud voice on the tannoy tells us that the train is late because the incoming train was delayed. What kind of an excuse is that when I could loose my job if I’m late again – it doesn’t wash with my line manager.  The next announcement says that ‘bicycles cannot be taken on certain peak time journeys because they ‘may cause inconvenience to fellow passengers’.  Hang on! I’m a fellow passenger and I’ve never been inconvenienced by bikes.  In fact I love to see them.  Every bike represents to me a reduction in our carbon footprint.  If you’ve worked out a journey to work that involves trains for the big bits and a bike for the bits that public transport doesn’t cover as opposed to a car from door to door I think you’re a hero.  I’ll willingly have your handlebars in my ribs if the train is crowded. But why is the train so crowded?  Why is there an empty first class carriage instead of a bike carriage?  Probably because rail transport is run for profit not for people and certainly not for our planet.  

That’s why the Green Party’s policy to re-nationalise the rail system is one of my favourite policies.  It makes such a lot of sense.  If private operators are making money out of rail transport, which they are by the fistful, lets have that money invested in the public interest.  Lets have rail fares that encourage us to take trains and not planes or cars so that we, as a nation can meet our carbon reduction targets instead of being fined for failing to.  Lets have a rail system that can handle haulage instead of having juggernaughts thundering down the high street – especially if local councils like ours think they can’t afford crossing patrols.  Lets have a rail system that is planned according to need instead of profitability and can be linked with other transport strategies. 

The very loud voice is telling us about inconvenient bicycles again and now the slow crawling orange text on the information panels seems to have missed out my train.  In spite of the advanced technology of the 21st century this sign can only show two destinations at a time and mine still isn’t there. Wait, here comes another announcement – perhaps we will find out what’s happening.  But this one isn’t very loud and there’s a train pulling in.  Everyone is straining to hear and asking one another what its saying.  The orange dots on the sign have turned into a series of vacant stars and no-one knows if this is the delayed 7.10 or the 7.50 coming in on time.  Some people get on and then off again. Whistles are blowing and the guard is yelling ‘stand away’.  As the train rolls out I discover what the announcement was saying.  My train was cancelled and we should all have got on the last train and changed at Woking. 

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Nov 2012: Party member Lois Davis wrote the following in response to the visit by Natalie Bennett (Party Leader) to our AGM:

It was a delicious, almost subversive feeling to be a member of the Green Party welcoming our new leader Natalie Bennet into the Tory heartland of Wandsworth last Friday.  There we were at the Friends Meeting House right opposite Wandsworth Town Hall, listening to details of how a different world where compassionate human values and the safeguarding of our beleaguered planet are really possible – not just a utopian dream.   As a Wandsworth resident  I have watched, over the last few months, as the Council has done away with staffed adventure playgrounds for our young people, lollipop ladies to help with road safety for our littlest people and libraries, school playing fields and services for the elderly.  All for the sake of a few pence off our council tax bills to ensure that we keep voting for political leaders whose austerity policies are clearly not working.  It’s depressing! Especially when you read in the papers every day of the outrageous shortcomings of the private operators brought in to fill essential gaps in social provision and the huge profits they make, often without paying their taxes.

 

Natalie covered a huge range of issues – why a third runway is not a viable option; why a 20 mile per hour speed limit in our cities is a viable option; why cutting tax credits wont help and why establishing a living wage will help.  But my favourite part of Natalie’s presentation was the anecdote about the Green Party and Channel Four.  Natalie told us how, for the 2010 elections, the Green Party carried out a full costing exercise on their policies and were able to show that implementing their green planet and people saving policies would not cause economic collapse – quite the opposite – they would ensure people and planet sustainability.  Channel four were very interested and journalists asked for details, scrutinised them, asked further questions and were given further details – and in the end they found that the Green party were perfectly right in their calculations and projections.  So right that, for Channel Four there was no story to tell so they did not. After all their research they decided not to run an item on the viability of the Green Party economic plan because it had no holes in it.  A case of good news is no news!

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Oct 2012: Party Member Bruce Mackenzie wrote the following as Outline Framework for a working group:
'EARTH - our shared home' (with A World to WIN campaigning group).
It centres on perspectives for possibility, in relation to our collective responses (humankind) to aspects of local/national/global crisis, with the renewal of the Earth/people relationship at its core (manifest politically, economically and ecologically as the land question).

A WORLD to WIN

 

Working Group: ‘EARTH – our shared home’

An outline framework (October 2012)

 

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ABOUT THE GROUP

OUR AIMS

*

THE STATE WE’RE IN – endings/beginnings

A PERSPECTIVE ON POSSIBLE TRANSFORMATION

ROOTS, SHOOTS, SEEDS OF THE NEW

CONNECTEDNESS – some contextual points

DEVELOPING OUR AIMS

PARTICULAR AREAS OF CHALLENGE

ASPECTS OF A NEW PARADIGM

*

A FEW CLOSING COMMENTS

 

 

ABOUT THE GROUP

 

Greetings, and welcome.

 

This paper is written for you. It is written for each of us, for all of us, in love, hope and necessity – with the children and future generations in mind. It seeks to share/communicate what we consider to be a relevant, useful and perhaps vitally important message in a lucid and accessible manner, and asks for your help in rendering our world a more just, kind and peaceful place.

It is written knowing that only with your assistance – in working together – will we succeed in the struggle to achieve the vital aspirations of a planet and people in harmony.

 

Firstly, most importantly, we ask you to affirm that change is possible, to understand that we have it within us as a species to protect, nurture and love in greater abundance than to harm, destroy and hate. How we achieve this is the greatest question facing the human race.

 

We are convinced that it is impossible to disconnect the ecological crisis from the economic, political and social crisis – they are an interconnected whole and need to be understood and addressed in that way.

 

We believe that the roots of our current dilemmas arise in the main from the imbalances of power at community, national and global levels, and the pre-eminence of a growth-fixated economic model that is fundamentally flawed at its core. Profit and the operation of the market is put ahead of everyother consideration. Righting these wrongs can only be achieved by: (a) widespread recognition of their existence and damaging impacts; and (b) a growing movement of support for the viable alternatives to current ‘status quo’.

 

We ask you to join us on a pathway to a better world.

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There is no path, The path is made by walking.”

(From: “Proverbs and Songs 29”,1912, in ‘Selected Poems of Antonio Machado’, publ. 1979).

,

 

Earth – our shared home’ Working Group came into being through a sequence of events, initially online, then following a workshop at the ‘A World to WIN’ gathering in the Constitution pub, Pimlico(London), March 2012. (Theme of the meeting - The Leadership Enigma: power, leadership & organisation to achieve social change).

 

Currently there are eight of us, diverse of background/experience/location (Glasgow, Wigan, Lewes, London), all involved in the drafting of this Outline.

We are committed, variously aware. The path to realising our aims will be an evolving , exploratory process, sharing/spreading ideas, expanding networks of awareness, geared to practical outcomes – viable/accessible for the many.

 

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OUR AIMS

 

* In these times of uncertainties, all around the world, ‘big’ decisions have to be made if we are to attain necessary transitions – personally as politically as economically as ecologically – in learning to live harmoniously on Earth.

 

* Acknowledging all possibilities, with difficult, critical reckonings to square up to, we consider the restoration of balance between people, the land, all resources as foundational to future wellbeing. Applies in urban/rural/suburban/wilderness settings – in all aspects of policy, activity, commercial practice, priorities, ideas.

 

* The process of learning to share our planet equitably/caringly has profound implication and consequence for us all. Newly–awakening forms of consciousness and thought unfolding – learning to live as Earth citizens – allow and enable us to grow through crisis, strengthened in renewal, gladdened and grateful of challenges/tests/trials, humbled of responsibilities – as members of the full Earth Community, our true identity of being, dignity and love, amidst the family of nations.

 

Overall, our aim is to develop an insightful, reasoned, accessible summary of the current ecological crisis and offer practical approaches to gathering support for immediate and decisive action on the key issues and their root causes

 

Specific Aims

 

1. To critique and highlight root causes of the present devastation of Earth’s eco-systems, raising consciousness of the current situation, particularly the role of the economic system and its political support structure.

 

2. To promote actions focused on and towards Earth renewal.

 

3. To propose effective solutions to the eco-crisis, both immediate and long-term, with particular emphasis on the land question (all aspects), restoring connections between people and land, between our societal priorities and the eco-system.

 

4. To share ideas, proposals and direct actions with researchers, campaigners and activists, exploring and developing strategies for transformations towards a just and ecologically sound society.

 

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Every component of the Earth Community has 3 rights: The right to be; the right to habitat, and the right to fulfil its role in the ever-renewing processes of the Earth Community.”

Thomas Berry, 2001

(Cited in: ‘WILD LAW – A Manifesto for Earth Justice’, by Cormac Cullinan, Green Books, (pb) 2003. Chapter 8: The question of rights, p115).

 

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THE STATE WE’RE IN – endings/beginnings…

 

* Everything on the planet in state of flux/flow. Humankind is on the cusp of a critical turning point.

 

* Collectively we (humankind) are living beyond the ecological limits of the planet.

 

* Current globalised system of capitalist accumulation, short-termist profiteering and speculative finance (rooted in credit/usury/debt), plus monopoly ownership and control of land/resources (with predatory extraction/production/distribution processes) has brought huge benefits, profits and privilege to some, poverty/exploitation/deprivation to many more.

 

* The full scope and true implications of our crisis – economically as ecologically, socio-culturally as politically – demands recognition of the systemic dysfunctionality and divisiveness of globalised capitalism, and its total inadequacy (and incapacity) to meet the true and real needs of the human family (our deeper, underlying evolutionary yearnings), calls for which are growing constantly, finding increasingly open, often angry expression.

 

* Everything is in the balance re future of life on Earth. Factors of risk include climate change/growing frequency of extreme weather events/food shortages/overall growth in consumption per capita/rising populations/environmental degradation/species & biodiversity loss – the 6th Great Extinction/growing wealth and power disparities/resource conflicts – particularly over land and water access/increasing migrations & displaced persons/financial breakdown/loss of hope…

 

* Many of these factors inter-relate, with possibility of feedback mechanisms (eg re climate change) bringing us to tipping points of rapid change, unpredictably. No-one knows. Certainly our capacity for positive response to transitional crisis will be put to test in coming decades.

 

* ‘Civilisation faces a perfect storm of ecological and social problems….”Either we will change our ways – and build a new kind of global society – or they (our ways) will be changed for us.” ‘ UNEP report, Feb 2012 (co-authored by 18 scientists, all previous winners of Blue Planet awards, the environmental equivalent of the Nobel prize).

 

* We live amidst a relentless propaganda ‘war’ of ideas – breakdown, or breakthrough..!! Whilst destructive stratagems are being actively pursued and implemented by client governments and their masters in the corporations and banks, yet we are told ‘there is no alternative’!

 

* Establishment institutions defend the status quo and seek to stifle and deaden new initiatives. They want to divert the widespread and growing movement (of focused intent/desire to resolve the eco-crisis) into dead-ends of futile protest, letting-off steam, and blind alleys of ineffectual action.

 

 

* Strategically, we must seek to maximise effective outreach/impact of ideas for Earth renewal, with detail of specific issues, discerning those most relevant, practical and practicable in enabling transformations to a viable, balanced economy (eco-harmony and justice) and ways of living.

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* ‘Green’ or ‘responsible’ capitalism and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) are frequently employed formats for the protection and furtherance of corporate dominance in the market – under the guise of a supposedly benign, yet invariably superficial (and often totally sham) ‘environmentalism’.

 

* At the heart of the recent Rio+20 Earth Summit final document, ‘green capitalism’ reclassifies the “five pillars of life” – water, oceans, land and ecosystems, energy and raw materials – as “ecosystem services”, and sets out to bring them into the profit-driven capitalist system. Wild land, bush, jungle, mountains, forest and permafrost are our last protection against runaway climate change; bringing them into the failing market system puts them at greater risk of open destruction.

 

* Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s former UN ambassador and now head of ‘Focus on the Global South’, says the transnational corporations are behind Rio+20: According to them, the mistake of capitalism that led us to these current multiple crises is that the free market had not gone far enough. And so with the ‘green economy’, capitalism is going to fully incorporate nature as part of it’s capital. They are identifying the specific functions of ecosystems and biodiversity that can be priced and then brought into a global market as ‘Natural Capital’. The capitalist system has gone beyond control. Like a virus it’s going to kill the body that feeds it….it’s going to damage the Earth System in a way that makes it impossible for human life as we know it. We need to overthrow capitalism and develop a system that is based on the Community of the Earth.”

 

* Corporations are legally committed to prioritise profit margins, shareholders interests, (with executives incentivised by profligate pay/bonus structures). They operate in ways that are socially exploitative, environmentally damaging, bypassing resource/community/cultural/ecological considerations.

 

* Damaging corporate strategies abound in all sectors, particularly in the extractive industries (detailed in a recent report from the Gaia Foundation: ‘Opening Pandora’s Box: The new wave of land grabbing by the extractive industries and the devastating impact on Earth’, 2012). Oil in the Niger Delta, the Alberta Tar Sands project, mountaintop removal in the Appalachians, coal mining in S.Africa, China & elsewhere, fracking in Dimock USA, Blackpool UK, many other locations; across Colombia/Venezuela/Peru/Bolivia/Brazil – a new gold rush in the Amazon. And much more.

The trend is aggressive. Violence frequent against indigenous communities. Getting worse.

 

* As these damaging shortcomings of the economic system become ever more apparent, the movement for Earth renewal can gather momentum, enabling a real shift towards – and acceptance of – the real idea of sharing the Earth (all aspects – 7 billion people, millions of species, all habitats and connective ecologies) as viable and possible. An evolutionary turning point.

 

* Time is short. The window of opportunity to achieve the necessary social transformation – a major directional shift – removing the ‘right’ of the 1 per cent to make decisions negatively affecting us, the 99 per cent, is of limited duration.

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- this year’s Arctic sea ice melt is causing huge climate impacts. Earth’s air conditioning system is failing, leading to drought, rapacious forest fires and a growing energy crisis. The melt usually slows in August – this year it speeded up.

- emissions of greenhouse gases are rising. In the last decade, 2.7% annual increase in CO2 emissions. In 2011, it rose 3%.

- more fossil fuels are being burned; deep water drilling for oil now underway off Shetland, the Falklands, and in the Arctic; plus tar sand extraction, fracking exploration on many sites, and expansion of coal use.

- former carbon sinks starting to emit greenhouse gas. The Amazon rainforest is suffering mass tree deaths caused by the 2010 drought – as a result, around 2.2 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted – undoing about 10 years-worth of its role as a carbon sink.

- severe drought in the American Midwest (worst in 50 years) affecting maize/soya/wheat harvest, plus similar drought in Russia. Immediate impact on world food prices, the poorest hardest hit.

- permafrost from Siberia to Alaska stores about 1600 billion tonnes of CO2 and methane – twice the amount in the atmosphere today, and melting underway.

- oceans losing ability to absorb more emissions (also oceans acidifying) – saturated with CO2.

- 20,000 species at imminent risk of extinction (out of 65,000 assessed by the Red List).

- 83.2 million hectares of land grabbed so far for minerals extraction/food growing. 56.2 million hectares in Africa (5% of all agricultural land).

- 20 million hectares in poorer nations worldwide used for growing crops for export to wealthier developed nations.

 

* Recent surprise hit at Royal Court theatre was ‘Ten Billion’, a sombre 70 minute delivery by eminent scientist/academic, Professor Stephen Emmott. He castigated politicians/world leaders for 30 years of rhetoric and inaction. With global population projected as 10 billion by end of century, with demand for food doubling by 2050, climate change intensifying (a growing body of research suggesting a possible 6 degree temp rise) as energy/resource demand grows, he predicted a worsening global situation, noting that at food security and climate change conferences these days, attendees often include senior military personnel – preparatory future security.

 

 

* Our situation is of extreme urgency .

 

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A PERSPECTIVE ON POSSIBLE TRANSFORMATION

 

* Awakening – occurring diversely around the planet, gradations of change, freedom calling. Loss of fear/the stance of dignity (often at great cost and suffering) – a growing phenomenon, consciousness unfolding….

 

- The People’s Agreement on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was adopted by delegates representing hundreds of thousands of people across the globe at Cochabamba in 2010.

- The Bolivian constitution has been rewritten – to include Earth Rights, as protection against mining and timber corporations.

- In China, thousands of (mostly unreported) protests against land grabs for development in rural areas.

- Protests in Tibet (including monks and nuns committing self-immolation) against continuing Chinese cultural and religious oppression.

- the difficult, diverse unfolding of the Arab Spring, ongoing…

- Porto Alegre, Brazil – local neighbourhood councils involved in setting priorities for participatory budget planning and project investment.

- The Occupy movement – a worldwide resonance with its actions, opposition to the 1% holding monopoly power.

- Ecocide, a growing campaign for this to be recognised as a crime against humanity. Polly Higgins latest book: ‘EARTH is our business – changing the rules of the game’.

- Transition Town movement, a growing range of initiatives (in UK and elsewhere) for developing community resilience/sustainability in response to aspects of crisis.

- Iceland – ‘ordinary’ citizens active in drawing up new people/community/environment-based constitution, following refusal to pay national debts incurred by financial sharks/corrupt politicians.

- Climate change on the agenda in struggles from Tunisia (drought and food prices) to Spain (successive drought years ravaging agriculture; rising power costs; coastlines ruined by speculative property development, with bubble bursting to feed into economic crisis).

 

* People increasingly know and understand the connection between the ecological and economic crisis. Within diversity and complexities of national/regional contexts and circumstances, some sense of interconnectedness/unitive implications beginning to emerge, however patchily, hesitantly, fragmentedly, with interplay of ideas feeding between different groups/situations. A multi-facetted r/evolutionary process, nascent….

 

* Thus everything we do is of absolute significance, extending ripple effects of awareness. Seeking to enhance and nurture sense of connectedness/unity, living as Earth citizens – with due balance of responsibilities/rights - re local/regional/nation-al/inter-national issues. Every detail counts.

 

* If the overall task for humankind in these times is to “achieve the transition of modern civilisation from its present devastating influence on Earth to more benign mode of presence” (‘The Great Work – our way into the future’, Thomas Berry, ch.1, p7), an essential condition is that we heed/learn from the wisdom traditions of native/indigenous cultures. Humility – a vital/essential component – in absorbing/assimilating necessary lessons, transposing them within modern context. Towards a synthesis of balance….

 

* The People’s Declaration on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights states:

Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect of life.”

 

* The 4 broad principles of the Earth Charter (drawn up by the independent Earth Charter Commission – see: www.EarthCharter.org) present a global consensus statement of values/universal principles, fundamental to the emergent Earth renewal movement:

 

1. Respect Earth and life in all it’s diversity.

 

2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love.

 

3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful.

 

4. Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations.

 

(NB: Around the planet, there are many similar statements/documents/manifestos so rooted.)

* Corporate Boards/Executives – please adjust your Company Constitutions and Codes of Working Practices accordingly.!!).

 

* As awareness/consciousness extends and expands along the path of harmony, vitality/energy/spirit (the 3 Taoist ‘treasures’) can become the shared qualities and enthusiasm of a potential new humanity (local as global), in which we are all leaders, in which we are all learners – ongoing, unfolding….

 

Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better.” VACLAV HAVEL, 1991.

 

Re-examine your thinking, evolve your consciousness. If you do so, the brave but as yet insufficiently powerful and organised movement towards a more holistic, peaceful and sustainable civilisation could turn into a groundswell that does away with the mind-set that generated our problems, and orients you and those around you towards a world you can live in and can leave with good conscience to your children.”

(from an essay, ‘The Birthing of a New World’, by Ervin Laszlo; in ‘The Mystery of 2012 – Predictions, Prophecies & Possibilities’, publ . Sounds True, pb 2001).

 

* In many localities/communities, new social, economic and environmental projects/initiatives are emerging, truly relevant to Earth renewal process. A major task – to reach out with force of new vision, to win the propaganda war of ideas.

 

* In these early stages of r/evolutionary unfolding, corporations and governments (and the states they preside over) seek to prevent – and actively propagandise against – the possible transition from a capitalist, profit-oriented, exploitative economy and society, to a common needs based, ecologically-oriented form. Yet the unfolding continues, often against all odds, diverse of manner, mode and expression…

 

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ROOTS, SHOOTS, SEEDS OF THE NEW

 

* In response to crisis, many people/groups coming together to work for more just, compassionate, caring and collaborative future – with similar discussions/debates occurring in different communities/groupings/sectors, at many levels, in many locations.

 

* Diverse formats re community conversations – informal and formal – of openness/inclusivity in varying degree (according to circumstance), in UK and elsewhere across the planet.

 

* Change arising from grassroots in community, sometimes melding within formal political process, or in new formats, progressive coalitions/forums/assemblies. Will vary according to local/regional/national circumstance. Huge potential for renewed infrastructures to emerge from more widely realised empowerment, exercise of shared leadership qualities, working towards systemic change.

 

* Power in the community to become a popular, prioritised issue – relevant to all, as impacts of crises deepen, and need of new ideas, flexible participation, becomes more apparent.

A r/evolution in how decisions are made – and by whom – is key to facilitating paradigm shift.

 

* A World to WIN advocates the emergence of networks of People’s Assemblies, as alternative models of democratic progressive debate and representation. This is an essential step in the overall transitional process, serving to hasten/stimulate/facilitate wider transformations, bringing crucial questions – too often regrettably, and disturbingly, absent in formal political process – into wider, people-based forums.

 

* The unfolding, evolving process, sharing thoughts/ideas in open exchanges, involves commitment to consensus decision-making, collective agreement on delegation of tasks and modes of representation. The real question – as ever – how best to progress the work….?

 

* Inevitably an uneven process, no guaranteed outcomes. Dependent on trust, integrity, patience, humour – and all skill aspects of effective cooperation, exercised in all forums/formats of power-sharing.

 

*Such processes are already common ground amongst many groups/campaigns – land rights groups, climate change activists, the Occupy movement, anti-cuts groups, indigenous peoples movements, some trade union groups, the Women’s Institute, food-growing groups – and many more.

 

* Can only grow through ‘pressure-cooker’ of change. These times. Now. In gratitude and love.

 

* Significance is immense, with a patient interweaving of three aspects of power yielding infrastructural change through qualitative applications of personal energy/discipline/will:

(1) Personal inner process (consciousness) – shifts in perception, values, perspective,

With a re-ordering of priorities.

(2) Exploratory steps towards truly democratic processes (non-hierarchical, consensus-based,

Of openness and warmth.

(3) (Gradual) emergence of consolidated formats in which (1) and (2) combine. Local/regional/

Nation-al/global decision-making thus rendered in policy and actions, within webs/networks

Of communication and ideas-sharing.

 

* Such emergent formats would include new socio-economic infrastructure, with finance institutions & investment priorities rooted in – and serving – the local community/area/region. Transitional phasings would enable a rebalancing of the economy (with equitable access to land/resources/finance), a developed sense of belonging and neighbourhood/community identity, and a fulfilling quality of life and wealth of wellbeing accessible for all.

 

* This, set within overall common commitment to universal justice, ecological balance, a living culture of peace. A nation, and nations - a planet…..transformed.

 

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CONNECTEDNESS – some contextual points

 

* Within overall perspective of unitive web of life, within our neighbourhoods, communities, regions and nations, connectedness is a constant living reality (not an abstract concept!). The ecosystem’s ability to support life is based on diversity.

In a world created by natural selection, homogeneity means vulnerability”, said Edward Wilson in his landmark book: ‘The Diversity of Life’.

 

* Diversity/connectedness serves to heighten, nurture and enhance our sense of being/ dignity/worth – allowing sense of calm balance, a harmony of overall outlook/approach/attitude amidst nitty-gritty of daily life.

 

* Developing/expanding this awareness – an essential component of personal/local/global r/evolution process. Not always possible in immediate/extreme circumstance, but a truly liberating power – individually, communally, socio-culturally, ecologically, economically, politically – many sectors/levels/groupings.

 

* Through diverse manifestations of crisis, cumulative steps can unfold towards realised awareness of unity of life manifest – allowing us collectively (humankind) to move beyond current lesser modes of identity focus (transcending causative roots of many territorial/resource conflicts).

 

* Human capacity for communication/adaptation/flexibility growing constantly. Enabling/empowering/liberating – evolutionary steps. Currently, far too much imaginative, creative energy is wastefully controlled/directed/employed by ‘dinosaur’ mindset – thus perpetuating barriers to holistic progress. Growing awareness of need for change – many levels. The power of ideas – as weapons of persuasion, shifting the narrative, a perpetual growing of potential….

 

* We have capacity to transcend historically-rooted negative traits and habits of thought/activity. Human sense of individual/collective identity seeking renewal. Closer to truth….

 

* Everyone a leader, everyone a learner – different ways/paths/aspects. Leadership – within oneself, developing capacities, self-analytical (honest appraisal), disciplined basis. Constant review – daily/weekly/monthly basis – re best use of time/energy/resources.

Ongoing, perpetual process – evolving….

 

 

* Connectedness/Unity/Essence – a useful perspective, re all diverse aspects of living/being. Foundational principles absolute. Qualities to develop: caring/cooperative/compassionate/sharing/collaborative/geared to consensus re collective decisions/kindness/openness/empathy. BE the change…

 

* ‘The Craft of Cooperation’, Compass annual lecture, March 2012 – given by Professor Richard Sennett, cited three skills we all need to grow:

(1) Openness of speaking – as sharing of ideas;

(2) Openmindedness of true listening; and

(3) Fullness of empathy, genuine respectful interest/curiosity re other people’s

Inner spaces & thoughts. An openness of mind and heart.

All as necessary aspects, in balance, within inclusive process of socio-cultural and political change…

 

* Each action, every breath, consider ripple effects/impacts re possible societal transformations – seeking to create the ‘social climate’ most conducive to progressive change…

 

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DEVELOPING OUR AIMS

 

* Our 4 aims (re root causes of eco-crisis, Earth awareness, actions for Earth renewal, the land question, and strategies for transformation) – all interconnecting, overlapping. Imply much new ground to be covered.

* Some elements mentioned in previous sections. Now, a few general indicators – remaining as outline, not ongoing work detail.

 

* Regarding all aims, two basic questions: Where are we going? How are we going to get there?

* Comprehensive treatment of all main issues to be found in ‘WILD LAW – A Manifesto for Earth Justice’, by Cormac Cullinan. Presents an eloquent plea for humankind to start learning to learn what it really means to live as active ‘cell’ within the full Earth Community, the web of life.

 

Roots of crisis, Earth awareness and renewal (Aims 1 & 2)

 

* Outcomes of all work processes always to be practical, viable, accessible for the many – as part of wider movement for and towards new ethos, awareness, consciousness, and always relevant to detail of daily life.

* Seeking to share and develop process of expanding mind/heart consciousness/awareness – within widest, deepest perspectives as citizens of Earth. The yearning is everywhere implicit…

* Seeking to nurture/enhance this process through awakening/renewal of relationship between humankind and Earth – covering all aspects, all resources, all biodiversity, the web of life – accepting, and living out – the full and true implications.

* Focus practical detail of daily living/being in harmony with ‘natural law’, and the specific significance (in community, socio-economic, ecological terms) that our relationship with land has to play in this.

 

* With corporate/governmental priorities linked to consumerism, land and all resources are reduced to exploited ‘commodities’. Inevitably, this serves as underpinning for socio-economic and ecological imbalances, distortions and disparities of power/wealth/opportunity.

 

 

Relevant quotes from ‘WILD LAW’…

Since all land is part of Earth, the relationship between humans and land is of central importance to Earth governance and Earth jurisprudence.” (p162)

The understanding of land reflected in most laws reflects the myth that land is a commodity (

despite the obvious fact that it was never manufactured for sale)”.

Through such falsity, “legal systems legitimise and encourage the abuse of Earth by humans.”(p162)

These philosophies obstruct us from developing governance systems based on a respectful relationship with land or Earth. In this way, they increase our alienation from nature.” (p166)

 

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Highlighting the land question/restoring connections (Aim 3)

 

* Aspects include: Ownership and land registration/monopoly ownership/land as commodity in the market/land speculation/economic distortions caused by speculation/the planning system/ politics and economics of land rent/ investment and consequent development/patterns of land use (rural/urban)/shaping of communities & local environments/ecological factors re priorities in land use.

In all these and more, the people/Earth relationship (currently hugely imbalanced/distorted) finds practical expression. All sectors, all locations.

 

* Currently, very little discussion/understanding/publicity of multiple negative consequences of these factors. Always greater disproportionate effect/impact on the poor.

* In work detail, seeking to connect seemingly disparate issues with underlying causative factors rooted in land monopoly. The high cost of land leads priorities of investment by

developers/landowners/financiers – to the cost of local economies and communities.

 

* Land monopoly is significant power base of capitalism. How best to devise means whereby all can enjoy full and open connectedness with the land (Earth)? Appropriate decision-making infrastructure can restore sense of locality, identity, belonging, being and dignity to our inner cities, suburbs and rural areas.

 

From WILD LAW:

This relationship between humans and land is fundamental. It is a relationship that shapes the minds and hearts of individuals and the identity of nations. Changing how we understand and recognise this relationship is at the heart of shifting to a new governance paradigm.” (p166)

 

 

Towards strategies for transformation(Aim 4)

 

From ‘WILD LAW’:

In contemporary times, those who care deeply for a particular part of Earth are increasingly called upon to protect the integrity of that land from other humans.” (p167)

 

* Seeking to develop outline strategies/ideas for transforming current exploitative scenarios to more just, benign and socially harmonious attitudes to and patterns of use of land, our common, communal and rightful heritage – for now, and for future generations.

 

* Many campaigns on different issues – though all have connection with land:

- Agriculture/food industry/supermarkets/food distribution systems;

- Shaping of communities via planning system;

- Rebalancing of local economies via different approaches/criteria for land use;

- Against speculation in land/property market, better to serve housing needs /open spaces;

- Against rising rents/property prices in times of recession;

- Eliminating boom/bust cycle in economy, related to land speculation.

 

QUESTIONS:

* How to shift the narrative regarding attitudes to land?

* How might Rule of Law be changed re land monopoly?

* Consider taxation re land values – would this be a solution (in part)?

 

From : ‘The Predator Culture’, by Fred Harrison, Shepheard Walwyn, pb 2010, p70 :

In ‘Critique of the Gotha Programme’, Marx wrote the words which are popularly accepted as representing the structure of power in capitalism: ‘In present-day society the instruments of labour are the monopoly of the landowners and the capitalists’. But Marx qualified his statement. The words he added in brackets stood the whole Marxist structure on its head. He wrote:…”the monopoly of property in land is even the basis of the monopoly of capital..’

 

From: WILD LAW

The costs of continuing to maintain our current ideas of property rights are expatriation and virtual excommunication from the Earth Community, as well as alienation from our deeper selves. Radicaal as completely rethinking property law may seem, on a wider evaluation of the costs and benefits, its seems fully justified. The challenge that now faces us is how to begin the process of undoing the property systems that impede a proper relationship with land, and to build a workable alternative in its place.” (p170).

 

* Campaigns on specific issues can have enhanced impact through linking/connecting within overall strategy for Earth renewal - the people, and the land.

* This as a means to facilitate ways of our living together, equitably and peaceably together, on Earth our shared home - in open, liberated and truly democratic mode….

 

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PARTICULAR AREAS OF CHALLENGE

 

* Determining strategies of effectiveness. Though much valuable campaigning & groundwork achieved to date, still we must acknowledge relative failure to set world on a sane path.

 

* Awakening of wider public opinion, with sufficient impact to overcoming conditioning weight of corporate, commercial and state power and propaganda – shifting the narrative…

 

* To maximise impact of ideas (creatively diverse of expression), to catch public imagination, to further awakening of minds and hearts (an English/UK ‘spring’…?, and beyond), with clarity, best use of language, and a discerning empathy.

 

* Through transitional phasings (personal, socio-cultural,political), achieving measure of unitive coherence – shared understanding/vision/purpose – of perspective and outlook, particularly re strategic and economic significance of the land question.

 

* Individually and collectively, to transcend limited and limiting habits of thought/ideology/behaviour/attitudes/outlooks. Dissolving boundaries of difference, establishing common ground of shared universal principles.

 

* Wider development of network of People’s Assemblies (or similar) as vehicle for consensus decision-making, openness, inclusivity, the listening/speaking balance, sharing of tasks, individual/collective responsibility, full accountability. Thus to enhance, encourage and facilitate coming together of people in willingness of civic involvements.

 

* To foster and nurture collective commitment to emergent new era, and requisite paradigm shift, incorporating new economic vision – with re-ordering of priorities/values/range of decision-making criteria.

 

* To establish the possibility – justly, judiciously – of a new approach to ownership/possession, set within overall perspective of Earth as our shared home, developing the necessary political momentum for such change.

 

* To consider/express the best means/policies/ideas appropriate to attaining freedoms of time/energy/money – for every child, every woman, every man – each of us, all of us. Not easy – in fast-changing circumstance. An ending of poverty. An enabling of quality of life for all. For real.

 

* Rendering the land question as prime issue on social/economic/political agenda – in its relevance to common difficulties of household budgets, local community and business concerns.

 

* To create/develop holistic system/method – with appropriate infrastructure - for open, participatory, non-hierarchical political processes. All levels, all sectors, all decisions firmly rooted in principles of the full Earth Community.

 

* In the context of basic day-to-day matters and detail, developing a force of wisdom, humane commonsense, a power of active love.

 

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ASPECTS OF A NEW PARADIGM

(All interconnect; are mutually supportive)

 

1. Accurate ‘big picture’ perspective allows and enables opportunity of significant evolutionary turning point to be seen, recognised, accepted, understood, assimilated - and enacted…

 

2. A conscious working towards collective progress in philosophical explorations/discussion, including re the unity of all matter, analysis of its relevance and grounding in diversity of day-to-day realities and issues; plus possible resolution of our alienation from the quality of wildness intrinsic to the natural world.

 

3. Amidst uncertainties, confusions and probable upheavals of fading exploitative era, emergence of coherent vision of a socio-economically just and ecologically sound future (all nations) can boost intuitive and dialectic sense of outlook, vision, shared purpose – applied in diverse circumstance and location. Thus, a move towards balanced, harmonious planet wellbeing (all people and species, habitats, ecologies) within longer- term vision (Earth – 4.6 billion years old/young…) for our shared home.

 

 

4. Involves a permament shift in modes of thought/outlook/action – a new mind/heart state of (loving) being, focused on best use of time/energy/resources, in harmonious context.

 

5. Urgency – a keynote re paradigm shift, with human identity renewed within sense of shared citizenship of Earth (with concomitant rights/responsibilities ). Involving shift in values/priorities to holistic sense of living, rooted in universal principles of care, cooperation, compassion.

 

6. Future of humankind – each of us, all of us – necessarily premised on universal principles. A possible future beckons – benign, qualitative, life celebratory. Within all nations, our individual and collective socio-cultural sense of being and dignity arising from – and enhanced by – a shared patriotism of the planet, our home, good Earth.

 

7. Balance of development within and between all nations – viewed within Earth perspective. Uniting at all levels as Earth citizens. Advanced industrial nations, Brazil/Russia/India/China (and other emergent economies), poorer developing nations – consciously working towards overall balance (re commerce/trade/resources/energy) - and ecological truth.

 

8. Transcending respected differences of the rich diversity of nations/regions, the planet scenario allows us to reach towards our true inner/outer sense of security – and peace of mind. Liberation via realisation of unitive family of humankind. A multi-facetted process, sometimes rough, sometimes smoother, emergent at different levels, from different circumstances.

In this crisis, we are all in it together, for REAL. Our only true ‘escape’ clause is creative solution…

 

9. Linkages/connectedness developing – many levels/aspects, not always immediately apparent. We can make the transition – though doubtless there will be jagged edges, not without suffering, sometimes painful, seemingly cruel to the ego – personally, politically, nationally.

 

10. Translation/transference of energies – from disquiet/anxiety/competitive stress & tension, along with apathy, indifference, excess consumer comfort, superficial distractions – to channels of consistently positive, thoughtful, hopeful, focused energies and actions. Our future aspirations, sense of being, hope, and ongoing learnings – set within full Earth Community balance of rights/responsibilities – freely.

 

11. The personal qualitative evolutionary process within each of us can feed into all local, regional, national relations and actions, thus dissipating possible tensions, and allowing the emergence of a future liberated from the long-established, tragic ‘habit’ of violent conflict.

 

New era vision to be strong enough, powerful enough, attractive and imaginative enough to catch public mind and sense of commitment. A pilgrimage to beauty we are all embarked upon

 

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A brief summary...

 

* We form an integral part of the Earth system.

 

* Within essential unity, we are embedded with/influenced by the larger Earth Community.

* Consistent with this, humankind’s wellbeing necessarily harmonises with needs of the Earth.

 

* Concludes: Our fulfilment is unattainable outside a healthy balance of all relationships with the wider community of life on Earth.

 

(From: ‘WILD LAW – A Manifesto for Earth Justice, Cormac Cullinan; The Terrain Ahead – Ch.15, The Mountain Path, p204).

 

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Lines from ‘Remember’, by Joy Harjo.

 

Remember you are all people

and all people are you

 

Remember you are this universe

And this universe is you

 

Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.

 

Remember language comes from this.

 

Remember the dance language is, that life is.

 

Remember.

 

(Joy Harjo – a Native American poet & storyteller, performer &saxophonist; a global citizen influenced by her Mvskoke (Creek) traditions, the Navajo Beauty Way, & Pueblo stories).

 

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A FEW CLOSING COMMENTS

 

* In creating any document, the pragmatist and the dreamer are in open debate. We hope that this Outline strikes an appropriate balance. (Ideals – the true pragmatism of these times).

* Around the planet, there is always the threat that reactionary views/forces will grow, using the propaganda of fear to manipulate and dominate political arguments and enactments.

* Questions arising call upon the best of our ingenuity, patience, resilience, creativity, perseverance, courage, ongoing analysis, good humour and hope.

* Inner processes and intuitions point to possible significant shifts re our priorities/values.

 

* Inspiration, clear perspective, transitional detail – these components of comprehensive transformative vision.

* Linking with the integrated process of personal/communal change – subjective, ethical, transformative at every level.

 

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* As one era fades, we journey into the new, our future necessarily premised upon principles of care, cooperation and compassion – with enacted justice leading to a radical reshaping of the infrastructures of power, control, ownership and decision-making.

* We are each a part of the whole developing story of life on Earth, learning to live lightly, a purposive life within evolutionary perspective…

 

* The unfolding process of shared leadership allows the revolution in human consciousness (Everyone a Leader/Everyone a Learner) to find full political expression, to materialise in newly empowering, unexpected, and possibly beautiful ways.

* Potentially, we have the capacity to emerge through our crisis enriched, toughened (though not hardened) and inspired – on a renewed planet.

 

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* The scale of the crisis – and of our responsibilities – is immense.

* Slowly, hesitantly, more and more of us are coming to realise/recognise/learn/accept/understand and welcome – the full and true implications of the challenges and struggles confronting us….

* With an economy based on cooperation and working in harmony with the natural world and its resources replacing the current system that destroys nature to make profits, humankind can begin to take a new, honest and natural place on Earth, ending our alienation, reconnecting….

 

Beyond complexities and difficulties, moving onwards, beyond fear, an evolutionary shift beckons,

A many-facetted transformation…

 

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Lines from ‘A Vision’, by Wendell Berry

 

 

If we will have the wisdom to survive,

 

The abundance of this place,

The songs of its people and its birds,

Will be health and wisdom and indwelling

light. This is no paradisal dream.

 

Its hardship is its possibility.”

 

(Wendell Berry – a small-scale Kentucky (USA) farmer, author, poet.

A man of Earth).

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

Towards a new Earth, another beginning….

A few outline thoughts on Progressive Alliances from Wandsworth Green Party member Bruce Mackenzie

 

We live in critically challenging times.  We need to do whatever we can to bring about the transition to a truly sustainable, fear-free world.  The ecological imperative becomes more urgent by the day, while corporate short termism and other vested interests remain intent on their own agenda, and obstructive of alternatives.

 

Electorally, in a fist-past-the-post system, Greens remain on the fringe.  In some policy aspects we have had a positive influence, but the mainstream fixation with the harmful, damaging illusion of perpetual economic growth confines, as does environmental degradation and increasing socio-economic inequality.

 

To maximise the uptake f a new (local as global) paradigm – Living more, using less – various opportunities unfold:

 

·      Living lightly on the planet

·      Developing links/connections with individuals and groups

·      A fierce and protective love of the vulnerable, natural world

·      Conscious outreach to the wider community-leaflets,stalls,campaigns etc.

·      Standing candidates in local, regional and national elections

·      Forming alliances with other progressive groups/political parties.

 

Personally, I view the current, many faceted crisis (local, regional, global) as a potential evolutionary turning point, in which we – humankind – might possibly opt for a future rooted in care/share, cooperation, compassion, discarding our exploitative habits and distorted priorities.

 

To change the nature of the political process will need shifts of attitude, the introduction of P.R., plus effective devolution (local forums/assemblies etc) on a national and regional basis.

 

At the moment, there is minimal mainstream, consideration of P.R.  In their initial message, (September 2016) to the Partly, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley stated: “WE are resolute in wanting to explore the potential for alliances with other progressive parties in order to deliver votes.”

 

Exploration inevitably involves risk.  In the recent Whitney by-election – which was won (on a much reduced majority) by the conservative candidate, it was pointed out that if the left (Lab. Lib Dem, Green) had united with a single candidate, it could have changed the face of politics in Britain.  (see Anne Perkins in the Guardian).  The article concluded: “Instead it will be business as usual.”

 

It will be difficult – if not impossible – for Greens to achieve the necessary changes by ourselves.  The growing membership, the spread of policy ideas (eg. Citizens Income) is positive and welcome.  This trend will be enhanced through working with others in cooperation.

 

There are various formats for electoral alliances (eg. Tactical, Open ‘cross-party’ Primaries). As important, if not more-so, is the on-going process of working with others in the community, seeking to build something of a wider movement – with political edge and bite.

In the challenging task of societal transformation, the breaking down of barriers/transcending differences can serve to establish common ground, grow trust, working for the common good.