UK political setback for environment

In this typically well-researched article George Monbiot laments the elimination in the new UK cabinet of the department for climate change and the appointment of awowedly pro-business ministers with lamentable records in relation to environmental protection. Here is an extract from his trenchant criticism of the post-Cameron government arrangements of the new Prime Minister Theresa May:

We have a environment secretary whose ideology urges her to see the environment as an impediment to profit, a communities secretary whose every fibre rebels against the planning system and an international trade secretary who used his previous post in government to connect mysteriously with American corporate lobby groups. We no longer have a climate change secretary, of any description. We have a government that treats the Earth’s systems, upon which our survival depends, as an afterthought. Or not a thought at all.

Once again we see the universal tendency by those in power to place expansionist values of profit and the growth of GDP ahead of considering the crucial need to ensure a sustainable planet and environment for humankind and other species. These anthropocentric values (“the earth exists primarily as a resource to enrich  those humans able to profit from exploiting nature”) fuel exponential human impact on nature as well as great disparities in well-being within the human species. This small corner of Spaceship Earth does not seem to be in very safe hands!

The rise of Pirate Parties

Brexit has demonstrated yet another manifestation of the disillusionment with conventional political parties and their self-serving, often corrupt neglect of government for all the people, by the people. This article from Truth-out describes how a radical new form of democracy has risen rapidly in the small country of Iceland after the 2008 collapse of its banks and the revelations of devious financial actions of its Prime Minister.

“Started as a Swedish movement in 2006, the Pirate Party advocated for copyright reform and freedom of access to information. It championed whistleblowers and defended WikiLeaks. After expanding its platform to include civil liberties and direct democracy, the party grew: it now boasts chapters in approximately 60 countries“.

“Iceland’s Pirates are not alone. Disaffected citizens on both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of the ideological divide — from the Tea Partiers to the Feel-the-Berners, from the Leavers of Britain to Spain’s Podemos and Nuit Debout in France — have promoted insurgent campaigns, attempting to reinvigorate democracy and bring representation into the 21st century.”

This CASE website is about community action and these developments offer food for not just thought, but also for possible radical alternative politcal action. Global politics currently are dominated by elites that seem to be largely oblivious to the imapct of their policies on those with less political power but also upon the life support systems of Spaceship Earth. Could a Pirate incursion offer hope for a better governed, more democratic Spaceship Earth? As Yogi Berra, master of malapropisms, told us – “The future is not what it used to be!”

On whose agenda is the UN’s SDG 4.7?

Thanks to reading Bill Scott’s presentation lamenting the failure of Education for Sustainable Development, I went via a link to the UN General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals – Agenda for 2030. (SDGs) Bill sees the SDGs as a better focus now than conventional education for sustainable development (ESD). The introduction of Agenda 2030 sets out 5Ps which are not a bad framework for the future of Spaceship Earth or “Mother Earth” as the UN prefers to call our planet:

People We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.

Planet We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.

Prosperity We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.

Peace We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.

Partnership We are determined to mobilise the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalise Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focused in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.

Further – We recognize that there are different approaches, visions, models and tools available to each country, in accordance with its national circumstances and priorities, to achieve sustainable development; and we reaffirm that planet Earth and its ecosystems are our common home and that “Mother Earth” is a common expression in a number of countries and regions.

The following is a sub-point of Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 

4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.


Brexit and Energy

This article from Resilence Today examines the impact of Brexit on progress in replacing non-renewabe energy sources with renewable energy. It argues that it is a setback but that there has been considerable good news in recent months concerning efforts to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and hence,  the emission of CO2 that is  contributing to anthropogenic global warming,