As the government continues its austerity drive and support of the City of London and the banks, we’ll keep supporting those involved with land rights, community ownership, and defence of our public services. As well as facing the hard and difficult issues, we will include the positive moves that are changing the restrictive patterns within our social fabric. We’ll be looking at the grassroots movements that create an alternative infrastructure as the global economic systems falter, a “downshift” culture of sharing resources and skills: neighbourhood energy schemes, community kitchens and CSAs.
We will looking at the bigger picture set within a local framework and highlighting subjects that are often ignored or minimised in mainstream culture, from climate change to nuclear energy. We will be making links between all these subjects in order to further strengthen our common intent to bring about a fair, sustainable and connected OneWorld. Hope you will join us!
Writing on the Edge, 2011
In 2011 we relaunched ourselves as a blog with a party at the EPIC Media Centre in Norwich and decided we would keep posting our columns each Saturday and also invite guest writers to contribute and include occasional news and events posts.
We started the year reporting from the front line of the cuts, as February demonstration in Norwich rallied on the steps of of County Hall. Guest writer, Andrew Boswell wrote about the closure of essential child protection services, Jan Ainsley about the threatened NHS and Mark Watson about the Lowestoft Against the Cuts Public Workers Strike Rally later in November.
2011 was an activist year, in which progressive groups came together as never before. and though we continued to write on traditional OWC issues, such as military and nuclear power, there were unexpected events started to appearing in the world and in our columns – most strikingly the people’s movements in the Arab nations and the Occupy movement in the West. Trevor Philips wrote from the squares in Athens, Charlotte Du Cann from Hay Hill about Occupy Norwich. It was a year where the word capitalism no longer belonged to the rhetoric of the left. Everyone started to look at the economic system by which we have lived our lives, about systemic collapse. about ethical responsibility and solidarity. Mark Crutchley reflected on financial tipping points and peak oil, Rupert Read asked: Are we a consumerist or a producerist society?
None of us had any anwers.
But one thing we knew: like all civilisations. who have risen and fallen, our future will be determined in terms of our relationship with food and energy. As land grabs increase in Indonesia, Africa and China and climate change destabilises the growing patterns of many of of world’s staple crops, we looked at the depletion of fish in the oceans, the diminishing water tables. protests against the proposed introduction of GM farming into Britain and the agricultural lobbying that goes on behind the scenes. We looked at the way food is considered as a commodity and speculated on in the global markets and the warning signs of collapse in the decline of bees and the negative effects of factory farming on our collective health and well being.
Some of our 2011 posts concerned peak oil and looked at the accountability of the companies still making huge profits from fossil fuels the cost of the environment, the climate and local people. At the same time we celebrated the resistance to this, such as the KEYSTONE XL Pipeline campaign. This protest against the unconventional tar sands oil had its first success last year as 10,000 people surrounded the White House and the proposal for a pipeline from Canada-Texas was delayed, awaiting further research. This was the biggest environmental protest in the United States since the 1970s and over a thousand people were arrested including 350.0rg organiser Bill McKibben and James Hansen, NASA’s top climate scientist.
There was also widespread protest mounted against “unconventional” shale gas extraction using a process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, which halted excavations in many places in the US and also in Britain where the process is being trialled in Lancashire. There were several national campaigns launched, as the countryside came under further threat for housing and road development (not least in the local NDR proposals) and bio-mass and biofuel power stations planned to be built around the British coastline. Increasingly it became clear that these moves were sparking a popular re-engagement with politics and ethics, that had almost disappeared from contemporary culture. Reflecting on these shifts, we considered putting ourselves on the line and creating an alternative to the mainstream media that insists that the world will thrive when economic growth returns in a business-as-usual paradigm. We know it won’t.
But it might just thrive for other reasons.
If you would like to contribute news or features to the OneWorld Column please get in touch at oneworldcolumn AT gmail.com
Occupy Earth poster at Keystone Pipeline protest outside the White House; the ST Valentine’s Unneccesary Massacre; Chevron lawsuit in Ecuadar, Amazon Watch; at Lowestoft Fair Pensiions rally; the AIRPLOT at Heathrow, reclaiming the field by Grow Heathrow.
Radical thinktank report calls for institution of ‘guardians’ for future generations
In a new report to be launched at the House of Commons on 10th January 2012, Green House think tank Chair Dr. Rupert Read (that’s me! 😉 will propose radical constitutional reform to Parliament in order to create strong ‘guardians’ to protect future generations’ basic needs. In order to actualise this, the ‘Guardians for future generations’ report suggests creating a ‘super-jury’, picked by chance (as juries are) from the population at large, charged with preserving the basic needs of future generations, to be placed above the upper house.
The Guardians’ central powers would be a veto over new legislation that would damage / compromise the basic needs of future people, and a right to force a review of existing legislation that is already damaging their basic needs.
· The ‘Guardians for future generations’ report will be launched at 5pm [for 5.30]on January 10th 2012, in Committee Room 5, House of Commons. The meeting will be hosted by Dr. Caroline Lucas MP, Leader of the Green Party, and will also be addressed by Jon Cruddas MP of Labour and by Government Minister Norman Baker MP. Representatives of the ‘
· The guardians report can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/guardians-of-the-future/18743272 . By Jan. 10, it will be available for free download online at the Green House website.
· Further information about Green House think tank can be found at http://www.greenhousethinktank.org
Summary of report findings:
‘Democracy’ means ‘government by the people’; but who are ‘the people’?
Society exists over time and decisions taken today can have significant consequences for people yet to be born. This report argues that the interests of future generations should be formally represented within our existing parliamentary democracy. In other words: Future people should be included among ‘the people’.
Building on the precedent of
The Guardians would have a power of veto over legislation that was likely to have substantial negative effects for society in the future, and perhaps also the right to review major administrative decisions which substantially affected future people and the power to initiate legislation to preserve the basic needs and interests of future people.
[The report argues that two facts make the proposal especially timely; first, the government’s intention to become ‘the greenest government ever’, contrasted with its closure of institutions designed to maintain our ecosystems for the future; second, the current process of radical constitutional reform (most notably, potential democratisation of the House of Lords).]