The Post-Growth Project: How the End of Economic Growth Could Bring a Fairer and Happier Society

 

Talk and book launch by Professor Rupert Read

 Wednesday 27th May 7.30 Upper CC

The book is about Post Growth Economics. It challenges the assumption that it is bad when the economy doesn’t grow and sets out detailed research showing how the end of economic growth could bring about a happier and fairer society. It talks about a new economic paradigm that respects nature and is a great partner for the rights of nature philosophy.

Rupert Read chairs the Green House think tank. He is the Green Party representative for Cambridge and national Transport Spokesman for the Green Party.

Mumta Ita will co-host the event with him and speak on how post growth economics relates to the rights of nature and a new paradigm of economics and law that serve people, planet and prosperity (rather than profit!).

About Rupert Read

www.rupertread.net

About the book –

http://londonpublishingpartnership.co.uk/the-post-growth-project/

About the Green House think tank –http://www.greenhousethinktank.org/page.php?pageid=home

Contact Mumta Ito 01309 358439

Submitted by John Wragg 01309 691 883

The Green Bus comes to Cambridge!

All aboard! The Green Campaign bus came to town on Monday 4th May
and Tuesday 5th May.

What happened yesterday?

 

Why?

Result?

Want to see inside the bus?

 

Natalie Bennett: If you want action on climate change you have to vote Green

Green MPs will ‘hold next government to account’ on climate change

Photo opportunity: Natalie Bennett at a Solar Installation and speaking in front of Green Party bus

Natalie Bennett will deliver a speech in Cambridge later today, 5th May 2015, promising genuine commitment and bold policies on climate change from Green MPs in the next Parliament.

Bennett, who will speak alongside the Green Party’s candidate for Cambridge, Rupert Read, is expected to urge people to vote Green to ‘send a message’ on climate change ahead of international negotiations in Paris later this year.

Bennett will pledge to ‘hold a Tory Government to account’ on environmental issues and ‘give Ed Miliband a spine’ in taking the action required on climate change.

Bennett’s intervention, just two days before the election, comes after the major parties have failed to pay attention to environmental issues in their campaigns. Ms Bennett was the only party leader to talk about climate change in the three and half hours of television debate she was involved in.

Bennett is expected to say:

“By voting Green, you’ve got a chance to show whoever the next Prime Minister is just how much the fight against climate change matters to you. You’ve got a chance to send a message, loud and clear, to whoever is negotiating on your behalf in Paris.

“Green MPs will do all they can to stop a Tory Government taking office, but if they do get back in you can rest assured that Green MPs will be on their case, holding them to account and exposing their shortcomings.

“But, with a Labour minority administration looking increasingly likely, you’ve got a chance to elect a strong group of Green MPs who can have an effective influence on Ed Miliband on climate change – including issues like fracking, home energy efficiency and breaking up the influence of the big six energy companies.”

Photo opportunity: Natalie Bennett with Cambridge Solar installation at 163 Queen Widths Way, CB1 8NJ at 1.45pm

Speech details: Natalie Bennett will give her speech in front of the Green Party’s chip-fat powered bus which will be parked at Campaigns Bus, parked on Sidney St, CB2 3HX at 3.30pm

Roads to nowhere: why is transport policy getting lost in this election?

Do we really want more monstrosities destroying our countryside, costing huge sums that should be going into sustainable transport alternatives? The notorious M3 motorway cutting through Twyford Down, near Winchester, which gave birth to the modern road protest movement.

Rupert Read, Sandy Irvine and Bennet Francis

Only one party is challenging the mainstream concensus on transport, write Rupert Read, Sandy Irvine and Bennet Francis – massive spending on roads and HS2, and the little that’s left for everything else. It’s time to throw away the old thinking and commit to an effective, sustainable transport system that begins with local needs.

If you are looking for evidence of ‘green-washing’ in politics then look no further than the issue of road building.

The old political parties have been known to talk up their green credentials when there are votes to be won, but when faced with this opportunity for immediate and decisive action, they have all remained conspicuously silent.

The balancing of the public finances remains the hot topic as we approach May 7th. In these circumstances, if policymakers were serious about addressing climate change – which really is the most pressing issue of our times – it would seem that scrapping costly investment in the high-carbon economy would be a no-brainer.

Yet with the exception of one, the Greens no party has had the courage to oppose the government’s plan to invest £15bn on revamping and expanding the road network. Also, go 28 minutes into this video, to see one of us address this issue on BBC television.

The elephant in the room

Although never the most gripping topic, transport has traditionally been a worthy heading in policy discussions. This year, you will have to delve deep into most manifestos before you find it.

That said, we have been offered a few ‘promises’, with the Lib Dems and Tories making similar pledges on rail investment and Labour promising to freeze already exorbitant rail fares – for a year.

But given that all these parties are planning more austerity cuts, and given that they are all committed to wasting most of the public transport budget on the vanity-project HS2, it is inevitable the money set aside by them for public transport projects will be little more than a gesture.

It is simply not possible to support motorists, road freight, rail, cyclists, and pedestrians equally in one coherent approach.

If we want a real revolution in transport, so that public and person-powered transportation can become an effective replacement for carbon-intensive road and domestic air travel, we must direct our funds and political energies away from roads and into rail and local infrastructure for sustainable transport.

Cars needed for growth?

The age of mass motoring is coming to an end, whether we like it or not. The oil industry is becoming ever more costly and destructive as reserves dwindle, and several studies have shown that the car sales have steadily been falling, both in Europe and – strikingly – in the USA.

Flashy gas-guzzlers, once the ultimate objects of aspiration, have become a matter of indifference for the younger people – who seem much more interested in new-generation gadgetery like iPhones.

In the parallel universe of politics however, we see a growing fixation on roads as a driver of economic growth. It has long been known that road building encourages more road users and does not reduce congestion – it just makes more, somewhere else.

In other words, road building does not support the economy by making workers more efficient, or contribute to national well-being. Rather it just creates more economic activity as it increases consumption of natural resources like oil, rubber and steel.

In a world in which we are already exceeding the ecological limits of growth, this should be considered a danger, not an advantage, of road building.

Motoring costs more than it gives back

Clarkson-types talk of a ‘war on motoring’, peddling the story that motorists are the unsung heroes of the economy, contributing more through road tax and fuel duty than they take out as road users.

In fact, this is a myth: motoring is subsidised. If we take into account its impact on wider society, through external costs in the form of accidents, air quality, public health, greenhouse gas emissions and congestion, drivers do not pay for themselves. Accidents alone imposed societal costs of £15-32 billion in 2011.

Of course, it is not the economic cost, but the human cost of accidents which should be our main concern. Motoring organisations like to claim they could be avoided with better road maintenance. While repairs to remove hazards are of course essential, accidents are overwhelmingly caused dangerous driving.

Reducing speeds, and above all taking motorists of the roads, are the only sure-fire ways to reduce fatalities. Implementing a 20mph speed limit in all urban areas, as the Green Party advocates, would therefore be a positive step.

Another way?

There are indeed many positive signs that we have the tools and the motivation to move towards a more rational approach: the rise of the electric bus in many European cities, for example, shows that low-emission urban transport is within reach.

Denmark has made more progress than any other country in tackling emissions from transport, it has done this largely through ensuring cars are less cost effective than public transport.

As well as targeted use of indirect taxation, this means making sure rail is affordable. It is difficult to believe this is possible while the railways remain in the hands of a messy patchwork of private companies.

Government subsidies for rail companies go towards greasing the palms of executives, while the East Coast mainline, turning a profit in public hands, was sold off. Again, with the exception of the Greens, no party is supporting the common sense-policy of rail renationalisation.

The transport system in the UK is seriously flawed, and requires radical action if it is to serve the needs of communities. At present, policy tends to serve London-centric business interests, with HS2 again being the most egregious example.

If we want our transport networks to foster strong local economies, clean air, a stable climate and healthy people, then we need a complete change of tack: something to remember as you cast your vote on 7th May.

Originally published at http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2850748/roads_to_nowhere_why_is_transport_policy_getting_lost_in_this_election.html 1st May 2015

Green Passion For A Fairer World – An Endorsement of Rupert Read

The following letter was published in the Cambridge News on 1st May, 2015:

 

Some of us are supporters of the Green Party, some of us are not. But if you choose to vote Green in the General Election on May 7, you will be voting to elect the Green Party’s candidate, Rupert Read. We, the signatories to this letter, all know Rupert Read personally. He is a person of integrity and passionate commitment. He cares intensely about achieving a fairer Britain and a flourishing world. He has seven years practical experience as an elected Green Party local Councillor under his belt, and he has recently come to prominence through the national campaign he began to protect children by banning advertising targeted at them.

 

We are asking you today – whoever you normally vote for (and whichever Party you intend to vote for in the Council election being held the same day) – to consider voting Green this time, in the General Election. A Green vote on May 7th could elect Rupert Read to be your MP, as part of a strengthened Green Party team in the House of Commons. Rupert came very close to being elected as your Green MEP last year, but narrowly missed. That however, was before the ‘Green surge’, which has seen the Party’s membership quintuple and the Party rise significantly in the polls, and enter into the leaders’ debates for the first time.

 

Cambridge was in fact already the Green Party’s 3rd strongest seat in the entire UK, at the 2010 General Election. If you believe that there should be at least 3 Green Party MPs in the entire House of Commons, then you need to be voting Green in Cambridge. Please give the Greens a chance in this election, and vote for an MP of whom you will, we are confident, be proud.

 

Signed by:

 

Jonathan Porritt, former Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission

Zoe Williams, Guardian journalist and columnist

Tony Juniper, Green Party candidate in Cambridge in 2010

Charles Secrett, former Director of Friends of the Earth

Peter Tatchell, LGBT and human rights campaigner who citizens-arrested Robert Mugabe

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader

Gary Francione, world-leading animal-rights lawyer

John Stewart, leading anti-airport-expansion campaigner

Jules Peck, director of David Cameron’s Quality of Life Commission, 2008-2010

Ian Gibson, former Labour MP and Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology

Craig Murray, SNP activist and former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan

and

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP and MP of the Year.