18 Feb
2017

Cutting to the Chase

I really don’t like going on demos as I think I have said on here before. But very often I have a lot of agreement with the cause that the demonstration is espousing.

So instead of going for a walk down the middle of the street on Saturday I spent the time writing this instead (an adaptation here of a version that was a letter to my councillor and another to my MP – I might yet do a much shorter version to the local newspaper.

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20 Jan
2017

Migration Effects

Ecological degradation is already preventing many living things (including a lot of humans) from achieving their full potential for self-realization (or their three-score and ten if you prefer).
It doesn’t have to go much further for a decline in human population to become evident (as it already is for many other species). If death rate exceeds birth rate by 1% then a population halves in about 70 years (or three human generations).
How you intervene in that process is an interesting question – one answer is not to bother, just let it happen. Another answer is to try and find some parameter to control in order to achieve a more desirable outcome than the default – which begs the question of desirable for whom?
Perhaps from an ecological point of view maximising human population decline in over-consuming territories might be desirable – in which case you could make a strong ecological case for preventing all immigration into developed countries and encouraging developed world emigration to the third world on the grounds that a third world immigrant to the UK will increase her resource consumption to unsustainable levels, whereas a UK emigrant to (say) Mali will almost certainly reduce her net consumption.
Or perhaps not?

08 Jan
2017

Limits to Rights

One of the principles of ecology can be stated as “all living beings have equal rights to self-realization” which stems from an ultimate norm “Complete Self-realization”.

This gives rise to the concept of rights of nature – a necessary counter to the capitalist legal framework in which nature is treated as property, whereas a company or corporation has legal rights analogous to an individual.

Ideas like Polly Higgins’s Eradicating Ecocide (www.eradicatingecocide.com) calling for recognition of Ecocide as a crime on the same level as War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, and also the wider Rights of Nature campaign (www.rightsofnature.uk) are excellent initiatives deserving of full support.

Of course there is a trap Read More

13 Dec
2016

Shallow is not necessarily bad

I recently used the short phrase “shallow new greens” in a comment on a forum and was pulled up for being pompous. That’s the trouble with throwaway comments; they often don’t convey the intended meaning.

I can see how someone could take it that way so perhaps some expansion is in order. ‘Shallow’ refers to Arne Naess’s late 70’s distinction between shallow and deep ecology. It is not necessarily a value judgement – shallow seas are sometimes warmer and more benign to life than the deep ocean, a shallow wound can be less damaging than a deep one. ‘New greens’ would have been better written as neo-green as I was meaning not new members of the GPEW, some of whom certainly take a deep ecology perspective, but rather the general position of the latest incarnation of the political wing of the broad green movement in the UK.

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26 Nov
2016

Of Progress and Continuity

In the current issue of Resurgence & Ecologist an article entitled “Small is Still Beautiful” by Paul Kingsnorth very effectively identifies the dead-end that the broad ecology movement from the 1970s has ended up in with the current political Green direction. Brexit being the lens which has brought this into sharp focus.

Aside from some very pertinent reflections on the almost complete failure of the political wing to achieve the relevance or mass support which the EU debate could have gifted it, he also references John Berger’s distinction between a “culture of progress” and a “culture of survival”.

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