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A Green Manifesto

Susan Clark & Edgar Vaid

Editor's and Reader's Highlights from the current issue of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine

A Green Manifesto - Editor's Highlights

In setting out her vision of a cleaner, greener and fairer world, Natalie Bennett - the new leader of the Green Party of England and Wales - calls for a radical overhaul of all our current systems; of production, education, employment and even the way we all live.

Frustrated by a government that promised green but stayed true blue, Natalie warns we will only achieve real change when we start electing politicians who think the same way and understand that we cannot go on as we are.

"We need to change, and we need to change fast," she warns.

12 THE STATE OF NATURE

Following the publication of a shocking report revealing the full extent of the UK's biodiversity loss - some 60 per cent of the 3,148 species examined now in decline - naturalist Mark Cocker urges greens to put aside their differences to work together to stop the loss of our wildlife and countryside

20 MY GREEN LIFE - ROWAN WILLIAMS

Now the Master of Cambridge University's Magdalene College, the former Archbishop of Canterbury says Universities are well placed to encourage greater environmental awareness and function as good platforms for the robust public discussions needed to explore the challenges and solutions to climate change.

24 THE TRANSITION EXPERIMENT

Rob Hopkins - founder of the Transition Movement - admits it's all a bit of an experiment: "We're building models and seeing if they will work" he tells journalist, Bibi van der Zee who profiles the author as his new book, The Power of Just Doing Stuff: How Local Action Can Change the World is published

38 FROM CHARITY TO SOLIDARITY

Feeling sorry for those in poverty is no help to anyone, says Deborah Doane, former Director of the World Development Movement. It's not your sympathy they need, it's your empathy and your solidarity. But it doesn't help that most of the descriptions of poverty portrayed in the mainstream media are entirely divorced from their real root causes!

Susan Clark is Associate Editor of Resurgence & Ecologist and a food writer.

A Green Manifesto - Reader's Highlights 

6 ON THE VERGE OF DESTRUCTION

Although we tend to assume that some form of management intervention is the answer to the conservation of declining species,  quite often this is better achieved by simply refraining from doing something. A classic example is highlighted by Plantlife’s Road Verge Campaign, which urges councils to avoid verge-cutting until wild flowers have set their seeds. In this context, I think ‘name and shame’ time is justified, so here goes - "Devon County Council is not abiding by its own guidelines ... of timing the cuts ... to take account of local flowering and seed climax ... in North Devon .... the verges were mown down in mid-May just as they were coming into full flower".

14 WHAT PRICE A RAINFOREST?

We’re familiar with the environmental degradation wrought by humankind’s incessant pursuit for more than a century of ‘black gold’ (ie oil), so it’s apt that Andrew Mitchell should adopt the sobriquet ‘green gold’ for palm oil plantations.  Their upsurge over the last 50 years has led to the clear-felling of vast swathes of rainforest, which has no value in terms of multi-national companies’ traditional financial accounting.  This is one example in a particularly incisive examination of the pressures exerted by the amorality of corporate commercial greed (“trashing rainforests makes investors big money”), and which forms one of the most clear-sighted articles on the subject you’re liable to encounter.

16 GET THE FRACK OUT!

Counter-intuitive, or even surreal, are how we might describe some unusual images, but a scene mentioned at the opening of this article is just plain disturbing – US farmers igniting their tap-water.  Yes, you read that correctly - for the cocktail of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) include such alarming side-effects when they permeate the groundwater in parts of Pennsylvania. Almudena Serpis succinctly charts these and other adverse environmental results of fracking, plus the concerns about its potential incursion into other countries which ought to know better.

44 LESSONS FROM EDO

Asked about Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868), and most of us will struggle to reach beyond stereotypical thoughts of enigmatic samurai warriors glaring at each other, or perhaps Hokusai’s wood block print of the “Great Wave Off Kanagana”.  But as Azby Brown’s brief history lesson emphasises, we have much to learn how “Japanese of the earlier eras had achieved their impressively enduring sustainable society” which was “led by necessity and sensibility to look for the interdependencies that surrounded them, both in Nature and as people”.

46 CAN I DO WITHOUT IT?

Mention Epicurus and we are liable to conjure up images of wining and dining at great feasts, and of the myriad tastes of foodstuffs from around the World.  But Molly Conisbee rescues the Greek philosopher (341-271 BCE) from this standard caricature to explain how “he was the originator of an idea of the social contract between ourselves and the Earth that sustains us all”.

48 BEAUTY & SUSTAINABILITY

In the fourth part of “Beauty Dialogues” we again benefit from Vandana Shiva’s gift for presenting sometimes elusive concepts in elegantly crafted phrases which sing from the page.

Edgar Vaid is a freelance book reviewer and long time reader of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine.

 

 

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