Can Marketing Ever Be A Force For Good?

Can marketing be good for society? Or is it just about lies and capitalism?

woman-hand-smartphone-laptop

Can marketing be a socially beneficial occupation? Image from Pexels, CC0 license.

Then and Now: My Relationship With Marketing
A year ago, when I was a third year student writing my dissertation, if you told me that in 2016 I’d be working in marketing and social media, I’d never have believed you. Continue reading

CLEAN ENERGY BOOM?!

I have some exciting news today. It’s finally happening.

There’s a world-wide renewable energy boom going on. 

All the metrics are there. In terms of investment, capacity, jobs and proportion of the total energy mix, renewables are surging ahead and showing no sign of slowing down. About time, hey?

“A flurry of end-of-year reports have revealed rising deployment, record-breaking generation and surging market demand.”
Business Green

Wind turbines in Iowa. Photography by Samir Luther, Creative Commons Licensing.

Wind turbines in Iowa, USA. Photography by Samir Luther, Creative Commons Licensing.

Investment
Global investments in renewable energy hit an all time high of $329 (£230) billion in 2015. This was 4% higher than 2014.. Well over half of these investments came from the Asia Pacific region, with China leading the way. Investments have increased five-fold over the last decade and renewable energy now accounts for over half of all extra capacity added each year. So all the signs suggest this figure will be even chubbier in 2016. Despite Germany loving up the domestic solar, Europe is no longer the driver of renewable energy worldwide: the emerging economies like China, India, Brazil and South Africa are where the action is happening.  Continue reading

#COP21: Deal or No Deal?!

Today will go down in history.

12th December 2015. The day the world finally agreed on a universal plan to tackle the climate crisis – a credible, just and binding agreement – a turning point, after which we began a fast and transformative transition to a post-carbon economy.

Or will it be:

12th December 2015. The day the world had a global climate deal within its grasp, but let political tensions and short-sighted national interest prevail – destroying hope and sentencing our world to catastrophic runaway climate change.

~

I hope with all my heart it will be the former.

From the D12 climate rally in Paris today. Creative Commons licensing.

From the D12 climate rally in Paris today. Creative Commons licensing.

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Citizens of the world march for climate justice

Yesterday I was one of 50,000 people to descend on central London as part of the Global Climate March on the eve of the COP21 climate talks in Paris.

System change not climate change!

I took the Big Lemon bus (which runs on waste cooking oil!) up to London yesterday morning, forcing myself out of bed about half a day earlier than I would usually arise. When we got to Hyde Park, Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the fire and rescue union and a couple of others took turns giving motivational speeches from the top of a fire engine before we set off towards Parliament. Continue reading

6 Reasons to Be Cheerful About the Paris Climate Summit – Yes, Really

Two weeks before the next Conference of the Parties (COP21), the UN’s crunch meeting in Paris, we get the news that by the end of 2015 the planet will have warmed by 1C since pre-industrial times.

That’s halfway to the all-important 2C, which is widely agreed to be the cut-off point for dangerous climate change, and awfully close to the 1.5C which many see as a more appropriate limit as anything more will render parts of the world uninhabitable.

But I said this was going to be a cheerful article, didn’t I?

Despite this scary milestone, there are several reasons to be cheerful about the prospects of the COP21. Whether we come out the other side with a scientifically valid and socially just legally binding global agreement remains to be seen, and I’d forgive you for being sceptical. But these trends tell us we’re at least in a much better position than in the run-up to the infamous Copenhagen flop of 2009.

Fossil Free Rally

Fossil Free Rally in Edinburgh. Image credit: Colin Hattersley Photography. Creative Commons.

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Religious Leaders Call for Climate Justice

As the UN’s crunch climate summit approaches, I’m seeing several trends that give me hope for COP21. Many climate activists are still traumatised by the colossal failure of the Copenhagen summit in 2009. While I’m not certain we will go into 2016 with the legally binding scientifically credible and socially just global deal that we need, I am certain it will at least be much better than Copenhagen. There’s several trends that are giving me hope for the Paris 2015 summit, and one of them is the way religious leaders have recently been queueing up to call for climate action, and climate justice.  Continue reading

The Victory of Jeremy Corbyn

Last week, Britain’s political opposition actually became an opposition, with the election of a leader that is dramatically different (in policy, style and values) to the ruling party and its intellectual allies: Jeremy Corbyn. At a time when the politics of this country has shifted so far to the right that neoliberal austerity is presented as the middle ground and everything else is relegated to the margins, his election as Labour leader (with 60% of the vote no less) is a very big deal. Because he does not fit the cookie cutter mould of the modern establishment. A left-wing-liberal, he champions greater equality, deeper democracy and more public ownership of assets. He opposes austerity, Trident, fracking and new nuclear.

Jeremy Corbyn, Creative Commons Licensing.

Jeremy Corbyn, Creative Commons Licensing.

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Earth Overshoot Day and Not-For-Profit Enterprise

I wrote this post for the Post Growth Institute and it was originally published here.

In 2015, 13 August is Earth Overshoot Day. The day marks the estimated calendar date when humanity’s demand on the planet’s ecological services (which produce renewable resources and assimilate wastes) outstrips what the Earth can supply. This means that for the rest of the year, we are taking more than is regenerated, operating in Overshoot. Last year, Earth Overshoot Day was August 19th. We first went into Overshoot in the late 1970s, and since then the day has crept ever earlier on the calendar. This means we are using the ecological resources of just over 1.5 Earths.

Meeting the challenge of providing for all humanity’s needs within the limits of what our Earth can provide will require a radical restructuring of the global economy. In this post I will discuss how a post-growth economy based around not-for-profit enterprise can help us get to One Planet Living. Continue reading

Dutch citizens take their government to court for being useless on climate change – And win!!

Yesterday the supreme court of the Netherlands came to a historic landmark verdict: the Dutch government’s lack of strong climate change action was branded illegal.

Organised by the climate campaign group Urgenda, 886 Dutch citizens sued their own government for failing to act in line with climate science, and therefore endangering lives. The Hague ruling used existing human rights laws and tort law – a form of common law that every country has, that refers to the basic duty to avoid causing harm.

Campaigners celebrate the landmark verdict. Image from Urgenda, not mine.

Campaigners celebrate the landmark verdict. Image from Urgenda, not mine.

The judges said that based on existing policies, the country is set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) at the very most – which was deemed unacceptable considering the severe risks of global climate change, the country’s status as an advanced and affluent state, and the flat and low-lying geography of the country that poses a significant flooding risk.

Yesterday’s ruling has ordered the Dutch Government to instead reduce emissions by at least 25% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. The verdict is legally binding, Continue reading