Door-knocking with the Green Party

Today I spontaneously decided to spend the evening volunteer  door-knocking with the Green Party, on their mission to re-elect Caroline Lucas, the UK’s one and only Green MP.

I’ve been wanting to do it for ages, but they always do it on Saturday mornings, when I’m busy carrying dishes of spaghetti around in a tiny Italian restaurant. However now it’s getting closer to election time (well, still 7 months) they’ve started doing it like, everyday. I wasn’t working tonight and my boyfriend was out, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

I was expecting canvassing to be more than a little soul-destroying, to be honest. I wanted to do it because I admire Caroline so much and desperately want her to be re-elected, but I thought it would be highly unpleasant.
I’m happy to report it was actually painless, verging on fun.

The other volunteers were really lovely people. The team leader had this amazing charisma and energy about her that was just completely contagious. Don’t you just love people like that? And there was another student too, who was the same age as me. It was really nice to meet someone my age who’s as passionate about green politics as me.

Excitingly, and surprisingly for me, Caroline Lucas herself came with us as well. I think it’s so great that she spends her own evenings door-knocking. She’s such a down-to-earth and real person, not like other politicians. And I was really excited to meet her properly because I’ve admired her for ages and really look up to her. I can’t believe she now follows Earth Baby on Twitter!

Here’s a photo of me, Caroline and the other volunteers after our canvassing session.

 

Me on the far left. Caroline Lucas is the lady in the middle with the white tshirt.

Me on the far left. Caroline Lucas is the lady in the middle with the white t-shirt.

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How, on Earth?

I’m very much looking forward to attending a talk this Thursday, entitled Is the Post Growth economy already here? By Donnie Maclurcan, executive director of the Post Growth Institute. He’s coming to my city as part of a UK-wide tour promoting a new book he’s co-writing with Jennifer Hinton, co-director of the same Institute.

Cover of the forthcoming book

Cover of the forthcoming book

This book is called How, on Earth? Flourishing in a not-for-profit world by 2050, and will be published in April next year. You can pre-order it here. The book centres around the concept of the not-for-profit enterprise, which earns money to pay for its resources and to pay all employees a fair wage, but reinvests any profits straight back into its social cause, or into improving the enterprise, rather than letting them accrue to shareholders.

If you fail to see how a profit-less model could possibly be a good thing, you might need a bit of background. Continue reading

Climate Summit 2014!

Did you know there’s a UN Climate Summit in exactly one month?

I have to admit it slipped my mind, and I like to think of myself as in the environmental loop.

I’m not sure what the news coverage has been like in other countries, but in the UK it’s definitely been nowhere near the top of the agenda. I know this because preparations for my dissertation have seen me rifling through the top four serious newspapers of the land for the last couple of weeks. I was looking for articles on sustainable development, in order to analyse how the concept is construed in the news print media. And yet I barely found any.

I wasn’t too surprised. I though to myself, “oh well, what do you expect. Sustainability only comes into the news in a major way when there’s some big event, like the run-up to a UN summit or the aftermath of a natural disaster”.

Only the other night I realised it was the run-up to a big UN summit.

Not my image.

Not my image.

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War, Peace & Sustainability

Sustainability is about everyone living well, as far into the future as possible. War is about the most brutish form of conflict resolution we know.

It’s not hard to see how these two things are at odds. War kills people, injures people, rips apart families, communities and whole societies. It destroys critical infrastructure and homes. It also damages land, causes pollution and wastes resources and insane sums of money. Basically, while sustainability aims for a shared, ecologically-feasible and lasting prosperity, war fucks everything up.

You can’t have a sustainable society that is at war. The two cancel each other out.

So, my question is, do we need to first achieve world peace before we can fully get down to sustainabilityContinue reading

Universal Citizen’s Income

Have you heard of the universal citizen’s income?

Otherwise known as universal basic income, it refers to this (so far) theoretical policy where every citizen in a country is given enough money to cover their basic needs. It doesn’t matter if they’re working or not, how much they earn, what their health status is, – as long as they’re an adult and a national citizen, they get the same amount. Everyone does.

Do you think it sounds crazy? I kind of do too. But this article by the ever knowledgeable Another Angry Voice has made me doubt my initial incredulousness.  Continue reading

Environmental Communication & Journalism

Good evening lovelies.

My latest episode of Future Focus is now online and can be listened to here. This one’s on environmental communication, and features an interview with the design coordinator of the Greenpeace field at Glastonbury Festival 2014, the wonderful and talented Tabitha Pope. The episode discusses the many forms environmental communication can take, and how important it is in a society that increasingly relies on the media. Please give it a listen, and tell me what you think. And if you like it, please get on the link-love and share, share, share!  Continue reading

New UK “Environment Secretary” Opposes Green Energy & Loves Fracking

 

In dear David Cameron’s so called “reshuffle” of his cabinet, (in preparation for next year’s general election), he appears to have done what we previously thought impossible: made his party even more of a sick joke. Why am I being so harsh? Well, his new environment and energy ministers both oppose green energy.  Continue reading

Greenpeace & Glastonbury Festival 2014

I just got home yesterday from a summer-time adventure.

I was working for Greenpeace at Glastonbury Festival. I can’t believe I haven’t written about the project sooner to be honest, but my life’s been a bit of a whirlwind since I finished the 2nd year of my degree at the beginning of last month.

Basically, me and my friend Lola won a competition, which was about designing innovative ways of communicating climate change and the plight of the Arctic. In our application we summarised three ideas, which were for igloos with sound and visual installations for various Arctic issues, a timeline of melting icebergs and a large bird’s eye view map of the Arctic. The prize was to actually come to the festival and build your designs. We didn’t hear back for ages, so I was pretty shocked when Lola rang me excitedly telling me we’d won. They wanted us to create the timeline idea, and said the igloos were cool but there wasn’t enough space for them.

Anyway, that was about two weeks before the day we were expected onsite, and we were asked to stay from 17th June to 2nd July. We had the actual festival weekend off, which was fantastic. Working on the decor team of the build crew was a lot of fun, and it was also hard work. It was baking hot all week, and I felt close to sunstroke on a couple of occasions, but somehow I managed to avoid coming home looking like a lobster.

We spent three days painting our timeline, which was very big and right at the front of the Greenpeace field, next to the giant replica of the Arctic Sunrise ship. The timeline showed two scenarios, one called ‘business as usual’ which depicted melting icebergs giving way to rising sea levels and open water filled with oil rigs and industrial fishing ships. The other was called ‘global sanctuary’ and showed ice and water levels stabilising and lots of Arctic wildlife and sealife. This was supposed to show the consequences of our collective actions, and to underline that we have a choice – the melting of the Arctic is not inevitable.

 

Our double timeline, photo by Lola Rose.

Our double timeline, photos by Lola Rose.

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Monkeys in the trees, Peruvian rainforest. Not my image.

I Bought a Rainforest

Have you seen the new BBC documentary series called I Bought a Rainforest?

I’ve watched the first two episodes. It’s about a wildlife photographer called Charlie who spontaneously buys 100 acres of the Amazon, in Peru, in order to protect it from illegal loggers.  His patch is strategically placed next to a national park, at the end of the only road for many miles. Loggers are felling trees in the national park, despite it being a protected area. Charlie plans to stop them.

So far, so simple, right? The animal-loving camera-man is the goodie and the illegal loggers who are killing the rainforest – the lungs of the planet and one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world – are undoubtedly the baddies.

But no. It would be very naive to assume real life is like a story of good vs evil. Much to Charlie’s dismay, it turns out the nasty loggers decimating the protected forest are really just cripplingly poor locals who have no other way to feed their families. One of them has a disabled daughter who isn’t getting the care she needs and can’t go to school.  Continue reading

Skeptical of Solar Roadways?

Yesterday I excitedly posted an article waxing lyrical about a new project to turn roads into solar-panel-covered roads that could generate all the clean energy the US needs if replicated nation-wide.

Solar cycle lane. Artists rendition by Katherine Simons.

Solar cycle lane. Artist’s rendition by Katherine Simons.

Apologising for being cynical, one of my lovely environmentally-conscious friends commented that he didn’t think it was a practical idea, and directed me to this article that dismisses solar roadways as a wild fancy. Well, I think they have a couple of fair points, and a fair few not-so-valid points. Let’s walk through them.  Continue reading