Tag Archives: society

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

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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Six Types of Citizen Power

We all know power is very unequally distributed in  UK society, and this concentration of power at the top of the socio-economic ladder is much more extreme at the global level. Many places are ruled by completely unaccountable violent dictators and militias. I’m lucky to live in a liberal democracy. But just because other parts of the world are so much less fortunate, doesn’t mean we in Britain and the West should be content with the watered down versions of “democracy” that actually aren’t that democratic. Or liberal, for that matter.

I can’t speak for other countries that I haven’t experienced, but I know that in the UK although we have democracy, our politicians are not obliged to do what we want, nor what they promise to do. Most of them (especially the ruling Conservatives) appear to be much more interested with lining the pockets of their corporate chums and, indirectly, themselves.

Big Business gets to scrounge off the state constantly with tax breaks, unchallenged tax avoidance, direct subsidies and indirect subsidies such as topping up poverty wages with benefits – while the poorest are vilified to legitimise the speedy erosion of their rights. Austerity for the poor and socialism for the rich. The injustice of it all is breathtaking, to anyone who bothers to look.

I know, it’s a bleak picture. And it’s easy to understand why so many people in this country have become hopeless and apathetic. It’s easy to take a glance at the corruption, hypocrisy and deceit and decide that the elite is all-powerful and normal everyday citizens (who aren’t politicians and don’t run a big company or a big news outlet) are powerless.

It’s easy to see why you might think that, because that’s what the powerful want us to think. Citizen apathy is in their favour, big time.

But it’s not true.

Reclaim the streets and flex your citizen muscles. From San Francisco Art Institute, creative commons licensing.

Reclaim the streets and flex your citizen muscles. From San Francisco Art Institute, creative commons licensing.

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One Year Dies, and Another is Born

Hello lovely readers, I hope you’ve all been having a gorgeous festive time.

As 2014 draws to a close and the new bubba year is just a couple of days away, I’d like to take this opportunity to write about some of the big deals in sustainability from the last year, sustainability-related things I’ve been doing personally, and some of the things I’m eagerly and nervously awaiting from 2015. I think it’s going to be a big year.

This is a UK-centric post as that’s where I’m based. If you live in another country, please feel free to leave a comment telling me what the big sustainability news from your neck of the woods has been in 2014!
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Note My Vote!

The other day I found out about this really cool new website called Note My Vote, which basically lets you vote on potential new laws before they’re debated in parliament, and tells your MP what you (and your fellow constituents) think.

The website, which has no political affiliation, basically conducts lots of opinion polls, and sends each MP their constituent’s results. It also shows your MP’s voting records and has some demystifying information on how the UK legislative process works.

The site's logo. Image from notemyvote.co.uk

The site’s logo. Image from notemyvote.co.uk

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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

European Election Results

So the results of the European election are out.

…And UKIP won. Labour came a close second, then the Tories, then the Greens, with the Lib Dems being pushed into fifth place.

Apparently this is the first time in 100 years that neither Labour nor the Conservatives have won a UK national election.

But I just can’t believe the majority of voters thought the bigoted neoliberalism-on-steroids party was a good idea. Continue reading

Enough is Enough – Video

As I wrote in my glowing review, Enough is Enough by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neil is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The book outlines an idea for a steady state economy – a truly sustainable economy that puts wellbeing before profit. When I read the book and found out about this concept, it was pretty much a life changing experience. I was ecstatic that other people were actually working on the ideas that were already half-baked in my mind. It filled me with hope. Today I found this video on Youtube which gives you an 18-minute taster of Enough is Enough, the limits to growth and the steady state concept. If you haven’t read it, watch the video for a quick summary. Then order this brilliant book from your local bookshop!

 

 

How Equal is the USA?

In my last post, I showed a short animated video about the huge income inequality in the UK. The video showed the big differences between what people thought the situation was, what they thought it should be, and what it actually is.

If you thought that was a shocker, then get ready, because I’ve found a similar video for the US of A and it’s even worse.

Although this is very much bad news, I think there is one silver lining to be gleaned from both the UK and USA situations. We’re always told that there isn’t enough money for all sorts of great things. Free education, arts funding, a new smart grid, high-speed electric rail, renewable energy, better healthcare, nature conservation… All sorts of things. Well at least the money is very definitely there. If we could just stop all those billions congregating in the tippy top of the pile, we’d have enough money for practically anything.

The first stage is surely raising awareness. Both videos show that people rightly assume the rich are much richer than the poor, but they massively underestimate the difference. In particular, people don’t realise that the poor and middleclass are actually very similar in wealth compared with the most wealthy.

Wake up everyone, this isn’t okay.