Climate Crisis – let’s confront reality

As COP26 – December’s international convention in Glasgow – becomes a major media focus, the scrutiny of environmental plans and policies will be intensified.

Parties across the political spectrum are now preparing proposals that will sound good but not offend their core supporters.  They’ve had plenty of practice.  References to fine words buttering no parsnips date back to at least 1634.

To identify the underlying causes of ecological distress one must first strip away mis-characterisations (it’s just a natural cycle) and finger pointing or ‘othering’ (it’s all their fault) and vested interests that stand in the way of progress.  It’s time then to critically review where leaders think they are leading.

Under Ed Davey the Libdems don’t just have a plan – we have a Green Recovery Plan – but is that enough to get to the heart of the issues?  Given the scale of the challenge, are the plan’s elements sufficient?  Will many millions of small initiatives be practical and effective, or are major policy reforms required?

  • Save British Countryside
  • Green Every Home
  • Clean Air for Kids
  • Transport revolution
  • Energy Switch

Looking at the details behind these headlines there is much to applaud – and nothing to cause offence.  But will these elements be enough to arrest the current levels of our planet abuse? 

Should we not also consider:

  • stepping away from economic growth targets?
  • Ending planned obsolescence
  • Cutting advertising?
  • Shifting from ownership to usership
  • Scaling down destructive industries?
  • Reducing the working week?
  • Reducing Inequality?
  • Restoring health and caring services?
  • Expanding the commons and demonetarise public services?
  • Envisaging Debt Cancellation?
  • Introducing Universal basic Income?
  • Strengthening Democracy?
  • Rebalancing central/local governance with a restoration of municipal autonomy?

Tell us your ideas on how these and other measures could combat climate change – we’ll pass them on for consideration by our Conference and other policy-making bodies.

The proponents of a complete rethinking of the economic systems that have gotten us into this mess could probably generate an even longer – even scarier – list.

How many floods?  How many fires?  How much coastal erosion?  How much pollution?  How many more virus variants?  When will enough be enough? And when will we get to the real reasons for systemic inequalities and unexpected consequences of addiction to ecological destruction.

Back in the 1600’s we made food more palatable by ‘buttering it up’. 

‘Great men, large hopeful promises may utter;

But words did never fish or parsnips butter.’

Solent suffers while Southern Water profits

The sorry saga of untreated sewage dumped in the Solent came to a head this week in the Canterbury Crown Court.  Southern Water had pleaded guilty to 71 violations over 6 years – including 8,400 illegal discharges – with the cover ups sanctioned at a senior level.

Some will claim that this is an example of the regulator doing its job – and others will point out that they were too easily fooled by a company whose top priority was to maximise shareholder profits.

Either way the saga stinks – and now, in 2021, we can finally look forward to the sentencing later this week for crimes committed before 2015.   Will the punishment be enough to stop further discharges?

And the Contaminated Crustacean Award goes to . .

Tories’ £2m grab from local schools

Schools in Fareham are set to lose thousands in funding for the most disadvantaged pupils in the county following the government’s decision to alter the method of calculating pupil premium funding.

The pupil premium, which aims to close the attainment gap by providing extra money to pupils eligible for free school meals, was a flagship reform introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government in 2011.

The move is “a shameful cut” which “will have a direct impact on the quality of education schools can provide for those who are in desperate need of more, not less, support”, says local parent James Fowler, who stood for the Liberal Democrats in Fareham South at the recent local elections.

See the full article here.