Someone Else’s Story

Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm. Imagine that the question was posed the other way round. An independent nation is asked to decide whether to surrender its sovereignty to a larger union. It would be allowed a measure of autonomy, but key aspects of its governance would be handed… Read more »

The Pricing of Everything

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

The Natural Capital Agenda looks like an answer to the environmental crisis. But it’s a delusion. Below is the transcript of George Monbiot’s SPERI Annual Lecture, hosted by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. The lecture was delivered without notes, and transcribed afterwards, so a few small changes have been… Read more »

A One Way Street to Oblivion

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity.

As soon as an animal becomes extinct, a new bill proposes, it will be classified as “non-native”. Spoonbill (Photo © Craig Mackintosh) Can any more destructive and regressive measures be crammed into one bill? Already, the Infrastructure Bill, which, as time goes by, has ever less to do with infrastructure, looks like one of those… Read more »

Another Silent Spring?

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Neonicotinoids appear to have devastating effects across the natural world: we need a global moratorium. Here’s our choice. We wait and see whether a class of powerful pesticides, made by Bayer and Syngenta, is indeed pushing entire ecosystems to oblivion, or we suspend their use while proper trials are conducted. The natural world versus two… Read more »

Beaver Baiters

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Regional Water Cycle, Working Animals.

The government’s decision to capture England’s only free-living population is unjustified and irrational. An opinion poll in Scotland found that 86 per cent of respondents were in favour of reintroducing the beaver. As most people seem to understand, it’s a magnificent animal which can enrich our lives and our countryside. It was once part of… Read more »

Towering Imbroglio

Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

Is the government preparing to dispose of our forests and other public land? Planning laws inhibit prosperity. That’s what we’re told by almost everyone. Those long and tortuous negotiations over what should be built where are a brake on progress. All the major parties and most of the media believe that we would be better… Read more »

Ripping Apart the Fabric of the Nation

Posted by & filed under Economics, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

In an extraordinary coup, farmers’ unions and the UK government have torpedoed the European Soil Framework Directive. “British soils are reaching crisis point”. Don’t take my word for it — this is a quote from a loyal friend of the farming industry, Farmers’ Weekly. You would expect farmers to try to protect their soils, which… Read more »

The Impossibility of Growth

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other. Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This… Read more »

Are We Bothered?

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

The more we consume, the less we care about the living planet. That didn’t take long. The public interest in the state of the natural world stimulated by the winter floods receded almost as quickly as the waters did. A YouGov poll showed that the number of respondents placing the environment among their top three… Read more »