When Worlds Collide

In this blog, I consider Climate Justice and the task of reconciling indigenous beliefs with those of the dominant culture. It started life as part of a piece of work which I knew had become to ‘radical’ for its purpose but I couldn’t just delete it, so here I am, almost a year later, with another blog. For Percy.

The crux of climate justice, or indeed any aspect of environmental and social justice, is how one views humanity’s place within the global ecosystem (aka ‘the world’). Definitions of ‘climate justice’ and ideas for how it may be achieved fall either side of a fundamental schism; a split we’ve been aware of for centuries but are unable to accept, let alone repair. Regardless of their origin, the words attributed to Chief Seattle regarding the strange concept of buying land and the sacred nature of all life resonate with indigenous peoples the world over. But not with ‘us’.

From the wonderful Gary Larson

From the wonderful Gary Larson

In essence, does the earth belong to humanity, or humanity to the earth? Is the planet ‘private property’ or ‘global commons’. Did we evolve here on Earth over millions of years or were we created by ‘God’ a few thousand years ago to use all of nature’s bounty? We are in the realm of beliefs and perceptions, cultural biases and blindfolds but unless we can find some way to agree on these fundamental questions, all the activism in the world won’t stimulate ordered change.

Rate of change
It is generally agreed amongst the scientific community that our climate is changing and emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as how we use the land and the oceans, are contributing significantly to this change. There’s nothing new about life leading to global change; plants spewed out tonnes of poisonous oxygen and destroyed the anoxic world in which they came to be some two billion or more years ago. Some argue that humans are doing similar and this is just a new stage in Earth history – the so-called Anthropocene. Earth systems are dynamic but in balance. Change is always accommodated in one way or another, but beyond a certain rate of change ecosystems will collapse rather than adapt in a seamless transition. And I don’t think the plants ‘knew what they were doing’!

Civilisation as we know it has come about, in part, thanks to the relatively stable global climate experienced since the last Ice Age ‘ended’ some 12,000 years ago. With the retreat of the ice, forest cover extended north, as did people. As the climate remained relatively stable, and depending on how rich an environment one found oneself in, some people began to grow some foods while still hunting for and gathering others – all food for the community. Over time, from place to place, people settled down as they were able to grow their food close to where they lived, and use the time not spent migrating to improve their lives in some way; perhaps specialising in activities other than growing food but which still benefitted the community. Making pots and clothes, or healing the sick – definitely not helping with tax returns. Improving your life and the lives of those around you is a good thing. This could be called ‘progress’. But attempts to control nature in this way will, in some cases, have failed. If too many people have forgotten the outmoded hunter-gatherer ways, the community may no longer know what’s safe to eat nor have the skills to hunt.

For how long did the memory of the ‘days of ice’ remain in the stories told by early settled farmers? When did the environment become something to be feared rather than revered? It is impossible to know what happened to stimulate a shift in culture from living in balance with nature to not just controlling, but dominating nature. Once traditional skills are lost (or insufficient to produce what’s needed), communities become dependent on food grown by others. Food which must be purchased if it is not freely given. A hierarchy evolved, and wealth became attainable by those who owned the food, or controlled its production and distribution in some way. Life became easier, so we’re told; more comfortable in harsh climates, less reliant on the vageries of nature. Meanwhile, kings could build pyramids and collect non-edibles such as gems and gold. Gone were the days of the ‘leader’ having essentially the same things as the rest of his tribe; leadership no longer implied wisdom.

For the common good?
Inequity was the topic of my last post and I believe it was born when communities stopped being able to feed themselves and had to buy food from others. To buy, one needs money or some tradable good. Ways were found to store food, but grain piles now belonged to someone – they were no longer a common good grown by the community for the community. In a particularly Machiavellian twist, those adhering to this new (unjust) way of life attested that it is the ‘only’ way to live and set about destroying other cultures. There is no one way to live – the myth that there is and we’re it is the first major barrier to change.

Moving forward in time, the Bali Principles of Climate Justice (PDF here) were produced in 2002 and state, amongst other things, that “combating climate change must entail profound shifts from unsustainable production, consumption and lifestyles, with industrialized countries taking the lead” and “this unsustainable consumption exists primarily in the North, but also among elites within the South”. The Bali Principles come from representatives of indigenous people’s movements together with activist organisations working for social and environmental justice.

The first principle is, “Affirming the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, Climate Justice insists that communities have the right to be free from climate change, its related impacts and other forms of ecological destruction.” It is hardly surprising that little, if any, change has taken place in the industrialised countries to this effect because the culture of these countries does not see ‘Mother Earth’ as being ‘sacred’. Those who do not live intuitively with the land do not understand the interconnectedness of all species – it’s just ‘woo-woo'; not founded on good scientific evidence (which must really piss off the ecologists). The dominant narrative in the industrialised countries is that other species are ours to use as we see fit and our way of life is the only way. Yet those at the bottom of the (human) hierarchy are insisting that those at the top give up some of their wealth, their comforts, for reasons that make no sense to them. Never gonna happen! Unless we alter that narrative.

The Bali Principles also state that “Climate Justice requires that we, as individuals and communities, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources, conserve our need for energy; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles, re-thinking our ethics with relation to the environment and the Mother Earth; while utilizing clean, renewable, low-impact energy; and ensuring the health of the natural world for present and future generations.” How can this be reconciled with an economic system which fundamentally requires people to consume more and more of the Earth’s resources, which has to grow inexorably, and which has never had fairness at its heart? These are the questions NGOs usually fail to answer and politicians rarely think about, let alone discuss. Although Naomi Klein’s “This changes everything” might go some way to changing our blind acceptance that capitalism is the only way to live. Let’s face it, it’s not even working if you bother to look.

Back to the Stone Age
That’s the refrain we hear, those of us who even dare question endless population and economic growth. If we do not alter our behaviour and live in a more fair and sustainable way, our systems of industry, agriculture and finance will collapse. Maybe not this year, maybe not this century but they will fail. How long do you think would be long enough to transition away from this lifestyle which causes climate change to one which won’t? How long to alter global energy infrastructure to end fossil fuel reliance? All whilst keeping most people employed, of course.

People living in the ‘Stone Age’, neolithic hunter-gatherers and farmers, grew up with all the skills they needed to make their livelihood. They knew how to feed and shelter themselves and how to make all the tools they needed for this task from what grew around them. How many readers could make a simple fork from scratch, let alone provide all their own food? The Stone Age would be a picnic compared to the chaos which would reign if the just-in-time delivery of monocrops and junk food failed to fill the supermarket shelves. Demanding fundamental social change such as is required to achieve climate justice will fall on deaf ears because industrial capitalism is treated as destiny, the one and only way to live.

In today’s conflict-ridden world, those with least power are feeling the effects of climate change already. Billions will be spent on trying to adapt but in whose interest will this adaptation be? The same authoritarian power structures that caused climate change are shaping the response to it – to protect themselves. Who will be locked out of the climate-proofed gated communities of the future?

On failure of COP
It is time that all people understand why the efforts to mitigate the climate crisis have failed to date, what needs to be done now and how the social transformation which will bring about the necessary changes works. Brian Tokar’s “Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and Social Change” aims to counter misinformation about climate change and ‘solutions’ such as carbon trading, biofuels and nuclear energy. Rather than being lured by ‘green capitalism’ and technological fixes, Tokar urges us to build a social movement that reaches to the roots of the crises. He urges us to completely transform society so that it is more about creating non-hierarchical communities based on interdependence in which everyone’s basic needs are met. Tokar (more here) provides clear insight into the failures of the United Nation’s COP process and the rise of the global climate justice movement led by those on the front lines of the climate crisis.

Some argue that the seeds of that new society are here, as witnessed in the Occupy movement (it may not be visible so much now but the people and their grievances remain) and the People’s Climate March on 21 September 2014. We are all needed in this move towards climate justice but unless we agree on humanity’s place in the world, and reconcile indigenous beliefs with those of the dominant culture, we’re on a hiding to nothing.

Mandy Meikle edits the Reforesting Scotland Journal and is a climate justice researcher. She’s also read quite a bit of Daniel Quinn.

Posted in Civilisation, Climate Change, Food | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What Makes a Fair Society?

In early May, I received a notification from LinkedIn. What made this work-a-day event unusual is that it’s the first useful thing LinkedIn has come up with since I joined over 5 years ago. A chap called Simon Marriott, a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, was soliciting opinion on the matter of growing socio-economic inequality across the world. The collection is to be published online by The Society for Curious Thought. Not sure when that might happen but given my inability to blog for months on end, I thought I’d pop what I wrote here. (It did happen but without the footnotes, which appear as links in this version). The project has links with Ragged, which seems interesting too.

In short, equity makes a fair society. Equity involves trying to understand and give people what they need (as opposed to want) to enjoy full, healthy lives. Equality, in contrast, aims to ensure that everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives. Like equity, equality aims to promote fairness and justice, but equality can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same things, which is not the case.

A breakthrough might come when we see ourselves as all one species (as well as just one species), each member of which is as important as the next. We tend to care more about our contemporaries than about ‘others’ – in a fair society, there is no ‘other’. Take one of those ‘needs’ – food. Today, as many people are overweight as are malnourished, and in the ‘west’ you can be both at the same time. Go, progress! In 2013, food banks fed 913,138 people across Britain, over a third of whom were children. This is no fair society, and that’s in the so-called developed world.

Many cultures have lived and developed in ways that persisted for millennia – they were sustainable. Hierarchical behaviour was not known among hunter-gatherers, but once humans settled down and started accumulating property for agriculture, hierarchy became more the norm. This, I believe, was the dawn of inequality, when we left the Garden of Eden. Consider Christian texts in the context of the indigenous people of the day and ‘the fall of man’ makes a bit more sense.

So what drives the destruction of sustainable cultures in the name of progress? What dictates that indigenous people should become ‘civilised’? I am not being romantic about the joys of forest-dwelling and subsistence agriculture but we have to ask why it is that the only people left who truly understand how to live sustainably are being told that how they live is wrong, backwards – Stone Age. We have to ask why ‘progress’ is more important to us than their survival. Why is it that people are removed from their land so that ‘we’ can extract natural resources (unsustainably, of course), only to move on once that land has given up its treasures? Unless we can answer questions like these, then talking about what makes a fair society is just an academic exercise. As Chomsky might say, “who decides?”

Consider the recently-landless – those generations who don’t remember how they used to live, but nor have they found a way to live well in the degraded landscape they are now stuck with. Millions could be lifted from poverty by rural electrification using decentralised renewables, for example – but where’s the profit in that? Can a capitalist society be fair? Can industrialism be sustainable? And development for all? There’s no point wanting to ‘make poverty history’ without also addressing the other end of the spectrum. Why isn’t there a ‘make millionaires history’ campaign?Make Millionaires History small

This ‘fast-track to oblivion’ approach is not ‘just human nature’ for it is not a trait of all human beings. It is a trait of certain human beings who benefit from having the rest of us stuck on a treadmill of work (if it’s not been outsourced), debt and tabloid media. We fail to even notice the smoke and mirrors, let alone see through them. The fear of being rendered jobless or homeless – worthless – is essential for our complicity in this charade called civilisation. That and the ‘dream’ of joining the wealthy, whether via hard graft or the lottery.

Like Gail Tverberg, I used to think it was just the energy of fossil fuels which allowed our population to rise so dramatically over the last 200 years. However, Gail introduced me to another aspect: globalisation has effectively eliminated territorial boundaries. Yes, there are still wars – the economy needs wars, just like it needs fashion, luxury items and waste – but we no longer limit our population to what our environment can provide for sustainably. Without sustainability there can be no equity because this isn’t just about the here and now – future generations come into this too.

In a fair society, limits need to be the basis for every decision we make, business or otherwise. As economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen put it in 1975, “Will mankind listen to any program that implies a constriction of its addiction to exosomatic comfort? Perhaps the destiny of man is to have a short but fiery, exciting, and extravagant life rather than a long, uneventful, and vegetative existence…” Destiny aside, which is more fair?

Caption: Graffiti under a bridge near Kennington, Oxford on the Thames. If I knew who had created it, I would credit them. I first used the phrase years ago and Googled to see if there was a campaign. Sadly nothing but various images of the slogan. I’ve also tried using #makemillionaireshistory as a hashtag on Twitter – the tweets kept disappearing (and still do) so it’s now my Twitter image. Think about it – how else can we bring people out of poverty on a finite planet?

Posted in Civilisation, Growth | 3 Comments

Speaking the unspeakable

Monday 16 September (2013) was the deadline for submissions to the little-discussed draft Deregulation Bill, which threatens to put “a duty on persons exercising certain regulatory functions to ‘have regard’ to the desirability of ‘promoting economic growth’.” The Bill is intended to reduce the burden of regulation on business, civil society and individuals but is also a classic example of the entrenched economic narrative regarding growth. I’m not convinced the Committee will pay heed to my contribution focusing, as it does, on fundamentals like energy returns. But after hearing Tim Jenkins of nef give a great session on the urgent need for a new economic narrative two days later, I was glad I did.

After a 10-month absence, on Friday I finally posted to the excellent Social Reports’ site again, this time on the issue of involving the wider public and making a breakthrough. “A fundamental change took place in society because the ‘truth’ of the civil rights movement could no longer be ignored. What has to happen for the truth of the environmental and social justice movements to be heard?”, I mused. As Tim Jenkins said, we have to discredit the old narrative and repeat the new narrative confidently, over and over, at every opportunity. That’s the tricky bit: getting rid of the old narrative of perpetual economic growth and ever-accumulating wealth – even in this era of resource depletion and ecosystem loss. It’s difficult because it works for those in power today who are unlikely to give it up without a fight.

The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds
John Maynard Keynes (1935)

The best analogy I’ve heard for our current reality is that of Wile E. Coyote flapping his arms, hoping for flight, long after having run off the edge of the cliff. Fossil fuels are a vast, one-off bank of energy which we have drained in the pursuit of industrial capitalism. In just 15 decades, we’ve gone from an abundance of cheap and easy shallow onshore reserves of good quality oil to kiddding ourselves that tar sand oil and shale gas are just the same as conventional oil & gas. Flap!

The energy bank is now struggling to pay out what we require to keep growth economics growing. Flap, flap! We refuse to reduce energy demand (for that’s what’s needed, not just reducing carbon emissions) and we carry on hoping for some technological breakthrough. But technology uses energy, it doesn’t create it. Uh-oh! All renewable devices have a fossil fuel input and it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to know that biofuels grown today can never release an amount of energy comparable to that contained within fossil fuels, which took millions of years to form. At this point, Coyote waves solemnly and plummits.

Society is in a kind of free-fall. We were just beginning to wonder if movements like the Transition Initiative might be onto something when out of nowhere, the mainstream decided that peak oil was a myth. I’ve no time to expand on that just now but you can read my thoughts on page 8 of Greenprint.

We have to understand what makes people tick and that is their perceptions of the world. For several generations now, the marketing machine has been manipulating our minds, our common sense, our perception of the world to the point that we now think a TV and diet Coke are human rights. This is what we have to counter – our whole cultural narrative, which still wants to ‘civilise’ those without industry and electricity. I’m not denying that bringing electric light to the developing world provides huge advances in education, health, women’s rights – of course it does. But what’s being talked about isn’t localised schemes, built from local materials by local people and potentially sustainable. It’s a continuation of the system which builds centralised coal-fired power stations and thinks they’re somehow clean if you toss a bunch of trees in there too.

Unlike Coyote, we can make the landing softer – IF we accept the laws of physics and work to change how we live. A shock can sometimes bring us to our senses but I fear we may hit the ground first.

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Protecting nature from ourselves

On Monday, I went to a training course on using WordPress. I was really looking forward to learning how to add images (nae laughing!) and what I did wrong when trying to add a Twitter button. Sadly, time did not allow for this but it did make me think I should dust off the Cheery Pessimist and at least say hello to the 2 people with an RSS feed!

My problem is time – I do not know how people find the time to write. Or to garden. Or to cook. Or to visit friends. Yeah, my problem is myself! Anyhoo, I found myself commenting on a blog so the least I can do is cut & paste it here. Then at least I’ve managed 2 posts this year.

Having a wee break from reviewing climate justice papers (so interesting yet so depressing!), I had a look at Twitter and came across a tweet on wilderness, which led the this blog. Which stimulated the following stream of thought…

This debate seems to be another example of disagreement stemming from perceptions – what we see people as being. Surely it’s not whether any people live on a piece of land, it’s what they do to that piece of land in order to live on it that matters. Do they destroy every obviously useful ecosystem and then move on, or do they live in ecological balance with it for generations – millennia, even?

Our problem is that we don’t seem able talk honestly and openly, rationally even, about what ‘civilisation’ and ‘progress’ are. We won’t accept that nature simply cannot keep giving what we think we need. Economies cannot keep growing – even under the false flag of making poverty history. How about making millionaires history too? Balance up the equation a bit.

I understand and sympathise with both sides of the wilderness argument because neither side gets this fundamental problem of how we live and of what we mean by ‘development’. It’s the same for energy. One side says we absolutely need renewables while the other says they cannot replace fossil fuels. Both are right but they rarely slap their foreheads and give each other a hug as they rush off to radically reduce their energy demand.

John Muir came from a time before oil, before huge opencast mines and mountain-top removal, before extinction rates and pollution were understood. Back in the days when our own bees could pollinate crops and most people knew how to feed themselves. When Muir was born, only a billion people walked the Earth & most of them lived ‘sustainably’ compared to what we do today. It does make you wonder what he’d think if he saw us today.

That’s another of these areas of disagreement – population. I have no idea if current systems of intensive, fossil-fuelled food production could, theoretically, feed everyone if only we wasted nothing and distribution was fair. I don’t know – reports vary. But I’d bet my arse that such systems cannot be sustained, even if population growth was falling.

It’s our mindset which has to change, our attitude to all people, rich and poor, and to ALL species, not just those we have a use for or which look cute. I long for the day when we don’t have to protect nature from ourselves.

Posted in Civilisation | 2 Comments

Why blog?

Good old WordPress – their annual stats have handily revealed that this blog gets about the same number of visitors whether I post to it or not! The Cheery Pessimist started in May 2010 as a blog about the energy crisis but is really just a place to dump my thoughts and practice writing. I posted 11 times in 2010 but don’t have figures for how many people viewed the site, though I know it wasn’t many and comments were mostly from people I knew. Not really the point of blogging! In 2011, I managed 8 posts and got a pleasing 1,500 viewings, while 2012 saw a paltry 3 posts but 1,400 viewings. So while I do feel a little bad at neglecting my blog, and remain perpetually in awe of those who write for a living (or even regularly), I know that I need a better reason to write than feeling that I should.

Social Reporters
If given a deadline, I usually stick to it. I like deadlines, I need deadlines, but they work better for me if they are someone else’s. During 2012, I also posted 8 blogs on the Transition Network’s Social Reporters site. A Chance is Enough, an interview with the inspirational Eva Schonveld, is the only blog I’ve also put on this site. That post gave a wee summary of my three previous posts but since then I’ve written about the Transition Research Network, Reforesting Scotland, my adventures with setting up a local Community Trust and looked into another aspect of supermarkets: The Gruen Transfer.

So I am still blogging, nearly three years later, just not here. And as for why I do it, I’m not sure. I guess I like the fact that you can take time to mould your thoughts into something, hopefully, understandable. In conversation, my single mouth fails to cope with the multiple thoughts which inevitably thunder into my mind, before most of them thunder off again. Giving lectures is better – you’ve prepared your words and there are pictures too.

Knowing there is an audience, a potentially critical audience, certainly helps me to think hard about what I’m saying. I shudder to think how many hours I’ve spent composing text which ultimately succumbs to the delete button, especially on email lists where geoengineering is hailed as the solution we’re all too dumb to appreciate! I’ve been slacking off on such exchanges, partly to find time to blog and partly because it has become so obvious to me that we are never going to voluntarily choose to become sustainable – fracking has proven that to me. This is what I believe; others don’t. That’s fine – it was ever thus. But we still need to have conversations about the issues no one wants to face, including me. We’re at the peak, we’re hitting barriers – what should we do about that? That’s one reason to blog.

What do the next five years hold here where I live, or there where you live? Does the phrase ‘triple dip recession’ make you shout at the radio? Will the Tories’ Bedroom Tax be a step too far in taking from those who already have so little, while the rich get richer? What do you think?

Posted in Writing | 7 Comments

Tales untold

I don’t know how many column inches have been given over to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) disaster but not many told the stories of ordinary people. While the environmental impact is often prominent in oil spill reporting, initially at least, the people affected rarely feature. Seeing Look Left Look Right’s production of NOLA at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last Wednesday (15 April 2012) was the next best thing to interviewing these people yourself.

NOLA, a local acronym for New Orleans, Louisiana, is a verbatim play based on interviews carried out since December 2010 with various people affected by DWH. And it was brilliant! Four actors played various characters including rig workers who managed to escape, people who fished for a living, those who helped clean oiled birds and those who lost loved ones.

One character, a local doctor, opined “you can find out all about how pelicans and shrimp and fish and whales were affected but not about the people”. It’s true. In many disasters, from earthquakes to war, it is only the impact on people we hear about while associated environmental damage goes unreported. Yet we don’t we hear about the impacts of DWH on people’s livelihoods and their health, even although they continue today.

Another character said that if the spill had been off the coast of Angola, it would have been “a one-day wonder” as far as media coverage goes. This character was anonymous, the only one to feature in the play without a name and occupation ascribed, making an old cynic like me suspect they were from BP, or at least from the industry. Let’s replace ‘Angola’ with ‘Russia’ for a moment and see if I am being cynical.

At 4.9 million barrels, the DWH explosion is often described as the “largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry”, beaten only by the deliberate release of around 6 million barrels by Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait in 1991. So what about the 30 million barrels of oil spilled on land each year by the Russian oil industry? This oil, which amounts to several DWH disasters, hasn’t even made it to “one-day wonder” status. Greenpeace has investigated and documented the ongoing disaster, revealing how the oil seeps into rivers and farmland, suffocating plants and animals, and forcing people to abandon the area as food and water supplies are poisoned. Perhaps the DWH spill was merely in the right part of the world to be noticed.

Back at the post-play debate, my co-debater was Rob Edwards, an environmental journalist who writes for the Sunday Herald. The first question from the audience was whether the impact of 4.9 million barrels of oil was worse than the gradual pollution which would have been caused if that oil had made it to market. A good question which I answered by extolling the virtues of  the notion to ‘leave it in the ground’, not that we are likely to do that any time soon.

The discussion moved on to the role of the arts in getting social and environmental messages out there. Yes, of course a play like NOLA will reach new audiences with rarely heard voices but is it really information we lack? Is there really a story, once told, which will wake us up to the havoc we are wreaking on the Earth?

And, inevitably, there was a ‘what we can do?’ question. I wish I knew. We talk about tackling climate change and weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels but there’s nothing quite like oil. The popular solutions tend to be those that allow us to go on living as we do now. In addition, everything we hold dear requires the economy to grow, which requires more energy to process more natural resources to sell to us, the ‘consumers’, to keep the economic merry-go-round turning. So one thing we can do is to stop buying new stuff! But that’s a drop in the ocean. A look at the oil industry sees us pushing the limits to record-breaking depths and in increasingly hostile locations, where the potential for future disasters can only rise. How will the Arctic fare when that pesky ice melts and drilling for oil and gas escalates off the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway and elsewhere in Arctic Russia – and will those tales be told?

You can join Greenpeace and ‘Save the Arctic’ here. This post was written for Greenpeace Edinburgh’s blog. Tonight, I’m off to see Donovan Hohn and Kate Rawles speak at the Book Festival. Donovan wrote Moby-Duck after hearing about 28,902 bath toys which spilled into the Pacific en route to the US from China and have been washing up along beaches throughout the world (or have they?). Kate’s book, The Carbon Cycle, tells of her 4,553 mile cycle ride from Texas to Alaska, encountering bears, wolves and a lynx. Should be good & I’ll endeavour to report back on my Book Festival exploits…

Posted in Growth, Pollution | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A chance is enough

Well, 2 March was a while ago and life hasn’t stopped interveneing so here are links to some other articles I’ve written for the Social Reporters‘ since then.

After my first social report on Energy, discussions came round to the fact that I work part time in a supermarket – so that became an article. Then there was a session on ‘transitioners without initiative‘, of which I’m one so an easy prompt to get me writing. Maybe I should explain that the term refers to those involved with Transition to some extent but not actually part of a local Transition group. Although if it meant someone shit-scared of the future but lacking the attributes to really make a difference, that fits too!

And finally, posted today, is my interview with the wonderful Eva Schonveld (from where the title of this post comes). Eva is the leading light behind Transition in Scotland and interviewing her was fascinating. I had been interviewed a few times before, but conducting an interview was a new experience for me. In addition, it was all typically rushed so I was amazed how well it went given how little thought went into the questions. Maybe this blog will see more interviews in future? Do let me know if you have any ideas for inspirational people to interview, ideally located near Edinburgh!

Posted in Transition | 2 Comments