This section provides links to articles and websites offering further information and arguments about various interlinked global issues and campaigns.
GLOBAL JUSTICE, POVERTY AND THE ENVIRONMENT - THE CONNECTIONS
Chatham House research on Energy, Environment and Resources: “high-level research on critical issues of energy security, environment and resource governance.”
The Earth Charter is “a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.”
FairPensions “promotes Responsible Investment by pension funds and fund managers. Bringing together leading charities, trade unions, faith groups and individual investors, our aim is to catalyse a shift at each level of the investment chain, so that Responsible Investment becomes the norm.” FairPensions also offers advice and training on shareholder activism – see http://www.fairpensions.org.uk/become-shareholder-activist. See also Independent item on how to use your investments to make companies behave better.
The Global Climate Network is an alliance of nine influential, progressive think tanks located in countries where action on climate change really matters. We bring together some of the world’s brightest brains to propose progressive solutions to climate change that will also help lay the foundations for a new era of prosperity.
Growing a Better Future – Food justice in a resource-constrained world: Oxfam report describing “a new age of growing crisis: food price spikes and oil price hikes, devastating weather events, financial meltdowns, and global contagion. Behind each of these, slow-burn crises smoulder: creeping and insidious climate change, growing inequality, chronic hunger and vulnerability, the erosion of our natural resources.”
Happiness: the price of economic growth
Andrew Simms in The Guardian “Comment is Free” argues that “The relentless pursuit of productivity is socially divisive, environmentally destructive and doesn’t make us any happier…” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/01/happiness-economic-growth.
IPPR research “focussed on coming up with policies which are environmentally effective, politically sustainable and socially just.”
Professor Sir David King’s 2009 Darwin Day Lecture for the British Humanist Association, “Can Science Rise to the Challenges of the 21st Century?”, in which this distinguished scientist and former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government demonstrates the interlinking global problems that science could help to mitigage.
The Magic Washing Machine – a 10-minute TED talk by Hans Rosling which illustrates the challenge of asking people to give things up
(or even not aspire to them), and a surprising connection between washing machines and education. Does everyone have the right to a washing machine?
The Millenium Project ”State of the Future”: “an informative publication that gives invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its Member States, and civil society” at http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/publications.html. You can read a summary of the 2011 report at http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/SOF2011-English.pdf.
new economics foundation (www.neweconomics.org/): “an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being. We aim to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environmental and social issues. We work in partnership and put people and the planet first.” See also interview with Andrew Andrew Simms, fellow of nef and author of ‘The New Economics, and Ecological Debt: Global Warming & the Wealth of Nations’ at http://practicalaction.org/andrewsimms.
Overseas Development Institute (ODI) report, June 2011, says that star emerging nations need aid money – but also much more: elite performers of the developing world demonstrate that breaking out of poverty requires intelligent leadership as well as cash. See Observer reportwith useful links. See also Be Outraged – there are alternatives, an 2012 booklet from the ODI, discussing the alternatives to the austerity and cutbacks under way in Europe and elsewhere.
Oxfam makes the connection between poverty and climate change at http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get_involved/campaign/climate_change/
“The End of Poverty” – all about a documentary film which “asks why today 20% of the planet’s population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate” + ”10 Solutions to End Poverty” and a petition to sign.
GLOBAL JUSTICE, PEACE, HUMAN RIGHTS, POVERTY…
Bond “promotes, supports, represents and, on occasion, leads the work and interests of UK international development organisations… through the exchange of experience, ideas and information… Bond facilitates collective action by its members and wider UK civil society to influence the policies and practice of governments and institutions at UK, European and international levels.
The Department for Dodgy Deals - the Jubilee Debt Campaign’s new report on the Export Guarantee Department “exposes a history of backing projects by large corporations in a handful of controversial sectors.” Other articles on global debt here too. The BHA supports the Jubilee Debt Campaign.
The Fair Trade Foundation explains the connection between climate change, food miles and fair trade at http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/includes/documents/cm_docs/2009/c/climate_change_leaflet_final_atrwork.pdf.
Forum for the Future “works with leaders from business and the public sector to create a green, fair and prosperous world”. Website includes plenty of informative articles.
Gapminder - interactive graphs illustrating world development “for a fact-based world view”.
“Growth isn’t possible”, a nef publication pointing out that infinite economic growth is not possible on a finite planet.
Post Carbon Institute “provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, environmental, and equity crises that define the 21st century. We envision a world of resilient communities and re-localized economies that thrive within ecological bounds.”
SharedInterest – see www.shared-interest.com: “investing in a fairer world…we see a world where justicenot profit is the bottom line. Do you?”
Slavery today - ‘Although …often not called slavery, the conditions are the same. People are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their “employers”. ’ Information from Anti-Slavery International. See also Darwin, Slavery and Humanism – or What Would Darwin Do?
United Nations Environment Programme “environment for development”
THE ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
BBC Science coverage: a review of the BBC’s science coverage concludes that its drive for impartiality lends too much credence to maverick views on MMR, climate change and GM, July 2011. See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/bbcs-science-coverage-criticised-2317480.html, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jul/20/bbc-climate-change-science-coverage, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/21/review-bbc-science-coverage.
Beyond the Tipping Point is a documentary film about climate, action and the future. Though its source is a university theology department, this free film and the discussion topics suggested to accompany it could be useful resources to provoke discussion and open up debate in humanist groups.
A Blueprint for Survival- principal authors Edward Goldsmith and Robert Allen, with additional help from Michael Allaby, John Davoll, and Sam Lawrence, published in January 1972 in The Ecologist Vol. 2 No.1, in advance of the world’s first ever Environment Summit, this document set many of us on a green path. Although superceded in many respects, it drew attention to the finite nature of our planet and the need to take better care of it.
Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy says ”Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves. Recession isn’t sustainable or healthy either. The positive, sustainable alternative is a steady state economy.”
Climate and the Environmental Crisis: Humanist Edwin Salter argues that “Saving humanity from probable catastrophe would create immensely valuable redevelopment…Large climate changes in the past nearly destroyed our ancestors. A similar rapid transformation of our too crowded world would be overwhelming.”
Colin Blakemore, eminent scientist and BHA supporter in a post-Copenhagen item in The Observer (20/12/09), “The oceans are already rising. Either we sink, separately, or swim, together.”
Crash Course on Peak Oil: “Energy is the lifeblood of any economy. But when an economy is based on an exponential debt-based money system that is itself based on exponentially increasing energy supplies, the supply of that energy deserves our very highest attention.” See also the author Chris Martenson’s extremely clear and powerful lecture on peak oil at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WBiTnBwSWc&feature=youtu.be .
Eco-footprint – what’s yours? Try the WWF calculator at http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ to find out.
The Economist – article from the website: “A HUNDRED years from now, looking back, the only question that will appear important about the historical moment in which we now live is the question of whether or not we did anything to arrest climate change…”
Energy – what’s the solution to the UK’s looming energy deficit? Nuclear? Read opposing arguments at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/governments-doomed-6bn-plan-to-dispose-of-nuclear-waste-2266047.html and http://www.monbiot.com/2011/04/04/evidence-meltdown/ and http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/top-scientist-backs-1633bn-sellafield-plant-despite-1632bn-failure-on-same-site-2256766.html. Biofuels? Current UK and European policies on biofuels encourage unethical practices, says a report by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, April 2011. Read the press release at http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/news/current-biofuels-policies-are-unethical-says-report and the full report at http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/sites/default/files/Biofuels_ethical_issues_FULL%20REPORT_0.pdf
Energy Saving Trust for tips on how to save energy at home and at work.
The Guardian Environment section - and also What does the Arab world do when its water runs out? from The Observer (20/2/11) making the connection between water shortages, rising food prices, and instability in north Africa and the Middle East. Also in January 2012, Scientists fight back against the climate change sceptics.
The Independent on climate change: a collection of useful articles, including one than makes useful distinctions between headlines and science, and between climate and weather at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/steve-connor-dont-believe-the-hype-over-climate-headlines-2180195.html. In The Independent in February 2011 Michael McCarthycriticised humanist arrogance and “the great gap at the heart of …liberal secular humanism”, care for the Earth, demonstrating the need for us to be more visibly active. See also “Letters to a heretic: An email conversation with climate change sceptic Professor Freeman Dyson“. Also interesting by Steve Connor, Science Editor: “Extreme weather link can no longer be ignored: Scientists to end 20-year reluctance with study into global warming and exceptional weather events, , Scientists are to end their 20-year reluctance to link climate change with extreme weather – the heavy storms, floods and droughts which often fill news bulletins – as part of a radical departure from a previous equivocal position that many now see as increasingly untenable.”
An International Court for the Environment, an interesting idea, reported at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/3530607/Lawyers-call-for-international-court-for-the-environment.html, and http://www.biopolitics.gr/HTML/PUBS/VOL8/html/Pirro.htm
George Monbiot in The Guardian “When will the oil run out?”: Monbiot “puts the question to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency – and is both astonished and alarmed by the answer.”
NASA pictures of our changing planet.
The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) is “an independent, UK-registered educational charity working to raise international public awareness and promote better understanding of the world’s oil-depletion problem.”
Peak Oil The Implications for Planning Policy, a discussion paper covering history and forecasts of oil supply and demand and the implications for the way plan our infrastructure, published by the The Royal Town Planning Institute Development Planning Network and RTPI-TPS Transport Planning Network.
Population and Consumption: the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management sets out its position on the importance of addressing current levels of population growth, resource consumption and moving towards living within environmental limits in the UK.
Jonathan Porritt “The Greenest Government Ever: One Year On” – May 2011 report for Friends of the Earth
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution publishes independent reports on the UK environment, e g, Adapting Institutions for Climate Change, (stressing the need for both mitigation and adaptation strategies) and Demographic Change and the Environment.
Royal Society TV – see Royal Society lectures on the environment as well as other scientific topics.
“The most important video you will ever see” – Arithmetic, Population and Energy, a series of short video lectures on You-Tube, explaining the effects of exponential growth and exponential demand on a finite resource.
“The most terrifying video you’ll ever see“ – a short but persuasive analysis of the comparative risks of ignoring or acting on global warming.
Transition Network for anyone who’d like to work with others in their local community to self-organise around the transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.
The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) “the first analysis of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and our continuing economic prosperity.”
Wildlife - a new UN body aims to promote the economic benefits as well as the ethical side of biodiversity and conservation; for example, insect pollinators are worth £134bn a year. Reported in The Independent, 3/9/11 – see http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/why-protecting-the-worlds-wildlife-is-good-for-our-wallets-2364701.html. If you have a garden and would like to do something to help insect pollinators, see www.riverofflowers.org.
Wind turbines – “The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome” in New Scientist, October 2102. “Hilltop turbines are being blamed for myriad maladies. What is the truth behind these outlandish claims?”
WWK “Livewell”: “if we just adapt our diets slightly – eating less meat and fewer processed foods, replacing them with more fruit, vegetables and grains – we’ll be making a positive difference for ourselves and the planet.” says WWF, and they offer a nice sounding menu.