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this changes everything

Book review: This changes everything, by Naomi Klein

After her previous books on consumerism and disaster capitalism, the transformative ‘this’ of Naomi Klein’s latest book is climate change. It will change everything, either by changing the planet, or by us changing society and the economy in radical ways. There are no get out of jail free cards, Klein argues – no new dawn […]

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Why are the oil companies on a PR assault?

On my commute this week, I couldn’t help but notice that in the streets I walk through in London on my way to the office, there are no fewer than five billboards for four different fossil fuel companies. Shell have one of their much parodied ‘let’s go’ ads, with a picture of a girl reading […]

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Three forms of denial

This week I’ve been reading John Foster’s book After Sustainability. He approaches the issue of climate change as a philosopher, and he’s convinced that denial is not just something that the bad guys do. We’re all involved in a complex culture of denial, he suggests, and climate activists are as likely to be caught up […]

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Has your city been brandalised?

If you live in London, Manchester, Birmingham or one of Britain’s other big cities, you may have encountered the work of Brandalism over the last couple of weeks. This month teams of ‘subvertisers’ took to the streets in hi-vis jackets, opened up the advertising hoardings on 360 bus-stops, and replaced the posters with artwork. This […]

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Australians for Coal

Remember the term ‘astro-turfing’ that was coined a while back to describe fake grassroots campaigns? Last week I came across perhaps the most shameless example of such a thing – the Australians for Coal campaign from the Minerals Council of Australia. If you were making up Australians for Coal as a parody, you couldn’t really […]

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Flatpack democracy

The little Somerset town of Frome may not be the first name to spring to mind when thinking about radical grassroots democracy, but something rather interesting has been going on there in recent years. In 2011, a group of people up-ended the local council by offering a real alternative to party politics. They ran as […]

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Balcombe – the village that said yes to solar

The name Balcombe may ring a bell – it’s the Sussex village that was in the news last year as one of the pilot sites for Britain’s nascent fracking industry. It spent the summer under siege as anti-fracking campaigners camped in the village to obstruct the drilling activities. It left the community somewhat shell-shocked, and […]

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Auroracoin – an online currency for Iceland

In three weeks’ time another experiment in online currency will begin. Every resident of Iceland will be gifted 31.8 Auroracoins on the 25th of March, from which point the currency will operate online, much like Bitcoin before it. Bitcoin itself has hit crisis points, recovered and soared in value, and remains a fascinating if confusing […]

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Protest works – 37% of the time

Does protest work? That’s a question I’ve asked a few times, usually when opening an email inviting me to turn out in the rain to tramp past Westminster for some cause or other. My usual answer has been ‘no’ – you can get a million people in the streets for an obvious cause like stopping […]

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Five pathways to a sustainable future

Last night on the train I was reading the latest paper from the Simplicity Institute. It’s called The Deep Green Alternative (pdf), and it’s by Samuel Alexander and Johnathan Rutherford. The introduction contains the following: “The global development agenda seems to be aiming to provide an expanding global population with the high-impact material affluence enjoyed […]

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