Can we see right? With C. Wright, maybe…

I’m going through my unread gmail messages, tracking down notes to myself about the four empirical chapters of The Thesis  (which is all but done).  And I’m stumbling on stuff that I always intended to blog/think more about.  Here’s one (should probably turn into a video!)

“The first rule for understanding the human condition is that men live in second-hand worlds. They are aware of much more than they have experienced; and their own experience is always indirect. The quality of their lives is determined by meanings they have received from others. Everyone lives in a world of such meaning. No man stands alone directly confronting a world of solid fact. No such world is available. The closest men come to it is when they are infants or when they become insane: then, in a terrifying scene of meaningless events and senseless confusion, they are often seized with the panic of near-total insecurity. But in their everyday life they do not experience a world of solid fact; their experience itself is selected by stereotyped meaning and shaped by ready-made interpretation. their images of the world, and of themselves, are given to them by crowds of witnesses they have never met and never shall meet. Yet for every man these images – provided by strangers and dead men – are the very basis of his life as a human being.

“The consciousness of men does not determine their material existence; nor does their material existence determine their consciousness. Between consciousness and existence stand meanings and designs and communications which other men have passed on – first, in human speech itself, and later, by the management of symbols. These received and manipulated interpretation decisively influence such consciousness as men have of their existence. They provide the clues to what men see, to how they respond to it, to how they feel about it, and to how they respond to these feelings. Symbols focus experience; meanings organize knowledge, guiding the surface perceptions of an instant no less than the aspiration of a lifetime. Every man, to be sure, observes nature, social events, and his own self; but he does not, he has never, observed most of what he takes to be fact, about nature, society, or self.

“Every man interprets what he observes – as well as much that the has not observed: but his terms of interpretation are not his own; he has not personally formulated or even tested them. Every man talks about observations to others: but the terms of his reports are much more likely than not the phrases and images of other people which he has taken over as his own. For most of what he calls solid fact, sound interpretation, suitable presentation, every man is increasingly dependent upon the observation posts, the interpretation centers, the presentation depots, which in contemporary society are established by means of what I am going to call the cultural apparatus.”

C. Wright Mills, “The Cultural Apparatus,” in Power, Politics, and People: The Collected Essays of C. Wright Mills, p. 405-406

#climate justice or just us? Of learning, time machines and the “what should have been done”#AFoI2018

May as well put cards on the table. I think we’re fubarred. I think that we’ve now left it “too late” and a grim meathook future is all we have to look forward too.  There is probably still time to learn a bunch of new skills, use our technology specifically to soften the coming climate blows.  But we (and by we I mean entirely culpable middle-class people like me with freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of information) seem more interested in diverting ourselves, and in believing the soothing bullshit about the Paris Agreement and shiny new technologies.

Right, that said, I went to a bunch of mostly excellent sessions at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas today. (Saturday 14th)  One of them was on environmental justice (forms of justice – energy, climate, transitions, are a big topic with academics, btw).   With my “even though we’re fubarred we have to act as if we’re not blah blah Gramscian optimism blah blah” hat on, I asked the panellists my curly “if you had a time machine and could warn your younger self” question.  The answers were interesting, but imo incomplete.  So this blog post will take you through

  • the outline of who said what during the panel
  • my question and the gist of the panellists’ answers
  • the answer I would have given

oh, there’s also

  • how the panel could have been done differently
  • an appeal from GetUp! about the Federal Government trying to bully them into silence

The panel was chaired by Andrew P. Street, and the panellists were Peter Owen, (who heads up the South Australian Wilderness Society), Mark Diesendorf (who has been working on renewable energy – as a scientist, activist and policy wonk – for four decades), Professor Fiona Haines (a criminologist, has written The Paradox of Regulation) and Miriam Lyons (who has worked for various outfits, is now with GetUp! Of which more later).  The format was simple – questions from the chair to each of the speakers, and then the floor would be open for questions from the audience (which was very white, and very old – where are the young people?  Does a Festival of Ideas not appeal? Are they all working second and third jobs to pay for their smashed avocado toast?)

Street started with a very good question – “what got you involved in environmental action/activism?”

For Diesendorf  it was the realisation that his PhD thesis – on the physics of the centre of the sun – was being used by hydrogen bomb makers at Lawrence Livermore. That led him into activism with groups like Scientists for Social Responsibility.

Fiona Haines had started out looking at white colour crime – her PhD had looked at how companies responded to the deaths of workers, and she then looked at the impact on trade practices from mass She made the (entirely valid and frankly terrifying) point that we are at a tipping point, with the oceans emptying of fish while filling with plastic, heatwaves getting hotter… (see blog post about Wednesday’s event at the Adelaide Sustainability Centre).

Peter Owen told of playing on the (closed) mouth of the River Murray in 1981, and later realising birds and dolphins were disappearing.  His father getting sued over Hindmarsh Island bridge protesting led to an interest in law.   (This is the clearest case of the four of  how “significant life experiences affect environmental action”, i.e.  unstructured and unsupervised play in  ‘nature’ before the age of 11 may well lead to a life long passion for “the environment”).  He and the Wilderness Society are now trying to stop oil companies taking a great big and very unhealthy bite out of the Great Australian Bight

Miriam Lyons said that she was an environmental activist – taking examples of “pollushun” to school show and tell before she could spell, and sending a protest letter to Indonesian dictator Suharto about rainforest destruction when she was 6 or 7.  Contact with legendary public servant John Menadue and mutual frustration about the left being good at saying what it was against but not what it was for led to the creation of the Centre for Policy Development.  Frustration with the ALP’s ability to adopt progressive rhetoric without the policy follow through has led her to other work, including Get Up! She gave a shout out to its work on a policy blueprint to make the energy transition fairer. (Not sure if she was referring to the 2016 Homegrown Energy Plan, done with Solar Citizens, or something newer).

Street then mentioned that lots of things don’t work when trying to get change, and asked the panellists to talk things that DO work.

Lyons gave the example of what Get Up! did after the 2016 election when the Turnbull government tried to abolish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (history lesson – it had been set up under the Gillard government as part of the Clean Energy Future package – both ALP and Greens claim credit for the idea. Crucially, the Greens insisted it not be under the control of the then-Energy minister Martin Ferguson, who now chairs the advisory board of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association).  GetUp! took a decision to make ARENA’s work tangible, putting up billboards in the marginal electorates where ARENA had funded projects, getting supporters to do emails, phone calls and the physical delivery of reports to the MP’s office.  She said “whenever you’re being told that you’re being counter-productive/you’d catch more flies with honey” it’s not true and you’re very close to winning if you go a bit harder.”

Owen mentioned that TV media matters for ‘maximum impct, with actions that are bright, colourful and positive.  Commercial TV coverage is worth far more than ABC. He pointed to the Wilderness Society commissioning its own oil spill impacts study when BP refused to release the work it had done, which was expensive but worth doing.  He argued that both the Coalition and the ALP have been captured by the fossil fuel industry.  He referenced a UN SDG report in the last week that shows Australia as the worst country in the world when it comes to climate action.

Fiona Haines said there were two things that make a difference. Firstly, understanding the importance of political risk. Government responses to disasters (not just environmental – could be a factory fire/collapse etc) is framed by political risk i.e. dealing with the political and economic fallout from the disaster. This they do in two ways (1) by reassuring people that they are safe and secure (or that they are the only party that can do so) and (2) by protecting their revenue and the conditions for capital investment. Dealing with the physical, technical and engineering elements is secondary to this and gets pushed aside.  We can’t expect governments not to do deal with political risk (it is part of a capitalist democracy’s DNA) .– but the challenge is making sure they see that they do so in a way that also deals with the physical aspects of the disaster. Understanding this can help direct public campaigns and outrage a little better. Secondly, Secondly she spoke on CSG protests and AGL’s divestment, saying that it’s a complex story, including the fact that AGL only had limited exposure in any case, and that investors guides to the market had made a difference. (See Haines et al. 2016.  Taming business? A critical analysis of AGL’s decision to divest from coal seam gas). For Haines, it’s not about individual pressures/tactics but how the pieces fit together (exactly.  It’s synergies and consistent/persistent pressure(s) not singular moments).

Mark Diesendorf related the story of Franklin Roosevelt telling a civil society pressure group “you’ve convinced me, now get out there and make me do it.”  He said that lobbying is useless without further pressure, with positive results coming from community groups (Solar Citizens, 100% renewables, ACF, Greenpeace, Get Up!)

So, that all took rather a long time.  There was only time for one question and I got lucky (i.e. I am a huge white middle-class male who put up his hand early and made eye contact with the chair).  What I said was something very similar to this:

Thanks to the panel.  In 1988 there was a Greenhouse 88 conference that many people in this room probably remember. We’ve known about this problem for thirty years, but it’s getting worse.  So, if the panellists had a time machine and could go back then, what advice would they give?  Do we need to do more of the same – more marches, more people dressed in penguin costumes, or do we need to do something ELSE, something different?

Here’s my best approximation of what the panellists said. It’s followed by my critique/attempt at an answer to that question.

Lyons: Be unafraid about how risky our situation is Don’t worry about frightening people into inaction if you have a proportionate action to suggest/help with.  “The world is burning – change your light bulbs” is no good, but “the world is burning we need to get the right promises from politicians and then hold them to account” is better. Honesty about the scale of the problems and the scale of the solutions is needed.  If we go through the lens of politicians and CEOs about ‘achievability’ we get nowhere. We need to drag the political opportunity structures over to the physical activity level.

Owen:  Incrementalism has been wrong. We’ve got to go flat out.  There’s no future in 20-30 years if not dealt with immediately.  We’ve been in a ‘transitions’ phase for three generations.  When war approaches, we down tools and act, collectively.

Haines: I was at a community event in NSW, where the town was split on the subject of fossil fuels excavation nearby and someone said “why is it wrong to care about the Great Barrier Reef?” The context was that they were getting grief from other people in town who thought caring about the environment meant not caring about human well-being. So, we have to have justice as part of  what we talk about.

Mark Diesendorf was cautious on the war mobilisation analogy (see his work on this, with a former PhD student, Laurence Delina– “Is wartime mobilisation a suitable policy model for rapid national climate mitigation?“), and pointed out that social change is slow and hard, that social movement activity is hard.

So, good answers in as far as the y go, but mostly addressed to ‘messaging’ and ‘mobilising’.  Here’s what I’d have (tried to) say.  Underneath are some hyperlinks to other things I’ve written.

Over the last thirty years we’ve made a series of what can be termed mistakes, but seemed like good ideas at the time.  We’ve spent time, credibility and energy within ‘consultative’ policy development processes which ended in minimal and tokenistic action or NO action, leaving us demoralised and discredited.

We’ve tried to build common cause with some unions – see the Green Jobs Unit, the Green Goldrush campaign – but have been naïve about the power of a few unions who see coal jobs as basically sacrosanct.

Above all else, we’ve confused mobilising with movement-building. It’s easier to get people out for a march or a protest.  These can invigorate, give hope. But they can also lead to people thinking ‘I’ve done my bit’, and they suck up enormous amounts of time and bandwidth. They can lead to a cycle of emotathons

It’s even more important to grow social movement organisation groups, so they can hold meetings that are welcoming, appealing to new people, that can absorb the energy and skills of people who can’t come to endless meetings and don’t necessarily want to be part of activist subcultures.  This panel is an example of this – a set of experts at the front of the room, telling the assembled rows of ‘ego-fodder’ the truth. We should have been more interested in creating links among you, and finding out what skills, knowledge and connections you have, and what skills, knowledge and  connections you need to become powerful active citizens. We’ve got to stop meeting like this.

We need to go to people – especially old people, poor people, minorities etc and listen, and work with not at or on.  And we are doing that – “powerful conversations” – but we needed to be doing it 30 years ago.

What could have been done differently?


Marc Hudson is finishing his PhD.  No, honestly. His writing on (on climate policy, renewables etc) has appeared in The and in various Australian newspapers He is researching an article on the “Greenhouse 88” conference (especially the Adelaide element). If you were at it, he would love to hear from you. Also, please pass this on to anyone who was at the event.
Phone: 04979 32031

That GetUp! Email.

We haven’t seen anything like this before.

The Turnbull Government recently passed new police state laws that threaten our movement’s ability to campaign for a fair, flourishing and just Australia.1,2

Actions that merely harm the government’s reputation on political or economic matters can now be prosecuted as serious national security offences. So peaceful blockades of Adani coal operations, or exposing the truth about child abuse on Nauru to the UN, could carry prison sentences of up to 25 years.3

Don’t think they’ll do it? Well, in what independent MP Andrew Wilkie has called “an act of bastardry”, the Turnbull Government just authorised the prosecution of ‘Witness K’ and their lawyer for exposing potentially illegal actions by the Howard Government.4,5

It’s all having a huge chilling effect on GetUp’s campaign plans. That’s why today all of us, as GetUp’s lead campaigners, are taking the unusual step of contacting you, together. 

We urgently need to build up our people-powered Civil Defence Fund to get the best, ongoing legal advice on how these new anti-democratic laws apply to our campaigns. But it doesn’t stop there, because if we can gather enough ongoing support we’re going to prepare for a potential constitutional challenge – that could see these laws struck down in the High Court. 

But in order to take on the power of a government hell bent on suppressing truth and dissent we need a fresh new tide of members to join our GetUp Crew, who make a weekly contribution to support our work.

Can you help fund this legal fight by joining the GetUp Crew with a regular, weekly donation to our Civil Defence Fund?

Last night we held frantic teleconferences with whistleblowers and activists who want to shine a light on the abuse of children in Australia’s detention camps on Nauru. The question we asked each other was: could we face a 25 year prison sentence for doing so?

And if Stop Adani activists blockade roads to coal ports or mines, Attorney-General Christian Porter may decide to prosecute this peaceful act of protest as “sabotage” – punishable by up to 7 years behind bars. He could do the same for protests against the secretive TPP trade deal, breaches of international law or even people protesting against Australia going to war.6

This is the same Christian Porter who authorised the prosecution of Witness K, and their lawyer, for exposing the Howard Government’s dodgy spying operation against East Timor, to swindle the impoverished nation out of billions in natural resources.

That’s why we need to build up a people-powered fund to give us access to the best legal firepower available, to ensure these laws don’t erode our ability to campaign, or indeed our democracy.

Can you join the GetUp Crew by making a weekly contribution to our Civil Defence Fund?

We urgently need to know how these new anti-democratic laws could impact our campaigns. And we have a legal brief ready to put into the hands of a high-powered law firm with a track record of beating back abuse of government power.

We’re also in this fight for the long haul. We’re ready to talk to some of the best barristers in the nation about a possible constitutional challenge. Can you imagine being part of a landmark High Court case to defend the freedom of political speech?

But we’re up against the full might of a Federal Government that’s on a mission to bully, silence and raze its political opponents to the ground. We can’t do any of this without a brave new tide of supporters joining our GetUp Crew.

Can you make a regular weekly contribution to defend everything we do together? 

Brilliant facilitation “patch” at #AFoI2018

Sometimes small tweaks can have big impacts, and can sidestep showdowns with the powerful and their (often) big brittle egos…

At the Adelaide Festival of Ideas (of which more later) today, I saw a brilliant little facilitation trick/hack/patch/whatevs (1).

It’s so simple, so elegant and – today at least – so effective that I’m a bit embarrassed for myself that I never thought of it….  (2)

Drumroll please…

It’s this: If you’ve got a Q and A that requires microphones (because it’s a big ol’ auditorium, or the event is being recorded), then once your microphone monkeys (usually kitted out in brightly coloured and logoed- t-shirts) hand over the damn thing, and tend not to shut up for quite some time.  It’s like the microphone has the properties of those Tolkien rings.

So, what is to be done is, as the meerkats say, simples – you instruct your monkeys to keep hold of the microphone and tell everyone that you’re doing that.  The questioner then has to do their talking without their hands wrapped around an instrument of power…

If I were a wanky poseur who’d half-digested some STS,  I’d call this a “counter-affordance”- a social practice that deliberately undercuts the dominant emotional responses to a technology.

Of course, if the speaker is halfway down a row that’s narrow, then maybe you have to tweak it so that the person NEXT to the questioner has to hold it, and lacks the moral authority/social pressure that this is predicated on.  Still,  just because a patch might not work in every circumstance, doesn’t mean it’s not a damn useful tool.



(1)  I didn’t catch the name of the facilitator, and the website does not help further. An older woman, completely on top of her game.

(2) In my own defence, I almost never facilitate those sorts of meetings.


Excellent environmental event on plastics and recycling #Adelaide #hope

Messages of practical action and causes for (cautious) hope abounded tonight at the Adelaide Sustainability, where a meeting on plastics and what to do about and with them was held.  Around fifty people (overwhelmingly female) got to eat scrumptious (potlatch) food, and then heard from four expert panellists, all before watching an interesting American documentary ‘Bag It’.

As part of Plastic Free July, an event – “Bag It! Plastic Free Film Night”  was held at the Adelaide Sustainability Centre tonight (Tuesday 11 July). This blog post tries to give a relatively complete account of who said what (but it’s not verbatim and if you think I got something wrong, please let me know via the comments).

People were asked to bring food to share, and all who came were treated to lovely and mostly vegan/vegetarian food and mingling before the formal event started. It was a good way to get to meet new folks.  Diane Salvi, who runs the ASC for the Conservation Council opened the event with a welcome to country. She noted as well that it is NAIDOC week and closed with a request that if people have ideas for events, to get in touch.[ diane.salvi at ].

Then Lynda Curtis who organised Plastic Free July took over and introduced four panellists, Luke Christiansen from Precious Plastics South Australia, AliRoush from KESAB, Jo Hendrikx, also from KESAB and Jarvis Webb from Rawtec.

2018 07 11 panel one
From left – Lynda, Jo, Jarvis, Ali, Luke

Jarvis was asked to talk on some developments in the reduction of waste since the ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ show last year. These include moves towards substantial (rather than tokenistic)  moves to phasing out single-use items, more compostable items (an interesting topic for the final Q and A), and the “circular economy”. Two Foodland supermarkets (in Brighton and Glenelg South) have been trialling compostable food bags. Government funding has been extended to February 2019, but since the bags are 4 to 7 times more expensive than standard bags, getting business on board is going to be quite a challenge… There was mention of a move in Milan where single-use bags have been legislated out, and food-waste diversion (a good thing) is very high (80%), (see here )  whereas in South Australia it is at only 6 to 15% (depending on which council is in charge). (However, South Australia is very good at doing its recycling within the state – very little ends up interstate or overseas).

Jo was asked what the biggest change in the last 20 years has been an increase in awareness of the need for recycling.  The increase in plastic use in the 70s and 80s meant the end for backyard incinerators (the author of this blog post doesn’t want to admit being able to remember that).  But then again, said the panellist, the problem is only 30-40 years old, and is therefore (perhaps) soluble…

There was also an important warning that the words ‘biodegradable’ and compostable are NOT the same thing, and that there is a lot of confusion (which benefits the status quo) about these, with people easily lulled into thinking that because something is biodegradable that it is somehow okay.

Luke explained that his organisation – Precious Plastic South Australia – has put in an order for five new shredders (to reduce plastics to small enough size that they can be remoulded), and this and other activity is helping to “build networks of back-shed recyclers”, with new connections and new networks  (Precious Plastics was born in the Netherlands but a few years ago by Dave Hakkens).

Ali, who among other things for KESAB does school engagement, was asked “what are the kids talking about.”  Ali spoke on how they’re open, have hope, believe they can change the world (unlike we jaded adults).

On the general question of what solutions are “out there”, Luke spoke of reading in Engineers Australia magazine (presumably create ) about a Western Austrailan chap, angered that no recycling facilities existed in WA (so it is all shipped overseas or interstate) has established “Green batch”, which is turning plastic bottles into 3-D printer filament

Eco Party Box people (“Australian-owned family-run business on the south coast of Adelaide in the beautiful fleurieu peninsula, offering eco party, catering and wedding supplies including biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery. Eco friendly decorations, party bag fillers, party stationery and party boxes“) turned up and got a shout out.

Lynda then asked what can/should governments and citizens be doing.. Answers came

  • Push in schools and workplaces, (even though it seems to take forever. Also, do it with a smile)
  •  push governments to legislate/mandate
  • make sure ‘recycled content’ is actually from within Australia
  • show others how easy it is to do stuff (be a role model)
  • make it easier for those who aren’t interested

There were time for three questions before the film

The first was on the finer details of compostable bags (sorry, didn’t catch the gist of this)

The second was on what incumbents might do to water down the moves of entrepreneurs/legislators.  One positive example was given – ten years ago SA Power Networks had almost 94% of their waste going to landfill.  They sought advice, then took that advice and now almost 90% of their office waste and 80% of their site-based waste avoids landfill.  Additionally, Woolworths are banning plastic straws etc.

A third observation came from someone suggesting that it is worth engaging with big supermarket chains etc, and praising them when they do the right thing.

Next up was the film (reviewed here)

The post-film Q and A was short, but very interesting. Although the panellists had had to leave, there were clearly some very knowledgeable people in the audience.

What about cutlery etc  that is labelled as compostable?  There are people who think that will contaminate compostable wastestreams and should go in recycling.    There’s a further set of educating to be done there (sidebar from an academic – this is an example of mimicry a la Edison and gas lighting being TOO successful).

Overall, the event was a really impressive piece of work.  Well-designed, well-executed.  It may be that because the audience was overwhelmingly (4:1) female that there was none of the dreadful speeches-thinly-disguised-as-questions from the floor which usually suck the energy out of the room.  How can I repay the hard work and skill of the organisers, besides by writing a blogpost?  Well, by making two suggestions.  One, try to get these events videoed for those who could not be there (and for those who want to refresh their memories).  Second, further improve the network-building by having a ‘turn to the person next to you’ thing, at the outset and immediately after the film, so people can compare notes, come up with questions (see previous blog posts about this here and here).  But seriously, this was a fantastic event, so congrats to the organisers, the panellists, those who brought food, asked questions etc.

Marc Hudson is finishing his PhD.  No, honestly. His writing on (on climate policy, renewables etc) has appeared in The Conversation, and in various Australian newspapers He is researching an article on the “Greenhouse 88” conference (especially the Adelaide element). If you were at it, he would love to hear from you. Also, please pass this on to anyone who was at the event.


Phone: 04979 32031

In other news: On Weds 18th July there’s an event at the King’s Head called ‘What Happens to My Waste?’. Organised by  Adelaide Sustainability Connect and Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) SA Young Professionals Group, it will look at not just the ‘easy’ items to recycle, but also paint, electronic waste and medical waste.  The panel includes Linley Golat, Sustainability Educator at Cleanaway, Lynda Wedding, Waste & Recycling Education Officer at the City of Onkaparinga, and Tim Johnston, Logistics Officer from Veolia. It’s free, and is happening at the King’s Head, 357 King William Street , on Wednesday 18th July from 6pm to 7.30

Film review; Bag It

How many innocents lose their lives,
In the gloss of the packaging?

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay, by the great British punk singer TV Smith.

bag itBag It is a good documentary, in the vein of Roger and Me (where Michael Moore tried to get a face-to-face interview with a General Motors chairman), Supersize Me  (where a now-disgraced film-maker ate nowt but McDonalds for a month) and No Impact Man (guy minimises his waste footprint).  A “naïve” (that’s evian spelt backwards) everyman begins by investigating plastic bags, and as he goes, the scope gets wider and wider.  Meanwhile, his partner is pregnant.

Along the way he speaks to various experts about plastics’ impact on wildlife (especially in the oceans – it’s in these scenes that one’s loathing for the human species in all its grotesque vandalism could get on top of a viewer), the human impacts (phthlatates  and bisphenol A , and the awful conditions for people in the so-called ‘developing world’ as they cope with Westerners’ waste) and the counter-attacks of incumbents (hello American Chemicals Council) in defeating efforts to price or regulate plastic bags.  Essential2living my fat arse.

There’s stuff on the horrific carbon footprint of the production of and transportation of bottled water, talking heads with Elizbaeth Royte of Garbage Land, Annie Leonard (The Story of Stuff), Peter Coyote  (who is a great activist as well as a great actor) and a bunch of different scientists whose day job is to catalogue the demise of the species and ecosystems that they love.

There are a couple of dud notes (the ‘I like my lettuce like my ladies – loose’ told with a  winking leer is clearly a pre- #metoo moment (though I will be using it with the long-suffering Wife). Would it have killed them to have given a shout out to Rachel Carson  who warned about ocean pollution and human impacts, or to namecheck Barry Commoner as the originator of the oft-repeated line ‘there is no ‘away’’.  More seriously (and predictably) the ‘what to do’ list is crushingly individualistic, atomistic, largely apolitical.  Despite the film containing several examples of the nefarious anti-democratic actions of corporations and their trade associations, there is nothing in the list about being an active (and organised) citizen, of contesting the grotesque and ecocidal power of the corporate lobbyists. So it goes.

#Brexit and #Climate Change – a painful epiphany #saddleworthmoorfire

Explaining why I haven’t yet done the paperwork to get my Irish citizenship (to which I am entitled through my mum’s mum), I found myself saying to a new colleague

‘it’s because I hope – and I know it won’t happen – but I am still hoping for it – that the ‘British Establishment’ will collectively say “yeah, 52% of you voted for it to be the 1950s again, but it CAN’T be the 1950s again, and keeping on this path will destroy everything that you unthinkingly expect to be ‘normal.’ So we’re not doing it. We’ll have another referendum and now enough old idiots have died, and the young can vote in greater numbers, it will come out 52% to 48% the other way.”

And as I said this, hearing how absurd my hopes of averting disaster were by saying them out loud, I simultaneously  realised that Brexit is simply climate change in microcosm.  It’s an impending disaster (in this case with a firmer deadline) that in theory could have been made slightly less intolerable.  But rather than preparing for it – our lords and masters (and mistresses, hullo Mrs May) have pissed away all the available time in ridiculous verbiage, blame games and frankly delusional thinking.  And that goes not just at the international level, the national level, but down unto the local, with the laughable ‘Manchester Climate Change Agency’ and similar spineless follies.

I cannot tell you how glad I am to be pushing fifty.  There is a monumental shit storm coming.  I keep saying it, but this – the second half of the twenty-first century is going to make the first half of the twentieth look like a golden age of peace, love and understanding.