by Shaun Chamberlin on June 22nd, 2016
On the eve of the #Brexit referendum, I have found myself struck by the juxtaposition of two exceptional pieces of writing which run somewhat deeper than the ‘lowest common denominator’ debate running in the mainstream media.
It wasn’t immediately clear to me which way I would vote, but reading these nuanced pieces – which draw out sensible reasons for considering both sides of the argument – helped me to make a decision.
The first is this piece by Giles Fraser in The Guardian. I believe Fraser has declared that he will vote ‘Out’, yet unlike many ‘Brexiteers’ his piece makes a crucial argument in favour of free movement for people: Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on December 21st, 2015
We just sent out our Fleming Policy Centre newsletter, with reflections on the Paris climate summit. Bottom line: it’s not good. In the words of the author Naomi Klein, “Our leaders have shown themselves willing to set our world on fire.”
Meanwhile, the mainstream media seem to be doing their best to put the world to sleep again. One excitable front-page headline I noticed in The Observer proclaimed: “World leaders hail Paris climate deal as ‘major leap for mankind’: Almost 200 countries sign historic pledge to hold global temperatures to a maximum rise of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels”.
The same article concluded on p9, with a quiet mention that: “there will be no legal obligation for countries to cut emissions”.
In truth, the good news is found elsewhere, with the ever-swelling numbers of ordinary people realising that our future is being destroyed in our name. In the print edition of the paper though, one tiny voice of sanity did sneak in to a sidebox, as climate scientist James Hansen commented on the agreement: “It’s a fraud really, a fake”.
But if we are so dismissive of what global politics is producing, then it is perhaps fair to ask what we wish to see instead. Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on June 19th, 2015
I am currently hunkered down working on a project close to my heart, editing my late friend and colleague Dr. David Fleming‘s incredible life’s work Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, for its publication by Chelsea Green later this year.
I did though hear about the pope’s interesting new encyclical. It’s well worth a browse (and do check out Rap News’ take), but here are a few of my favourite lines:
“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” (yep, this is an official document from the Pope!)
“The ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms.”
Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on May 29th, 2015
Lately we’ve seen the president of the World Bank and ‘business leaders from the very carbon-intensive industries’ pushing for carbon pricing (taxes or ‘carbon trading’ schemes). This is intended to demonstrate their deep change of heart and determination to start seriously addressing climate change, but to my eyes it is a deeply cynical, pernicious attempt to channel the passion of those deeply-committed to action on climate change into mechanisms that will only maintain the suicidal status quo.
Which is why I poured all my experience of ten years’ work on the topic into this peer-reviewed academic paper, which I believe demolishes the case for carbon taxes or carbon trading schemes as the way forward, and shows a clear, well-researched alternative (though it took almost as much effort as writing my book!).
Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on September 1st, 2014
A couple of nice videos from my wanderings in August. I started with a few days at the ever-wonderful Transition Heathrow, to support them through their threatened eviction. You can see how that went in the short video above.
And then a coach was arranged from Grow Heathrow up to the Reclaim The Power anti-fracking camp in Blackpool, where I gave a couple of workshops, on TEQs and the Grow Heathrow eviction resistance, as well as doing my first Legal Observer training. The video below tells the story of that camp, and I certainly learned a lot there, as well as having a great time.
It reminded me in many ways of the Climate Camps – it’s amazing what a group of committed people can build and achieve when nobody’s telling them what to do… Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on December 21st, 2012
Let me tell you a story.
It’s a story about our land – our home – and our ability to live peaceful, harmonious, respectful lives upon it and in partnership with it.
And it’s a story about the big bad political structures and corporate institutions that conspire to stop us doing so, using the unspeakable, impenetrable black magic of bureaucracy and backhanders to bind our best efforts with frustration and fatigue.
Oh, you already know that one?
Ok, then maybe you’re ready for the next chapter, about what comes after?
Fine. Sit down, make yourselves comfortable.
Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on September 20th, 2012
by Shaun Chamberlin on May 17th, 2012
Last month I was one of forty or so attendees of the Transition ‘Peak Money’ day. It was a fascinating collection of people, from theorists to activists, and a potent opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing us all as the glaring errors at the heart of mainstream economics take their toll. This post is far more personal reflection than report, as Rob Hopkins has already done a great job on that front.
The key theme that seemed to run throughout the day, then, was ‘collapse’. Sadly, I was an hour late to the event, but the first sessions I witnessed were reports from Transitioners in Portugal, Ireland and Greece on the ‘front line’ impacts of the economic crunch. The talk was of collapse having already happened for many families and communities there, with statistics quoted including an 89% increase in Greek unemployment in three years, and Irish suicides having doubled since 2007.
They pulled no punches. Most of us were left grey and shaken as the harsh realities of the crisis were relayed. For me, a defining memory of the day was watching the alternative economists listening to this – people who have spent decades warning of these outcomes and trying to head them off – their heads shaking sadly with lips pursed, hands involuntarily coming to their faces in dismay as their Cassandra curse unfolds. Of course, the statistics were not new to them, but hearing these stories in person somehow always brings a heavier human impact. Watching that impact reflected in their expressions felt almost inappropriate, yet doubly powerful.
Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on March 3rd, 2012
Untitled piece by Maria Elvorith
(from the cover of TheFWD)
The Future We Deserve, a collaborative book project edited by Vinay Gupta, Cat Lupton and Noah Raford, is available today. It can be read in full, downloaded or bought in hard copy here.
I contributed one of the one hundred short essays that make up the book as well as the below foreword (the same length as each essay!), which explores the unique nature of the project :
Read more »
by Shaun Chamberlin on December 31st, 2011
Because why not? 🙂
A collection of songs from various genres, all in some way pertinent to the state of the world as we enter the new year. Here’s hoping that the ‘2012 apocalypse’ meme doesn’t encourage enough panic to fulfil itself!
(this ‘album’ is shaped by the songs contributed by Dark Optimism readers last year, and others since. Thanks all!)
Edit – January 2012: Ani DiFranco (song #9 above) turned up at OccupyLSX outside St. Paul’s the other day. See below 🙂