“What can I do about climate change?” “Very little. What can WE do about climate change? EVERYTHING.”
I have had the pleasure over the last two years to meet many people who are working for a future without fossil fuels – people who are taking steps to protect habitats, or change emotions, or change the system we live within. From 15 April I will be meeting hundreds more as I walk with others across England for four months.
The Buzz Tour will visit a cross-section of England to help ‘pollinate change’ through inspiration and skill-sharing. The walk is open to anyone who wants to shape a better future, so please join us! Some people are coming for a few hours, others for a month and they are all part of the journey. You can also keep track of our journey on our website and social media pages, and help us by donating cash or equipment.
We will visit projects where people are practising permaculture, mindfulness, direct action, local economic trading schemes, Transition towns, art and craft as dissent, community energy production, habitat conservation, divestment and alternative education. If you haven’t heard of some of these things – fantastic! You’ll find many new experiences and tools.
A window of opportunity
We are no longer ignorant of the consequences of our actions, individually and collectively. When our grandchildren ask us what we did to stop climate change it will not be a defence to say that we did nothing because we did not know. Our society has known for decades but the evidence is now overwhelming.
In March, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released its report on the widespread consequences of man-made climate change, which will affect every human on the planet. Its language is technical and scientific, and the news coverage uses emotionless, passive language. The content, however, should be a call to arms for us all. We live during a quickly closing window of opportunity to protect life.
To make the large emissions reductions that are required in the next two decades will take a massive cultural change. There is no single solution to save us; there are hundreds! Changing our lives will not be quick or easy but we can help each other to do it, and bridge the gap between good intentions and systemic change.
There is a lot that behavioural psychology can teach us about how to approach culture change. All group change starts with individual change. The society that we have been born into narrows our choices and rewards destructive behaviour. For example, how easy do you find it to buy food that has not been harvested and transported with fossil fuels or wrapped in plastic? Environmentally harmful actions have become the norm.
It is extremely difficult to act against the persistent tide of a harmful system which surrounds you and so we are forced into harmful choices. That does not mean we consent to them. But to change this society, we must do more than not consent: we must actively show our dissent together, and work together towards the future we want.
There are three broad types of action on climate change: protecting the natural resources we have left, changing ourselves, and changing our system and culture. Maybe you already do work in one of these areas and would like to help others? Maybe you know about climate change but have no idea where to start? Maybe you know the types of action you want to take but need to find people to work with, or to build your skills? Connecting with the Buzz Tour will be a way to do all these.
A vital part of changing our lives is the time to reflect upon what we experience. On the tour we will walk together, to reflect, understand, inspire and learn. The Buzz Tour will be a ‘walking university’ where people can come and share their skills. Every week we will be posting what we learn and the contacts we make on the website building up a store of inspiration.
Culture change not climate change.
Glenn Greenwald was interviewed by Amandla Thomas-Johnson over the phone from Brazil. Here is what he had to say on the War on Terror, Trump, and the 'special relationship'
Andrew Dolan on how the left must match the anti-establishment rhetoric of the right, but with a different politics
In the first of a series of interviews with migrants' rights and racial justice activists from the US, Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Peter Pedemonti, co-founder and director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia
Yasmin Gunaratnam reflects on John Berger’s gut solidarity with the stranger
Charlie Clarke and Heather Mendick discuss how to work through the tensions within Momentum
In 1972 David Widgery wrote about the bitter intensity of love in capitalism
Emma Snaith speaks with directors Emer Mary Morris and Nina Scott about the power of theatre to encourage community resistance to estate demolitions.
Photos from The World Transformed festival in Liverpool, by David Walters
A short story by Kirsten Irving
Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design
Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform
Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out
Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris
Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant
Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’
Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue
A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank
News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions
Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release
Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts
‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette
The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.
How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op
Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU
Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson
Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release
University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.
Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.
Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History
Book Review: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: from liberation to the post-gay
Aiming to re-evaluate the radicalism and efficacy of queer counterculture and rebellion - April Park takes us through David Alderson's new work.