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“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.
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
Survivors of the fire are still relying on thousands of community volunteers, writes Dan Renwick - but the failed council is plotting a comeback
What if it's not us who are sick, asks Rod Tweedy, but a system at odds with who we are as social beings?
The people could reach a democratic and non-violent solution if they were freed from US meddling, argues Boaventura de Sousa Santos
A decade after the start of the crash, economic power is in our hands – we must take it, writes Ann Pettifor
Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture
Matt Phull and Will Stronge share more thoughts about the postcapitalist potential of the Acid Corbynist project
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going
A very social economist
Hilary Wainwright says the ideas of Robin Murray, who died in June, offer a practical alternative to neoliberalism
Art the Arms Fair: making art not war
Amy Corcoran on organising artistic resistance to the weapons dealers’ London showcase
Beware the automated landlord
Tenants of the automated landlord are effectively paying two rents: one in money, the other in information for data harvesting, writes Desiree Fields
Black Journalism Fund – Open Editorial Meeting
3-5pm Saturday 23rd September at The World Transformed in Brighton
Immigration detention: How the government is breaking its own rules
Detention is being used to punish ex-prisoners all over again, writes Annahita Moradi
A better way to regenerate a community
Gilbert Jassey describes a pioneering project that is bringing migrants and local people together to repopulate a village in rural Spain
Fast food workers stand up for themselves and #McStrike – we’re loving it!
McDonald's workers are striking for the first time ever in Britain, reports Michael Calderbank
Two years of broken promises: how the UK has failed refugees
Stefan Schmid investigates the ways Syrian refugees have been treated since the media spotlight faded
West Papua’s silent genocide
The brutal occupation of West Papua is under-reported - but UK and US corporations are profiting from the violence, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
Activate, the new ‘Tory Momentum’, is 100% astroturf
The Conservatives’ effort at a grassroots youth movement is embarrassingly inept, writes Samantha Stevens
Peer-to-peer production and the partner state
Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis argue that we need to move to a commons-centric society – with a state fit for the digital age
Imagining a future free of oppression
Writer, artist and organiser Ama Josephine Budge says holding on to our imagination of tomorrow helps create a different understanding today
The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together
Mike Isaacson argues that efforts to define the alt-right are in danger of missing its central component: eugenics
Fighting for Peace: the battles that inspired generations of anti-war campaigners
Now the threat of nuclear war looms nearer again, we share the experience of eighty-year-old activist Ernest Rodker, whose work is displayed at The Imperial War Museum. With Jane Shallice and Jenny Nelson he discussed a recent history of the anti-war movement.
Put public purpose at the heart of government
Victoria Chick stresses the need to restore the public good to economic decision-making
Don’t let the world’s biggest arms fair turn 20
Eliza Egret talks to activists involved in almost two decades of protest against London’s DSEI arms show
The new municipalism is part of a proud radical history
Molly Conisbee reflects on the history of citizens taking collective control of local services
With the rise of Corbyn, is there still a place for the Green Party?
Former Green principal speaker Derek Wall says the party may struggle in the battle for votes, but can still be important in the battle of ideas
Fearless Cities: the new urban movements
A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world
A musical fightback against school arts cuts
Elliot Clay on why his new musical turns the spotlight on the damage austerity has done to arts education, through the story of one school band's battle
Neoliberalism: the break-up tour
Sarah Woods and Andrew Simms ask why, given the trail of destruction it has left, we are still dancing to the neoliberal tune
Cat Smith MP: ‘Jeremy Corbyn has authenticity. You can’t fake that’
Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs and one of the original parliamentary backers of Corbyn’s leadership, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali
To stop the BBC interviewing climate deniers, we need to make climate change less boring
To stop cranks like Lord Lawson getting airtime, we need to provoke more interesting debates around climate change than whether it's real or not, writes Leo Barasi