Global Assembly – East Africa, Chile, Scotland

The “old ambitious climate targets” were never achievable within a system addicted to growth. 

Focusing on climate (because it so clearly says no one’s children will escape the consequences) made sense, but as we all know it is only one consequence of a smash and grab system (of breaking apart resilient relationships the better to exploit their constituent parts) that is devastating oceans, soils, societies, families, hearts.  

Targets as a genuine statement of intent (as a Green Party target should be) rather than an excuse for postponing action make sense. Just as making demands of a system that is incapable of saving us from itself makes sense. But only if these are ways of pointing at the depth of change needed, rather than in place of the deep changes needed. 

We absolutely can stop almost all emissions within 2 years (starting whichever year we are capable of starting) if we choose to. 

And if we don’t then all the adaption in the world won’t help us. It will simply be embroidering a cushion to place at the base of the cliff we are falling from. 

The level of transformation needed is so so much more than a war footing. It’s best thought of as a ‘post-war-on-nature-and-on-ourselves’ footing. Like Labour in 1945. We don’t need a war footing to tackle climate change. We need to end the war. 

That means 2 years preparing for a 2 year pause in ALL economic activity except that needed to keep people healthy and well. That means utter rationing of the carbon budget (so no one to have wealth above that needed for human well being), it means us no more  acting like Pharoahs with our oil slaves working for us, but instead recovering the skills and work of food growing, shelter providing, wealth sharing, health provision. 

That may sound impossible. But it’s not as impossible as ploughing our current trajectory to destruction – whether that trajectory involves targets in place of action, or adaptation in place of mitigation. 

It may sound impossible yet it’s how most human societies (societies of the commons) live before being bullied and charmed into slavery to a system of inhumanity masked as advancement. 

Many communities still live on commons systems where you would never let anyone go hungry or homeless. Everyone has a right and is welcome to share food, and warmth and sociality by the fire. 

This is a normal human response to each other. 

We saw that kindness during lockdown. We saw who the real key workers are. We saw the utter inequality of this system. 

Then the billionaire media, poliitical and economic system worked furiously hard to restore us to an inhumane system of insecurity. 

An inhumane system seeks that to persuade us that humanity is the problem. 

We’re not. It is. 

To replace it requires many many of us working in all the many ways we are working. But as well as that to really deeply listen to each other. 

To deeply listen not only to the trauma but also to the healthy humanity in us all that is traumatised.  

To listen to the enduring and emerging stories and methods and processes humans use to be able to meet together and make decisions together. To be able to bring out the best in each other rather than the worst. 

How can we assemble humanity in and from our many corners (there are no corners!) of this globe. How can we assemble where we are to make the differences we need?

Ok, I’ve just realised where this ‘rant’ is going!

Tomorrow (or is it already today?) Saturday, you’ll already be busy. It’s way too late to ask you to join us. 

But nevertheless, just in case one of you has read this far and wants to make yourself free for 2 hours, we’ll be hearing from Assembly processes in East Africa, Chile and Scotland. It’s the next step in an exploration. Feel free to join just for this moment or for longer. You’ll need to register to join us:

Saturday 1st October 2022:

1: *East Africa* 12.30-2.30pm BST

2: *Chile* 3-5pm BST

3: *Scotland* 5.30-7.30pm BST)


Comments (4)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Meg Macleod says:

    What you upholding is the way to go but inner city complexities don’t at th moment have aything to fall back on..ref.growing your own….the change is so fundamental it confounds the mind

  2. 220930 says:

    ‘That means 2 years preparing for a 2 year pause in ALL economic activity except that needed to keep people healthy and well.’

    That’s all very well. But, realistically, who’s going to drive this reset and by what political mechanism?

    We’re locked into a chaotic system of global socio-economy – a huge number of extremely complicated and dynamic sets of relationships – that, like the physical climate, has its own deterministic logic over which we have no instrumental leverage. Only the most optimistic humanism can nowadays suggest that we can master history and instrumentally shape our own destiny as a species. Capitalism is growing increasingly dysfunctional, but its chaotic system can and will only reset as an effect of its own immanent collapse as a functional system and not as an end of any deliberate human agency.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      …. and your constructive suggestions are.???

      1. 221002 says:

        How can I have any constructive solutions to offer when I reject the humanist conceit that we can master history and instrumentally shape our own destiny as a species? However much we fancy ourselves as a species, we’re as powerless and insignificant as a flea on the back of a dog.

        My suggestion is that we each come together with our neighbours to palliate the bread-and-butter problems we share in our real communities. Assume a greater incredulity towards ‘grand narratives’, in other words, and focus on our petit récits instead. Act locally rather than make grand and ultimately empty ‘global’ gestures. Quietly help organise a local food-sharing scheme rather than volubly beat one’s breast about global poverty, for example.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.