Climate Action meeting – Tuesday 19th May

Thank you to those who took part in our first online meeting on the 21st April to start our visioning process looking at what we want the Climate Action Group to have achieved in 10 years’ time, what would success look like? Thirteen people joined in the discussion and there were an additional seven contributions sent in by email. We have collated the notes from the meeting and the email contributions. The next stage in creating our vision will be to add to/amend the ideas suggested so far during this online meeting on Tuesday 19th May, starting at 7:30 pm.

If you would like to join the online meeting, and are not already on our mailing list, please contact us for details.

‘Climate Change and the Nation State’

Anatol Lieven’s new book ‘Climate Change and the Nation State’ gives a much needed new approach to dealing with climate change. Lieven shows how in this emergency our crucial building block is the nation state. Drastic action required both to change our habits and to protect ourselves can be carried out not through some vague globalism but through maintaining social cohesion and through our current governmental, fiscal and military structures. This replaces global protest with a national policy. The book aims to provoke discussions.

Political parties pay far too much attention to localism, voluntarism and corporate responsibility. All are valuable, none are adequate. I particularly liked the quote from Theodore Roosevelt, ‘Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of ensuring the safety and continuance of the nation.’

The current task must be to mobilise patriotism by convincing the people living in this country that global heating ,is a threat, not just to humanity and the planet but to the interests and future survival of Britain; and that society as a whole must pull together, alleviate suffering and make sacrifices as part of a common effort.

If we can’t manage this Lieven doubts that liberal democracy will survive what is coming at us down the line. See also the article in The Guardian 14 Mar 2020, ‘Patriotism could be the unlikely answer to solving the climate crisis’. 

Malcolm Davison

Buy Local

North Yorkshire County Council has launched a new Buy Local web directory to help you find businesses and tradespeople open for business during the COVID-19 restrictions. NYCC has said, “We will continue to develop the functionality of the website over time and it is intended that this website will stay live after COVID19 restrictions are lifted to encourage local people to ‘Buy Local’ supporting the local economy. Businesses registered on the site are able to update their information themselves at any time.”

‘Feeding Britain, Our Food Problems and How to Fix Them’

‘Feeding Britain, Our Food Problems and How to Fix Them’ by Tim Lang

We currently do not have a national food policy. This book is a call for British Food Democracy. Lang says it is time we stopped telling others how to improve their food systems when we are not doing this for our own. Major challenges are known to be facing the UK food system: climate change and ecosystems stress, public ill-health caused by diet, food poverty caused by social inequality, leading millions to depend on food handouts, and more. We have no political response getting a grip.

Food Security is important. The UK only grows a little over half its food needs, and relies on just-in-time complex supply chains that can easily be disrupted. However there is a belief that we are rich and can buy food on ‘open markets’ and that our modern food system is highly efficient. The UK is not immune from ecosystem stress, and the countries we already rely upon for food will also be negatively affected. We ought to be planning to protect and regenerate land for growing food here, as well as helping others to adapt and prepare.

Food Quality is even more important. There is a need for the UK to create a food culture in which sustainable diets from a sustainable food system are the norm. A new national framework ought to rein back the runaway production and consumption of High Fat, Sugar and Salt that warps not just our NHS but healthcare globally.

A ‘Great Food Transformation’ is, however, needed to realign food production with human and ecosystems health in a socially just and economically sustainable form.

Sustainability is both the key to food defence and an end in itself. The link between human and environmental health is the base on which policy and planning must now be built. Good-quality food requires us to treat ecosystems carefully, not to mine them. Diet is a major cause of public ill-health, not just obesity but a range of non-communicable diseases too. Drug bills and hospital care that arise from failing to prevent food being a cause of poor health are a gross waste of time, money and effort.

The Sustainable Food Cities network, a localist food renaissance, shows a rise of interest in food culture. However, to turn round the UK food system is unlikely to happen unless there is a renaissance of bottom-up food governance to rebalance top-down control.

Th National Food Strategy Review led by Henry Dimbleby has been set up to investigate the intensive farming practices that have caused serious damage to the environment, and the food related disease costing the NHS billions and drastically harming the lives of millions. (further details on the very interesting web site nationalfoodstrategy.org)

Malcolm Davison

‘The Uninhabitable Earth – a Story of the Future’

‘The Uninhabitable Earth – a Story of the Future’ by David Wallace Wells

You asked for details on books that might be of interest. I have just finished reading ‘The Uninhabitable Earth – a Story of the Future’ by David Wallace Wells

It is an extremely well researched book that draws its material from a wider range of scientific material on climate change – almost 60 pages of notes and references – but it does it in a way which is accessible. I feel I can’t do any better in terms of a review than to refer to the assessment by Mark O’Connell of the Guardian

‘Enough to induce an honest to god panic attack ….a brutal portrait of climate change and our future lives on earth… extremely effective in shaking the reader out of complacency …… To read the Uninhabitable Earth is to understand the collapse of the distinction between alarmism and plain realism.

Barry Warrington

Tour round a Passivhaus

A group from CASAV (Climate Action Stokesley and Villages) had a tour around this Passive House on January 25th 2020. Pete & Joy Smith agreed that Mike Newton, a group member, would make a YouTube of the Passive House so a much wider audience come understand what was involved and might be influenced to modify their own home. The YouTube lasts for 18 minutes and it is well worthwhile watching to the end as Pete gives an excellent description of all aspects of the Passive House.