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Waterstones Book Launch Event Thursday 24th November, 7-00 to 8-30 A Better World is Possible – what needs to be done and how we can make it happen
Outline 7-00 to 8-30 7-00 Get an apple juice drink and a biscuit Welcome and Introduction Talk – 20/25 minutes • Why I wrote the book - the situation we face - what needs to be done • What’s in the book and how you can use it 7-35 Review and discussion • Reflect in pairs • Sharing and dialogue 8-10 Browse book, chat and have another drink 8-30 – close
Where I am coming from “It’s alright for your generation; it’s different for us. We’ll have to face the consequences of your inaction.”A sixth former Questions that trouble me Why are we sleep-walking to disaster? Will we act in time?
When I get discouraged I turn to inspiring thoughts like these Everything that is done in the world is done by hope Martin Luther King .
Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it Mahatma Gandhi Another world is possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing Arundhati Roy Millions of inspired people, all over the world, are bringing about change and transforming their societies and communities for the better
Growing activism: “Arab spring”, Cairo's Tahrir Square, Occupy Wall Street, London: St Pauls and Bank of Ideas, Frankfurt, Madrid, Rome, Sydney, Hong Kong; social networks, thousands of campaigns and coalitions aiming to "initiate global change" and change capitalism Will this year go down in history as one that redefined global politics?
Our small home – Spaceship EarthWhat we are doing to it Countries are getting wealthierBUT........ All the stuff we use USES UP the planet and heats it up - our cars, our phones, power tools, our gadgets, our food And it doesn’t make us happier
Climate change is just one symptom of our failure to live in harmony with our planet and all life on it, including each other
Five inseparably linked issues • Climate change – possibly 5 years to a tipping point • Peak everything – not just Oil which made our extraordinary way of life possible • We are destroying the ecosystem on which all life depends, the air, water and soil • Poverty and economic injustice • Violence, war, terrorism and the threat of nuclear annihilation
Symptoms of our failure to live in harmony with mother earth and all life on it, including each otherFamilies in burning open coal mines in India Oil extraction from tar sands in Alaska
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer The wealth of the world's 475 billionaires is now worth the combined income of the bottom half of humanity
The tower, Antilia, is the new home of India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani, whose $27 billion fortune makes him one of the richest people in the world. There are nine elevators, a spa, a 50-seat theatre and a grand ballroom. Hundreds of servants and staff work inside.
Madness When ….. • We’re already consuming 30% more than the earth can sustain - and rising • Population set to grow from 7bn to 10/15bn by 2100 • Expectations of poor peoples are rising …. Current orthodoxy defies common sense • Continuous growth mantra – measured by GDP • Cuts to restore business as usual; shop and shop to provide jobs
Governments, instead of dealing with the highest priority, are diverted by the economic crisis UN Durban Summit COP 17, 2011 - Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020 28 November - 9 December 2011 “If I were Forbes magazine, I'd stop publishing league tables of global leadership until we see some evidence that it actually exists.” Andrew Rawnsley
Two Key Insights Breakdowns lead to breakthroughs The power of declaring the possibility of a great endeavour! Apollo space mission
We have to transform the system “System blindness permeates all facets of western society” Bob Doppelt • First, see the system clearly • Patching it up, addressing symptoms, won’t work • Transformation requires a whole system, radical approach – not bright ideas but what works • We need to engage everyone • We need different values, a new identity, a balance of feminine and masculine energies
The unsustainable system • Fuels climate change and consumes more than “spaceship earth” can provide – “Limits to Growth” • Destroys the ecosystem • Not making us happier or creating more wellbeing • Systematically transfers wealth from poor to rich. Bears down on people who make things, serve and feed us • Big Cos “externalise cost”, abuse power, subvert democracy • Mono-thinking creates mono-culture, mono-everything, “clone towns” • Supported by war and a huge military economy - costs precious lives and resources that could be better spent - $ trillions
What drives the system • Consumerism • Debt money • Continuous growth mantra – Great Gods GDP (actually GD Cost) and unrestricted “free trade” • Excessive corporate power • Big government, big tech, quick fixes – not Subsidiarity = getting things done at the right level • Ideology - not what works and first involving people on the ground and those who have done long term research • Lack of participatory democracy = cynicism and frustration • Largely captive media = uninformed, misinformed, depressed people • Disempowered citizens Why are we so compliant? We’re being taken for a ride
When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done John Maynard Keynes
An unsustainable financial system“The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled” J K Galbraith • Debt Money – 97% of our money created by banks “out of thin air” for profit; everything costs more; creates massive debt burden especially for poor, young people and poor countries • Inherently unsustainable - interest drives unsustainable and need to repay debt growth • Unstable financial markets – about 90% transactions are speculative • Lack of regulation and due diligence – e.g. subprime crisis, credit crunch, recession, bailouts -the taxpayer pays • Perverse taxation and subsidies – fail to reward sustainable enterprise and discourage the unsustainable • Vast avoidance and evasion – UK’s tax havens, laundering - an industry - blue suit corruption
There is an alternative - WellbeingHappier countries are green, yellow; least happy are brown.
There is an alternative – A Great Transition (New Economics Foundation -nef) • A double win – the way out of the economic crisis and environmental catastrophe . • “Prosperity without growth” Tim Jackson andLester Brown’s “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization” – focus on the wellbeing of all, not GDP • Green the economy - localise, bio-regionalise, make global trade the exception, FEET index. Sovereignty and security • Wellbeing of all is the goal – creating the good society, providing opportunity, health, good work, sovereignty and security - costs less • New values - not stuff, power and status but fulfilment and joy , one world • “Contraction and Convergence “– we have to face it
More ways to build a new society • Reform Money - end “debt money” for profit; debt money costs more; central banks issue currency to meet defined national objectives • Reform the banks radically – redefine and separate their roles: only central banks create money ; restructure banking; local banks • Regulate the markets – Tobin tax on transactions • Provide a Citizens Income- a right for everyone including students – can be sourced – would cost the nation less • Reform taxation and subsidies to reward and encourage sustainable enterprise and work; end avoidance and evasion • Reduce military expenditure - spend more on resolving conflict and preventing war
Green Homes and Communities Kevin McCloud’s Triangle housing project, Swindon; Bedzed in Sutton; Hockerton, Southwell, Notts
How to make it happen – a sustainable, fairer society....... Include all 193 nations in voting in the United Nations not just wealthy western ones Create “win; win” solutions Sit in a circle – not opposing rows Better informed citizens Better democracy: people involved, fully representative, fairer voting, people feel listened to, involved. Two options: Collaborating to survive, not shouting at each other - Or catastrophe!
You have power – use it! • Create a vision for the world you want – dream • Who’s responsible? 1/3 individuals; 2/3 governments, say Friends of the Earth • Be the change – personal actions: family, friends, community, school, work, purchasing power and networking, the 4 Rs - not enough • Act Global – 7bn of us have power. Get involved: lobby, campaign, educate ourselves and politicians: And the UN Climate Summit at Durban . • Be hopeful, inquiring, sceptical, open minded, not “opinionated” – hardly anything is certain. We can’t afford pessimism. Collectively we are more likely to find our way forward • Use “Key Campaigns for System Change” PDF at www.brucenixon.comand “A Better World is Possible” Remember COP 17 next week
What’s in the book and how you can use it A Better World is Possible - a handbook for Everyman Part 1 is a radical whole system analysis of the situation we’re in Part 2 sets out a practical vision of a better world; describes the best proposals and many existing models that are transforming the situation for the better. Chapters: Greening the world, creating a sustainable, just global economy; reforming money, debt and taxation, a citizens income; reforming democracy; feeding the world; creating sustainable cities, towns and communities and the possibility of peace. I suggest actions people can take in their own lives, how they can influence their communities and workplaces, equally important, what they can do to influence politicians and demand their governments do what is urgently needed. I list key campaigns and resources for system change
Review and Dialogue Why are we drifting? Why aren’t we doing more? What stops us? 7-35 - Reflect in pairs – listening in turn – 4 min each • Biggest insight I got from this talk • What I want to offer or ask • Actions - what I want to do Share – insights, contributions, additions, questions and finally actions – concise please – one minute each 8-10 Browse book, chat and have another drink 8-30 – close Sign up if you’d like a copy of these power points. Also Transition Towns Lists
Key Campaigns for System Change • “Activism is my rent for living on the planet”Alice Walker • 7bn people have the power to bring about radical change. • The key issues • A Just and Sustainable Global Economic System • Feeding the World • Global Governance • Greening the Global Economy • New Money, Debt, Citizens Income, Fair and Sustainable Taxation, Land Value Tax • Peace - Ending War and Violence • Sustainable buildings, cities, communities and transport. • Unlocking Democracy • Prioritise where to put your energy. Focus on what you are passionate about and believe will make the greatest difference. My suggestions are Advocacy International, 38 Degrees, 350.org, CND, Garden Organic, GM Freeze, Greenpeace, New Economics Foundation, Open Democracy, Peace Direct, Six Billion Ways, Soil Association,Unlock Democracy/Local Works, Youth forum on climate change, World Development Movement. • Stop Climate Chaos is a coalition of more than 100 organisations and their 11 million supporters, working together for positive action. • For a full list go to Bruce Nixon - www.brucenixon.com
We are taking far more than our share • We are consuming 130% (rising) of the earth’s bio-capacity, wasting it massively; 7bn of us now, estimated 9bn by 2050; demand for power to rise 53% by 2030 unless… • Eco-footprints: LA rate = 5 planets; London = 3. Hectares per person: US 12.2 UK 6.29 (really double that), India 1.06. Safe, fair target 1.8 by 2050 • Carbon footprints: - CO2 tonnes p.p. p.a. Qatar 69, US 20, UK 10 (double that), India 1.2, China 3.8, most African countries below 1. Safe 2050 target for planet 2 tonnes p.p. = 90% reduction for us • Real costs of oil and cheap everything =“externalised costs” a billion are hungry, a billion overweight, wars, millions of people displaced • Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thousands killed, injured or displaced and almost half the world’s 11 million refugees created • Climate change kills 300,000 p.a. in poor countries • Misdirected spends –research goes into what makes money, not what prevents wars, harms and disease
Continuous economic growth isn’t working • It fuels climate change, global warming and degradation of the earth • Far too slow and inefficient in reducing poverty • Until the eighties the poverty gap was closing • Between 1990 and 2001, for every $100 of growth in the World’s per person income, only $0.60 contributed to reducing poverty below the $1 - a - day level • UK growth benefits the richest 10 % 10 times more than the poorest 10 % • UK top executives earn nearly 100 times more than a typical employee. Ten years ago the differential was 39. US CEOs were paid 344 times more than workers in 2008, up from 104 in 1991 • The wealth of the world's 475 billionaires is now worth the combined income of the bottom half of humanity • More wealth does not = more happiness • Where the income gap is highest so are all the costs of unhappiness
War - deaths and other consequences • 1.2bn war deaths since 1700 • 40m 1945 to 2000 • War in Iraq and Afghanistan thousands killed, injured or displaced, almost half the world’s 11 million refugees created and ruined lives