Author Archives: David Brunnen

Climate Crisis – the challenge is to confront reality

As COP26 – December’s international convention in Glasgow – becomes a major media focus, the scrutiny of environmental plans and policies will be intensified.

Parties across the political spectra are now preparing proposals that will sound good but not offend their core supporters.  They’ve had plenty of practice.  References to fine words buttering no parsnips date back to at least 1634.

To identify the underlying causes of ecological distress one must first strip away mis-characterisations (it’s just a natural cycle) and finger pointing or ‘othering’ (it’s all their fault) and vested interests that stand in the way of progress.  It’s time then to critically review where leaders think they are leading.

Under Ed Davey the Libdems don’t just have a plan – we have a Green Recovery Plan but is that enough to get to the heart of the issues?  Given the scale of the challenge, are the plan’s elements sufficient?  Will many millions of small initiatives be practical and effective, or are major policy reforms required?

  • Save British Countryside
  • Green Every Home
  • Clean Air for Kids
  • Transport revolution
  • Energy Switch

Looking at the details behind these headlines there is much to applaud – and nothing to cause offence.  But will these elements be enough to arrest the current levels of our planet abuse?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 9 Comments

Ecocidal thoughts

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Ecocide, unlike Geocide, has yet to be embedded in international law.

Ecocide, as envisaged, would perhaps be reserved for extreme forms of our everyday Planet Abuse and directed at corporates and government leaders whose policies wreak so much damage.  Even so, the chances of such condemnation becoming law are minimal – and the chances of it acting as any deterrent, even less.  Like so much else in the hot air of climate debating circles, the notion of Ecocide is as purely symbolic as national flag waving or political greenwashing.

On the other hand, everyday Planet Abuse is more easily understood by individual citizens and communities.  For sure, there are challenges in tracking useful metrics: many places and people will see different priorities, and we are still a very long way from the general taboos that progressive societies try to muster for, say, Domestic or Racial Abuse.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Pupil Premium at risk

The Pupil Premium is a system designed to invest more in areas where there is greatest need.  At a time when Covid has exposed the growing extent of child poverty, the logic of Pupil Premium means that greater investment in teaching must be made to support their needs – unless, apparently, the Department for Education changes the rules.

Just when the eligibility for free school meals (the metric used to calculate the Pupil Premium) is increasing (up by more than 100,000), the Department for Learning to Save Money has decided to calculate the schools budget from data before the recent upsurge.

Naturally, the Department for Depriving the Deprived, objects to this dismal characterisation.  The Children’s Minister, Vicky Ford, says the change “won’t make a huge difference” – which begs the question – why have they done it?  The Department for Hiding their Homework were asked to show their working, but refused to release it, claiming it “could harm the department’s reputation in regard to the accuracy and credibility of the statistical information it produces”.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 2 Comments

Climate Change: We must not discourage young people

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When the Southampton Daily Echo ran a story recently featuring the likely sea-rise impact on Southampton, it unleashed a torrent of outraged climate change denial. Climate Central’s data was viewed as preposterous, extremely unlikely and unwarranted fearmongering. Barely 20% of respondents agreed with the report.

That reaction – the refusal to countenance the full impact of the way we live now – is perfectly understandable. There are not many things these days as trusted as bricks and mortar…as safe as houses. Unfortunately, that trust flies in the face of science. While countries are firmly in the grip of an addiction to never-ending growth, it is difficult to face up to the consequences of damage to our planet.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 32 Comments
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