Author Archives: Steve Castree

Transforming our economy while remedying our environmental crisis – Part 2

In a previous article, I started to highlight policy areas that could advance our fight against the climate emergency and looked at legislation and taxation. This article continues the discussion and looks at additional policy measures to drive change in the way we treat the world we live on.

3. Education – all schools should have climate crises as a part of their social learning – this can be written into the personal, social education time which schools use to address and educate on issues. For adults, continued government promotion on single-use plastics, diets and other life choices is essential, and each individual must take responsibility for their actions. The crisis is unfathomably large but broken down into a single person among 8 billion, and a single footprint to wipe clean, if we all clean up after ourselves, it is possible.

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Transforming our economy while remedying our environmental crisis – Part 1

The fight against climate change is a global one; we understand the issue and science. We also understand the urgency, and in the Paris Agreement, every country committed to reducing emissions to target a significantly lower than a two-degree rise over pre-industrial temperatures. While the complexities are significant, the issue is that globally we continue to put too many greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. The wealthy western countries have been the leaders of this pollution which are making the entire planet suffer, and the poorer countries are suffering more than the wealthiest; we need to lead the recovery.

The good news is that solutions do not have to be complex. For a start, we can put less harmful gases in and take more out. To achieve net-zero means that whatever we put in, we take out, essentially like wiping a footprint in the sand clean, so it looks like you were never there. At net-zero we, as humans, stop making the problem worse. However, we can strive to be better and to take more out than we put in, to allow the planet to get back to its natural cycles of carbon release and absorption.

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Universal suffrage for British citizens – Fact or Fiction

While many readers of Lib Dem’s voice will believe that the fight for universal suffrage is something from a bygone age, it is very much a topic of concern for many British citizens. Although travel has been heavily curtailed during the current pandemic, it has long been a quintessential part of being British, exploring, assisting the development of new countries and forging an existence in any far-flung part of the world. Brits live on every continent and probably in every country. This has allowed our country to become truly multicultural, as Brits coming home to live or bring a part of where they have been with them. Whether living in a former British territory, a crown colony, or in a country not affiliated with Britain, after 15 years, you lose your right to vote. This is a situation that left an estimated 700,000 Brits unable to vote in Brexit elections.

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Climate change is real!

At a risk of writing another article about a topic we have heard a lot about in the past few years, this one, again, focussed on climate change. Why? It is abundantly clear to all who read from a scientific perspective, that climate change is happening. We have seen wildfires destroying large swathes of land in Australia and the USA, we are seeing weather changes causing flooding and destruction in the UK, and an ever increasing magnitude of storms. We have been warned by scientists, the United Nations and many international governments that the time to take action is NOW.

At our own Liberal Democrat conference, whilst making our statement that we were going to cancel Article 50 as our leading policy in September 2019, we did also approve our policy as it pertains to climate change. Reducing the amount of pollution is one thing and we need to get the entire planet to be carbon neutral and the carbon negative, and we need to do it as quickly a physically possible.

As of last year, we added 33 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, that is 33,000,000,000,000 tons. This is an enormous number and there are only two ways to adjust for it, we put less, or we take more out, and a combination is key. Governments can, and should, be leading the way, encouraging use of re-usable power sources, promoting eating that is good for the individual and good for the environment, car-pooling discounts, cheaper public transport; there are ways. If we consider that in the wake of COVID-19, which is hopefully a shorter term initiative, we have mobilised entire countries and the entire world to stay home, to socially distance, and to change their behaviour, why are we so inept to deal with what is, ultimately, a challenge to every species and the very future of our planet?

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We need a leader!

At the risk of upsetting the readership, the Liberal Democrat party is at a crossroads. Since the merging of the SDP and the Liberal party in the 1988, never has our party been under so much threat and at so much risk of being irrelevant. Having attended the party conference for the first time last September in Bournemouth, I was actually amazed. The positivity surrounding the conference was palpable, and yet, as an organisation we looked tired and jaded. We talked about a new beginning, but, outside of stating that we were going to reverse Article 50, we didn’t have …

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    You're not wrong about the way 'libertarian' is often used, but by the same token 'liberal' is generally interpreted as centre-right in continental Europe, Japa...
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