In my last blog I wrote about ‘The Movement’. I now want to write about what are the values that underlie this movement and what distinguishes it from the mainstream. This is a global phenomenon of existential importance.
We live in a world dominated by a value system that is both destroying the very biosphere upon which we depend and which holds a global hegemony. This worldview sees no alternative to consumer driven capitalism, underpinned by the maximization of short term profits and an essentially neoliberal set of economic policies. It sees competition between nation-states as natural and nationalist foreign policy as therefore inevitable, with the defence and security spending priorities that this implies. It also sees very little wrong with increasing levels of inequality, just so long as the rich are getting richer. Economic growth and national self-interest are the key policy goals. Political parties of left and right, the mass media, the financial and business lobbyists all maintain that there is no alternative to this.
Meanwhile there is a rapidly growing movement that sees the world very differently. Ecological sustainability and global social justice are the twin principles that drive this movement. It sees the damage humanity is doing to the planet and to ourselves through myriad forms of pollution and destruction and believes that there are better ways of doing things, be it how we generate and use energy, how we build, farm or how we organise our economic and political life. Cooperation is seen as more vital than competition and fairer distribution more important than overall economic growth. The active pursuit of peace and non-violence are key aspects of this movement.
We can see these two rival worldviews being played out daily in debates over climate change, economic, social or housing policy, or quite frankly just about anything else. Take the global decline in bees as an example. The movement organised globally, but especially in Europe and focused on the banning of neonicotinoid pesticides within the EU. Avaaz, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, The Soil Association and innumerable other organisations networked and petitioned, wrote scientific reports and lobbied politicians. Syngenta, Bayer and other agrochemical companies lobbied against the ban. The corporates had the ear of the UK government which voted against the ban, but the EU as a whole, influenced by the citizen’s movement and by the European Food Safety Authority voted in favour of a ban. One small victory for the movement, many more happen daily, many more campaigns ahead.
Links re bee decline and the neonicotinoid ban:-
Greenpeace report on bee decline http://bees-decline.org/
Some of the organisations involved in campaigning for bees http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/news/news_topic.php?