I have been writing this blog since January 2010. There are over four hundred blog postings. The title of the blog is ‘Global Problems: Global Solutions’. Underlying all that I write about is the belief that humanity faces a vast range of interlinked crises, and that it is still possible to turn around the global trajectory that we are on. We could cut carbon emissions dramatically and quickly, feed a growing population better while restoring biodiversity, reduce pollution and poverty and many other problems and create a better future for humanity. To do all this requires change, System Change. It will be necessary to change our systems of politics, economics, energy generation and use, our farming systems and land management, our systems of production and consumption. Despite the gravity of the situation, and the fact that in many ways the patterns of destruction are getting worse, other more positive trends are emerging.
In these blogs I try and explore better ways of doing things. I advocate for renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, and for the ownership of this new energy infrastructure to largely be in co-operative or municipal ownership, rather than private companies. I am passionate about agro-ecological systems of farming, agrivoltaics and greenhouses. Together these systems can supply us all with more and better food while allowing nature to recover. I am deeply committed to eradicating poverty, and that inevitably means simultaneously ending excessive wealth. I sometimes highlight governments or political movements that are moving in this better direction.
About the Book
I’ve written a book called ‘System Change Now!’ The ideas, and earlier drafts, had been floating about in my head for decades. During the Covid lockdown I got it written and self-published. The blogs are good to highlight particular technologies or single examples of things: the book is a way of making much more wide-ranging and integrated advocacy for action. I use the book to advocate for a Global Green New Deal and float ideas about how as millions of jobs are lost in the polluting industries many more could be created in the newly emerging sectors that enhance social justice and ecological renewal. I put forward the notion that we are witnessing the death throes of ‘The Fossil-Fuel Age’ and the birth pains of a new epoch that might in time come to be known as ‘The Solar Age’. Epochal shifts are always times of great turbulence as both the technological and ideological basis on which society is built profoundly changes.
About My Talks & Classes
Over the years I’ve given probably a couple of hundred talks in various venues, from a committee room in the Houses of Parliament to the Occupy protest camp at St. Paul’s Cathedral, from pubs, church halls and environmental festivals to schools and colleges. Most of the talks have been one-off talks for various organizations, but a number of times I’ve set up a course of evening classes spanning six to ten weekly sessions. The talks and classes explore the themes I’ve written about in my blogs and book, but also are very interactive and I’m happy to answer questions and lead discussion on a wide range of interrelated topics. I usually really enjoy these talks and learn a lot from them.
I’m now 68 years old and have been almost obsessively interested in issues of environmental pollution, social and economic injustice and global politics ever since I can remember. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of the London ‘pea-souper’ smogs of the 1950’s, and discussion about what should be done about them. The American bombing of Vietnam and the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 were two of the formative experiences of my teenage years. After ‘A’ levels, in 1973, I decided not to go to university, but instead travelled extensively, reading widely and doing odd jobs to fund my travels. I spent over a year wandering around Africa and dreamt of starting some kind of experimental farming project there, and lived for a year in Berlin exploring the contrasts between communist Eastern Europe and the capitalist west. I lived an eccentrically frugal lifestyle, so whenever I earnt any money I found it very easy to save, and after seven years travelling I returned with enough money to buy a bit of land. I stumbled across Herefordshire and made it my home, and have lived here for the last forty-two years.
For the last seventeen years I’ve been married to Colette, and our grandchildren and great nephews and nieces are our important link into the future, and a source of great joy. I’m a keen grower of fruit and vegetables, and still dream-up ecologically restorative farming systems, which may form the basis for some future writing project or talks.