huge protests force chinese government retreat over pollution

By Adam Ford

Shifang demonstrators squaring off against riot cops earlier in the week

Locals are celebrating in the Chinese city of Shifang today, following the government’s decision to scrap its plans for a copy alloy plant which many feared would poison them. This sensational policy reversal was apparently forced out of the Communist Party dictatorship by rioting, followed by a sit-in in support of those arrested. In making this concession, the regime has shown its vulnerability at a time when the national economy is being hit by the economic crisis in Europe and the US. Continue reading “huge protests force chinese government retreat over pollution”

waste disposal – towards zero waste by 2020

Dave Spencer writes on the failed Coventry incinerator project

A number of local Councils, including Coventry, have recently scrapped plans to build new giant £1 billion PFI waste incinerators.  These were being encouraged by the last New Labour government that believed in an “energy from waste” strategy – that is burn waste and turn the heat generated into energy for the National Grid. Obviously the prohibitive cost of PFI schemes has hit home with the local Councils.

To save money by scrapping these schemes is all very well but what is the alternative strategy for waste disposal?  The giant incinerator planned for Coventry, right in the city centre, a few hundred yards from my house, was due to take waste from leafy Warwickshire and snobby Solihull and from anywhere else that couldn’t be bothered to organise their own.  You can imagine the gleam in the eyes of the PFI private firms as more and more bin lorries came trundling down the M6 and the A45.  But Friends of the Earth backed by local residents’ groups campaigned against the plans and we won.  We are now left with the old incinerator about which our local councillor told us, “I’ve been assured by Council officers that the smoke coming out of the old incinerator chimney is cleaner than the air it’s going into.”  Ha, ha, ha. Continue reading “waste disposal – towards zero waste by 2020”

bristol reading group on primitivism and eco-socialism

The next Bristol reading group session will be on Sunday 26th September at 6pm in Café Kino on Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, Bristol.

Note that we are back at Café Kino. The session will discuss anarchist primitivism and eco-socialism. Suggested background reading below. All welcome: email for more info.

Continue reading “bristol reading group on primitivism and eco-socialism”

bristol commune forum on ‘localisation’

The next Bristol reading group session will be on Sunday 22nd August at 6pm in The Factory, Cave Street off Portland Square, Saint Pauls, Bristol. (Note the change of venue).

The session will discuss whether localisation is a viable strategy to enable a form of capitalism which doesn’t threaten the ecology of the planet. Suggested background reading below. All welcome: email for more info. Continue reading “bristol commune forum on ‘localisation’”

is ecological struggle class struggle?

Rob Kirby spoke at the London Commune forum in May on the question ‘is ecological struggle class struggle?’:

The short answer is no. The slightly longer answer is that practically, the consequences of ecological policies will be negative for the working class, and theoretically, that ecological ideology expresses the interests of groups other than the working class.

It’s worth saying at the outset that I’m not a climate change denier – I accept the fact that humanity is adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and that is probably causing warming, and that pollution is generally a bad thing. However, my critique is a political one; I think environmentalisms’ one-sided focus on the negative aspects of industrial civilisation won’t help us solve environmental problems, and won’t help us advocate working class politics. Continue reading “is ecological struggle class struggle?”

is ecological struggle class struggle? london forum 24th may

The next of The Commune’s public forums in London will be a debate on the question ‘is ecological struggle class struggle?’ The meeting takes place from 7pm on Monday 24th May at the Horse & Groom, Curtain Road, near Old Street tube.

The discussion will be led off by Rob Kirby, and members of Notes from Below. All welcome: email for more details.

no answers from copenhagen climate summit

by Mark Ellingsen

Climate change rose to the top of the news agenda during the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, only to be displaced by the cold weather spell now being experienced in the British Isles. No doubt climate sceptics will be pointing to this as proof that global warming is a myth, despite the fact that globally the last decade was the warmest since 1850. Furthermore, the upward trend is unmistakeable.

The consequences will have a significant adverse impact on human well-being and the ecology of the planet, which will be exacerbated by social, political and economic inequality. By 2050, increasing areas of the planet will be affected by drought, and water availability will decrease in those areas dependent on melt water from the major mountain ranges which includes one sixth of the world’s population. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that between 20-30% of plant and animal species will be in danger of extinction if the global temperature exceeds 1.5°C and 2.0°C. Given that the lowest best estimate is a rise of 1.8°C by 2100 this now seems inevitable. While the IPCC predict that there may be some possibility that crop yields may increase in higher latitudes at this temperature range, it is likely to decrease in lower latitudes which will exacerbate food shortages in these regions. Continue reading “no answers from copenhagen climate summit”