Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Movement Convergence: Climate Camp Takes on the Banks

In another example of movement convergence, and a reprise of the Occupy movement, Climate Camp UK has decided on a summer campaign targeting the Banks. While Occupy has moved into climate and ecology issues through Occupy the Pipeline, Climate Camp has moved into economic issues by targeting the banks that finance mining and fossil fuel industries. When the movements against the banks arose in the UK in 2008 following the first financial collapse, the Climate Camp movement appeared to recede into the background. As the riots ramped up in the UK, Climate Camp suspended all its activities. They seemed to struggle with how to make climate issue relevant in the face of an economic crisis. But by targeting the Banks, they have found a way to link climate issues to the financial crisis and make their movement relevant again. Climate Camp make their first attack on the banks in 2010 with a campaign against RBS.

Occupy itself has become an even more interesting phenomenon in the US because of its ability to morph and converge with many different movements and issues. Having begun in Zuccotti Park with virtually no agenda, the movement has been able to adapt to and take on a number of social issues as they arise: foreclosures, Hurricane Sandy relief, student debt; and now the ecology movements: food security, fracking and pipelines. This ability to morph and converge with other movements and issues has extended the life of Occupy far beyond it's initial ambitions.

"In summer 2010, environmental direct action group Climate Camp targeted a week long action camp at the headquaters of the Royal Bank of Scotland. As part of the communications strategy in advance of the Camp, the Agency was tasked with creating a video which would express the rationale for the chosen target.
Hijacking imagery from and satirising the storyline of the years biggest box-office hit Avatar, the Agency created a uniquely cheeky and humorous video. Making fun of banks is like shooting fish in a barrel, but explaining the link to climate change while still being funny was just the kind of challenge that we relish."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Prof. Calvin Jones on Post-Growth Economics

Welsh Economist Calvin Jones has a very interesting take on post-growth economics. He theorizes that instead of one dominant economic form, the global economy will devolve to a multitude of diverse forms, some  localized and less hierarchal, some centralized and highly autocratic. There will be a wide range of adaptation strategies, successes and failures. He theorizes that 'humans as a species will be groping toward something that vaguely works' rather than a carefully planned economy. Interestingly, he also thinks that forms of the household economy will revive in a degrowth situation.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Eco-Movement Convergence

An article in The Nation magazine contains the story of the convergence of three social movements: the Occupy, anti-pipeline and anti-fracking movements. I have seen these kinds of convergences before and noted one on this blog two years ago. In 2011, Climate Justice Heathrow, a movement to stop the expansion of London's Heathrow airport, and Transition Heathrow, came together to form Grow Heathrow. The two groups took over an abandoned greenhouse that would have been torn down by the airport expansion, and turned it into a productive social enterprise. 

In The Nation article, the Occupy movement has worked it's way into the anti-pipeline movement, but in this case, it's a proposed methane gas pipeline to bring fracked shale gas from the Marcellus Shale plays to New York City. 

A massive new pipeline that will carry hydrofracked gas is being constructed in New York City. The pipeline, built by subsidiaries of Spectra Energy, will carry the gas from the Marcellus Shale, a bed that lies under Pennsylvania and New York State, into New York City’s gas infrastructure. Naturally, the construction of such a pipeline, carrying controversial highly pressurized gas, has been met with resistance.
In the spring of 2012, Occupy the Pipeline emerged, raising health and safety concerns about the pipeline.
For starters, the group states the Marcellus shale has seventy times the average radioactivity of natural gas and possesses extremely high radon content. Worse, monitoring radon content doesn’t appear to be a priority for federal regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated radon risk assessment is “outside their purview.” High radon levels have been linked to increases in the risk of lung cancer among non-smokers, a claim Occupy the Pipeline restates in a video that was recently picked up by Upworthy (the video currently has been viewed over 470,000 times.