The world’s poorest 2 billion are still the poorest 2 billion, violence and resource wars fueled by our insatiable hunger for diminishing resources like oil and rare earth minerals for consumer gadgets are helping keep them that way. This year saw record ice melt in the Arctic. Despite efforts to decouple CO2 pollution from economic growth, not to mention a global recession, we are currently tracking the IPCC’s worst case emissions scenarios. Improvements to well-being have all but stalled in the world’s largest economies while inequality and resulting social and health problems are booming.
20th Century capitalism alone isn’t helping us address these urgent 21st century issues. Instead of trickling wealth and resources down, we seem to be hoovering it all up. There’s a desperate need for a new economics that delivers shared prosperity at home, helps quickly raise living standards in developing countries and emerging economies and does it all within ecological and planetary limits and boundaries.
To wit, some pesky kids have decided to occupy Madrid, Wall Street and now the City of London. Far from being the trouble making free-loaders some currently seem to think they are, my take is that these predominantly young folk are bucking the trend for apathy and instead championing activism. And where many of us feel paralysed and helpless at the task in front of us, they are actively exploring, embracing and promoting solutions. They deserve our support.
In their first week Occupy London have opened an outdoor kitchen (hygiene certified), a library and hosted free, public talks and workshops from the likes of the New Economics Foundation, The National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Egyptian writer and activist Nawal Saadawi - right in the heart of the city. They’d like to stay there and carry on hosting talks and workshops on new economics, social justice, ecological limits and transition all winter.
Obviously a tent city suddenly arriving on your doorstep is a bit of shock, and St Paul’s are currently wrestling with potential health and safety implications - but with will, those are issues that can almost certainly be resolved through cooperation.
Please take five minutes to write to the Dean and Chapter: deanspa (at) stpaulscathedral (dot) org (dot) uk and ask them to support the Occupy London camp.
jay (at) transitionwivenhoe (dot) org (dot) uk