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Newsletter No. 56 - March 2017

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1. Some Problems for the Future

2. Some Solutions to Some of Our Problems

3. A Few Good Books

4. Three Events



1(a) The oil wake-up call. "Almost no one has the slightest grasp of the oil crunch that will hit them probably within one decade. When it does it will literally mean the end of the world as we know it. Here is an outline of what recent publications are telling us. Nobody will of course take any notice." They are about EROI - the Energy Return on Energy Invested in producing it. See Ted Trainer at

1(b) Peak Oil and the Fate of Humanity. "During the New Millennium, many unexpected events and conditions will undoubtedly surprise our progeny and us. Perhaps the decline of fossil energy sources will be rendered benign due to scientific discoveries. Perhaps 'factor ten' improvements in technological efficiency will aid in the rehabilitation of the environment. Perhaps our species will self-select for survival tolerances in polluted or otherwise altered conditions. These possibilities are little more than speculations." See Steven B. Kurtz at disequilibrium.htm.

1(c) Save the Planet? Nonsense! But still..... . "Human activity, even if we let our population rise to 10 or more billion and burn every single last chunk of coal and drop of oil, will not destroy the Earth. No amount of energy conservation and sustainability will save the Earth from destruction, because it's not headed that way anyhow, and people haven't the power to destroy it (though, would we be able to come close with a nuclear World War 3?).

See Ken Weiss at

We must realize that there is a fundamental difference between the ecology movement and social and socialist movements of the past.

1(d) That fundamental difference between the ecology movement and the social and socialist movements of the past is in a time of Failing States, Collapsing Systems, Biophysical Triggers of Political Violence. See

1(e) Six Years Of Fukushima: Six Lessons. "It has been six years since the term Fukushima has become synonymous with the multiple meltdowns of reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Here are six lessons that may be learnt from what happened then and since then." See M.V. Ramana at

1(f) Nuclear Industries - an unprecedented waste of public money. See

For "a valuable contribution by Green MEP Molly Scott Cato", also see

1(g) "We're about to wipe elephants from the face of the Earth. It's so bad, some are now being born without tusks - an astonishing last throw of the evolutionary dice to survive human cruelty". See That is an example of what we humans are doing to other living creatures, which now means we have to take special measures to protect wild life and wild places - e.g. see



2(a) Cleaning up the oceans is not a solution to the plastic problem. We need to stop plastics entering our oceans. Better design is the key. See

2(b) Solutions to air pollution have to work for everyone. It's estimated that toxic air pollution from diesel vehicles in London is responsible for over 9,000 premature deaths a year. We need better information, and national government must do more to help. See

2(c) The (British) government's 25 year plan should mobilise private funding for environmental restoration. "There is a strong economic case for the food sector as a whole to take action on environmental restoration". See

2(d) Learning from the past: A new protocol for agricultural education and research in India. M.G. Jackson concludes convincingly that "Our task is to change our outlook fundamentally". See

2(e) (British) Agriculture at a Crossroads... again. "Investing in natural environment is beneficial". See



3(a) Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace. This book is by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is reviewed by John Nightingale who finds Welby's experience invaluable: "What I appreciate is his evident sincerity and the simplicity and vividness of his language. One feels invited to go on a pilgrimage, joining up with a fellow pilgrim who knows he is still learning but is more experienced than oneself". See

3(b) Nature and Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Design and Planning. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. "The land tells us so much. And it is the role of landscape architecture, urban planning and design, and architecture to continue their pioneering ways, offering an ecological approach to the design, planning, and management of our varied landscapes—urban, suburban, rural, regional, social, and wild. It all begins on the ground, in nature and our communities, in the multiple ecologies and economies and cultures that encapsulate our home turf, wherever that may be". See

3(c) Two new books by Fred Harrison of the Land Research Trust. He describes the reasons for government failure in the realm of tax policy. Whilst governments are, for the most part, sincere in wanting to keep their promises, increasing inequality and poverty show that structural problems play a deeper role in preventing positive social change.

Current tax systems operate in such a way as to undermine possibilities for job creation at the periphery of the economy, by driving people towards the centre. Ultimately, we need to change the way governments raise revenue, and a simple solution is to collect revenue from land rents. See

3(d) Sustainability Sutra: An Ecological Investigation (Sustainability Now) by Roy Morrison. From the publishers' description - “Sustainability Sutra addresses the pursuit of sustainability as crucial in the transformation from an industrial to an ecological civilization, exploring in succinct detail how sustainability can be accomplished through an ecological global growth strategy that makes economic growth mean ecological improvement.”

See the Editorial Reviews at

3(e) A Call to Greatness. Bruce Nixon's book The 21st Century Revolution: A Call to Greatness won the Oxford Alumni Book of the Month award for November 2016. The book “describes the current economic, environmental and political crisis engulfing the UK and the world, and present ideas which Nixon views as essential in avoiding catastrophe. These include increased international and national political cooperation, a 'Green New Deal' to create jobs and reduce our impact on the environment, and a new social and political deal to rebalance power and reduce inequality.”  See



4(a) Tuesday 28 March (14.00-16.30) at Europe House in central London, to launch a report on the impact of the UK's withdrawal from the EU on trading practices and the opportunity to move to a less globalised and more localised economy. See

4(b) June 10-12 12th Annual Green Economics Institute Conference at St Hugh's College,  University of Oxford. See

4(c) April 5 - Humanity at Work research launch with MONDRAGON, the world's largest industrial co-operative group. London. See


James Robertson

28 March 2017