What we learned this week

Artists in Appalachia held a funeral for a closing coal power station – not to celebrate its demise but to help the community deal with the change. There are different ways to do this, but it’s important not to disregard the contribution of communities who have served the fossil economy.

“After 39 years of communications campaigning, I can assure you that if a campaign’s goal is starting a ‘conversation,’ its goal is failure.” This speaks more to an American context in my opinion, but interesting counter-arguments here against the film How to Blow Up a Pipeline.

Has the Church of England finally fallen out of love with fossil fuel profits? After Shell watered down its climate plans in favour of mammon, the church will be voting against the re-appointment of its directors at the next AGM.

Among the reasons not to take the profits of fossil fuels is that they would not be profitable if they had to pay for the cost of the mess they make – and the same is true of most big industries.

The POWER Station project in London has launched a new crowdfunder to try and secure an artists space on their street and create a new HQ. These guys are doing pioneering work if you want to support it.

One for the locals: I’m giving the annual Berkhamsted Deanery lecture next week. St Mary’s Northchurch, May 17th at 7:45pm. My lecture title is The Colour of Climate Change: Climate, Race and Justice.

I’m still prioritising work on the first draft of a new children’s book and that means less time for the blog. But you still get these three posts for this week:

Highlights from this week

Book review: Pirate Enlightenment, by David Graeber

Pirate Englightenment is the last of David Graeber’s books, published posthumously. It’s about the cross-pollination of pirate communities and Malagasy culture in the early 1700s. It’s a fitting last word, because the first book Graeber wrote was also about Madagascar. What he discovered during his doctoral research in the country in the early 90s informs…

On the ‘hardworking majority’

Last week I was reading up on the government’s new Public Order Bill. That’s a new set of powers for policing and preventing protest, to add to a growing list. The Metropolitan Police waited all of two days before abusing these powers while detaining anti-monarchy demonstrators during the coronation. One section jumped out at me…

Ocean farming for Carbon Kapture

Ocean farming is something I keep an eye on. It’s potentially a climate solution, a way of feeding the world, and a way of restoring marine ecology, all at once. Unfortunately there’s not been a whole lot to report so far. I’m convinced this will change, and that within two or three decades ocean farming…


This week I’ve been browsing the book System Change Now!, sent to me by author and fellow blogger Richard Priestley. Regular readers of this blog will recognise many of the solutions he proposes, as the book explores participative democracy, circular economies and dozens of interlocking ideas for a fairer and greener future. What holds his vision together is a proposal for a global green new deal, administrated by a global trust. Moving beyond ‘left’ and ‘right’ political thinking, and even beyond nation states, Priestley imagines networked communities and regions working together in a new solar age. System Change Now! isn’t available in the bookshops, but you can order it straight from the author here.

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