What happened in GAP-mission related news in June

Climate change, biodiversity and globalisation

Sustainable Development Goals

"The SDGs provide an ambitious framework designed to tackle the world’s most pressing problems by 2030 […] But for too long, “participation” – even in democratic societies – has started and ended with periodic trips to the ballot box. What the SDGs are saying is that’s not good enough.”

Read more (1)  about how to harness public’s increasing distrust of governemnt and political uncertainty to carve out local, community-led projects. 

States could provide solution to Trump's Paris withdrawal

Read about not just how foolish Trump has been to leave the accord, but how there is still hope because the onus has been put on states (2) to push ahead with ambitious targets.

...but Turkey follows US's suit and also withdraws

Turkey suspends the Paris Climate Accord (3) 

Comment on Michael Gove as new Environment Minister

“Gove to Defra is an interesting move; it’s rare for Defra to get a big hitter – but it faces some of the biggest Brexit challenges. If the UK ends up with an option that allows it to negotiate its own free trade deals, agricultural subsidies will be in the frontline. Repatriating trade policy means taking responsibility for a whole range of choices where for the last 40 years the UK could hide behind the “Commission and the French”. It also means managing some of the most effective lobbyists and stakeholders in the business and dealing with the devolved administrations. Gove will be a key player in trying to preserve the UK single market through what David Davis calls “common frameworks”.

Read the comment in full. (4)

Populism – what have been the driving forces globally?

Ipsos Mori has collected international expertise for this edition of Understanding Society. (5) 

Ecological Citizen journal launched

A new, free, peer-reviewed, biannual journal (6) has launched that focuses on inspiring and mobilizing discussion with an Earth-centred perspective.

Consumption, trends and buying behaviour

Conspicuous consumption - is it really 'over'? 

 “The democratisation of consumer goods has made them far less useful as a means of displaying status. In the face of rising social inequality, both the rich and the middle classes own fancy TVs and nice handbags. They both lease SUVs, take airplanes, and go on cruises […]the ‘aspirational class’ instead cements its status by preferring to spend on services, education and human-capital investments over purely material goods.” This is interesting because this divide has a notable impact on consumers’ present and long-term quality of life. (7)

Prosperity for Londoners - what does it mean?

The London Prosperity Board, chaired by UCL’s Professor Henrietta Moore, investigates what prosperity means for people living and working in London (8), and to test innovative new ways of rethinking sustainable and inclusive prosperity for London’s neighbourhoods.

Prosperity without Growth

Listen to an interview with Tim Jackson on his new and expanded Prosperity Without Growth (2017) (9)

Ian Gough’s book Heat, Greed and Human Need: climate change, capitalism and sustainable wellbeing (10) will be published in November.

 “This book builds an essential bridge between climate change and social policy. Combining ethics and human need theory with political economy and climate science, it offers a long-term, interdisciplinary analysis of the prospects for sustainable development and social justice. Beyond ‘green growth’ (which assumes an unprecedented rise in the emissions efficiency of production) it envisages two further policy stages vital for rich countries: a progressive ‘recomposition’ of consumption, and a post-growth ceiling on demand.”

Plastics

Floating barriers 'not a solution'

Miracle invention that was seen to ‘solve’ the issue of ocean plastics in the form of floating barriers is deemed to be unworkable by leading NGOs and scientists. Solution lies instead with better product design and recycling policies. (11)

Plastic bottles

With 20,000 plastic bottles bought every second, the focus is on plastic consumption. (12)

Wellbeing  

How ‘Flow’ activities - total immersion in a challenging activity - can be an environmentally friendly route to enhanced well-being

A paper presented by CUSP (Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity) at the 4th Annual BrEPS Conference was titled: More fun with less stuff - can we improve wellbeing through less environmentally intensive activities? Read more here. (13)

Alternative ways to measure social progress

A detailed article on how important it is to measure social progress not by GDP but by sustainability and well-being (14).

Sources

(1) http://www.themarknews.com/2017/05/29/the-democracy-deficit/

(2) https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/what-trump-s-withdrawal-paris-means-global-climate-action

(3) www.theglobepost.com/2017/06/05/following-trumps-suit-turkey-suspends-approval-of-paris-climate-accord/

(4) https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/election-2017

(5) https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/2017-06/ipsos-mori-understanding-society-beyond-populism.pdf

(6) http://www.ecologicalcitizen.net/

(7) https://aeon.co/ideas/conspicuous-consumption-is-over-its-all-about-intangibles-now

(8) https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/igp/research/london-prosperity-board

(9) https://soundcloud.com/rsaradio/thrive

(10) http://www.eelgar.com/shop/heat-greed-and-human-need

(11) https://www.politico.eu/article/scientists-skeptical-over-quick-fix-to-ocean-plastics-problem/

(12) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change

(13) http://www.cusp.ac.uk/news/flow-breps2017/ 

(14) http://www.greattransition.org/commentary/lucie-middlemiss-sustainability-well-being-chris-barrington-leigh