Join the Whole Earth Summit online: March 11-13

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The coming week will see the Whole Earth Summit, which is a free online 3 day seminar with some of the world’s leading activists and on-the-ground leaders.

Forty-two extraordinary environmental visionaries are joining together to share valuable insights around food, water, the commons, ecological activism and design, social transformation, collective vision, and practical models for making a difference.

The goal of the the Whole Earth Summit is to support all of us in creating regenerative communities and a more resilient world.

The Whole Earth Summit will be asking questions like: What is our vision for a resilient world? How are we creating it now?

The Whole Earth Summit will help progressive activists to gain valuable insights and inspiration to be a more dynamic, community-oriented, and effective change-maker. A whole earth is calling us.

The Whole Earth Summit will feature well known environmental activists such as Bill Mckibben. Dr. Vandana Shiva, Rob Hopkins and Raj Patel.

The Whole Earth Summit is supported by a wide range of environmental organisations including: The Transition Nerwork, The Pachamama Alliance, Groundswell International, 350.org, Permaculture Activist, The Food Network and many others.

Click here to register »» The sooner the better so you don’t miss out on the sessions you’d like to attend.  You’ll also have access to 48-hour free replays!

Liverpool Euro-MP opens Green Party conference

62399036_peter_cranie_high1Peter Cranie, the lead European elections candidate for the North West Green Party, will be opening the Green Party’s spring conference at St George’s Hall today. His speech will celebrate Liverpool as a diverse and multicultural city and will outline his ambitions to become the region’s first Green MEP.

 

Peter Cranie, who lives in south Liverpool, narrowly missed out on election to the European Parliament by just 0.3% in 2009. Peter will welcome delegates from across the country to the conference and introduce Natalie Bennett, the Green Party’s Leader, to the stage.

 

In his speech Peter will highlight the proud ethnic and cultural diversity in Liverpool and call on voters in the city to eject Nick Griffin and the BNP from the European Parliament in the May elections.

 

Peter Cranie commented: “The North West region was within a whisker of electing a Green MEP last time. Bringing our pre-election conference back to Liverpool is a clear indication that this is where we should gain our next European seat this time.”

 

“We are reaching out to those who have been let down by the Liberal Democrats. And we’re appealing to Labour supporters who want to lean on their party to adopt more radical positions on scrapping Trident, opposing fracking and rejecting this poor value nuclear energy deal that will tie people into high fuel prices for generations to come.”

 

The European Elections will take place on 22nd May, the same day as city council elections in Liverpool. The city’s Green Party is looking to double its number of councillors. Chair of Liverpool Green Party and St Michaels candidate, Tom Crone, who has helped to organise this weekend’s conference said:

 

“The collapse of the Liberal Democrats has led to a political vacuum in Liverpool. It is up to us to us to provide opposition. We need to robustly challenge Labour locally so that we don’t end up with just one party in power – a situation which isn’t in the interests of our city and its residents. There is a timetable of public sessions at conference and I’m inviting local people to come along and join us in St George’s Hall.”

Angela Merkel Visit: Lessons From Germany for David Cameron

Angela Merkel

German chancellor Angela Merkel is being treated like political royalty, a consequence of her country’s economic power as well as prime minister David Cameron’s desperate need for friends in Europe. Few would argue about the position of Germany as the economic powerhouse of the European Union but what can Britain learn from the German economic model? Does Germany’s economy suggest that the idealisation of competition and flexibility, touted by chancellor George Osborne and his elite friends, is the route to success?

We have a lot to learn from the German model, particularly in terms of the way the government frames the two important sources of economic dynamism: energy and money.

Germany’s Energiewende or energy transition is one of the most dramatic and underreported developments taking place in Europe today. It has hugely ambitious targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which are to fall by a minimum of 80% by 2050 with a staging-post of 55% reductions by 2030, as well as pledging to phase out nuclear energy by the end of 2022. The rejection of nuclear after the Fukushima accident was famously an example of Merkel’s ability to listen, learn and change her mind, which we might also welcome being shared with our own government.

Not only has Germany turned its back on Europe’s dirty fossil and nuclear past, it has also questioned ownership of energy and responded in a way that would be anathema to Britain’s Conservative politicians. The energy revolution is being driven by communities and by local politicians; it would be quite impossible without a muscular role being played by the state, the same state that in Britain is being devastated by austerity cuts. As a result, local communities and local governments across Germany are benefiting from the energy transition: the 928 inhabitants of the village of Grossbardorf, in Bavaria, have united to develop photovoltaic roof systems, solar power plants, a biogas plant with a combined heat and power (ChP) unit and a district heating network; Jühnde in Göttingen began its journey to becoming a ‘bio-energy village’ in 2001 and by 2004 70% of the population of the village were members of the co-operative and use locally generated bio-heat, relying on the methane produced by fermenting agricultural waste products.

These sorts of developments would be impossible without a wholly different approach to finance exemplified by the state-owned development bank – the KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau or Reconstruction Credit Institute). Established under the Marshall Plan and originally focused on the reconstruction of a war-torn economy, the KfW has been able to provide the finance to enable Germany’s development as political priorites have changed, through Reunification and now the Energiewende. The contrast with the situation in the UK is made clear through evidence given to the Environmental Audit Committee’s Inquiry into Green Finance, which will report shortly. It will demonstrate a tussle over power and profits that has held back the energy transition in Britain, where high-risk activities are always more attractive to private finance than investment in vital sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Continue reading