Oppose the campaign to abolish Air Passenger Duty

Steady State Manchester

There have been straws in the wind and now there is a concerted campaign to abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD) – see http://www.afairtaxonflying.org/ (sorry you’ll have to copy and paste – we don’t want to help them too much!)The campaign is backed by Manchester Airport Group (with majority stakes from the councils in Greater Manchester), and Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, although so far there has been little support from other North West businesses.  We are launching a counter-campaign – see below and please lend your support.

Let’s just go over the facts again:

As we noted in our In Place of Growth report “[Total carbon footprint due to] ‘personal flights’ accounts for 11.19% of Greater Manchester’s emissions (and 15.18% of Manchester’s), the aviation sector only accounts for 1.3% of the economy (measured by GVA, a local variant of GDP) and this is growing rapidly (3% in 2011)”.  Heavily…

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Having more, or living better?

This human community is in danger due to climate change which is related to the accumulation of riches by countries and social groups…. We have to change the belief that to have more is to live better”.
Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia, 22 December, 2012

To see what this means in Manchester, see our reports, Living Well and In Place of Growth:  http://steadystatemanchester.net/our-reports/

Morales image

Evo Morales speaking on climate and accumulation at the celebration of the December solstice.

Who’s putting pressure on the planet? | Doughnut Economics

Who’s putting pressure on the planet? | Doughnut Economics.

Useful video, especially at this tie of continued inaction by the rich nations (and especially the USA) seen for example at Doha.  Interesting too in the light of Lord Stern’s comments on the need for the BRICS to cut emissions.

Steady State Manchester’s first reports published: “In Place of Growth” and “Living Well”

https://steadystatemanchester.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/our-first-reports-published-in-place-of-growth-and-living-well/ Also see the launch event on Tuesday 20th November.

Steady State Manchester

Growth of the economy is generally taken to be an unqualified measure of success, but scientists from a range of disciplines are asking whether we might already have had too much of a good thing. Meanwhile, political economists are returning to the fundamental question of what the economy is for and what the consequences of setting other goals might be. In Manchester, the City Council and civil society groups are considering the practicalities at a city scale and wondering if the financial crisis means that regional economies may struggle to return to economic growth in the long term.

This event, in a Question Time format, brings together a panel of experts and policy makers to answer your questions and discuss the key issues.

Thurs 1 st Nov, 5-7pm, Roscoe Lecture Theatre B

If you’d like to submit a question in advance please email tyndall@manchester.ac.uk with “Growth” in the subject line.

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“But we need growth to deal with poverty and fix environmental problems” – or do we?

Another video featuring the author of this blog (see these previous ones)

From steadystatemanchester.net

An interesting interview with Arturo Escobar about the Andean concept of ‘Buen Vivir’ or ‘Good Living’. This is close to the ideas being explored and promoted by GreenDealmanchester and SteadyStateManchester – we do need to find our own local articulation of this thinking, drawing on the best of our own cultural traditions (as for example in the work of Raymond Williams in his seminal essay Socialism and Ecology).


28 Sep 2012

‘Alternatives to development’: an interview with Arturo Escobar


At the 2012 Degrowth conference in Venice one of the highlights for me was the talk by Arturo Escobar(my notes from which can be found here). He is the author of Encountering Development and Territories of Difference, among others.  His talk looked at how Transition might look in the context of the Global South, and held many fascinating insights.  Here is the interview I did with him, first as an audio file, and below as a transcript.

So, Arturo, could you tell us a little bit about yourself please?

My name is Arturo Escobar, I was born and grew up in Colombia and I teach in the US, at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I teach anthropology and most of my work as an anthropologist is also in Colombia, especially the rainforest…

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Two videos

Two recent video interviews with the author of A Green Deal for the  Manchester-Mersey Bioregion:-
1) 1970s and now (ecological crisis and eco-action)

2) Steady State and “decoupling”

This post has appeared on SteadyStateManchester. While not unlike some traditional stories about the perils of unlimited abundance (the goose that laid the golden eggs, Midas, the men who sought gold and found death…) it adds some other dimensions – division of labour, exploitation, generational issues, exponential growth – despite being some 1000 years old.
It is a small contribution to renewing our understandings of real prosperity.

Steady State Manchester

Economic Growth a Fable.

This is a Chinese story, maybe 1,000 years old, Wang’s jar.

Wang, a poor peasant who could hardly feed his family, found a large empty jar and took it home.  While cleaning it, he dropped the brush he was using into the jar and suddenly the jar was full of brushes: brushes and more brushes and, for each one that Wang took out, another magically appeared inside the jar.  For some months the Wang family lived from the sale of brushes and, while still not comfortably off, their situation improved considerably.

But one day, while taking brushes out of the jar, Wang dropped a coin in the jar and then the jar filled with coins: coins and more coins.  The Wang family soon became the richest in the village and, so many coins being produced by the jar and so busy were the family, that Wang…

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Reclaiming the language of austerity

Reclaiming the language of austerity:  an ecological, people’s recuperation of the cuts discourse.

We’re all in this together.
Yes we really are, because we all depend on the ecosystem to make our life possible on the surface of the earth.  Nobody can buy their way out of the crisis and in the end, nobody can make the crisis hurt some and not others.  The ecological crisis makes us equal again and it requires action for and by all.  That isn’t to say that some should not lose more than others: the millions living on less than £5 per day have nothing to give up and a lot to gain  from a fairer and sustainable system but those who consume disproportionate resources will lose that privilege, and justly so.

How do you sell austerity?  Because it is a kind of austerity that is needed.  We have to reduce drastically the throughput of resources, reducing the exhaustion and extinction of the and the production of their polluting end products to levels that are consistent with the rate of replacement or substitution (inputs) and safe absorption (outputs).  But that kind of austerity does not mean that people should endure poor housing, that old and disabled people should not get enough help and care, that people should work for longer, or indeed that people should be unnecessarily idle.  By and large, these things have nothing to do with the necessary, real, ecological austerity but everything to do with the strategic austerity imposed by the rulers of a system that forces people to pay for the failures of a false economy disconnected from the real real economy that provides food and air and water, the conditions for life on earth.

We’ve been living beyond our means
Oh yes, the system has.  It has squandered its resources on the production of horrible trinkets, trinkets that break or decay very quickly, trinkets that offend against the harmonious living in community with one another and with the earth’s systems.  It has wasted its resources to produce millions of tons of effluent which has meant we are beyond the safe operating limits of the natural systems that sustain human life.  And while doing this it has condemned millions to poverty, exclusion and fear, increasing want as it increases false needs.  But we have not been wrong to expect comfort, fairness and freedom from want, illness and idleness.  To construct a system that satisfies these needs is not to live beyond our means; it is to live fairly in accordance with them.