Politics, they say, is the art of the possible. But the possible is not fixed. What we believe is possible depends on our knowledge and beliefs about the world. Ideas can change the world, and Green House is about challenging the ideas that have created the world we live in now, and offering positive alternatives.
The problems we face are systemic, and so the changes we need to make are complex and interconnected. Many of the critical analyses and policy prescriptions that will be part of the new paradigm are already out there. Our aim is to communicate them more clearly, and more widely.
Today (6 January) Green House publishes a new Gas, Paris: Optimism, Pessimism and Realism by Brian Heatley (download it here). (pdf, 510 K). It argues that, notwithstanding the public optimism, the real meaning of the Paris Climate Agreement is that it is now almost inevitable that there will be 3-4 degrees C of warming by 2100, and that we urgently need to face this and its political implications. While not giving up on trying to prevent climate change, we must also accept that we need to adapt to it and the very different world it will create.
This Gas will be the focus of a public discussion event to discuss the outcome of the Paris talks in a broader perspective. The event is entitled Facing up to Climate Change: Optimism, Pessimism and Realism after Paris and will take place in Lancaster on 9 January 2016. It is free and open to all. You can find out more - and register to take part - using the button below.
‘Politics is the art of the possible,' to repeat the well-known quotation from Bismarck at the head of this page. He added to this definition '....the attainable - the art of the next best’ . For Greens today, politics has to be about more than ‘the next best’. Clearly, political goals have to be attainable, but what is considered attainable has for the last thirty years certainly not been either of the best or even the next best.
The election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party - a Labour leader ‘without historical precedent’ - offers a challenge to all those who oppose continuing inequality, climate change and the dominance of ‘Capital’. For Greens he offers a special opportunity - an opportunity to articulate and promote a progressive politics that is distinctly different from that of the Labour Party, and one which is more capable of successfully addressing the complex and interconnected problems of the 21st century.
Green Politics and the Left is a new form of intervention for Green House. It brings together in one downloadable pdf seven short essays by Green House members to explore and debate the new dynamics of Ecologism, Socialism, Democracy and Republicanism. Not everyone will agree with the authors here - indeed, the point of the exercise is to draw out and debate different perspectives on the new landscape - but democracy, and especially a Green democracy, is about deliberation, participation and informed debate. Isn't that what Jeremy Corbyn has brought to the Labour Party? Let's all join in! You can download Green Politics and the Left here.
Revisiting unexamined assumptions is also the motivation behind a new Gas by Green House’s Ann Pfeiffer, which asks What do the Sustainable Development Goals mean for the UK? ‘Development’ has long been assumed to be what we in the rich countries have, and what the poorer countries need – the kind of tautological non-definition which it is almost impossible to contest. But the UN’s SDGs will be ‘universally applicable to all countries’, regardless of their level of development. The SDGs are intended to embody a shared vision of progress towards a safe, just and –most of all – sustainable space in which all of us can thrive on the planet. So they offer a welcome opportunity to question not just our policy on international aid but our fundamental assumptions about political and economic ends and means. And as our government has signed up to them, they also offer an unmissable opportunity to hold our rulers to account. You can download the essay here (pdf, 231 K)
The 'Post-Growth Project' has been the main focus of our work over the last two years. The main reports published to date (which are also available to download as PDFs from our Publications pages) have been brought together in a book published in October 2014, which can be ordered here. More information on the project can be found on the dedicated website page in the menu on the left.
Molly Scott Cato has written an article on the project and the resulting book for the Green European Journal: see here.
You can also order this book, and order or download all of our Reports, Responses and Gases, from the Publications pages of this website, or find out who is involved on the Green House People page. Please also see who is supporting us on the page about our Advisory Group or check out our influences at Find Out More.
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Facing up to Climate Change: Optimism, Pessimism and Realism after Paris
Lancaster, 9 January 2016
See main column.
All of us at Green House were very sad to learn of the death of Michael Meacher MP. He was a conscientious, thoughtful and committed parliamentarian who remained true to his radical principles even in ministerial office. His help and counsel as a member of Green House's Advisory Group will be sorely missed.
You can now download our Annual Report for 2014-15 from the Publications page of this website.