Drax Shareholders Revolt For All The Wrong Reason.

Drax has been in the news this week, such as in the FT.

It is all about how the company shareholders are in revolt about what the directors are getting paid.

A report in Utilityweek mentions this issue:

‘ Almost a fifth of shareholders at Drax rejected a motion to approve its remuneration report increasing executive pay during the company’s annual general meeting yesterday (17 April). ‘

Followed by an almost throw away line which states: –

‘A protest organised by Biofuelwatch was held outside the AGM and Drax’s power station in Yorkshire yesterday.’

 

It’s a pity that most activist publicity only mentioned the protest outside the plant, and not the one outside the agm.

Perhaps with more notice, it might be possible to organise a trip to chat to the company shareholders at next years agm.

Long Term Rules For Activists – Part Six

A Few Considerations.

First Consideration.

One of the aspects of any political analysis, social, or world view, which always needs to be considered, is just how it may match up with what goes on in the real world.

Things change over the decades, our individual situations change, and that it something we always need to be aware about.

Second Consideration.

Many of the campaigning manuals make sets of assumptions about how activists are able to see each other on a very regular basis, or have very close friends, a partner, or family members living in the immediate area. All of whom can give them support if things go wrong.

That’s nice in theory, but excludes a lot of would be activists whose homes are spread over a very wide geographical area.

Meeting Up.

It also takes no account of the fact that many campaigning groups come together for a short while before the individuals in it move on to other towns, cities, villages, or countries.

Something which I’ve realised over this last decade, is that if I tried to meet up with everyone I’ve campaigned with over the years, then it would mean going on a 6 month world tour.

I jest not.

So – – –

So we all need to spend time refining &/or questioning our world view.

While always spending a lot more time talking with, and getting to better know, all those activists we work with.

This especially goes for those individuals who do not have a good support network around them, or who are fresh to many of our radical ideas.

Long Term – Short Term

Many of the major issues we face seem to take a long while to solve, but here’s the key question: –

Will they take a few years, or a few decades to solve?

Some issues come down to changing peoples attitudes, such as racism, gay rights, sex discrimination, or ageism.

While some campaigning centres around stopping specific wars.

All of which is achievable.

What will take much longer is countering just what has and is being done to our environment.

Be it burning fossil fuels, allowing plastics to land up in the middle of our oceans, or pollute the earth with radioactive waste, there is going to be no quick fix.

All we can do is work to stop these problems growing, and then put our finances in to various measures to clean up all of this mess.

So What To Do, or What Options Do We Have ?

The follow up question is:-

Just how many of us are capable of very long term thinking?

The answer is Not Many.

That’s why we find so many people who are able to think in terms of campaigning for achievable immediate objectives, but are not able to do this in conjunction with working to achieve longer term aims.

This might be summed up with a mind set which goes:-

It feels ever so, ever so, ever so – ever so in to the future.

Thus we are for ever mounting short term campaigns after short term campaigns, which are not conducive to any sort long term or longer term thinking, as opposed to building campaigns that have a decades or centuries long vision.

It really does make it very difficult to do any long term planning if we have to constantly keep focusing upon short term campaigns and short term campaign fund raising.

Thus in any campaign we need to work upon both our short term and long term aims.

For example: –

In the short term stopping specific arms exports.

While in the long term illuminating all the causes of war.

Ecological effects

Much of the major ecological damage to the global has been done over the last couple of hundred years, but we have as a species been able to reverse some of it.

For example by banning the use of those gases which damaged the ozone layer, and by Species reintroduction projects.

While we are currently campaigning to curtail the use of the plastics which are killing so many creatures in our oceans.

Such projects take decades to get results and a lot of dedicated hard work to make them happen.

While in many coastal areas community groups are going out to the shore line to clear them of plastics.

Radioactivity makes for a set of long term issues.

What we can’t clean up or easily reverse are the effects of radioactive matter in our environment, which will effect us for hundreds of centuries.

Thus the urgent need to stop more being produced in the first place, which will then have to be followed my many decades of campaigning to make sure this waste does no more harm by getting in to the environment.

That the kind of campaigning which is both very urgently needed to be done, and which will need continually worked upon for many centuries to come.

Rethinking the time scales

There are no campaigning handbooks which I have ever seen which take in to account just how many generations of activists will be needed to campaign about these same ecological problems.

When the nukiller power industry developed in the 1940s and 50s nobody thought about the long term effects of what they were doing.

They just developed the reactors and dumped the waste where they could. That’s why we have so such of what is refereed to by the industry as ‘legacy waste’.

There are no short term fixes to many of our various social, political, and ecological problems.

That’s why we need to think about actions which look towards long term solutions, as opposed to a lots of short term protests.

Long Term Rules For Activists – Part One.

A Question for activists.

The question which I keep asking, is how do we keep going with little or no support?

There is no easy answer to this, as achieving social change is a long term slog.

Yet there are some ways of thinking, and acting , which do help to sustain ones activism.

1. Keep focussed on those issues which very few people are working on, and which you have some special concerns or knowledge about.

2. Keep remembering that social change will only come by a day by week by month by year by decade, by decades, by century commitment to making it happen.

3. There is no such thing as a protest season, so just think in terms of what needs doing right now.

4. Match up your political actions and life style.

There is a lot of good information to be found about boycotts, and ecological lifestyle issues in the Ethical Consumer magazine.

5. Be willing to work with people who do not share ones political views, but are concerned with some of the same single issues.

It might mean you get your radical views seen in action by people who are never going to come in contact with them any other way.

This is something which I keep doing as a part of my Liverpool Pedestrian campaigning.

6. Don’t fall for the ‘one last push’ / ‘we need more people to make an even larger march / demonstration’ way of thinking.

This only results in burn-out or disillusionment.

And Last of All.

Just go on those small scale pickets or demonstration where a few people will make a big difference.

As to meetings.

My rule of thumb is that they are only worth while going to if they are planning ones, or where you are going to increase your knowledge base.

Though sometimes it is worth while going to them in order to do some networking.

Rough Sleeping Through A Plastic Mess.

A two part problem.

One of the problems with working to change society for the better, is that many of the decision makers only ever read other peoples reports, but never get to see just what goes on at a street level.

Well that’s what happens when you get an elitist educated set of politicians who never walk anywhere on a very regular basis.

One of the rough sleepers I talked with the other day told me that some of the money he begs for has to go towards buying bottled water.

This is a result of no public drinking fountains, which were one of the many public facilities which we used to have in many towns during an earlier era.

Is it any wonder that so many people wonder why they are surrounded by plastic waste, which is in turn compounded by the lack of recycling facilities?

Thus we all spend a lot of public money getting our pavements cleaned, and end up with more plastic waste which gets in to our rivers and so in to the sea.

A two part solution.

It would be better if ALL plastic bottles had a depot it on them.

Then those who are rough sleepers could make a little money by collecting the ones which have been thrown away on the streets.

Done in the right way it could be part of a self organised income scheme which would clean up our environment.

So it would be a win win scheme, especially as it would be self financing.

What we do urgently need are more public drinking fountains,

It all seems so simple.

Access to clean drinking water is a basic Human Right.

It is not just another commodity to be bought or sold.

Bagging Up The Plastic Rubbish.

The plastic problem – Up and until now.

There has been a lot of very worrying news stories of late about plastics in the oceans,

and the problems caused by plastic particulates.

Yet the only solutions to this which ever seem to be mentioned are recycling plastic bottles,

phasing out the use of plastic cups or cutlery, or getting groups of volunteers to go clean up their local beaches.

There has also been a lot of protests about the use of plastic packaging.

This goes hand in glove with trying to persuade the supermarkets to stop selling fruit and vegetables in plastic bags, netting, or containers, by selling them as loose items.

That matches in with the campaign to stop a lot of food waste from occurring.

On the plus side I have noted that some cafes and bars have switched from plastic to biodegradable straws.

The plastic problem – What else we can do.

If we are going to solve problem of all the plastic in the sea, then we need to do much more about this as a society.

One solution will be to switch from plastic to biodegradable rubbish bags. That will mean pushing for them to be made available in all the supermarkets at an affordable price. It would also help if these were to become available via each of the rubbish collecting local authorities.

Cleaning up the plastic pollution is going to take a while to do, but we can do something by trying to cut down the amount of plastics which currently land up inside of plastic rubbish sacks.

They Say It Can’t Be Done.

Really ? ! ! ?

I keep reading about just how difficult it will be to develop an ecologically sound social society.

Yet I also keep reading how it can be done.

So here are a few example to show what has been done so far.

Recycling.

Recycling in Denmark via the use of a Deposit system law.

Plastic Recycling in Japan

Better public transport in our city centres.

Here is what is going to be achived in Cambridge.

While the periodical TRAMWAYS & URBAN TRANSIT shows just what is being achieved throughout the world.

The pedestrianisation of our city centres.

Here is what is planned for Oxford St.

While here is what has been achieved in one Danish City.

It can and must be done.

False Solutions Or Joined Up Campaigning ?

Most of the greatest issues which we face can not be dealt with in isolation.

That is why we need to rethink how we approach many of the most urgent issues which endanger us all, and that means we do need to engage in joined up campaigning.

Here are just a few examples of how this might be achieved.

Plastic Ship Building

If we were to live in a society in which people thought more about our rubbish, then not only would a lot of our ecological problems be over, but in doing so we could solve many of our economic problems too.

Ship building & Barrow

Of course the other side of this is just how we clean up the oceans of all the plastic which is floating in it, Getting that done will require many specialist sea craft to scoop it all up. There are a number of designs for such craft. All we have to do is build them.

The other aspect of this is that the collected plastics can be recycled & that will mean less oil being drilled.

While the ship building industry can switch over their production away from that of building war ships.

Many is the time we get to hear that something needs to be done in order to create jobs, but the kind of jobs on offer, or which might be on offer, create more problems than they will ever solve.

For example in the arms trade.

What is needed is a some creative thinking in order to stop this kind of thing occurring.

Past Examples

An earlier example of what might be done is The Lucas plan, which came up with Road Rail Vehicles.

Yet for many politicians the priority is not so much looking to save our future, but to save something of the glories of a false past.

This is especially so with regards WW1, and how it is being used to encourage militarism.

Yet in Germany there are a number of memorials to the Unknown deserter, but no such memorial exists within the UK.

Although there is a Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square.

Future Examples

Other examples of what can and should be done include: –

– Planting more trees & creating new forests.

– Moving towards a better public transport system, with the creation of many more tram and railway lines.

– Stopping nukiller power via the use of wind and solar power.

Four Tales From The Money Tree

Tales From the Money Tree – Part 1.

Liverpool City Council is now spenting £11M to deal with Rough Sleepers. While the UK governmant looks at ways to help just one company which has a £1Billion set of debts.

Tales From the Money Tree – Part 2.

While the price of Bit Coins continues to take up space in the financial Press, it should be remembered how these virtual objects are made: – By creating more carbon emissions & thus contributing towards more global warming.

Tales From the Money Tree – Part 3.

At the same time there is a financial Crisis in the NHS, there are billions being spent on nukiller weapons and nukiller power.

Tales From the Money Tree – Part 4.

At the same time it is planned to spend £3.5 Billion [ plus ] on work to repair parliament, a ‘ Plastic bottle deposit return scheme could save England’s councils £35m a year’

Is it any wonder that many of us believe that most politicians suffer from Financial literacy?

Short Term – Long Term

We are now living through that what is an interesting and highly frightening political period.

Just two words sum up many of the problems we are up against:- Brexit and Thrump.

Yet we do need to look at what else is happening in the world, and start thinking beyond the next decade.

Here are just a few of these long term issues summed up in five headlines:-

‘Extraordinary’ levels of pollutants found in 10km deep Mariana trench.

What The New Fukushima Unit 2 Inspection May Indicate.

U.K. nuclear safety regulations place too low a value on human life.

7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution.

Analysis of “Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate”.

What worries me is how a lot of people concentrate upon very short term issues, and think about political action[s] in a very seasonal way.

While what is really needed is some long term day by week by month by year by decades long hard slog campaigning, and some major life style changes.

Renting Just Like SMRs

Rent to Buy

Mention housing to anyone who lives in Britain, and you will get to hear a very worrying list of anecdotal stories.

All of which show that everything to do with buying, selling, and renting housing is a legal or financial mess.

Not only a mess, but a very controversial one at that.

Take for example: –

Rent to Buy, which is refereed to as Buy to Rent, and gives no housing security to tenants If the landlord defaults on their mortgage.

Then there are landlords who complain about bad tenants,and tenants who complain about bad landlords. Both of which [ may ] have some very good reasons for doing so.

As I say – It’s a mess.

Now enter the Developers

Of course much of this mess comes down to how housing is regarded as a way in which to make a quick profit, rather than a source of long term housing, or long term income.

It all comes down to making a profit by any means, rather than looking at what might be achieved in the long term.

That’s why there are so many houses being built, or which have been built, in the middle of high risk flood plains.

Then comes all of the flooding which will result from Rising tides.

As with Housing the same with the Nukiller industry.

Many of the existing reactors are by the coast, and will be effected by rising tides within the next 20 to 30 years.

Yet the nukiller industry keep playing down this danger, as with everything else they do.

A modular exercise.

The current fashion is for the nukiller industry to talk about how all our problems will be solved by the construction of Small Modular Reactors.

Yet these Small Modular Reactors are like those flats which are being sold by developers way before the foundation work is done.

They are sold on the illustrations of what these flats might look like, but no one has any idea of the quality of the materials used, or just what the standard of construction work might be.

Then when they all go wrong, those who buy them as an investment will cry out that ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’.

Meanwhile – The tenants get to suffer within these badly constructed slums of the future, and pay for the privilege of doing so.

While we the tax payers will be expected to pay for the long term clean up costs.

Sounds familiar ?