The Green New Deal

Posted by: on Nov 29, 2008 | No Comments

The Green New Deal is about putting a lot of money – although relatively small in comparison to the huge corporate bail outs going on – into training and tooling up a large workforce to improve the energy efficiency of EVERY house in the UK. This is a win-win-win-win situation.

It stimulates the economy nationally and locally (one would hope a condition would be to use UK-sourced materials), creates jobs, gives training, and massively reduces our country’s dependency on foreign energy sources. Oh AND it means lower fuel bills for everybody in the country, forever (relative to those bills without the efficiency improvements of course).

What a vote winner that would be. It is probably only a matter of time before this kind of policy is adopted by the mainstream parties – after all it is a rare prospect that of a truly tangible benefit to everybody in the country in hard times. There’s large scale unemployment around the corner, and manufacturing needs a boost. Obviously there will have to be a plan to transition these skills and services into new lines of business as the process unfolds – but its going to take a fair few years to cover every one of the 26 million or so households in the UK. Of course the skills will transfer in some ways to the commercial sector too.

It makes perfect sense to stimulate a war-time style effort to create solar heating panels, small scale wind generators (hmm not on houses…) and locally-produced insulation solutions. Can Warmcel style insulation be made locally from waste paper, can we make thermafleece locally? Can we grow enough hemp for hemp insulation?

You can download the full Green New Deal proposal PDF. Why not mail the link to everyone you know who is fed up with the increasing per-capita national debt as a result of failing economic systems? Oh sorry, that’s pretty much everyone. Give it a go eh? It’s not about voting green (although I’ve now decided that I will – every little does help) its about getting behind the concept.

Whichever party does it, we will all be thankful.

Launch of The Green New Deal in Stroud

Posted by: on Nov 29, 2008 | No Comments

Last night I attended the local launch of The Green New Deal in Stroud.

It turns out that the New Economics Foundation and The Green Party unveiled this back in July before all the really bad banking stuff hit, and before the US elections. There’s a lot of talk of GND now in the USA, and there has been some over here since the launch in July and the UN’s backing for the (rather broad) concept.

Speakers included Colin Hines and Molly Scott-Cato, who were excellent at presenting the economic issues and possible solutions at a high level in terms everybody can understand. Issues covered very quickly included the need to write off all international debt and some mechanism of fining countries for both trade deficit and trade surplus to achieve a form of steady state economy.

In particular I was interested by the talk of wealth in terms of quality not quantity, and the increasingly convivial nature of society that will have to develop from everything being more “local”, which is something we will have little choice about soon.

I have wondered for some time what it would take for us all to get out of our brick boxes and “be” with with our neighbours more. It could be that the economic downturn and peak oil together will drive it. Watch Eastenders or have your neighbours round for dinner… which will it be?

Jade Bashford reminded everybody about the excellent Stroud Community Agriculture project, which currently has space for another 30 members or so. Locally grown organic food for little cost and a little time.

It was also very interesting to hear Martin Whiteside our local Green candidate and district councillor speak of his experience explaining the proposed solutions to passers by in the street, and how evidently the solutions seem like common sense to even “non-Greens”. Ultimately, I think everyone is a green when they stop to think about the issues. There must be so few people who actually believe we can expect no ill effects of the stress humans are putting the Earth under.

I also met the brains behind Bright Green Kids which is giving an outlet to young people who are motivated by green issue

Anyway, more info on the Green New Deal tomorrow.

I feel lucky to live in Stroud where so much seems to be happening in terms of progressive groups and ordinary people taking affirmative, position action – and I’ve met some wonderful people.