property work Money food
TWO WeeKS OF eCO eVeNTS
The 2017 programme – July 29 - augusT 12
FlaT laT-T laT T-Tyre eCONOMICS p22
S SCOTTee: IT'S ' eaSI 'S ea er TO be eCO-FrIeNdly IF yO yOu're pOSh p aNd 08 Well OFF page
our way of life is destroying the earth and our ability to live on it. should we start getting ready for a very different future?
In a polItIcal culture dominated by spin, and in which we’ve become accustomed to politicians “burying” bad news, it’s unlikely we will see a party manifesto saying “game over” for our way of life any time soon. But away from the public gaze, a growing number of scientists and experts no longer discuss if climate change is happening, or even what we need to do to prevent it. Instead they have been asking what changes we need to start making now to deal with its inevitable impact in years to come. this his shif shift is based on “bad news” of the kind that doesn't make the headlines, such as doubts
about our chances of succeeding in achieving a vital target of preventing the world from warming by more than 2°c by 2100. In fact, 2016 was the first year that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stayed above a key threshold of 400 parts per million for the entire year. a at this rate, the world is on track to reach the 2c rise by 2030, according to australian researchers. a When Jem Bendell, professor of sustainability leadership and founder of the Institute for leadership and Sustainability at the University of cumbria, spoke to scientists at one of the Queensland universities that produced the research, a number said afterwards that they were already addressing issues of how to prepare
for the disruptive effects of climate change. “people p people came up to me and said I was taking what is normally said over coffee and in the bar or pub after conferences like this, and actually putting it onto the stage, saying what people had been saying for the past five years,” said Bendell. Some of the questions being asked are practical ones, such as how to ensure that river catchments can better cope with heavy rainfalls, the type of housing and other buildings that are more resilient to floods. the implications extend beyond our physical environment, impacting other areas of our lives, including industrial policy, requiring us to rethink our dependency on fossil fuels and develop renewable energy sources, as well as investing
in industries that will support adaptation, including desalination. adapting to a future that could be of an a entirely different order to the present will also require people and communities to alter those expectations, behaviours and beliefs that have the potential to make matters worse. a growing number of people in the Degrowth movement, for instance, argue that we need to wean ourselves from our addiction to growth and start looking at sustainable levels of production and consumption. (See page 18) t the decision to “turn away from very destructive, dominant ideas in society (continued on page 4)
exhIbITIONS, TalKS, perFOrMaNCeS, STreeT arT, COMMuNITy pICNIC
Plus!! WaTCh OuT FOr 'The beaST' aS IT MaKeS ITS jOurNey ThrOugh The CITy!
The precariat 03
I Planet B is a two-week programme of events, performances, film screenings, workshops, artist commissions, conferences and debates – all focused around sustainability. It runs from 29th July to 12th August 2017. The programme is led by PECT, Metal and The Green Backyard. Full programme details can be found at www.pect.org.uk/PlanetB. The project is supported by funding from Arts Council England. The accompanying newspaper is produced by Julie Tomlin and Paper Rhino. Printed on recycled paper.
s it possible to think and plan for a future in which we can see household debt; breakdown in social care networks; lack of affordable housing; time poor lifestyles; zero hour working contracts; increasing reliance on food banks and the rise in domestic violence all come to an end? Most Western responses to these challenges are reliant on an ongoing growth in the economy. However, in the last 40 years, the global economy has grown by 380 percent. Yet a total of 1.1 billion live below the extreme poverty line. We remain addicted to the idea that economic growth will be our salvation, however. This has led us to terrifying and precarious environmental situations. At the time of writing, Donald Trump has indicated that the USA will withdraw from the Paris climate accord. President Trump’s main arguments for this U-turn are rooted in his aim of encouraging growth of the domestic USA economy. This belies the hard truths we have to face, because Western lifestyles are the biggest problem. Europeans currently live as if there are four planets and North Americans as if there are seven. Many have accepted climate change is a
reality, yet without making adaptations, there is little difference between them and climate change deniers. Although they are still worth doing, many of the relatively modest changes to habits we can make, such as recycling, growing some food, using public transport, cycling – are simply not going to cut it by themselves. This publication explores ideas from climate change theory and 'deep adaptation' that Jem Bendell and others are exploring (see pages 1 & 4), suggesting alternative ways of responding to the challenges we all face. Three core ideas suggested by Bendell are woven throughout this newspaper.
Relinquishment: Involves people and communities letting go of certain assets, behaviors and beliefs where retaining them could make matters worse. How do we let go?
Restoration: Involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes and approaches to life and organisation that require less management, or increased community-level productivity and support. How do we rebuild?
Resilience: Considers how people and communities can better cope with disruptions. What are the
tools we need to do this? Scientists warn of huge changes to our planet if the average global temperature rises above two degrees. However, many are now also starting to express huge concerns that this target will be broken. This is not a green agenda, but a life agenda, with the future of us all at stake. There is simply no other way of putting it – we have to act. Deep Adaptation does not seek to hide from these realities, but seeks to prompt thoughts and actions, which will make us more prepared for the consequences. I repeat this is not a green agenda – it’s a people’s agenda. It is an issue that cuts across class, gender and ethnicity like no other, although that is not to say that its changes will not affect some more than others. Deep Adaptation requires a relinquishment, a letting go of how we are currently doing things. Obviously, that
means those who are the most invested in the way things are may feel they face the hardest challenges. In reality, most of the vested interests that we all have are produced through economic systems, which have bias against most of the developing world. However, in a sense this misses the point. If the scientists are right (and we believe they are) this is not a time to try and hold onto Western lifestyles. We all are looking at levels of environmental disruption that will change all eco-systems. This paper is a small contribution into such a huge challenge. No single action can stop the current patterns of consumption overnight. We hope that it will at least encourage those who have already started to make changes, but also disrupt those who say that there is nothing we can do. The truth is every day we get up and make a contribution to our future - the question is what kind of future are we contributing to?
“Many have accepted climate change is a reality, yet without making adaptations, there is little difference between them and climate change deniers”
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04 The prec precA AriAT Ari riAT
AnAlysis (continued from page 1) about what is progress” could prove “more important” than other decisions we have to make about the devastating effects of climate change in years to come, Bendell argued. change of this magnitude has implications for how we structure our communities, societies and political systems, as well as our economic priorities. “one of the effects that the realisation that disruptive climate change will be upon us soon was to see that this label of what is environmental is really not very helpful,” said Bendell. “We need to look at the fact that we have an economy and a political system and a cultural system in the UK which will not help.” Bendell’s growing conviction that we need to move away from our “individualist, materialist, consumerist, status-hungry culture” towards “social solidarity, compassion and caring” prompted him to work with the labour party in the lead up to June’s election as a strategic communications consultant. “Jeremy corbyn was the only politician who was wearing that language on his sleeve,” he said. “My hope is that politicians like Jeremy can help us understand ourselves better, to help communicate the fact that British people admire care and active compassion, and are proud of the fact that we are a nation that cares.” a shift towards more caring and compassionate values is by no means guaranteed, however. Some climate change experts have already warned of widespread migration brought about by climate change and of growing antagonism among communities as resources become more scarce.
as the current refugee crisis has shown, people are capable of great kindness and hospitality, organising to provide support for those in need. But also evident is a tendency to retreat into self-interest and narrow nationalism in order to protect against the perceived threat that mass migration represents. the disaster at Grenfell t tower in West london in June laid bare the profitdriven system in the provision of housing. But it also exposed how far we’ve moved away from a welfare culture in which people can expect to have not only their basic needs for housing met, but receive help and support in difficult times. What will be the impact if we continue to deal with large-scale problems by looking for scapegoats? In the case of the referendum over european Union membership, arguments that getting rid of “red tape” or stopping migrants taking ‘our’ jobs would solve our problems obscured the deeper economic and political issues. Writer and co-founder of the Dark Mountain project Dougald Hine said that the challenge goes beyond “individual consumer decisions” and is instead about what we do together in our households, streets and communities, “all the way up” to international negotiations. he wa way we live now is unsustainable, so by “the
definition, it's not going to go on indefinitely. Sooner or later, we are going to have to find other ways of living, and this will involve letting go of things we grew up taking for granted,” he said. “My question is, can we roll forward into that process of letting go, rather than carrying on as normal until it smacks into us?” there is a deeply personal element to letting go in this way, which Bendell said he began to experience three years ago: “It's the horror, it's the trauma, it's the grief ,the doubt and confusion, wondering what do I do now?’ he said. those people who are consciously working on environmental issues, whether in government, business or local communities, may need to go through this process first, not only in order to begin planning constructively, but to facilitate others. “they should ask themselves what it might mean to accept that disruptive climate change is coming in their lifetimes, said Bendell. people who know about these things need to “p do their own grieving and their own reconfiguring of their own sense of purpose, perhaps before being useful to others. If we don't have many people who have done that, then we are not going to have the wise counsel of people to help others work out what this means.” It also suggests a different approach to leadership, one that doesn’t sidestep painful realities and helps others cultivate resilience.
“The way we live now is unsustainable, so by definition, it's not going to go on indefinitely”
“one of the critical things is that people who really wish to play a conscious role going forward in this emerging reality need to allow themselves to drop their certainties and be more comfortable in not knowing, and even respect despair, don’t just rush out of it,” said Bendell. “We can be scared of despair, but if we can have some faith that ultimately there is some meaning that will be found that will be in some way beautiful. If you have an innate sense of that you can let yourself stay in the despair, knowing that you will emerge from it with new meaning.” the potential for reconnecting to values and ways of being that we have jettisoned in our pursuit of growth and consumption is something author Sharon Blackie has explored in If Women Rose Rooted, a book that suggests that women have an important role teaching us ways “to be differently in the world” that are not all about achievement and “mad” progress. (See page 9) “recycling and all of that malarkey and sustainability is all very well, and I'm not saying we shouldn't do it,” she said. “But nothing is going to be any different until we find different ways of being in the world, a different way of approaching life.” If we are prepared to bite the bullet and face up to an emerging reality that could be very different from our present one, allow ourselves to grieve and face the despair, we might find that for once, it’s the good news that has been buried. t Julie tomlin @ @julietomlin
The stories we tell
Our working lives reveal a lot about what we have in common with other people, says Ben Rogaly
tHere W Were olDer girls and older women and that and they were going out with the americans and the a things they were telling each other and that and they used to say, ‘Sssh don’t say things like that, she’s not old enough to know.’ ‘She’ll know soon enough,’ they said! <laughs>” It was the laughter and gossip that octogenarian caroline cooper recalls most vividly about her first job, when, then aged 14, and the war just over, she and her co-workers were being driven out from Walton in peterborough to harvest flowers for a Dutch-owned horticulalicia Vandenthoren, tural company in the Fens. a who moved to england from Belgium with her ‘tomm tomm tomm ommy’ y’ husband in 1946, also laughed when she remembered a later period of work – in the 1960s – a time when she was being bussed each road to Farrows vegetable day from cromwell r cannery in Huntingdon. In the pea season it was hard work fulfilling the minimum number a of cans to qualify for the daily rate. alicia remembered one particular day when she gave one of the managers a ‘beautiful name’. “I stood on the machine and the belt was running… but I didn’t get no peas in me and he stood from hopper… and I was waiting. a here to my front room from me, the manager, and he went, ‘oi!’ I couldn’t have the machine working so I never said nothing. So about five minutes after he went, ‘oi!’ I still didn’t have no peas, I couldn’t work. the third time he did it again and I got down off the steps for the machine I said, ‘ere, I’ve got a bloody name! You either call me by name or you fuck off!’ I did… a and the name, in Italian is Mr Fangula [roughly equivalent to ‘fuck off ’], and the name stuck till the factory closed, everybody knew him as Mr Fangula.” l like alicia and caroline, today’s horticula tural, food factory and warehouse workers in peterborough, as elsewhere in the country, have stories to tell about workplace relations. the context has changed. large retail corporations have more power over the companies in their supply chains. this in turn has contributed to a worsening of employment conditions in food production. one example of this is the use of piece rate payments, with ever-increasing effort being required from workers to obtain the minimum threshold of output (a certain number of punnets of strawberries to be harvested in a particular time period, say) to qualify for the national minimum wage. another is the system of fines and associated a threats of disqualification from work that are used by some companies to enforce the precise ‘quality’ requirements supermarkets insist on for fresh fruit and vegetables. Such conditions come with stricter supervision aimed at tighter control of work-places, which in food factories and packhouses has often taken the form of harsher policing of toilet trips and statutory breaks in the working day (or night), as well as prohibition on work-time conversations between workers. Meanwhile, across the UK economy as a whole there has been a national increase in zero hours contracts, the
“Memory is always fallible and the way we remember and talk about the past is inevitably selective” emergence of the gig economy and, since the 2008 financial crisis, a stagnation in wages. according to the 2016 edition of the organia sation for economic cooperation’s employment outlook, real wages declined by 10.4 percent between 2007 and 2015. one of the reasons such trends continue is that corporate power effectively remains unchallenged, a situation that is aided by divide and rule within and beyond the workplace, including in parts of the national media. this might be on the basis of nationality – people seen as ‘migrants’ pitted against those claiming to be ‘locals’ or ‘natives’. In peterborough, the idea that ‘migrants’ are some distinct group belies the city’s long history of inward migration, including, most dramatically, the doubling of the population in the 1970s and 1980s when the new towns were built. Divide and rule on the basis of skin colour and presumed faith identity also have long histories, and are connected to previous colonial modes of rule and economic extraction as Stuart Hall shows so lucidly in his posthumous memoir Familiar Stranger. Hall recalls that in the post-war period, when ‘the tide of international opinion’ was ‘turning against colonial rule’ and ‘the colour-bar in Britain’s overseas possessions began to be
dismantled… in the “mother country” itself the colour-bar emerged as a more visible feature of the urban landscape.’ He argues that this was rooted in a process of forgetfulness about the ‘long historical entanglements’ that the growing number of ‘dark-skinned migrants’ (and their forbears) had with Britain, a forgetfulness that was ‘incubated' in what he refers to as ‘the higher reaches of the national culture.’ Memory is always fallible and the way we remember and talk about the past is inevitably selective. Yet sharing memories of work in the way that caroline and a alicia and over 100 other people did with a group of us in pe p terborough over the last few years (see www.placesforall. co.uk) is one way of countering collective forgetco.uk fulness about workplace relations. Moreover, it can remind the wider public that, although employers may seek workers, what they get are people. t the stories we tell about our working lives reveal much both about our individuality and our common human condition. a ass W Writerriterin-residence residence at Metal I am currently r collaborating with pe p terborough-born former factory and warehouse worker Jay Gearing of p paper rhino Films on a series of 10 short films to r continue this work. the t he ffilms ilms will evoke some of the diversity of
people from all backgrounds who have been employed in food factories, packhouses, fields and retail distribution centres in and around the city. t this his projec projectt goes further than the last one. this t his time we intend to in involve volve the people who will appear in the films as much as possible in the creative process of making them. We will work together to explore people’s creativity in making intensive work manageable, or at least bearable, for example through humour, forming friendships across ethnic or national social boundaries, or getting one over on the boss. r rather than relying on ‘the higher reaches of national culture’ to shape collective memories, the films will develop a bottom-up critique of the degradation of employment conditions in the food production, packing and retail distribution sectors. Importantly they will also draw attention to the everyday creativity of factory and warehouse workers outside the workplace that is often unnoticed or undervalued yet is part of what makes peterborough such a vibrant city. Ben rogaly is professor of Human Geography at Sussex University's Centre for Migration research. @rogaly
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A one-way ticket When she arrived from Poland agnieszka Coutinho was determined it would only be for a year. Now almost 12 years later, Peterborough feels like home.
W S at a university in poland Wa and I hoped to be a journalist one day… Journalists, including aspiring ones, are usually curious and keen on meeting new people and travelling. So in 2005 when my sister decided to move to peterborough and suggested that I could come here for a gap year to learn english and save some money, I didn’t think twice. “It will be just one year. I wouldn’t be able to live abroad for longer.” – I thought back then. My father bought me a bus ticket to england only because I promised him that I would come back after a year to finish my degree. I got my first job in a factory a few days after I had arrived. on my first day a man who claimed to be a taxi driver from a recruitment agency turned out to be an impostor. the previous day at the agency I was told to wait in front of my house and someone would pick me up. the next day at the agreed time, a car stopped and when I asked if he was from the recruitment agency he nodded. I got into the car but after a few minutes I realised he had no idea where the factory was and managed to jump out of his car. t to o this da dayy I don’t know how he knew, that I was waiting for a taxi, but I think it was a coincidence. later, aater, I found out that the recruitment agency hadn’t sent anyone to pick me up because they decided they didn’t need so many workers that day and didn’t even call me. I got work in a different factory two days later. this time there was a proper taxi with a few other workers already inside it. the he only problem was tha that I was the only girl and I was given hard physical work including lifting and carrying heavy boxes all day, while four young men who went with me there got easy and light tasks to do. even though I got a job quickly and I was e living with my family, the first three months in the UK were horrible. I knew very little english and my whole life consisted of work and home, home and work. It was the end of autumn and it was dark, cold and rainy. after a few months, things started to a change. I went to english classes, began to make friends at work and started to go out and joined a local gym. a few months later I met a Brazilian guy who is now my husband and we have a three-year-old daughter. I’ve worked in many different places – firstly, in factories and warehouses. What I like about these places is that you can meet so many different and interesting people of various ages, backgrounds, passions and beliefs. Different nationalities often stick together, so if you go to a factory usually you would see separate groups during break times, such as polish, lithuanians, asians, portuguese and english workers sitting and e y workplace was different in chatting. ever some way but I quickly realised that younger english people would prefer to keep
themselves to themselves, but older people seemed to be more open and keen to talk. one man who used to work in management in journalism before he retired told me not to make assumptions based only on people I met in factories, which made me think how important it is not to make assumptions about others too quickly. and, vice versa, it may be very damaging if British people base their opinion about foreigners purely on one or two immigrants they’ve met. I decided to change my work in order to learn more english and be able to get a better job and perhaps do a course one day. I went to one of the restaurants for an interview three times before I got a job there. However, if I thought that working in a restaurant would be easier than being a warehouse operative I was wrong. restaurant jobs can be even more stressful and exhausting than working in a factory, with no time for proper meals, a lot of pressure, stressed managers, demanding customers… I worked in a few restaurants, in a hotel and in a bar before I went back to factories as a supervisor for a while. a few months later I got a job in a medical centre as a receptionist and thanks to my manager I also became a Stop Smoking adviser. During my time in the medical centre I’ve managed to complete two degrees in International Business english and psychology. I then worked as a reception supervisor in the nHS, a customer advisor in an IKea ea call centre and as an agency manager at amazon. In the past year I've been working as a Senior administrator/ Business Support to several managers in the nHS and I'm starting a Masters in applied a positive psychology soon. What I like about British culture is that people are often polite and behave professionally in the workplace even if they have had a bad day. people in my country don’t say thank you or sorry on so many different occasions, so I had to get used to that. e even if I step on someone’s feet in a supermarket they
They don’t come here To
nick our jobs
andrew Burgess is director of agriculture for Produce World, a ffarming business in East Anglia, with a farmhouse in Yaxley that has been in the family since 1898. He is also a member of the National Farmers’ Union Horticulture & Potato Board and the NFU Organic Forum. He talks to Julie Tomlin about the impact of Brexit on the agricultural industry.
would say sorry to me. n now ow it’s become such a habit for me that whenever I go to poland a friend of mine laughs that I keep saying 'sorry' and 'thank you' so often. While working in a medical centre some British receptionists told me they thought many eastern europeans are rude because they don’t say 'could I have?' or 'May I?' when they ask for an appointment. I explained that many people who speak basic english are not yet aware of those words which are more polite. In our culture, people are a lot more direct and can say “I want” instead of “I’d like to”. there are
many more cultural differences than some of us would think. While at that job I’ve met two very special British people, carol Browne who is an author, and Ben rogaly, who have helped me a lot and we’ve become good friends. I’m incredibly thankful I’ve met such genuine and open-minded people here because without them, I surely wouldn’t be where I am. although it was hard at the beginning, a and sometimes still is, the time has shown that the ticket to england which I bought nearly 12 years ago was priceless…
What changes have you seen among people who work on the farm?
What problems do you see up ahead if migration is banned?
We’ve got 450 employees, and about two thirds of them are european. the the heyy mostly come from poland, p por por ortugal, tugal, Spain and latvia. a atvia.
there aren't enough unemployed people to ffill all the jobs. In peterborough, we have about two percent unemployment, which in practical terms is full employment. So if all our european friends have to go home, who is actually going to do the work? there's more jobs than there are people. With things like weeding organic carrots, we go from needing nobody to needing 120 people for four weeks and then back down to zero again. Finding people to do that kind of work in the UK is almost impossible. We are only 60 percent self-sufficient in vegetables. We obviously need to improve that, but it could go the wrong way if we can't get people to come and do the work.
Why do you employ migrant labour?
What are the wider implications?
We don't advertise for migrant workers, we advertise for workers. Finding people to do that kind of work in the UK is almost impossible. people want permanent positions and want reliable work, and ffield work is not reliable. the cheap food economy doesn't help either, everybody wants cheap food.
the he realit reality is that we have got to have some immigration, otherwise we are going to have the biggest recession we have ever had in our life time. lack of productivity, lack of people to do the jobs. If 4.5 million people go home, that's going to be the biggest shrink to the economy we've seen since the 1930s. those 4.5 million are not just workers, they are customers too.
We used to have a lot of romany travellers who used to travel around doing all the seasonal work. they'd come to us in the autumn and stay with us doing the carrots. that hat stopped in the 1970s. ha My Dad or my Grandad used to drive around in a minibus in the morning to pick up local women for work. then, some time in the 1980s, early '90s we couldn't get those people any more.
Who are your workers today?
Is it cheaper to employ migrant labour then? there's nothing winds me up more than people saying they come here to nick our jobs, they don't. It's nothing to do with cheap labour. they get treated and paid exactly the same as UK labour. they are people just like us. they come here to work, make a living, pay their tax.
“There aren't enough unemployed people to fill all the jobs”
The brexiT megA egAphone egA Aphone
People who voted to leave the European Union did so for many reasons, not just to stop migration, and it’s time Westminster politicians started listening, writes Katie garner.
a tHe tIMe of the General election at 2017 (Ge17), I was away from london, spending three weeks in Middlesbrough, a place which has become famed as a post industrial, dispersal area for asylum seekers. I was there to talk about migration, and yet all of my conversations were Ge17 and Brexit. Middlesbrough and its neighbouring tees ees voted to lea leave ve the town of Stockton on t european Union in 2016. ass ttwo of the highest asylum seeking dispersal areas in the country, they are in contention with nigel Farage as the poster boy connecting Brexit to immigration. Fifteen of the top 20 asylum dispersal areas in the UK voted to leave the european Union - the five that didn’t were all major cities. a certainty about the link between migration to the UK and Brexit was evident in the Ge17 campaign. When the government said they would reduce immigration to the 10s of thousands, the response was that it couldn’t be done, not that it shouldn’t. any opposing voices were quickly silenced. However, three weeks in Middlesbrough and Stockton has roundly disproved this assumed link. andy from north ormsby, an area with the second highest child poverty rate in the country, said many friends who had voted for Brexit, had also voted labour. Middlesbrough, Stockton north and now Stockton South are all represented by labour Mps, some of whom have a pro-migration stance. In my short time in Middlesbrough and Stockton, I learnt that Brexit had multiple motivations. Genuine fears exist about
polling day in middlesbrough.
underfunding to the nHS, people feeling ignored, and unconnected to the decision makers who influence their lives. a common motivation was anxiety about significant change within communities. Migration has certainly impacted communities in the north, where there is a disproportionately high dispersal rate of asylum seekers per person. Yet many other influences are changing the shape of communities across the UK. over and over again, people wanted to tell me how they felt, about their homes that had been demolished because of development, that they couldn’t get a job because they were considered too old and out of touch. they wanted to talk about surviving on benefits, breakdown of community, and ask how they could meet neighbours who don’t go to the church or the pub. these weren’t presented as insurmountable obstacles, or xenophobic statements, but grief to be felt and challenges to be considered. Meena, who has lived in Middlesbrough for 30 years, told me “It’s not that people have a problem with asylum seekers… but they feel an anxiety about large-scale changes in their community and they don’t feel able to vocalise it”. the Brexit vote provided that megaphone and was a seismic shift in the political landscape. What the calling of a snap general election by the prime Minister theresa May ultimately revealed was fresh division in the country and the catastrophic absence of an investigation into the nuances of the Brexit vote. there has never been a more important time for politicians to get out of Westminster and start listening.
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A different class of
eco WArrior WA
Chances are if you are reading this you probably think this isn’t about you. But are you really doing enough because you recycle and buy eco products? asks scottee.
Y MUM tHInKS I’m posh, in fact she thinks I’m middle class. She’s come to this conclusion because my husband and I don’t have a telly. the he fac fact we cycle, grow our own food and bake bread has nothing to do with it, it’s purely because I’ve made the decision to buy out of t Britain's Got talent. My husband and I are working class millennials - we have no kids and we like to think we are doing the world a favour by shopping at co-operatives, bringing our own bags and buying cleaning products that smell of eucalyptus - we shop at Waitrose. Before you think I’m holier than thou, because we don’t have a car, my Dad drives us to the edge of our town in his diesel truck. However, to alleviate the guilt of emissions, my parents shop there too. My Mum and Dad shop at Waitrose because they grew up in post-war poverty in social he fac fact they can shop at Waitrose is, housing. the I suppose, a mini victory - reminding them they survived, life changed a bit, they can join in with the Joneses, even if it’s only for an hour. their heir mone money goes on satellite t tV, keeping the heating on and the fridge full - this is something that will never change, the result of growing up hungry and cold. Mum always remarks how different our trolleys look: “yours is full of colourful things, ours is full of shit”. We both love cleaning, we take pride in our homes being as presentable as possible. Whilst traipsing the cleaning aisle, I trolley all of Waitrose’s own-brand eco-range - bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, multi-surface cleaner, fabric conditioner, even the washing up liquid - I buy two of some things. Mum reaches for her staples - Vanish, bleach and Flash, each with child safety locks and hazard warning. I tell Mum she should consider using the eco-line, that it’s better for the planet (I’m basing this on nil personal research, but it sounds about right). I tell her it would better for her skin (again, no evidence to back this up), that it would be better in general, because the product tells me so - it’s “eco”. She asks “does it go very far? Is it any good? Is it very dear?” Instead of convincing her otherwise, I realise that perhaps the reason I’m able to buy, gloat and elevate my impression of my carbon footprint is because I can afford to do so. I can afford the extra £1 per bottle, I can afford uninformed ethics. eco-ignorance wasn’t something I was born into, grew up with or has been something I’ve practiced for very long. like my parents, I grew up on an estate - recycling wasn’t a thing until about five years ago there. composting is something I’m still learning to be able to stomach - like my parents, food is a tricky one for me. I learnt
protectors of the land
Do women have a particular role to play in recovering a relationship to the earth and to each other, asks Julie Tomlin.
how and why to recycle because my husband taught me - he was brought up in a house where they did that sort of thing; yes, I’m clumsily trying to demonstrate that if you are posh and/or if you grow up in a house where ecology is on the menu, it will be something you will unquestionably bring into your adult life. I now live in a working class area of the essex seaside - every Wednesday we separate our rubbish into four different bags for Southend council - red bags for plastic, blue for paper, white for textiles, black for anything a I leave for work my road is awash with else. as mountains of black bags, part of me wants to knock on each door and tell them off, the other half wants me to sort their rubbish for them but neither help, neither change anything because next Wednesday is just a week away. If we’re going to effect change greater than just the usual long haired, flip flop wearing, Glastonbury-going eco-warriors saving the planet we must accept a few eco-truths recycling is a classed and gendered activity.
like it or not, eco-mindfulness is something people like my parents think people with money do. oK, there's an argument that not all eco-products cost more, not all methods of reducing our outputs mean we need money, but the choice of cheapest is first and foremost for what the t tories ories call ordinar ordinaryy working families. Without a decent education in self-sufficiency, without eco-familiarity, without V Va at at eexemption and sizeable tax breaks for low-carbon business, rigid regulation on those pumping chemicals into world ecology, it will always be something someone else with the luxury of time, land and wealth will do - it’s why prince c charles harles is seen as a smug Duch Duchyy arsehole. We must also accept ecology is gendered blokes like my Dad (by blokes I mean working class men) are less likely to buy these soft, namby-pamby, ‘enrich your life’ products - it’s why the market is saturated with brutal, aggressive, chemical shower gels, supposedly designed ‘for men’. asking a sking m myy Dad to wear sun cream now he
has been diagnosed with skin cancer is tricky enough, asking him to use l lush products because they are vegan and not tested on animals is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. However, my brother, a 19-year-old football loving bloke, has recently turned vegetarian with vegan aspirations - perhaps my gender argument is generational. I’m willing to lay a bet that the fact you’re reading this article, in a paper about ecology, promoting an eco-awareness festival means you already recycle, you already buy so-called eco-friendly stuff made from plants, sold in recyclable bottles. You’re reading this thinking this is about someone else. But you can buy as many eco-reusablebiodegradable things for your solar powered home as you like, eco-socialism will never be achieved if you’re not willing to share your privileges - and that includes your wealth, knowledge and power. Scottee is an artist and writer. @ScotteeIsFat
S tHere a story we could tell about ourselves and the world tha thatt offers an alternative narrative as we face up to the significant challenges that lie ahead? In her book If Women Rose Rooted, author Sharon Blackie found in forgotten celtic myths and legends stories of women’s agency, creativity and capacity to restore and mend. In line with many indigenous cultures around the world, the stories from Ireland, Scotland and Wales suggest women had a particular, although not exclusive, connection to land, from which they derived authority and a mandate to guard and protect it. “It's not that women have more responsibility, but I think that because of the nature of Western civilisation, it's always been assumed that it's men's role to fight, it's men's role to protect,” she says. “I think my whole perspective in writing If Women Rose Rooted was to say, no it's very much our job as well.” a significant number of women, and older women in particular, have joined the ongoing protests against fracking in the UK. Many call themselves “protectors”, among them tina t rothery, a founder of the lancashire n r nanas, a group of women taking on the fracking giant c cuadrilla. currently part of a protest at a site in c preston ne new ew r road near Blackpool, rothery r says she’s driven by her determination to safeguard the future of her grandchildren: “a “a ass a grandmother I’m protecting something more valuable than anything they can throw at me, so I am unstoppable,” says r rothery, adding that women seem to have a different capacity
when faced with the intransigence of the authorities because they have learnt to confront it in their lives. “Women have found creative ways to win that didn't involve physical force,” she says. “the the the heyy have found an ability to endure, just in life's challenges. With women, the more you push, the more they stand strong.” the stories in Blackie’s book offer “different t ways of being in the world” that include activism, but more broadly encourage women to discover their “unique gift” and use it in relation to a particular place: “If you can step back a bit and say oK what about my place, whatever it might be, if you start to build a relationship with that, think about protecting that, then I think a lot of things will flow from it.” the desire to connect t with a place was behind Katy lee’s decision to move to a woodland in north Devon with her husband Vince and two teenage daughters. living and working there, they focus on l restoring the forest by replacing conifers with broad leaf trees, and finding related ways to earn a living. lee ee is reluc reluctant to describe the affinity she has developed for the woodland as 'feminine' seeing them rather as creative qualities both she and her husband developed in previous careers. “I would say my husband's view of woodland
management is the same is mine, and ours runs counter to what is the mainstream vision of it, and I would put that down to us being creative people, and used to being lateral thinkers, problem solvers,” she says. this willingness to challenge conventional wisdom also drove lee to run projects aimed at encouraging girls to work in forestry, an industry traditionally dominated by “white blokes” that is experiencing a recruitment crisis: “If the people having the conversation are all white men, what could we potentially be missing if we're not having a female voice in that conversation, if we're not having the black voice or the eastern european or asian voice,” asks lee. voice, Including different voices and perspectives becomes all the more vital if the dominance of “masculine” values traditionally defined by powerful white men and the suppression of different ways of being has shaped a society that is doing increasing harm to both men and women, as well as the earth. “the severing of the connection between women and their role as protectors and guardians of the land has had a profound impact on the way society has been governed
“A significant number of women, and older women in particular, have joined the ongoing protests against fracking in the UK”
over the centuries,” says performance artist Jo Bushell. “We are living such a disconnected existence severed from our heritage, myths, community from the cycles and seasons of nature that we have become dysfunctional, displaced and isolated and the natural world is suffering.” Bushell, who in her work creates space for people to reconnect with the natural world, and their community and heritage, suggests women have a significant role to play shaping new ways of being that extend into how we organise our communities, our political priorities and economy. Similarly, the threat to land that fracking represents is itself a “symptom” of a wider malaise at the heart of our system of government, argues r rothery, who believes that it is a natural progression for many women who see it as their role to protect the land to begin to look at what changes are needed in our politics and our society: “Fracking is quite useful, as it reveals so much: a system that puts profit ahead of people, where lobbyists have a bigger voice in the government than we do, where there’s a revolving door of government and industry,” she says. this his idea tha that some women may be on the frontlines of activism, while others might seek to fulfil their role as protectors though other means, is at the heart of Blackie’s argument: “I don't think it matters, I don't think there's any one way to do it,” she says. “But the one thing I would stress is that it all starts at home, it all starts in the place where your foot steps when you walk out of your front door.”
The precariat 11
10 The precariat
Planet B What will future inhabitants of the planet make of our way of life? For the Future Museum of Now, conceived by artists Claudia Friend, a collection of objects from the 21st century will be curated and displayed from the perspective of a museum in the year 2525. It is a time when life is very basic, and much of the information we currently have at our disposal is no longer available. As a result, knowledge of how things worked or what they may have meant is limited. The objects on display are therefore as mysterious mysterious as ancient finds are to us now, says Friend. “In 2525 the world is almost having to start again from scratch, so all the concepts that we have of the objects that we cherish are mysterious and indescribable,” says Friend. “It’s trying to create a starting point. The world that you see through the museum is a very post-apocalyptic.” The Southampton-based artist and workshop facilitator works almost entirely with recycled materials and found objects to highlight issues of waste and environmental change and damage and puts into a wider context the value of what is usually thrown away. The work builds on an earlier Future Museum of Now in Southampton that was conceived with fellow artist Steph May. Friend will be adding more
Programme of events
items including some that are more relevant to Peterborough as part of the Planet B Festival: “I will be making some new pieces, beach combing, picking items from the street, squashed tin cans and bits of plastic,” she says. “Then everything is put together in a certain way with a description that won't be completely clear, as language has been destroyed to a certain extent, or forgotten.” The objects will be displayed in the museum in ways that reflect how people of the future would interpret their significance and intended use. Without the language and concepts of today, all they have to draw upon is the rituals and ideas that have survived, but only as disjointed parts, hearsay and distant cultural memories. It’s a bleak vision of the future, Friend admits, but there is humour in the way that items we come across on a daily basis are framed in the future. “My hope is that people will engage as they want with it, and have some sense of their own perspective on how things are going and why the exhibition may be presenting itself in the way it is, but also to do that in a humorous way, and for it to be quite light and not to browbeat. I suppose that's the hopeful side.”
The writing is on the wall...
Peterborough is home to one of the longest-running and largest Green Festivals in the UK, and this year it takes on a new life as ‘Planet B’. See www.pect.org.uk/PlanetB for more details.
The work of John Ruskin, who encouraged people to explore the beauty of nature and humanity at a time of large-scale industrialisation and mechanisation, has inspired visual artists Kate Genever and Steve Pool’s project. Working together as The Poly-Technic, Genever and Pool will be staging mobile radical screen-print poster workshops that will explore Ruskin’s statement There’s No Wealth But Life. “The John Ruskin statement points to the fact that we need to revalue what is important, whether it is our individual life or the life of the whole planet,” says Pool. “We hope to explore what is of value, ideas about the collective and individual good and the idea of wealth not being associated with money. I think we are saying there is also hope.” Genever and Pool, who have worked collaboratively for 10 years, will host a series of two hour participatory sessions over two weeks during the Planet B Festival. “The slogans originate in people's handwriting, and are then carried into repetition, they can then take them home, they are archived and get projected,” says Pool. They will be working with Bretton-based group The Pyramid
Pioneers, young people, residents, city leaders and civic figures in Westraven Community Cafe, along with the Women’s Institute and a group at the mixed prison there. “It's not just about the screen print, it's about bringing a group of people together into a space to have a conversation and out of that conversation comes the statements for the screen print,” says Genever. “It's about the discursive space, and the generation of the prints. It's about small groups of people coming together, to think, talk, make and share.” Along with a continually updated archive and temporary ad hoc displays, this mobile projection is a key aspect of the project, enabling people who take part to see their slogans across the city. “If what we do is allow somebody to have a say and then screen print it and it gets put up on a telephone box and they photograph it and send it around the world and they feel proud, then that's a lovely thing to do in a small way,” says Genever. “If we bring a group of people together with differing opinions and there's a conversation, and people start to think again, then that's a good thing.” Interviews by Julie Tomlin
Image credit: teddybaden.co.uk _aveaskeg_
Planet B encompasses a two-week programme of events, performances, film screenings, workshops, commissioned artworks, and a conference – all around encouraging discussion and debate on sustainability. The environmental charity PECT, in partnership with arts organisation Metal and The Green Backyard will be running Planet B from Saturday July 29 through to Saturday August 12 2017. Planet B kick-starts with the Peterborough International Friendship Day and Smugglers Festival, a day of connectivity, folk music, workshop activity and discussions on climate change that take you through into the evening. If you are more of a film buff then there are several peppered throughout the fortnight, many of which have discussions afterwards, from I, Daniel Blake to Beasts of the Southern Wild. For the hoarders amongst us, visit Emily Tracy’s Clutter Bank where you are
invited to consider the objects we each have in our homes and perhaps donate one to the project yourself. Claudia Friend welcomes you to the Museum of Future Now, set in 2525, viewing objects excavated from 2017. What might our future generations make of our waste? Often, the best conversations, even the best ideas, come about whilst sitting together over food. Scottee invites you to his commune at Chauffeurs Cottage for any of four meals exploring the housing crisis, perceptions of Peterborough, Brexit boredom and whether or not we should stop having children. Scottee will help us navigate some tricky but pertinent issues. It also turns out that there is such thing as a free lunch. In Feed the 1,000, PECT has been chosen to be a Sainsbury’s ‘Discovery Community’ as part of the supermarket’s Waste less, Save more campaign. PECT invites you to a lunch made from items that often get thrown away from our homes. The Waste Less, Save More
team will be on hand to offer advice and recipe ideas for using leftovers and cutting food bills. Brexit is never far from our minds and several events and activities explore the role of migrant workers in the city. You can climb aboard the Pickers, Packers and Pluckers bus with poets Keely Mills, Charley Genever and six new female Peterborough poets for a look at seasonal work in the city. The poets will also perform at a Planet B-themed Write Club at the Stoneworks. Francis Thorburn’s The Beast procession embodies the romance of epic journeys, depicting tribes of travellers, yet highlighting the reality of the immigrant experience. In Question Time Cabaret Talia Randall brings us an evening of hilarious, gut-wrenching performances slammed together with a panel of Britain’s foremost journalists. ‘They Dragged us through to the cells one by one. Sitting opposite each other on the cold floor, his eyes found mine and
smiled deep into me, his lips made the shape of the words ‘I Love You’. Intrigued? Then the theatre performance Generation Zero, about our ambiguous future world, is a must. Over the last month, artist Eric McLennan has been inviting residents of the city to take out shares in the Earth. The shareholders convene for a performance called ‘A Drop in the Ocean’, harnessing the collective effort. Taking a more hands-on approach are PolyTechnic who will help you to make your own protest poster. Join PHACE for a creative workshop for 15=19-year-olds, Soul Happy for litter picks or Drink and Draw at the Ostrich inn. Rounding off the fortnight is ‘Relinquishment: A Planet B Day Gathering’ at Anglia Ruskin University, Peterborough. Less of a conference, more of a gathering, with contributions from Tony Juniper, professor Dom Kniveton and Maddy Harland, the event will be a mix of talks, world café style sessions and panel discussion.
Planet B – Programme 13
12 Planet B – Programme Fri 28th July, 7.30pm, Chauffeurs Cottage, 1 St Peters Rd, Peterborough PE1 1YX
Planet B warm-up event: Film Club Frame: Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) Film Four-time Oscar-nominated film about human resilience in the face of environmental disaster. Featuring stunning performances from first-time actors, including 6-year old Quvenzhané Wallis, this film is a brutal but beautiful eco-fairy-tale. In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old
girl, Hushpuppy, exists on the brink of orphan hood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural order is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions. FREE event, no need to book.
Weds 2nd August, 7.30pm, The Stoneworks, 8B Church St, Peterborough PE1 1XB
Interview with Planet B artist Emily Tracy
Write Club The first rule of Write Club... tell everyone about Write Club.
POETRY Teaming up with Planet B, Write Club promises you and your ears a night of excellent poetry and spoken word all wrapped up in a never-before-seen format. Three team captains, Mark Grist, Charley Genever and Keely Mills – each with an army of poets – will compete for ultimate glory… and a pint. Each team will have 20 minutes to fill in on a theme and this will be set by a very special guest. So that means each poem/performance will be a response to that theme and of course Planet B. The best team wins by audience vote. Think Fight Club meets a Pokémon battle meets a poetry slam. This is a FREE event, no need to book.
Thurs 3rd, 1.30pm-4pm (young people ages 8 - 16) & Fri 4th August, 10.30am-1pm (16+), WestRaven Community Café
There is No Wealth But Life The Poly-Technic
Workshops & Projections What does it mean to be a responsible citizen? What does it mean to be an activist? What does it mean to be a social sculpture? What does it mean to feel powerless?
Sat 29th July, 11am-5.30pm, Cathedral Square, Peterborough PE1 1XH
Peterborough International Friendship Day
Everyday some people wake up and ask themselves these questions, fill the car up with 200 million year-old sunlight and drive to work. People are faced with a dark dread, a growing feeling of alienation, a fear of failing, a fear of being afraid. We quote John Ruskin, because his simple statement points to the fact that
we need to revalue what is important, whether it is our individual life or the life of the whole planet. Thinkers like Ruskin encouraged people to explore the beauty of nature and humanity, faced with large-scale industrialisation and the mechanisation of people and production. Poly-Technic invite participants to develop and design a protest poster relating to a personal concern. The posters will be displayed or seen as part of a large-scale projection. Booking is essential. To find out more visit www.pect.org.uk/PlanetB
Emily makes artworks and installations that engage, amuse and re-interpret the places we live and work in. The work aims to allow the public to review a familiar place or activity through the intervention of an artwork or a transformation of the space. This can be through an event, participation, spectacle, and audience collaboration. Q. What do you want people to take from your work on Planet B? A. I would like the work to start conversations amongst friends, family and households about the objects that come into their living spaces. How do they get there, what’s our relationship to them and do we need to re-think any of these items in the context of tackling climate change? We all collect and curate objects in our lives and it is these familiar languages and activities which I would like to explore. I would like to start conversations about giving up things, how does it feel and are we prepared to relinquish any of our habits? And how can we stem the flood of objects that enter our homes every day accidentally or intentionally? I don’t know the answers but maybe by having the conversations we can find ways. Q. Why is the combination of art and sustainability an ideal one? A. I’m not sure that it is an ideal one. Sustainability is difficult for all of us and artists use resources to make new things, but they can bring a new way of
looking, framing and questioning. Q. How can art have a positive impact? A. If successful it can bring a difficult subject out into the open in an open ended way. It can get people involved through stealth. It shouldn’t preach or explain but provide a place and space to question and reflect. Q. What attracted you to this commission? A. I love objects, I love the stories that get attached to objects and am intrigued by their magical qualities, which are often hard to define. As a consumer, a mother and an artist I have become more aware over the last few years of the amount of possessions in my household and their impact on the environment. Mostly I have become very aware of the difficulty of reducing my impact on the climate change with a busy life. I hope that the participatory and interactive artworks that I make can make a contribution to the debate and awareness of our lives, lifestyles and the choices we make.
Fri 4th August, 7pm-7.40pm, Peterborough Cathedral Square PE1 1XH
Fri 4th August, 8pm, Serpentine Green Sat 5th August, 8pm, City Gallery, Peterborough Museum, Priestgate, Peterborough PE1 1LF
By Becky Owen-Fisher, presented by Lamphouse Theatre
Theatre One young couple. One changing world. She’s certain she knows the man she loves, but he’s hiding a disturbing secret. A look at our future through the eyes of the first generation to tackle it head on. Using poetic language, striking physicality and a soaring soundtrack, Generation Zero will transport audiences into an ambiguous future world in the shadow of imminent climate change. Lamphouse Theatre, a vibrant theatre
company from Peterborough, presents this new play. Directed by Tom Fox (National Theatre, Royal and Derngate, Eastern Angles). For more information and to book tickets, visit www.generationzero.co.uk. @LamphouseTheatr "They dragged us through to the cells one by one. Sitting opposite each other on the cold floor, his eyes found mine and smiled deep into me, his lips made the shape of the words I love you."
Organised by Extended Hands with support of Peterborough City Council
Pay it Forward - Flash Mob Mass Meditation
Soul Happy Wellbeing Centre
Fri 4th-Mon 7th August, 12noon-5pm, Vivacity Shop, Exchange Street, Queensgate Centre PE1 1NT
A day of performances and food, bringing people together to celebrate cultural diversity in Peterborough. International Friendship Day celebrates friendship across the world and embraces love and unity across our great city. For further details contact Bernadetta Omondi on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07967 310 800. FREE event, no need to book.
Group Meditation Soul Happy is changing and upgrading the energy of Peterborough one positive meditation at a time! Mass meditation has been shown to reduce stress and crime rates, as well as there being many benefits of meditation for yourself too! Please bring something to sit on if you wish and waterproofs if needed. The event will last for 30 minutes, with some optional ommmmm-ing and group-hugging at the end! FREE event, no need to book.
Sat 29th July, 12noon-10.30pm, The Green Backyard, Oundle Road, Peterborough PE2 8AT
Interview with artist Eric MacLennan
Smugglers Festival The Green Backyard and The Smugglers Festival
The Smugglers Festival is set to be a fun-filled day of live music, arts and crafts, discussions and activities at The Green Backyard. International folk and roots musicians including The Odd Beats and the Mikey Kenney Band will join local performers to provide live music throughout the day. There will be talks and discussions hosted by
the Land For What collective, ceilidh dancing, a real ale bar and delicious local food will be on sale all day. Workshops and craft demonstrations will also be available, giving you the opportunity to learn a new skill on the day too. Tickets: £10. Age 12-17: £5. Under 12s: FREE. Booking required, visit www.thegreenbackyard.com.
Innovative performance that occupies a unique space between theatre, movement and the visual arts. Bold, cutting-edge with a clear focus on its audience, challenging, provocative but always entertaining. Inspired by philosophy and comedy, Eric MacLennan’s work questions our unconscious habits, challenges conventions and isn’t afraid to say the unsayable! Thursday 3rd August, 6.30pm for a 7pm start, Chauffeurs Cottage, 1 St Peters Rd, Peterborough PE1 1YX
Tomorrow (Demain) Peterborough in Transition
Film Join Peterborough in Transition at Chauffeur's Cottage to watch Tomorrow (Demain), winner of Best Documentary at the 2016 Cesar Awards. Filmmakers Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent meet the pioneers who are reinventing agriculture, energy, economy, democracy and education. Demain is a positive, affirming and inspirational film, exploring creative solutions to the world’s multiple problems. FREE Event. Book a place by emailing email@example.com.
Q. What do you want people to take from your work on Planet B? A. It's very important to me when I make work that there is some space left for the viewer to add something - to bring something of themselves - to interact - to join the conversation - and to complete the picture. In this case there is an invitation for people to pledge to do one thing to help the planet. What I hope is that that one thing will be something they continue to do long after the project is over. Q. Why is the combination of art and sustainability an ideal one? A. Art is not necessary for our survival (in the way that food and shelter are) we won't die without
Art... and yet... and yet, Art certainly makes life better! Sustainability, whilst necessary for our survival can seem dry and well, a bit dull but with Art we have an accessible means to talk about it in an engaging way. Q. How can art have a positive impact? Art changes lives. Art enhances our experience and understanding of life. Q. What attracted you to this commission? A. Not the money! I was working on an environmental idea that was in its early stages when the opportunity for Planet B came along.
Interactive exhibition Do you sometimes wonder why you have so many possessions and why it’s hard to give them up? This project is calling for the people of Peterborough to let us in on how much stuff they own and to reflect on what these objects mean to them. If we all cleared the clutter from our lives, could this have an impact on the environment? We are asking for people of Peterborough to reflect on the objects in their lives and take part in assembling a strange new shop. Clutter Bank will be filled with small rejected objects. We are inviting local
people to drop by and take our gigantic, friendly and non-scientific questionnaire to confront the truth of our clutter. Choose one of our pre collected objects or bring in a small item to add to the collection. Add your thoughts, feelings and stories and have a cup of tea! FREE Event. No need to book “We all have a relationship with objects and an understanding of curating, valuing, arranging, systemizing, rejecting, articulating and reasoning why certain objects are important to us. It is these very familiar activities which this project will re-frame within issues around climate change.” – Emily Tracy
Planet B – Programme 15
14 Planet B – Programme Thurs 3rd-Tues 8th august, 11-4pm (5th aug also open after generation Zero), st John’s square, peterborough pe1 1XB
Saturday 5th august 2017, 11am & 4pm, Tours will start from st John's Church in Cathedral square
The FuTure museum oF Now
pICKers, pluCKers aNd pa p CKers
Charley genever and Keely mills
The Future Museum of Now is a look at everyday objects of the early 21st century, presented as an exhibition of the future conceived by Claudia and fellow artist Steph May. In the year 2525 the world is a very different place and much has been lost – the purposes of the objects on display, from the viewpoint of a future archaeology, are as mysterious as ancient finds are to us now. As memory has been largely lost in this imagined future, interpretations as to the use and significance of objects are free from the present and are open reflections on what
might have been, based on the experiences imagined possible in the distant future. Language and concepts of the present are largely incoherent to the inhabitants of this future, although some rituals and ideas have been survived, but only as disjointed parts, hearsay, distant cultural memories. Free, booking not required. “We wished to create a darkly humorous vision of the distant future based on our sense of the world as it is now. We hoped it might generate some reflection on what the future could look like and why that might be.” – Claudia Friend
Sun 6th august, 1pm-3pm, The green Backyard, oundle rd, peterborough pe2 8aT
Sun 6th august, 3pm-5pm, Fletton lakes (Car park), off Fletton high street, peterborough
peTerbOrOugh IN TraNSITION debaT eba e ebaT
pay pa ay IT FOrW rWard rW Ward – lITTer pICK
peterborough in Transition
Poets Keely Mills and Charley Genever have been mentoring six new female poets from Peterborough. Together they have been writing their stories of Peterborough’s backbone of seasonal workers; pickers, pluckers, and packers.
The poets will explore the role of the seasonal and migrant worker in the city – how this has affected them as individuals and as a community over the last 100 years. They will write poems on what Peterborough will or could be post-Brexit, and how the female role is represented in all of this. The work created from the residency will result in a one-off installation that the audience can experience at two different events. Will you notice the t-shirts, tote bags, and a mini-bus? Come and jump on board the Pickers, Pluckers and Packers bus as it parks up in St Johns Square and listen to their stories. Or, join us on a special bus tour at 11am or 4pm. Free entry, booking is essential for the bus tour – visit https://pickerspluckersandpackers.eventbrite.com.
Join Peterborough in Transition for a coffee at The Green Backyard, where we will be discussing what the group is and how they are encouraging resilience, relinquishment and restoration in our area, now and in the future. People can book a place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
soul happy w wellbeing Centre
lITTer pICK Welcome to another opportunity to 'Pay it Forward' and to give back to your local community (whilst getting some fresh air too), this time in the form of a litter pick! Litter pickers, gloves and bags are provided. Call 07814 393099 if you want to get involved.
Thurs 10th august, 11am-4.30pm, allia, Future Business park pe2 8aN, behind the posh
leTs phaCe IT, T, where T wIll we Be lIvINg IN The FuTure? phaCe
WOrKShOp A creative workshop for 15-19 year olds using photography, sound and architecture to explore: • Who will we be living with in the future and how? • Will our houses look the same? • How do we ensure that we still have green spaces?
There will be two follow up workshops on other Planet B themes in August. visit www.phace.it for further details. Booking essential. Free event.
Thurs 10th august, 3.30pm, John Clare Theatre, peterborough pe1 1sQ
aNImaTI ma oN: prINCess maTI moNoNoKe (pg) peterborough arts Cinema
FIlM On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime. Directed by renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki, this animation has broken a number of box office records in its native Japan.
The Pickers,Pluckers and Packers poets will also be performing at Planet B events: Question Time Cabaret and Write Club.
INTERvIEW WITH PLANET B ARTIST ClaudIa FrIeNd
Essentially a statement on the ecological devastation brought on by human advancement, the story follows the battle between Princess Mononoke and a mining village. The film's strength lies in its refusal to paint either its arguments or its characters in black and white: There are no pure heroes, no clear-cut villains and no pat answers. £6 adult, £4 under 16. Family ticket (1 adult, 2 children £12). Pay on the door.
Claudia works with recycled materials to highlight issues of waste and environmental damage, creating unusual objects and installations with found objects to put into a wider context the value of what is usually simply thrown away. Q. What do you want people to take from your work on Planet B? A. A wry take on the present in the light of the future, that is presented in the Future Museum of Now. Saturday 5th august, 11am-3pm, Cathedral square, peterborough pe1 1XB , Ne1 3pe
‘Feed The 1,000’ CommuNITy NIT pICNIC NITy
Q. How can art have a positive impact? A. By dispensing with dry facts and figures and tapping into our imagination, which is where change can take place. Art can take concepts around the themes of sustainability and make them interesting and accessible, allowing for a wider view.
Q. How can art have a positive impact? A. Art can speak to us as individuals with starkness and with humour and perhaps give us a space, a moment for reflection on what we already deeply know but perhaps don't always want to admit. Q. What attracted you to this commission? A. I saw it as bringing together art and 'activism'.
peCT, Cross Keys homes, Foodcycle, wes w traven Big local,
COMMuNITy pICNIC Turns out there is such a thing as a free lunch - and one with extra tips to take away too! This community picnic in Cathedral Square will attempt to feed 1,000 people to highlight how much food is wasted by the average family each year. The event will dish out portions of delicious food all created from ingredients that are often thrown away. PECT has been chosen to be a
Sainsbury’s ‘Discovery Community’ as part of the supermarket’s Waste less, Save more campaign. The Waste Less, Save More team and volunteers will be on hand to serve up advice and recipe ideas for using leftovers and cutting food bills. visitors will be encouraged to share their own ideas on reducing food waste. There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day!
Sat 5th august, 12noon-4pm, various routes around the city centre culminating in Cathedral square
whaT ha housINg CrIsIs? haT scottee & Queer peterborough
COMMuNITy dINNer Three caravans* will claim their place on Metal’s car park for one week this August. Six queer artists will live, work and make together. Trading their art for home grown fruit and vegetables the group will invite Peterborough’s people to eat, talk and debate social issues with them across four community meals. The commune will be open to the public from 8am-8pm each day drop in for a cuppa, some free art and punchy conversation. You are invited to a community dinner at Metal to discuss the UK’s ‘so-called housing’ crisis. Over dinner we’ll discuss
prOCeSSION The Beast is a large scale mobile performance through the city. Operated by people from across the globe who chose to live and work in Peterborough, The Beast celebrates the vital role these workers play in keeping the city’s ‘machines’ working. Concerns about a post–Brexit future are at the forefront of many people’s minds, particularly for migrant workers and their families who have built a life here. Francis’ processions embody the romance of epic journeys, depicting a tribe of travellers from another place exercising their freedom of movement. This fictitious narrative of the nomad is present in the work, but it also highlights the reality of the immigrant experience and their unpredictable future in the UK. The route of The Beast is shrouded in mystery – bound by the needs of
Mon 7th august, 7pm-9pm, metal at Chauffeur’s Cottage, st peter’s road pe1 1yX
social housing, right to buy schemes, homelessness, homeowners, travellers, luxury flats and property developers. Come listen to a bunch of artists, local people and estate agents talk about the crisis politicians keep banging on about. PLUS! Free vegetarian dinner! Made from home grown vegetables, allotment producers and back gardens across Peterborough! To book a Free place at the meal visit www.pect.org.uk/PlanetB or call 01733 893077. *If you’d like to donate your homegrown produce to the meal in exchange for art for your home, get in touch email@example.com
Weds 9th august, 7pm-9pm, metal at Chauffeur’s Cottage, st peter’s road pe1 1yX
Bored oF BreXIT? scottee & Queer peterborough the people as to what deliveries need to be made. To witness this spectacle, keep your eyes peeled on Facebook @PlanetBPeterB. “My wife is Polish as are many of my friends. There is a real possibility that we may face separation as a result of Brexit. Should this happen the social fabric of my life would be torn, which is exactly what would happen in Peterborough and nationally, if communities and loved ones are prised apart by Brexit.” Francis Thorburn
We want to hear from all - whether for, against and confused about what happens after we leave. We want to get past talking about politics and talk about what post-Brexit Peterborough looks like. Will we all be friends again? Will we have to stop French kissing?
VegaN brINg aNd Share pICNIC (helpINg The hOMeleSS) soul happy w wellbeing Centre
COMMuNITy dINNer Are you bored of hearing about Brexit? Does Brexit actually mean Brexit? Or has this Brexit malarkey brought some interesting topics to the forefront?
Thurs 10th august, 6.30pm-8.30pm, st John’s green (near Cathedral square)
Come listen to a bunch of locals, artists, Europeans and English folk chew the fat over the continent. PLUS! Free vegetarian dinner! Made from home grown vegetables, allotment producers and back gardens across Peterborough! To book a Free place at the meal visit www.pect.org.uk or call 01733 893 077. *If you’d like to donate your home-grown produce to the meal in exchange for art for your home, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come along to this wonderful (bring and share) picnic on St Johns Green and meet fellow vegans and vegetarians. Bring a couple of vegan items or a dish to share and, together, we feast and socialise! Here is the twist... We will be inviting the homeless to join us for the picnic... AND give them all the surplus food at the end of the event too! This event is free to attend. (Suggested donation of £1-2 each to cover the Soul Happy Wellbeing Centre venue (PE1 1NA - if it rains) and the tea and coffees provided too.
Thurs 10th august, 7pm, The ostrich Inn, peterborough pe1 2ra
drINK aNd draw draWINg SeSSION A special Planet B themed Drink and Draw. Everyone is welcome to come to The Ostrich Inn for a drink and a draw – we welcome all skill levels! So don’t be shy! Meet fellow artists in a welcoming, non-judgmental, chilled environment. Free. No need to book.
Planet B – Programme 17
16 Planet B – Programme Thurs 10th August, 7pm-10pm (incl post show discussion), John Clare Theatre, Peterborough PE1 1SQ
I, Daniel Blake (15) Peterborough Arts Cinema
Film Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a 59-yearold widowed carpenter who must rely on welfare after a recent heart attack leaves him unable to work. Despite his doctor's diagnosis, British authorities deny Blake's benefits and tell him to return to his job. As Daniel navigates his way through an agonizing appeal
process, he begins to develop a strong bond with a destitute, single mother (Hayley Squires) who's struggling to take care of her two children. I, Daniel Blake is a 2016 drama film directed by Ken Loach and written by Loach's frequent collaborator Paul Laverty. £6 adult, £4 under 16. Pay on the door.
Friday 11th August, 7pm- 9pm, Metal at Chauffeur’s Cottage, St Peter’s Road PE1 1YX
Should we stop having Children? Scottee & Queer Peterborough
Community Dinner The world is getting crowded; people are living longer and it has become the norm to have three or more children. With food poverty, global warming and our oceans full of plastic we ask - is it time we stopped having children? Come join a bunch of artists, parents and those who’ve chosen to not have children for a community meal at Metal. PLUS! Free
vegetarian dinner! Made from home grown vegetables, allotment producers and back gardens across Peterborough! To book a FREE place at the meal visit www.pect.org.uk or call 01733 893077. *If you’d like to donate your homegrown produce to the meal in exchange for art for your home, get in touch with email@example.com.
Fri 11th August, 10am-4.30pm followed by drinks, Anglia Ruskin University, Guild House, Oundle Road, Peterborough PE2 9PW
Relinquishment – A Planet B Day Gathering
PECT, Metal and The Green Backyard, supported by Anglia Ruskin University
Day Gathering Join us for Planet B’s Day Gathering to explore together ways we can adapt to the realities of climate change and think in new ways about what this means for us and how we live. Less of a conference, more of a gathering with headline input from Tony Juniper - by film - (campaigner, writer, sustainability advisor and leading British environmentalist), Professor Dom Kniveton (Professor of Climate Science & Society - Geography, Sussex Centre for Migration Research, International Development) and Maddy Harland (Editor and co-founder of Permaculture magazine). There will be a series of World Café style sessions throughout the day culminating in a panel to be decided by the flow of the day and the input of the gathering. With a tour of The Green Backyard, lunch provided and participatory artwork from the Planet B artists, this free event will seek to bring together the thoughts and feelings of the two week Planet B programme. To book your place, visit www.planetbdaygathering.eventbrite.com.
Saturday 12th August, 12pm-2pm, Metal at Chauffeur’s Cottage, St Peter’s Road PE1 1YX
Interview with Planet B artist Francis Thorburn Francis is a Glasgow based artist working with performance and sculpture. He creates mobile, processional performances, which use sculptural devices to head the journey. He wants to fascinate and capture the audiences’ attention with the absurd and the extravagant, through ritualized action and epic machines. Q. What do you want people to take from your work on Planet B? A. When I make a project, I often use the work as a tool to playfully stretch mainstream models and encourage alternative options and choices. For Planet B the focus is to challenge our consumption habits and our current social and political landscape in an attempt to re-humanize the conversations about climate change, future migration and immigrants living in the UK. Q. Why is the combination of art and sustainability an ideal one? A. People respond to art. Some people love it and some people hate it. But it’s an open, challenging, playful and diverse space to discuss any subject. The problems we will face in climate change will require active engagement on the global scale. Art is a good way to get people thinking about the issues realistically and creatively.
Debate We’d like to invite children, young adults and the taller people who are responsible for them to a tea party at Metal. Over banana bread, fizzy water, sugary tea and home made biscuits we’ll talk about the world! We’ll discuss big words like ‘economy’ and ‘environment’ and hear what sort of
world you would like to grow up in - a poor world? A rich world? Or a happy world? This event is open to anyone who identifies as a child - we think 4-10 year olds will get the most from it. To book a FREE place at the meal visit www.pect.org.uk or call 01733 893077.
Keely Mills has performed at 100s of events, and has been Peterborough Poet Laureate. Her work is sensual and deceptively confrontational. She is not afraid to transform how poetry is created, her poems include other voices and reach people who did not even know they liked poetry. Q. What do you want people to take from your work on Planet B? A. To be inspired by the people around them and to be able to give thanks to those people who produce the food that goes onto their tables and to be proud of Peterborough's standing in production in general. Q. Why is the combination of art and sustainability an ideal one? A. Many artists work in sustainable ways already, so recycling, reusing and sharing their resources and skills as it’s just a natural part of their tool kit. Most artists too want to point a magnifying glass to what is affecting us today and what might impact on us in the future and not being sustainable is one of the biggest subjects that artists want to focus that microscope on.
Q. What attracted you to this commission? A. I applied for this commission because I was attracted to the activist side of the festival. It’s a rare opportunity to be overtly political in my approach to a project. In my opinion it’s as important as ever for artists to engage with social and political issues.
Q. How can art have a positive impact? A. That is a wide question and I am bit blinded by art because I work in
Question Time Cabaret
that world and I see it having a positive impact all the time. Whether it’s the shy young man I met on Monday in a year 7 class who stood up and talked in front of his classmates for the first time, or the people who have hugged me and cried when I have read a poem about my dad, that has then made them call their loved ones. Or its people making pledges to fly less or to plant more food, after they have watched a play that looks at flooding. Or is it just that without any art, whether that be The Beatles, soap operas or Grayson Perry, life would be very dull and for most people not a nice world to be in. Q. What attracted you to this commission? A. Having the chance to work with Charley Genever, focusing on the themes of Planet B, Stretching the poetry art form and helping to support some new talent in Peterborough.
Sat 12th August, 2pm, Peterborough Cathedral, Peterborough PE1 1XS
Drop in The Ocean
Cabaret Question Time Cabaret is a fun, rowdy, political knees-up. A night of hilarious, naughty and gutwrenching performances from some of the UK’s hottest talents, plus an interactive Question Time style panel with Britain’s foremost journalists and activists. All artist and speakers will be responding to themes of climate change, migration and protest. Acts and speakers include… Timberlina: Glamorous bearded wonder who sings songs of joyous eco-woe fused with alt-drag, blues and good old rock n roll. Bridget Minamore: Poet, journalist, pop culture lover and loud talker. Maya Goodfellow: Writer and researcher,
her work focuses on UK politics, immigration, gender and 'race’. Pickers, Pluckers, Packers: Brand-new poetry from Peterborough’s wordsmiths. Sybil and Phylis: Mischief from Peterborough’s surrealist cleaning ladies. Free Entry (booking essential, donations on the door). To book, visit www.questiontimecabaret.eventbrite.com or call 01733 893077. #questiontimecabaret “Question Time Cabaret will be nothing like the actual Question Time. Instead of shouting loudly in a room full of people who disagree with you we will showcase some of the most exciting artists and activists who are actually changing society for the better.”
Workshop & Performance
Interview with Scottee Scottee is an artist who lives by the seaside in Essex. Scottee's work is often about outsiderness; race, sexuality, class, age and gender, creating spaces where the perceived underdog is celebrated, at the forefront and no longer ignorable - allowing for uncomfortable conversations to happen. In 2010 Scottee won the title of Time Out Performer of the Year , his debut solo tour The Worst of Scottee won Total Theatre Award for Innovation in 2013 and in 2015 he was included on Independent's Rainbow List as one of Britain's most influential LGBTQI+ people. Scottee is not easily definable; artist, troublemaker, loudmouth and attention seeker. His work is live, brash, clumsy and will often leave you a bit annoyed, overwhelmed but never impartial. Q. What do you want people to take from your work on Planet B? A. I want them to understand about the importance of togetherness and also how alternative ways of living shouldn’t be considered these ‘weird, scary things’. Perhaps we – who are eco minded – could learn from some of the social movements of the 70s and more specifically learn from queer radicalism.
Talia Randall spans theatre, poetry, cabaret and comedy. An inventive, adventurous and thoughtful artist, Talia’s work has been called “playful and fascinating” (Sabotage Reviews), “absolutely sublime” (dig.com) and “distinctive” (The Upcoming). Talia has performed at The Roundhouse, The Southbank Centre, Battersea Arts Centre, Bristol Old Vic, Glastonbury, Latitude and The Edinburgh Fringe. Q. How can art have a positive impact? A. We need humour, art and integrity in order to be able to deal with difficult thorny issues. Art should be a mirror that reflects society. Artists aren’t necessarily the ones to come up with the answers to our big problems, but we should reflect things that are happening and we should facilitate people engaging with these things.
Scottee & Queer Peterborough
Interview with Keely Mills
Fri 11th August, 7.30pm-10.30pm, The Undercroft, Serpentine Green Shopping Centre, Hampton, Peterborough PE7 8BE
Interview with artist Talia Randall
Q. What do you want people to take from your work on Planet B? A. I want people to enjoy seeing madcap, heartfelt, insightful performances and debate at Question Time Cabaret. I want us to get in a room together, have a knees-up and chat through some of these big issues
Q. How can art have a positive impact? A. Art can have a positive impact, but it does not have to. The incredible thing about art is its diversity and its ability to have significant impact. In the case of Planet B, it is being used for ‘green’ and ‘social’ agendas. In my opinion it will have a positive impact if the event manages to deepen these conversations in any way.
Is Peterborough Good or Rubbish?
Photo: Mike Massaro
Q. Why is the combination of art and sustainability an ideal one? A. Both are painting a picture of trying to create a space of ‘utopisms’, that’s different from utopia, trying to strive for ‘betterness’ for everyone, in the fairest, most ethical way. Sustainability needs to be able to tell the world, quite quickly, how to sort itself out and art is a really good way of doing that.
Q. How can art have a positive impact? A. I don’t know. I don’t know it can. It just feels like the right thing to do. It feels like the only thing I’m good at, so I’ll give it a go, and if it works then brilliant! Q. What attracted you to this commission? Making work in Peterborough, I’m currently already in residence at Metal Peterborough this year covering queerness and Peterborough and the curation of radical queer cultures in the city. And so it felt like it would fit really well into the body of work, be beneficial to the people in Peterborough and it’s a really nice way to spend a week in August, to tell the truth!
Inspired by the results of a recent United Nations climate summit, which highlighted the fact that many of us have been carrying out small environmental actions, with little hope that it makes a difference. International Energy Agency figures show that ‘billions of collective small actions add up to something massive.’ So if we all do our bit, small things can be the difference. Drop In The Ocean seeks to harness the ‘collective effort’ idea and then celebrate it.
Drop into the Clutter Bank to take out your Earth Share - floated through the Peterborough Stuff Exchange. Not sold, but given to people. Once you have a share in the earth - you have responsibility to it. Earth Shares aim to encourage people to come together to do something practical for our environment. Or, join shareholders for a celebratory performance, which features participant shareholders performing with two local choirs.
Festival at a glance PLANET B: Sat 29th July – Sat 12th August 2017 Launch event: Sat 29th July
Information correct at the time of going to print. Please check event information online before setting off.
Dates & Times
Fri 28th July, 7.30pm
Planet B warm-up event: Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Film Club Frame
Metal at Chauffeurs Cottage
Sat 29th July, 11am-5.30pm
Peterborough International Friendship Day
Extended Hands with support of Peterborough City Council
Sat 29th July, 12noon-10.30pm
The Green Backyard and The Smugglers Festival
The Green Backyard
Weds 2nd August, 7.30pm
Thurs 3rd August, 6.30 for a 7pm start Tomorrow (Demain)
Peterborough in Transition
Metal at Chauffeurs Cottage
Thurs 3rd-Tues 8th August, 114pm (5th Aug also open after Generation Zero)
The Future Museum of Now
St John’s Square
Thurs 3rd, 1.30pm-4pm (young people aged 8 – 18)
There is No Wealth But Life
WestRaven Community Café FREE
Fri 4th August, 10.30am-1pm (16+)
There is No Wealth But Life
WestRaven Community Café FREE
Fri 4th-Mon 7th August, 12noon-5pm.
Fri 4th August, 7pm-7.40pm
Pay it Forward - Flash Mob Mass
Soul Happy Wellbeing Centre
Meditation Fri 4th August, 8pm
Becky Owen-Fisher, presented by Lamphouse Theatre
£8 or £5 student and under 25s
Sat 5th August, 11am-3pm
‘Feed the 1,000’ Community Picnic
PECT, Cross Keys Homes, Foodcycle, WestRaven Big Local
Sat 5th August 2017, 11am & 4pm
Pickers, Pluckers and Packers
Charley Genever and Keely Mills Tours will start from St John's Church in Cathedral Square
Sat 5th August, 12noon-4pm
Various routes around the city centre culminating in Cathedral Square
Sat 5th August, 8pm
Becky Owen-Fisher, presented by Lamphouse Theatre
£8 or £5 student and under 25s
Sun 6th August, 1pm-3pm
Peterborough in Transition Debate
Peterborough in Transition
The Green Backyard
Sun 6th August, 3pm-5pm
Pay it Forward – Litter Pick
Soul Happy Wellbeing Centre
Fletton Lakes (Car Park)
Mon 7th August, 7pm-9pm
What Housing Crisis?
Scottee & Queer Peterborough
Metal at Chauffeur’s Cottage FREE
Weds 9th August, 7pm-9pm
Bored of Brexit?
Scottee & Queer Peterborough
Metal at Chauffeur’s Cottage FREE
Thurs 10th August, 11am-4.30pm
Lets PHACE It, where will we be living in the future?
Allia, Future Business Park
Thurs 10th August, 3.30pm
Animation: Princess Mononoke (PG)
Peterborough Arts Cinema
John Clare Theatre
£6 adult, £4 under 16. Family ticket (1 adult, 2 children £12)
Thurs 10th August, 6.30pm-8.30pm Vegan Bring and Share Picnic (Helping the Homeless)
Soul Happy Wellbeing Centre
St John’s Green
FREE (Suggested donation of £1-2)
Thurs 10th August, 7pm
Drink and Draw
The Ostrich Inn
Thurs 10th August, 7pm-10pm (incl post show discussion)
I, Daniel Blake (15)
Peterborough Arts Cinema
John Clare Theatre
£6 adult, £4 under 16
Friday 11th August, 7pm- 9pm
Should we stop having children?
Scottee & Queer Peterborough
Metal at Chauffeurs Cottage
Fri 11th August, 10am-4.30pm followed by drinks
Relinquishment – A Planet B Day Gathering
PECT, Metal and The Green Backyard, supported by Anglia Ruskin University
Anglia Ruskin University
Fri 11th August, 7.30pm-10.30pm
Question Time Cabaret
Saturday 12th August, 12pm-2pm
Is Peterborough Good or Rubbish?
Scottee & Queer Peterborough
Metal at Chauffeurs Cottage
Sat 12th August, 2pm
Drop in The Ocean
Join in the conversation: #PlanetBPeterB • @PlanetBPeterB • See the full programme: www.pect.org.uk/PlanetB Metal at Chauffeurs Cottage, St Peter's Road, Peterborough. PE1 1YX.
Fletton Lakes, off Fletton High Street, Peterborough.
Cathedral Square, Church St, Peterborough.
Allia, Future Business Centre, London Rd, Peterborough PE2 8AN.
The Green Backyard, Oundle Rd, Peterborough PE2 8AT.
John Clare Theatre, 36-40 Broadway, Peterborough PE1 1SQ.
The Stoneworks, 8B Church St, Peterborough PE1 1XB.
St John’s Green, (near Cathedral Square).
Vivacity Shop, Exchange Street, Queensgate Centre PE1 1NT.
The Ostrich Inn, 17 North St, Peterborough PE1 2RA.
City Gallery, Priestgate, Peterborough PE1 1LF.
Anglia Ruskin University, Guild House, Oundle Road, Peterborough PE2 9PW.
WestRaven Community Café, Hampton Court, Peterborough PE3 7LD.
The Undercroft, Serpentine Green Shopping Centre, Hampton, Peterborough PE7 8BE.
St John’s Square, Peterborough PE1 1XB.
Peterborough Cathedral, Peterborough PE1 1XS.
The precariat 21
Why I do it
organically Who are the real ‘extremists’, the organic farmers or those who use toxic chemicals so liberally? asks Guy Watson founder of Riverford Organic Farmers.
ith a degree in science and tractors that are guided by GPS, I wholeheartedly embrace the IT revolution, I hate woolly thinking and I avoid hippies. But I still find that what feels right is a good aid to making good decisions.
The kiss of death Throughout April, while most fields in Devon assumed the deep green lushness of spring growth, some developed a different tinge. It starts with a shade or two off the surrounding green, as if the crop is suffering disease or nutrient deficiency, but over a week, as the pale green turns yellow and then brown, the tell-tale slow kiss of death from the herbicide glyphosate becomes unmistakable. Travelling through this landscape patchworked with unnatural death disturbs my vision of what it is to be a farmer: a custodian of nature and the land. I don’t expect my unease to be shared by many hard-pressed farmers struggling to make a living in commodity markets; I acknowledge that it has an emotional element, rooted in the same ground that has sustained my determination to farm organically through 30 years of trial and tribulation. There’s nothing wrong with emotion as a guide for personal behaviour, but it can be unhelpful or even dangerous when used as a tool for persuading others, forming policy or running a business. But over those 30 years, much of what felt wrong in farming has turned out to be wrong for very tangible, logical and scientific reasons. What brings me back to the debate and makes me such a big mouth is frustration with the tendency to select evidence to support a commercial bias; something our agrochemical industry are masters of.
Glyphosate; usage & price At about £5 per acre for a 2 litre dose, the cost of the “world’s favourite herbicide” has fallen hugely since first being patented by Monsanto in 1974. Back then it was too expensive to use unless you had a very serious problem with invasive, perennial weeds, which would require exhaustive cultivation and a “bastard” (a threemonth summer fallow period followed by ploughing). Not all tradition is good; excessive cultivation and the associated lack of ground cover is bad for the soil, disrupting the delicate ecosystem, increasing erosion and releasing carbon dioxide. The wonderful thing about glyphosate is that it kills parts other herbicides don’t reach: the chemical is translocated to every active part of the plant, including the roots, where it disrupts protein synthesis, leading to
death without the need for cultivation. In the 1970s glyphosate was twice the cost of ploughing. Today, the cost has fallen to about a fifth; it’s become a commercial “no brainer” for farmers. Maize needs a deep, fine, but loose seedbed, so those yellowing fields, dying in preparation for farmers to sow maize in late Spring, will almost all be ploughed as well anyway. If done well, ploughing can give good control of most weeds in a crop as vigorous as maize. But why take the trouble and risk when glyphosate’s so cheap. In my early days as an organic grower I really missed glyphosate. All my training as a modern farmer suggested that burning diesel as I dragged weeds around the field while repeatedly beating up my soil in a war of attrition with perennial weeds was stupid, and possibly worse for the environment. I’ve always subscribed to the principle of working with nature, but I’m not a dogmatist or a luddite; based on what I was told at the time, the selective use of glyphosate seemed a pragmatic compromise. Given a free rein to write my own organic standards they would have included the occasional use of glyphosate. Forty years on from my days at agricultural college, it turns out that my lecturers and the chemical salesman’s patter were not strictly correct. There’s now strong evidence that glyphosate is neither safe for users nor for the environment. History has told this story again and again – so-called ‘safe’ pesticides are later banned. To be organic sometimes feels extreme. Yet I am completely confident that time will reveal the ‘extremists’ are not the organic farmers, but those who use mind-bogglingly toxic chemicals with such casual abandon; that science will justify those who embraced ecology, rather than those who exploited incomplete knowledge of how to disrupt life without the humility to appreciate the risks. The true cost of two litres of glyphosate simply isn’t reflected in that £5 price tag. Guy Watson founded Riverford Organic Farmers in 1987 and now runs a nationwide organic delivery service.
“There’s now strong evidence that glyphosate is neither safe for users nor for the environment”
the precariat 23
22 the precariat
he June election campaign and the unfolding of Brexit drove home what the scrapping of the UK's Department for Energy and Climate Change by the Conservative government revealed; that global ecological challenges aren't a political priority. While the British economy is facing great uncertainties, economic growth will likely be presented as the panacea for coping with the bumpy road ahead. But is this fixation with growth sustainable? Recently I over-inflated the tyre on my bicycle until the inner tube burst. Closely following the specifications printed on the tyre, I was confident that I was operating within the safe margins. “Just a bit more air”, I thought, pumping hard. “The harder the tyre, the faster I can cycle”, I thought. However, I wasn't taking into account that as tyres age with wear and tear, the rubber becomes brittle, and what was previously thought to be a safe upper limit, wasn't safe any more. The inner tube of a bicycle tyre is easily fixed, which makes it a rather unsatisfactory analogy to the current state of the planet. We pump oil out of the increasingly hard-to-reach fossil layers, we pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we pump freshwater out of the ground faster than it can be replenished and we pump money out of our communities and into the one percent's financial stratosphere. With our lifestyles dependent on extractive industries, planetary limits have been increasingly pushed or exceeded. While local decimations of forests and wildlife forced people to migrate throughout human history, we were blissfully unaware that there were global limits until relatively recently. At the Club of Rome meeting in 1972, the paradoxical doctrine of infinite economic growth on a finite planet was brought into mass public awareness. Nonetheless, in the more than five decades that have passed since, the prevailing economic paradigm has remained fixated on growth. It has been perpetuated not only in the global market, but also in the universities and colleges that teach future generations of economists. As a result, the global ecological crisis is being exacerbated. Voices calling for an end to economic growth have become louder in the last few years, while advocating 'Degrowth', defined as the “downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet”. The Degrowth movement gained momentum especially in several European countries, where international Degrowth Conferences in Paris in 2008, Barcelona in 2010, Venedig in 2012 and Leipzig and Budapest in 2014 and 2016 respectively, were key for enabling activists and academics to converge and discuss, develop and refine the discourse. While there is a wide spectrum of political positions and priorities, proponents of Degrowth argue for alternative models of organising society and the economy. While some merely believe that a slowing down of economic growth is inevitable, others actively
promote the goal of stalling or shrinking economies, at least in the global North. There is no blueprint for what a Degrowth society could look like. The principal measure of a thriving economy is the extent to which citizens lead good lives. The Gross Domestic Product may be replaced by wellbeing indicators which are determined by research around human needs. Resource flows would be characterised by regional interconnected circular economies that extend and regenerate product lifecycles. On a societal level, the proposed changes would go far beyond superficial fixes. For example, different work patterns and ways to organise time would allow citizens of a Degrowth society to increase their self-sufficiency, tend to 'commons' resources, and engage in local democratic decision-making processes. The Degrowth movement is characterised by regional differences and priorities. In the global South, the discourse tends to revolve around critiques of mainstream development models. For example, Colombian-American scholar Arturo Escobar's post-development theory holds that even new 'softer' forms of development constitute a form of cultural imperialism. Alternative pathways include the Ecuadorian concept of Buen Vivir ('the good life'), which is informed by indigenous ways of life, and Indian feminist scholar Vandana Shiva's anti-corporate activism, preserving and building up seedbanks to secure future food supplies. Meanwhile, in the global North, a radical decrease of production and consumption is a priority. Current affluent lifestyles cannot be afforded or aspired to, as they lead to ecological disaster in the long term. This view is summarised by Nico Paech: “Global justice ... can neither be a project of cultural homogenisation, nor can it be reached on the economic level alone. It is not the South that has to be 'developed', but the North that has to be materially disarmed.” In the United Kingdom, there is no discernible movement or widespread public discourse around Degrowth. This is perhaps surprising, given that a governmental advisory body, the Sustainable Development Commission, published the report 'Prosperity Without Growth' not long before the Commission closed down in 2011. At the core of the report is the argument that in the UK, as well as globally, the benefits of economic growth have been at best unequally distributed. There is a need to redefine prosperity to guide the economy away from being fixated on growth, and place well-being and flourishing within ecological limits at its centre. Building a movement around Degrowth in the UK and its devolved countries could create counter-narratives in two important ways: challenging prevailing neoliberal economic doctrines that drive the global environmental crisis, and strengthening solidarity between European grassroots movements around eco-social values. On both counts, the timing is just right. @svaenj
Degrowth Replacing flat-tyre economics
Is it time to produce less and consume less, asks Svenja Meyerricks
The art of letting go Is hanging on to our way of life really an option, asks Dougald Hine.
he SUN IS out, the sky is a cloudless blue and the kids around me on the train are talking football. On mornings like this, it’s hard to hold onto the sense that we are in trouble, let alone that this trouble might be deep enough to derail our whole way of living. Even the numbers involved are underwhelming: two degrees of warming by the end of the century, three degrees, four… We’ve heard all the warnings, and still it is hard to equate these numbers with disaster, when they are smaller than the variations on the weather map from one day to the next. The year before last, I got a Facebook message from a Sami woman, a reindeer herder whose family follows the animals north each summer across the mountains from Sweden to Norway. A few days later, we were sitting drinking coffee in a meeting room in Stockholm. She talked about a journey to fix up her uncle’s cabin in early May, travelling on a winter road, the kind that runs across a frozen river. The river is always frozen until the third week of May - you can count on it - but this time, when they get there, it already thawed. There’s no getting across. Further north, the same summer, they come to a mountain where they always store food in the ice of a glacier, but this year the glacier is gone. In July, the temperature stays over 30 for three straight weeks as the reindeer
huddle, miserable in the heat. This is not the future, not a warning about what happens if we fail: this is how things are, already. If your life is bound to the seasons, you don’t need charts or projections to know that something is going badly wrong. Our lives are bound to other things. Where we live, you can change seasons almost as easily as channels on the TV. Summer or winter are only ever an air ticket away. We see strawberries in Tesco in December and the strangeness of this hardly registers. Our liberation from the constraints of the seasons is assumed to be progress, but it might be wiser to call it an illusion. All that food in the supermarket is coming from places where the seasons count. We still live off soil and sun and rain. There is no question of going ‘back to the land’, because we never left: we just stretched the chains that link us to it so far, we lost sense of what lies at the other end. For now, a sharp tug on the supply chain means an unwelcome bulge in our grocery bills, a corner to cut somewhere else in the household budget. Elsewhere, the consequences cut deeper. The Arab Spring of 2011 started when Tunisian police confiscated the fruit stall of street-trader Mohamed Bouazizi. He burned himself to death in a desperate protest against corruption, but the waves of protest that followed across North Africa and the Middle East were fuelled by years of sharply rising food prices. The uprising that
preceded the brutal war in Syria came on the heels of five years of drought. This is how climate change arrives, not as a clean case of cause and effect, but tangled up with the cruelties of dictators and the profits made from commodity market speculation, washing up in boats on package holiday coastlines. I don’t mean this as a call to guilt or despair. If you write about climate change, there’s a pressure to be upbeat, to talk about changing lightbulbs and the falling cost of solar panels. Not long ago, Britain went a day without burning coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. These things are also part of the story. I want to tell you, too, about all the knowledge that is barely on the maps we were given at school. Like how, even today, only 30 percent of the world’s food is produced within the agro-industrial system, while half of it is grown by peasant farmers, people who still have one foot in ways of making life work that are older than the fossil fuel economy. A Somerset farmer had three Syrian teenagers sent to him on a scheme: the first morning, they cleared a weedy patch of land in no time, then one lad picked up a handful of soil and squeezes it in his hand. ‘Good humus,’ he said. Those already living with the consequences of climate change are not simply victims, they may yet be carriers of badly-needed knowledge in the tight times ahead. So yeah, I don’t want to doom you out. I just
think we owe ourselves a little sobriety, a willingness to look hard at where we find ourselves and get a sense of what may be at stake. That last bit is tricky: one moment, we’re urged to ‘Save the Planet’ - like the stars of a superhero movie - and the next, there’s a poster behind the Marks & Spencer’s checkout that says, ‘Plan A: Because there is no Plan B.’ And the more times you look at that poster, the more you have to ask, ‘No Plan B for who?’ For M&S and Tesco and strawberries in December and holidays in the Greek islands - or for liveable human existence? Or is that not a distinction we’re willing to consider? Don’t get me wrong: I’ll be stopping in at the supermarket when I pick up my son from nursery this afternoon. It’s just that my Dad can remember when the supermarkets arrived: my Gran would ride half way across Birmingham and back on the buses to claim the free frozen chicken you got on opening day. I can’t pretend the convenience doesn’t suit me. But if we’re really saying the future of our 4.5 billion year old planet is in doubt, then I’m not sure it’s wise to stake everything on getting to hang onto a way of doing things that’s been around for less than a lifetime. Dougald Hine is an author, editor and social entrepreneur who co-founded School of Everything and The Dark Mountain Project, @Dougald
the precariat 25
24 The precariat
Property is Theft! Private landlords putting profit over safety, gentrification and tearing up green space to build new homes - Hazel Perry takes a look at housing in Peterborough and finds we’ve been here before.
hen PierreJoseph Proudhon declared ‘property is theft’ in the mid-nineteenth century, he was referring to the capitalist ownership of the product of somebody else’s labour. But ‘property’ also included housing. This refers to the ‘property’ of the capitalist who exploited the labourer through high rents for profit and controlled all aspects of the building. We only need to look at what happened at the Grenfell Tower to see profit-driven exploitation still applies to housing in the 21st century. Grenfell Tower is a London tower block, where the owner made profits from rent and controlled all aspects of the building, in this case, cladding the outside to make it easier on the eye for the owners of properties in ‘gentrified’ areas nearby. The safety concerns of the less well-off residents were ignored, leading to the devastating fire in which many lives were sadly lost. Peterborough has not escaped the current craze for ‘gentrification.’ Empty office blocks and other buildings are being turned into ‘luxury flats.’ This is not good for Peterborough, a small city with a low-wage economy. Its population rose by 17.7 percent between 2001 and 2011 according to the BBC, and net immigration into the city was 14,670 between 2007 and 2013. No matter what your opinion on immigration, the people who have made our city their home need decent and good jobs. The city needs to provide suitable housing for everybody before looking at ways to attract the better-off from the London and Cambridge over-spill. Peterborough has been a place of population growth and expansion for the past two hundred years. During this time, Peterborough’s urban growth has followed the national pattern of change. As a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, the population doubled due to migration from rural to urban areas between 1801 and 1841. Consequently, people were housed in the cramped buildings occupying the space between Westgate and Cowgate. Away from the centre, speculators built new terraces with space for market gardens and semidetached houses, one to live in the other to rent out for profit. With the arrival of the railways, associated engineering companies and agricul-
“The city needs to provide suitable housing for everybody before looking at ways to attract the better-off from the London and Cambridge over-spill”
tural markets, terraced housing was built during the next 50 years, often by employers. ‘The Barracks,’ built by the Great Northern Railway Company on Lincoln Road, is an example of this. As a result, housing in Peterborough was thought to be plentiful by 1900 with lots of space for recreation grounds and allotments. And in the 1920s, with the drive for homes fit for heroes, the first Council Houses were built in Dogsthorpe Road. Many more followed, encroaching on the green spaces. However, Council Houses provided a home and security for the masses over the following decades and have been an important part of urban community life up until recent years, when policies of selling-off social housing without providing replacements have left the door open to private speculators. So, once again we have people buying up properties and renting them out as private landlords for profit, at the expense of the less well-off. Peterborough’s development as a ‘New Town’ in the 1970s and 1980s came at a time when standards of living were generally higher, people worked to buy more consumables and to secure an economic stability for their families in suburban areas. The plan looked at linking satellite towns with their own industries, housing and shopping facilities to the city centre by the Parkways. The New Town idea came from Ebeneezer Howard, whose theories about social and sustainable cities were developed in the late nineteenth century. New Towns provided a place for communities with enough green space to benefit society. Unfortu-
nately, Peterborough’s New Town dream was never completed and a proposed township at Castor was never finished. Perhaps some of the building proposed today, such as the 2,500 home estate proposed for Castor is the final extension of this, although such a project would impact on the protected site of Castor Hanglands. How long can we continue to sacrifice our green spaces? In this article I have identified two problems: not enough social housing, not enough green space. How do we fix this? In the past five years there has been a resistance to the state of housing in Peterborough as policies have turned back to those of pre-1920s. We have seen among other things: the campaign to save the community garden The Green Backyard from development; the St Michael’s Gate Campaign against tenancies being sold out for profit and Peterborough Squatters Autonomous whose occupation of public buildings looked to draw attention to the plight of homelessness in the city. These actions show the growing awareness of a need for decent housing for all in our communities and that is similarly being acknowledged across the country. But this acknowledgement came too late for the people of Grenfell. Let’s hope the tide is now turning and our councils can concentrate on providing decent housing for all, for the many, not just the few, before another tragedy occurs. Hazel Perry is co-ordinator of Peterborough Radical History Group
hy on earth would anyone work for free? We’re all living for the weekend and striving for the perfect work-life balance, right? But people do, an awful lot of people, it turns out. Something like 21 million people in England volunteered their time for free at least once in 2015 - 2016, with almost 14 million of these volunteering once a month or more. That’s roughly a quarter of the population, all working for free, every month. At The Green Backyard, a community garden in central Peterborough, we are almost all volunteers. In the years I’ve been there I’ve met people volunteering their time for hundreds of different reasons, but the thing they all have in common is a desire for change. That might be change in their own life or for other people, change in the street they live on or change in the world, but whatever the reason they are using their time to make a difference because they want to and they can, not because someone pays them a few coins to care about it at the end of the month. This desire for change, these hopes for something better, they’re not the naïve or futile musings of a bunch of out-of-touch dreamers either, because they’re doing it. We’re doing it. Volunteering contributes billions in donated time each year and that time is a powerful machine that generates tangible, real, actual change. It flies under the radar so often because so often that change is at a human, and therefore non-headline grabbing level. It’s at the level where it’s felt, at the grassroots, where the change is seen on people’s faces rather than on spreadsheets. Lots of small changes, inevitably, add up to some bigger ones, and the social value of volunteering is increasingly being recognised. To head back into the community garden (where volunteers are so often the driving force) for a moment, between 2008 and 2014 the Big
Lottery Fund’s Local Food programme invested £60 million into local food growing projects. Far from pouring cash into something fluffy but ineffectual, a social return on investment study completed by the University of Gloucestershire found that for every £1 invested through the programme an average of £7 was generated in social value. ‘Social value’ is a term that’s sometimes hard to define, but what it means is people eating better and costing their local NHS less money, lower rates of re-offending, reduced childhood obesity, improved mental health and better community integration. Social value looks like prevention rather than cure. At The Green Backyard I’ve seen this first-hand. As individuals I have witnessed people opening up, coming off their medication, making friends, in some cases transforming their whole lives because of what they found there working (for free) on the land. Collectively these efforts add up to something big, in our case something that somehow managed to resist the relentless bulldozer of redevelopment. In 2011 we were told that we would never, ever, get a lease on the land The Green Backyard is on, that sale and building work were imminent. By the time this goes to print we will have signed that lease, the one we were never going to get, and it was entirely volunteer dedication that got us there and kept that small corner of the city green. Volunteering is not just passive do-gooding, it’s one of the most effective forms of activism there is. It is using your time to empower yourself and those around you; it’s showing that we are defined by more than how we earn our crust; it’s shaping the world for the better. Your time is the most precious thing you have, so make it count! Sophie Antonelli is co-founder and vice-chair of The Green Backyard. @greenbackyard
Doing the Maths
Volunteering Facts • Roughly a quarter of the population volunteers regularly • Volunteering in England alone is worth an estimated £45 billion per year in donated time • Regular exercise in a natural environment can cut the risk of suffering from poor mental health by 50 per cent • Research by the Universities of Westminster and Essex suggest that just 30 minutes a week spent tending to an allotment can boost feelings of selfesteem and mood by dissolving tension, depression, anger, and confusion • Gardening can lead to better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility and help to reduce obesity. It can also provide opportunities to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion • Gardening can help dementia sufferers, improving attention, lessening stress and agitation and even helping with sleep patterns • A report published in February 2016 shows that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental ill-health and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression • Reducing physical inactivity by just one per cent a year over a five-year period would save the UK economy just under £1.2bn. If this happened over this five-year period it could save local taxpayers £44 per household • Time among trees has a proven positive impact on reducing stress levels and lowering blood pressure. Research undertaken in Japan, a country of long working days and high suicide rates, reveals that people who immersed themselves in the natural world significantly reduces stress levels and wards off depression
Every £1 invested in local food growing projects that rely on volunteers yields significant social benefits, says Sophie Antonelli.
The prec precA AriAT Ari riAT 27
26 The prec precA AriAT Ari riAT
Brexit Poems by Charley Genever and Keely Mills no title
tHe pHLeGM wordS
I have a stomach the size of a Queen.
I am every tor t y.
Strong and stable, soggied into gloop.
I am the richest toddler at the party, dressed all in blue.
from the bloating. you see, there's so much filth in our food. It has to be sterilised, its all rotting, but we need to eat, and
My head is still attached by a slither of muscle, stretched into fillet steak.
my veins are still red...white and blue.
I burn down our summer fetes,
english through and through.
As the gore spills into inhumane mandates.
what does it mean to be British?
the he meagre pa pay colours their skin to other,
where is our value?
so I sent them back to their own country
dunk your Brexit in your tea, its hotter than you think.
with gambling scares of political fracking.
you don't mean to but you watch it melt anyway.
I kept filling in the gaps with venom-filled molecules.
tell europe these trees are yours and will be yours again.
I can sleep in a stone-built village of distrust
tell them they were spoilt. they need to be spoiled.
where limbs are worth more than our currency.
tell femme fatale farage change is coming.
I will pray for their snot-nosed children as they become gallows
tell your sons and daughters, you did this for them.
at each of the executioner’s clumsy strikes.
you've seen the future. you've been the future.
people are still dying,
Look them in the eye and tell them you have gifted them catastrophe.
but it’s staggering how safe I feel.
tell Gove I can see he's been shaving his nose hairs.
I am not the light that is coming in the morning,
that's good, we'll need them to tie together.
I consume every sky.
rafts when we lose england to the water.
I am a guarantor for the graves of your brothers and sisters,
rising, the water floods, its full of lies, everybody get into the water.
we need you so much more than we don’t,
we are all fucked.
I mean, where else will the budget go?
words by Charley Genever and cut up edit by keely Mills.
words and cut up edit by keely Mills and Charley Genever w
June 14 2017
June 14 2017
Britannia, the martyr of Brexit Britannia's body is pox-marked. Slick with the afterbirth of identification. those who claim, own country, steer us all,
How can we create a different way of living? asks Carly Leonard.
F I pIctUre a future city that I would like to see, these are the things that come to mind. there is a lot of green space and wildlife is abundant. It’s clean and people are healthy and enjoying themselves. people have what they need, they don’t appear to be materialistic and they are sharing more. It’s a diverse community and people are treating each other with fairness and respect. So, that’s the utopia. except, there are two factors to consider.
to fight an imaginary dragon. they toll on her hips, blinding us with flags in the ballot box. Britannia knows they are cutting off her neck. Her children spill out of her guts. they take no tax to ease the hands, now thick with Britannia's blood. that frack-frack-frack-strike-strike-strike. Spit God save the Queen into factories, fields and care homes. Cut their opinions off at the knees. placing our blunted swords in their heads. red spills into newspaper ink. Chants of go back to your hard walls. Hopes dissolve, that is better, Her hands are under the water, wets their language strange till it breaks open her core. words by keely Mills, cut up edit by Charley Genever June 14 2017
the first is that humanity is messy. How would we cope if all of our needs were met and there was nothing to fight against or fight for? there is something a little eerie about a vision of a place that feels too perfect. I think that people need a purpose in order to mobilise and spark ingenuity, so perhaps we need a society in the future where collective societal and environmental challenges are understood and shared. everyone has something different to offer and we have an inbuilt competitiveness that has been exploited well in our current individualistic society. respect for differences of opinion and worldview would continue to be important. However, if the priority was that people were genuinely sharing the responsibility of being custodians of their place (from household, street, town, city, country, continent and planet) then perhaps there would be more that unites us than in our current society. this leads on to the other consideration,
which is that no city exists in a vacuum. If we carry on increasing global temperatures, using up resources and losing species at the rate that we are globally, then the future for the whole planet would look pretty bleak. We are already locked into a period of climate change from the historic release of greenhouse gases. the effects of global increases in temperature are already being felt across the globe and will become more extreme and unpredictable. In our part of the world we are currently cushioned from the worst of many of the primary effects, such as heatwaves and flooding, but the secondary and tertiary impacts, such as spread of disease, famine and conflict are likely to impact upon us for decades to come. this his realit reality is chilling. However, I do have hope that we are at a turning point of collective understanding on this. For too long the discourse has been that the economy comes first and the environment is somehow separate and less important. this is a ludicrous position given what humans need to survive and that everything in our ‘man-made’ world is made from and powered by the environment. attributing cash to ecosystem services a is one way to ensure the environment is valued within the economy. not counting the costs of environmental ‘externalities’ in the economy has got us into this position in the first place! However, I think it is vital to also consider the intrinsic value of nature which we have a duty to protect and, to me, is a big part of what makes life worth living.
Future generations will look back at this defining point in history when we had the knowledge needed to attempt to create a sustainable future for life on earth. What happens next is up to all of us. I am heartened by the global reaction to the US stating its wish to withdraw from the paris aris clima climate agreement. leadership has been shown from those in elected positions around the world, from businesses, individuals and communities who are not willing to accept this morally inexcusable stance. What we now
“Future generations will look back at this as a defining point in history”
need is strong action to accompany the strong words. accepting the enormity of the position we are in is one (huge) thing, working through what we all need to change in order to create a different way of living is another. none of us are immune to contributing to environmental and societal problems through the ways we live. I am looking forward to planet B being a chance to learn and talk more about what we can do collectively for a more hopeful, but still messy, future.