Yet more politics – joy!

My personal leadership challenge focused on increasing my impact by focusing on the politics of climate change to create more pressure toward sustainable outcomes.  I have completed a lot with regard to my personal habits and work, but not much in this area…I was weirdly disconnected with my politics and sustainability.  Well now not, although I am not sure if I am finding more questions or answers by dealing with political parties and campaign groups!  This is also probably a broader reflection of politics more generally in the UK at the moment 😊

One way I increased my personal impact was by speaking at a fringe event on climate change at a UK party conference.  It was my first experience of a party conference, super interesting with lots of different folk and politicians in attendance.  I spoke about the new climate disclosures, pathways required to achieve 2 degrees and a just transition.  This was a great opportunity, which I am really thankful for.

On a slightly different political tack, I joined my first extinction rebellion protest in London in October.  In my view this group are doing a lot to increase the profile of climate change, although I do not necessarily agree with all their tactics!  It seems a bit odd to target public transport, this is clearly part of the solution.  In any case, it was a good experience, felt proactive and reading the extinction rebellion literature there is much I personally agree with.  The podcast their co-founder had on Luminery with Russell Brand was also super interesting.

The latter has got me thinking about the role of mindfulness in dealing with climate change and sustainability.  Being thoughtful and listening to others, even when they have different views, is key to finding solutions.  It is all to easy to fall into the trap of identity politics and thoughtless simplistic stereotyping.  To increase my positive impacts, I am going to continue to ask questions of myself and others regarding climate change, plus listen mindfully to the answers.  Maybe I will have a chance to start soon by asking the candidates in my local constituency some questions during the general election campaign!

Over and out.

4 thoughts on “Yet more politics – joy!

  1. Thanks for your post Lucas. Politics can be a hugely frustrating arena to engage with, especially these days (!), but when done right democracy is a wonderful way to advance society. The three ways you describes are perfect examples of how to do it right.
    I particularly like your comment about mindfulness and the value of listening with intent.

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  2. This echoed with me. Despite Greta and Extinction, it seems as though “single issue” politics (as though climate change and the rest of the sustainability agenda were just one issue!) have seemed to have little impact on British politics. This seems odd from the middle of Europe where I live, where in the recent Austrian and Swiss elections, parties with a strong focus on ecological issues were the real winners, in some cases with a real chance to enter the governments in their respective countries. Looking at the Green Party in the UK, with the exception of Brighton, the impact on parliamentary political debate seems neglible. Is this the result of populist politics or simply that everything has been drowned out by Brexit? And you raise an important question? What can we do as individuals? As the Climate Strikes take place outside the office window of my collaboration partner in Zurich, that´s not a difficult question to answer. We just need to step outside. But do we need to become more active in making sustainability part of mainstream political debate? And how do we address those who “have other worries” (poverty, discrimination and …) who set priorities differently? Questions, questions ….

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  3. A good Extinction Rebellion codename for you would be “Canary in the Wharf”! From overseas the only coverage we saw was a protester who had to be rescued from atop a plane and angry commuters hauling some guys off the room of a train. Didn’t understand why they targeted train commuters: rather than say cars with only one passenger driving into London. The commuters looked anything but sympathetic with the protesters they were kicking and punching. Targeting airlines makes sense: I was horrified to see my next flight emits almost a ton of carbon. Couldn’t Extinction Rebellion prevent access to the companies that are heavy polluters e.g. block the entrance to a coal-fired power station, or cement kiln etc? Maybe plant some large trees in cement in front of their main gate! That would move the spotlight to polluters. And protesters could continue to target banks that finance coal-fired power stations, as they have protested against Barclays.

    On the political front, we don’t even have a proper green party in my country, given significantly more focus on social issues (particularly inequality, poverty, hunger, crime, gender-based violence, xenophobia etc), than environmental ones. Even though the poor are particularly vulnerable to climate change. And parts of the country are suffering from drought, while others are flooding, including a deadly tornado recently, which is very unusual for us.

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  4. Congratulations on your speech at a party conference! I just watched the political leaders on Question Time where there were so many issues discussed but not climate change. Politics in the UK is just so hostile and fraught at the moment, with no real respect for the party leaders, it was rather depressing. On the other hand, I have been pleasantly surprised by how the parties seem to be competing in the area of climate change e.g. the year by which the UK will have all its energy from renewables. It seems to me that there’s political will (although that may just be promises of an election campaign) so for me this goes back to the challenges in the private sector around financial profit motive, short termism and not pricing externalities. I don’t think these big ticket items can be fixed without government intervention and I haven’t hear much about that in the campaign.

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