Taking back control (paper editorial)

This is the editorial from the latest Alternative Estuary paper which is currently at Oxford GreenPrint for printing.

Forests across the world have been burning out of control. These forests are the lungs of our planet – if they go, we’re in grave danger. Our government along with many others is lurching ever further to the right and towards a future of disaster capitalism that will benefit the tiny minority of super rich while the rest of us get screwed. Globally, the picture is looking grim…

Locally, our councils pay mere lip service to environmental concerns while continuing to promote unsustainable economic growth. It’s no good declaring a ‘climate emergency’ while at the same time, granting permission for traffic generating developments such as logistics centres. Parks and open spaces are viewed as assets to be flogged off to developers rather than the green lungs needed to make urban areas liveable. Even our street trees are under threat from councils who can’t be bothered to maintain them properly.

It would be all to easy to give into despair and retreat into some form of escapism to get away from all of this. Which is exactly what those who presume to rule over us and their mates in the media who spin their bullshit and try to distract us with trivia want. The last thing they want are people who can take a step back, see the bigger picture and then decide to take action to change things.

Large scale, radical change has to happen if we are to bring about the just, sane and sustainable world we want. The question is, how can we bring this about? One answer is to start small in your neighbourhood and if that works, link up with others and build from there.

Starting small can mean anything from a community vegetable plot and a street level food bank through to a repair cafe (see inside) or a school uniform bank. The only limit is your imagination! Working collectively at a neighbourhood level brings people together and helps to build the community solidarity we need in these troubled times.

A successful neighbourhood level project will empower those taking part in it. It can serve as an inspiration to other communities to start doing the same. When people in these different projects start to link up with each other to exchange ideas, experiences and skills, they become greater than the sum of their parts. This is the point when we’re really getting into building the new world we want in the shell of the decaying, dystopian one we currently have to endure.

This is exactly what the Alternative Estuary project is about. We hope you will be inspired by what’s in this paper and on our blog to start making a difference where you live:)

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