Wednesday, 10 January 2007

World Social Forum: 20th - 25th of January

Just a week and a half to go before the World Social Forum! This is your final opportunity to give me your requests for anything you’d like me to find out there (for more information on the WSF, see the posting called "The Plan", further down this page, and the latest programme at

Here’s my current list of missions:

  • Make contact with youth and student movements from around the world, and find out if they’d like to make links with UK student activists via People and Planet (;
  • Similarly, look out for anyone working on the environmental performance of higher education;
  • Learn more about the perspectives of activists and social movements from the Global South in relation to climate change issues. How do different Southern activists view the international climate negotiations and the efforts of campaigners in wealthier countries who are trying to tackle these issues?
  • Make links with people who are fighting against polluting, oppressive and unfair practices by British companies around the world (probably with a particular focus on oil companies). How can UK campaigners (especially members of the People and Planet network) best support their struggles?

…as well as trying to do some sort of analysis of the whole WSF process and keeping you all updated via the miracle of bloggery. But just in case that isn’t enough to keep me busy, do let me know if there’s anything I can find out for your own campaigns/research/random pointless whims.

Have you ever wished you could rule over Europe with an iron fist, issuing continent-wide dictats on everything from trade to agriculture to household appliances? Well now you can, thanks to the BBC’s new climate change policy game! YOU are the President of the “European Nations”, and have to try to meet carbon reduction targets whilst still pursuing the impossible myth of endless economic growth. Will YOU choose the right policy options to tackle climate change without losing public support or threatening the overarching market-based economic paradigm? Will you win over the rest of the world with your ground-breaking eco-policies, or just screw the planet and try to stage the Olympics on the moon? YOU decide, at:

Is it a useful awareness-raising tool, a massive oversimplification based on dubious assumptions and unrealistic scenarios, or just a bit of fun? I’d be interested in your thoughts. In any case, I do have to admit that I enjoyed playing it, partly for the catharsis (“Yes! Yes! Ban stand-by mode! Invest in wind farms! Tax aviation fuel! Hahahaaaa!”) and partly for the sheer megalomaniacal joy of serving a seventy-year term of office (“Why, yes, I think I WILL stand for another decade in power; the people need me and my bizarre policies on nuclear fusion and retirement at 80”). Plus, I do like the way that, as a world leader, you can only persuade the rest of the world to set carbon reduction targets if you’re willing to set – and meet – targets of your own. Rather than, for example, stating that climate change is the greatest challenge facing the planet and then declining to do much about it because, you know, people like cheap flights and big cars so what can you do? Hey, don’t worry, it’ll mostly be poor people that die, plus some pointless plants and animals that were just cluttering the place up anyway, and there’ll still be enough of the USA above water for me to do some really great highly-paid speaker tours about international diplomacy and peacekeeping. Look at my big legacy! Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Sorry, not sure where that came from.

I’ll try to do another entry (hopefully with fewer rambling tangents) before I set off next week.

Have fun everyone,


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