Welcome to the newly updated Climate Radio archive. We have made this site fully accessible across a range of devices and also introduced sharing buttons for social media. We hope you enjoy it. Feedback welcome. So far in 2015 we have produced four in-depth Climate Solutions programmes exploring some of the big ideas that are supercharging the climate change agenda. Thanks to Network for Social Change for their support for this series. In 2013 we produced monthly Climate Radio programmes as well as a number of special broadcasts including New Economics Foundation fellow Andrew Simm’s talk “Seeking Goodland”, coverage of the Reclaim The Power protest camp against fracking in Balcombe and an audio document of the Two Degrees festival of climate arts-activism. Thanks to Artists Project Earth, Resonance FM and New Internationalist for their support in 2013.
If we need a democratic revolution to properly deal with climate change, the small country of Iceland (population one third of a million) has a lot to teach us. Here’s a referenced version of the Big Read I wrote recently for The Independent on the country’s experiments in democracy after the ‘pots and pans revolution’.
“I stood in front of the parliament building every lunch-hour and asked people, ‘Can you tell me what has happened in this country? Do you have any idea what we can do?’”
Singer-songwriter, poet and gay rights activist Hordur Torfason turns 70 this year. He remembers how Iceland’s “pots and pans revolution” started from small beginnings just days after the government stepped in and nationalised the country’s three biggest banks in October 2008. As the stock market plummeted so did peoples’ trust in the government. The country’s banking bubble had burst, unemployment had tripled and Torfason recalls rumours that the supermarkets might run out of food.
What started out as daily conversations with ordinary people quickly turned into weekly demonstrations involving thousands. After five months of escalating demonstrations the protesters demands had been met: the government, the head of the Central Bank and the director of the Financial Supervisory Authority had all resigned.
The climate movement is coalescing around a powerful campaigning tool which has proved decisive in previous struggles in history: economic divestment. What does this campaign look like on the ground in the UK? What have the wins been so far? What creative direct action tactics are being employed? How does campaign for a cultural boycott fit in? And can the campaign succeed where the UN talks have failed?
Our guests in this fourth and final show in this mini-series are:
The food system is responsible for around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Moving to a system of small-scale climate-friendly farming (“agroecology”) would drastically reduce these emissions and provide numerous co-benefits into the bargain. Recognising the right of local communities to determine how their food is produced (“food sovereignty”) would protect those already farming in this way against the destructive forces of large-scale agriculture. Your guides for this week’s programme are:
- Vicki Hird, acting policy director with Sustain – The Alliance for Better Food and Farming
- Colin Tudge, author of Good Food for Everyone Forever: A people’s takeover of the world’s food supply and co-founder of the Campaign for Real Farming
- Dr Ian Fitzpatrick, author of of Global Justice Now!’s new report From the Roots Up : how agroecology can feed Africa and
- Humphrey Lloyd of Land Workers’ Alliance and Edible Futures.
Do we need to reform our democracy in order to get serious action on climate change? Is it time to fight for radical reform of our democracy so that it serves people and planet rather than the narrow interests of powerful groups such as the fossil fuel corporations? We look at the fledgling Occupy Democracy movement, the newly emerging campaigns for a 21st Century Great Democratic Reform Act and a citizen-led constitutional convention which could kick the corporate influence out of our government so that it starts to work in the public interest once again. Featuring:
- George Barda, John Sinha, Aisha Dodwell and Julie Timbrell of Occupy Democracy
- Donnachadh McCarthy, former Liberal Democrat vice chair and author of The Prostitute State
- Alexandra Runswick, director of Unlock Democracy
- Dr Alan Renwick, associate professor at Reading University and author of A Citizen’s Guide to Electoral Reform
We are proud to present the first programme in a new mini-series focusing on Climate Solutions. This is actually the first of a two-parter on democracy. This first show takes a look at fracking as a case study which lifts the lid on the corrupting influence of fossil fuel corporations (and the banks that finance them) on our democracy. The imposition of fracking in the UK threatens our basic human rights, hampers our ability to tackle climate change and makes a mockery of the democratic process.
- John Ashton who served as the Special Representative for Climate Change 2006-2012
- Tina Louise Rothery of Residents’ Action on Fylde Fracking, The Nanas & Frack-Free Lancashire
- Kathryn McWhirter and Charles Metcalfe from Frack Free Balcombe Residents’ Association
- Rose Dickinson, campaigner at Friends of the Earth
Next week, we’ll follow up by looking at the newly emerging campaign for a 21st Century Great Democratic Reform Act which would kick the corporate influence out of our government so that it starts to work in the public interest once again.
Owen Jones’ latest book, The Establishment: And how they get away with it (Allen Lane), is a pithy retelling of recent political scandals, studded with dozens of revealing interviews with power brokers.
It has hugely important things to say about the state of our democracy, the shocking pace at which the gains of the post-war settlement (the National Health Service (NHS), the welfare state) are being rolled back, and the extent to which bankers and corporations are now sitting at the very heart of power. It concludes with a call for a democratic revolution and sets out proposals for reform.
I interviewed Owen for New Internationalist online and reviewed his book for the October issue of the magazine. Read the interview here. Climate Radio looked at the rotten state of our democracy and the need for radical reform in a panel discussion in April last year which you can listen to here. Meanwhile Occupy London are calling for an occupation of Parliament Square from 17-26 October. Here’s some advance information about that:
“This is a highly effective, unpreventable form of non-violent dissent – and also a sensual, personal work of art in its own right.”
On Saturday, 12pm-4pm, Resonance FM & Liberate Tate joined forces for an alternative group tour of London’s Tate galleries facilitated by a special FM radio broadcast. Real life and radio combined as participants were guided through Tate Britain, onto the Tate Boat and through the Tate Modern by a sequence of guerilla audio guides created by leading London artists.
You can now listen to the archived broadcast above which includes live interviews with Gulf of Mexico residents testifying about the state Gulf four years after the Deepwater Horizon well was capped; as well as campaigners from the fossil fuel divestment movement and artist Ansuman Biswas. The last half hour was given over to a special panel debate on fossil fuel sponsorship of the arts chaired by writer and researcher Alice Bell.
The broadcast also includes three specially designed sound works explore BP’s controversial sponsorship of the Tate galleries. These were commissioned by Liberate Tate, Art Not Oil and Platform London as part of the campaign to end fossil fuel sponsorship of the arts. The works are by Ansuman Biswas (Tate Britain), Isa Suarez, Mae Martin and Mark McGowan aka The Artist Taxi Driver (Tate Boat) and Jim Whelton and, yours truly, Phil England (Tate Modern).
For full details see the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1521065414783006/
“The domain of art and culture presents us with a realm where we can explore issues we are hard-wired to avoid in a soft or mediated way or in a way that directly speaks to our unconscious. It was interesting then to see how a number of artists explored different ways of confronting extinction in an evening dedicated to performance programmed into the June Facing Extinction conference.”
“Facing the reality of our ecological crisis is one thing. Acting to stop it is another. To be effective, I would argue, requires having a political analysis that addresses the question of why governments are failing to respond adequately to the signals coming from the scientific community. It also requires artists to think about where to intervene in a complex system.”
Read the full piece at The Wire.
Legendary radical artist Gustav Metzger has become increasingly concerned the impact human activity is having on nature. In a rare interview, I spoke to Metzger about the two-day conference he initiated at UCA Farnham entitled Facing Extinction – which asks the profound question “What role can artists play in radically limiting the ongoing decimation of nature?” – as well as his formative experiences and a lifetime of radical artistic practice.
The interview took place on Saturday 31st May at Gustav’s studio in London Fields. Climate Radio also recorded the proceedings of the Facing Extinction conference (7 & 8 June) for a forthcoming series on Resonance FM which will be archived in due course. Update: The Facing Extinction series is being broadcast by Resonance FM on Wednesdays, 1pm-2pm.