Tag Archives: planet

Population and Planet

The human population has grown at an alarming rate, and clearly puts a strain on the world. We can’t grow forever. However, it’s really important to be alert to racist thinking around this issue. We tend to blame the poorest people in the world, who consume far less than the richest 1%. 

Given information about contraception, access to contraception and support to use it, most women will choose to have smaller families. This is an approach that promotes body autonomy for women, and that reduces poverty and suffering. We need to strenuously resist the cultural and religious pressures on women around the world to have a lot of babies.

We need to support people who do not want to have children at all. We need to make it easier for people to control their fertility in any way they like. That means education, access to contraception, and access to vasectomies and tube tying, not conditional on already having had children.

We need to look at our social structures and the politics of families. We need to create environments in which people don’t feel excluded or vulnerable if they don’t have children.

We need to stop focusing on motherhood as the central experience for women. We need to stop telling people who have wombs that this is their defining feature, and that making more humans is the most important thing they can do. We need to challenge right wing thinking that wants to reduce women to wombs, and deny anyone with a womb the opportunity to do anything other than raise kids.

The best way to reduce the population would be to stop coercing people into having children they don’t want. There is nothing but good in stopping that. Give women control of their fertility and the right to choose, and the rest will tend to follow. 

Part of population growth is due to people living longer. We might also ask questions about quality of life, and what we’re prepared to do to people to keep them alive.

And at the same time, there is a much more urgent need to curtail the excesses of the super-rich and to share out resources in fairer ways. People who live lightly, and whose landscapes are not pillaged for the benefit of someone else, are not going to overburden the Earth.

Pagan Planet and the lives of books

jhp55ddc04c930d1Today Pagan Planet is officially published. It’s one of the rites of passage in the life of a book – an easy one to spot. The conception of a book is generally harder to pin down. A ping moment in someone’s head – not even necessarily the author’s. Pagan Planet was originally the idea of Trevor Greenfield. Details of the conception remain mysterious! At some point, Trevor hit on the idea that a book based on the ideas of Being, Believing and Belonging in the 21st Century would be the next community book from Moon Books. He put this idea forth, and lots of people signed up.

Around the world, lots of writers sat down with that seed idea, and contemplated their own lives and experiences, and wrote something. One seed planting many others – not all of which made it to paper, no doubt. Who knows how many more never-written volumes there are of Pagan Planet, scattered through other people’s heads?

And then, because there was a lot going on at Moon Books, Trevor asked me if I could take over holding the book process together. I was delighted to step up. I spent a lot of time contacting contributors, and also approaching people who are activists and not habitual writers. For me, that whole issue of being, believing and belonging cannot be discussed at the moment without talking about activism – political activism, and personal eco-action. I managed to lure in some great people to talk about how they manifest their Paganism. Alongside this there are some fantastic articles about other forms of lived Paganism, that reflect all kinds of interesting shifts. The democratic coven being a fine case in point.

Paganism is no longer something we can do privately for our own personal gain. We need to live our faith, and we need to be seen and heard. Many voices, just the one planet.

Some of the money from this book will be going to support Pagan Aid – which is featured in the book.



Baby steps to saving the world

With the latest reports on climate change making it clear that we are in trouble and it is the fault of our species, there’s a lot of misery and powerlessness floating about online. Other People aren’t going to listen. Other People won’t act. Governments won’t do anything and too many Other People don’t care, or disbelieve or refuse to live differently. You know who the Other People are – they’re the ones with the real power, whose actions make a genuine difference.

What this does, between the gloom and doom and the idea that only someone else can fix it, is keep us in that most dangerous of mind sets: Keeping calm and carrying on. That is suicide.
So let’s take a case in point. Disposable plastic shopping bags are not necessary, we know this because for most of history, people managed perfectly well without them. That’s a huge resource outlay to make something we use for perhaps an hour or two and then throw away. Plastic tortures and slaughters wildlife in hideous ways, and if you’ve been online for more than a week the odds are you’ve seen photos of a creature hideously bound by plastic and suffering dreadfully.

We could entirely eliminate the use of plastic bags. We don’t need government action. We don’t need the supermarkets to do anything different. All we have to do is stop using them. It really is that simple. Get a bag you can re-use, take it shopping with you, re-use it. A huge environmental problem will simply go away. (Then we just have the tidy up to contend with).

And the thing is, all the bags you don’t use and throw away are part of the solution. This is true across the board. If we all used a bit less electric, wasted a bit less food, drove a bit less, recycled a bit more, reused a few things, kept something out of landfill by some responsible means, the effect would be vast. How much power could we save, how much could we keep out of landfill and how much better would our collective relationship with the planet be if we all did a few small things? We could turn this whole thing around just with individual action.

I do not think governments have the will or the courage to tackle climate change. I do not believe big business gives a shit. However, that’s a tiny minority of human life. If the rest of us start making small changes and trust that those changes are worth something, we can turn the tide. If we all stop with the plastic bags, the supermarkets will give up handing them out, and will stop buying them, demand dries up, supply ceases. We could do that with pretty much anything if enough of us gave it a go.

I’m not a big fan of market economy, but on the plus side it is really vulnerable. Take away demand, refuse to demand, and supply has to quit. We can force suicidal and unsustainable business out of the market, just by not engaging with it. That means being really suspicious about anything claiming to be free and easy. We will be paying for it; in truth, we just don’t get to find out what the price tag is. We pay for it in damage to our habitat and risk to our lives, and that’s a bloody expensive outlay for something you only wanted to use once and throw away.