Monday, 26 July 2010

A climate of war

Today's press has been extraordinary for anyone thinking long-term about sustainability.

Let's start with The Guardian's 14 pages covering a massive leak of classified US information about the war in Afghanistan. A young US soldier, Bradley Manning, with access to classified information, said he had seen "incredible things, awful things . . . that belong in the public domain and not on some server in a dark room in Washington DC . . . almost criminal political backdealings . . . the non-PR version". He now faces a court martial and a long prison sentence - Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 calls him a hero. The huge quantity of damning documents reached the public domain via Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, who is now wanted by the US authorities.

So now we know that this messy war is not as portrayed by the British or US governments, nor as portrayed by the 'embedded' journalists - so far so predictable. The role played by advanced technology is having uncontrollable effects. The appearance of all this information in the public domain relies on the technology behind Wikileaks, which enables people to send in their leaked information in the confidence that their email can't be traced; and the construction of the website - multi-hosted - which means that no single jurisdiction can take it down. And at the same time, mobile phone technology means that US troops are leaking sensitive information all the time. We all know that mobile networks aren't secure (don't do your telephone banking or give your credit card details to mail order companies over a mobile network); and we know that our mobile phones give away our location. So we shouldn't be surprised that mobile phone calls, whether made by top diplomats, commanding generals or frontline soldiers, were vulnerable to interception by Afghanis.

All wars are nasty, but what is particular about this kind of war (fought against a local 'insurgency') is that it shatters any remaining illusions - even among non-pacifists - that warfare can be planned, 'surgical', directed only at 'legitimate' targets (ie: not at non-combatants).  And the reason that I'm posting about this on a blog devoted to sustainability is that we should start to think seriously about the kinds of resource wars that will be precipitated by peak oil (and everything else), as well as by climate change.

Peak oil has received plenty of attention, and we know we need to start weaning ourselves off oil before the price goes through the roof, and supply falling below demand causes armed conflicts. We've heard less about peak water, peak soil, or peak phosphate - but they are all essential resources, and all could provoke wars. Mark Twain's joke, “buy land - they’re not making it anymore” ceases to be a joke as we hear of governments buying or leasing good farmland land in other countries in order to secure their future food supplies - at whatever cost to the security of the indigenous populations. Each of these situations could provoke armed conflict that is just as messy and  uncontrollable as the current war in Afghanistan.

Add to all that the fact that the US military is responsible for 80% of the US government's carbon emissions and we activists can feel secure in linking our anti-war and sustainability concerns.

But hold on . . . a few pages further on in today's Guardian is an interesting article about a new British design of mega-wind turbine, for offshore use, with blades turning on a vertical, rather than a horizontal axis.
Short engineering digression here: if you've seen the film The Age of Stupid you might remember the forest of vertical spinning wind generators on the roof of the last remaining building on earth. They're a bit like hi-tech versions of the old Castrol oil adverts that used to be seen spinning on garage forecourts (I tried to find a picture online, but failed!). The stress on the axle and the bearings in such a design is substantially less than in the traditional windmill shape. If you recall the early automatic washing machines, they were top-loaded so that the drum could spin on a vertical axis. But they were inconvenient, as they could not be fitted under a worktop, so now we have much less efficient front-loading drums, that spin on a horizontal axis.
Anyway, this looks like good news. However, when you look at the side text about another offshore energy project (wave-power), you discover that BAE Systems - Britains's biggest armaments manufacturer - is to be involved. Arms producers have experience of such large-scale engineering projects. And then you look back and notice that one of the firms involved in the new turbine project is Rolls-Royce, also a defence contractor, and others in the consortium include Shell and BP.

No-one gets to have clean hands . . . (and, just to add to it all, we discover that the next UK national Census, in 2011is to be contracted out to US armaments company Lockheed Martin!)

'Enough for one day!', I hear you cry. But there's more! It seems we have natural gas in Blackpool - 'shale gas' to be exact. It's in the Bowland Shale, and the strata extend from Pendle Hill to the coast near BlackpoolThese gas deposits require new drilling techniques, and there are technical problems with pollution to be solved, but engineers are hopeful that extracting such gas, from various locations round the world, will help to reduce oil-dependence. Burning gas creates lower carbon emissions than burning oil, but is still by no means 'zero carbon'. But the creation of new drilling techniques, and the discovery of a number of promising sites, has already caused a collapse of US gas prices, and a suggestion of major effects on geopolitics, as the Russian company Gazprom sees its power and leverage reduced.

After all this it was a little light relief to discover that miniature cattle can produce three times as much beef, on the same amount of land, with just a third of the feed, as can large breeds like Holsteins and Aberdeen Angus. Plus, the mini-cows produce less methane!
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Monday, 19 July 2010

What's Lizz been doing now?

Lizz's Faith and Climate Blog has now been updated with her April and May challenges. (If you want to catch up with what this is all about, see the first and second posts about Lizz's year of eco-challenges).

In April, Lizz's challenge was to live on £1 a day for the month. Lizz adapted her ideas on this from a book by Kath Kelly called How I Lived a Year on Just a Pound a Day. Kath's book made quite a splash - you can see press coverage from England and Scotland, and read a review. Kelly did this for a whole year, but Lizz was only doing it for a month. Interestingly, she says she found this was actually harder than her February challenge of not buying anything! Lizz writes: "Around the world more than half the global population live on a dollar a day, and yes of course it’s different here but £1 a day after bills must surely be possible? I even have some food in the kitchen – though not as much as in February. And I have some seeds so I can grow some more salads at home. So – why does it seem harder – is it cumulative?"

Lizz goes on to explore whether it's the cumulative effect of April being the 4th consecutive challenging month; or whether it reminds her of times when she really had no choice but to live on very little, which can be stressful. She then goes on to think through what makes it easier not to spend money: make lists when you go shopping, don't buy magazines that make you want things, set a budget for the month and stick to them, start by keeping a list of everything you spend each day and adding it up – so that you can see where the main leakages are. Pay off your credit card debt before you do anything else and cut the card up!

And the whole thing was made more complicated by the fact that Lizz had to go to Bonn, for work, in the middle of the £1-month! So, was it to be one euro over there, or what?

Two other books, alongside Kath Kelly's, which explore somewhat similar experiments (and, again, each for a year) are Free: adventures on the margins of a wasteful society by Katherine Hibbert; and The Moneyless Man: a year of freeconomic living by Mark Boyle.

All in all, a tough month - you can read the whole of it here.

And then it was May . . . when the the challenge was to halve household energy use, halve recycling, buy no plastic packaging, send nothing to landfill, and triple offset her total energy spend.

At the end of April Lizz took her meter readings: the equivalent of a £6.70 spend on electricity in the previous month. Also, she sent 400g of waste to landfill, plus 4kg of paper/card, 200g of plastic, 400g of glass and 250g of metal to recycling. Of course it's preferable to send stuff for recycling rather than to landfill, but recycling also takes energy for transport and processing, so it's even better to get the amount of recyling down as well. This is sometimes called 'pre-cycling'.

To triple offset her energy use, Lizz took three approaches:

* Planting trees direct
* Investing in sustainable energy projects in the UK
* Investing in a project overseas

Also, in April, Lizz did an inventory of what left the flat as waste and recycling, so she could be specific about what to cut out. Helpfully, in the midst of this May challenge, Lizz reached the top of her allotment waiting list and became the happy tenant of an allotment - immediately, the new compost heap took care of some of the waste!
Throughout the month, Lizz kept a tally of everything, and tried to add up all the energy implications at the end of the month. It's not always easy to do the calculations. Energy used in travel, for instance, can be difficult to estimate, but QCEA have put on their website some useful information and help with choices.

Another useful resource is a new book called How Bad are Bananas? The carbon footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee.
Summing up the whole month, and what she learned from doing it, Lizz says:
"I think I have got my energy use down to about as low as it can go whilst still living a mostly ‘normal’ sort of life. I probably did use less energy when I lived on a house boat or in a yurt, but the reality is that most people aren’t going to do this, so I’m interested in seeing what can be done within ‘normal’ parameters. Not having a car does keep the consumption down and I have managed to live in really rural places without one. So this isn’t just an urban option. Overall my public transport journeys are high because of travelling for work outside of Birmingham."
You can read the whole of Lizz's account of the month here
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Monday, 12 July 2010

It’s not easy being green . . . .

This week's guest post comes from Kevin RedpathKevin is a member of Street Meeting in Somerset. He makes films, loves wild swimming, grows vegetables, bakes bread and is trying hard to reduce his carbon footprint into a more Quakerly approved shape. He presents multi-media shows on Quakerism in schools and his local prison.

For the last twenty-eight years of my life I have lived on a main road. In that time I’ve noticed a huge increase in traffic - lorries have become longer and heavier, cars have got larger, road surfaces have been placed under intolerable pressure, pavement edges have become bitten and chewed and cyclists continue to take their life in their hands when they cycle along any main road in the UK.

A mile or so up the road from our home is one of Britain's most expensive prep schools. Every morning I see a procession of SUVs driving past - huge four-wheel-drive cars with an expensively coiffured parent in the driving seat and their treasured offspring strapped firmly in the back, cosseted against the elements like a tiny pellet of enriched uranium.

We’ve all been encouraged to examine and reduce our carbon footprints and perhaps one of the biggest creators of carbon that we own is the one which sits outside our home patiently waiting for us in all weathers.

From Top Gear to Formula One, the British attachment to the internal combustion engine is deeply rooted in the national psyche. Talk about car-sharing amongst a group of friends you will find that you are on your own. No one wants to surrender the freedom that owning a car provides for them. It has become a lifelong appendage, from the carefree moment we pass our driving test, to some distant point when a young policeman leans in through the driver’s window and gently suggests that we shouldn't be driving and dribbling at the same time.

It was this attachment that I was keen to test. Did I really need to own a car in the twenty-first century? Could I survive on a mixture of bicycle (for short trips), bus and train for longer trips, with the option of a shared car for the journeys in between? When a neighbour suggested the idea of a car sharing scheme, between two households, I leapt at the opportunity to change my lifestyle. I handed my car keys and registration documents in to the local garage and decided to ignore the look on the garage owner’s face; the slow rolling of the eyeballs as if to say ‘this will all end in tears’.

There was quite a bit of paperwork to sort out. The insurance company could not understand the principle of car-sharing. I visualised the telesales representative frantically looking for a tick-able ‘car sharing’ box on their computer screen. In the end, because I run a business, it was easiest for me to register the car and have my neighbours as named drivers on my policy. My premium leapt from £270 to £480.

We drew up some working guidelines. Cars are at their most polluting in the first few miles (until the engine has properly warmed up), so the car would ‘charge’ us £1 per mile for the first three miles and then 27p per mile for every mile after that. The costs were calculated on the real cost of owning a car - depreciation, fuel, tax, MOT, servicing and insurance. A trip to the recycling centre was no longer ten minutes, it was ten minutes and £3.27. I found that I became really creative about maximising the use of the car on short journeys. It reminded me of the George Burns joke: ‘You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there’.

The car could be booked ahead through a shared online calendar. There would be clashes, when alternative arrangements would need to be made, like the time when my neighbours booked a ten day holiday in Cornwall and I suddenly found myself at the mercy of the local bus timetable. A bus ride to a meeting in Bridgwater took one hour and ten minutes, when I knew the car could do it in under thirty minutes. I had to factor this extra time into my appointments. The bus to our local railway station only ran on Sundays for some inexplicable reason. The bus for my fortnightly Quaker prison visit stopped running at 5.30pm, meaning that I could get there but couldn't get back. And it was hard trying to load a tripod and video camera onto a bike.

When it worked, it worked really well, but I became increasingly frustrated that the opportunity to simply ‘get up and go’ was curtailed. I needed to check whether the shared car was free first and then book it, if it was. Sometimes the online calendar didn’t work and I would turn up to drive the car away only to find that my neighbours had planned to do exactly the same thing at the same time. I had lost the freedom that many of my friends said they would not be prepared to relinquish.

The car that I owned previously was an extension of my personality – a private space filled with my spiritual and technological baggage. My mobile phone, some pens and pieces of paper, old copies of The Friend, parking receipts, pieces of fruit, a water bottle, loose change for parking meters, a few of my favourite CDs, occasionally a bunch of flowers, and some empty carrier bags for trips to the shop and the recycling centre. The shared car was to be kept clean at all times (part of our working agreement) and was to be treated more like a hired car.

We ran the car-sharing project for six months before I conceded that it wasn’t working for me. Amazingly, my neighbours were remarkably generous and accepting. They had the shared car revalued and repaid me my 50% share. Cars, of course, depreciate in value, and the capital I was left with didn’t allow me to buy back the car I had casually sold six months earlier. I crawled back to the garage and endured what could be described as some good hearted banter of the ‘well, I told you so’ variety. They had nothing on their books that I could afford so I went on e-bay and bid for a small car within my budget.

The seller turned out to be a retired policeman in Maidstone. He encouraged me to take his eight year old VW Polo for a drive. As I pulled out onto the M20, I asked him what area of police work he did. ‘I was a class one driver with the Kent traffic police,’ he laughed, ‘you can indicate and move into the middle lane now’. I felt like I was taking my driving test all over again . . .

What have I learnt?
- it is very hard to be self-employed in a rural area and not have a car, particularly when you run workshops and seminars, have to meet clients and collect or return equipment
- that public transport is sporadic (although the bus service to our nearby town is very good) but you cannot always depend on it.
- sometimes the buses don’t turn up at all. I do most of my longer journeys by train whenever I can - but the car, or a cab, is essential to get you and your baggage to the station in time.
- that I can quite happily own a smaller, more frugal, car and hire a larger one for the times when I need to collect my daughter and her belongings from university or take the family on holiday.
- that I am very grateful for the freedom that a car provides me with and now try to use it as responsibly and thoughtfully as I can, as well as using my bike for local journeys.

My daughter, with a wisdom beyond her years, said, ‘Dad, you need three things in your business - a car, a phone and a computer. You can’t run your business without them.’

While the car sharing scheme did not work for me, I am sure that it could work for people who have a regular travel pattern (perhaps a commuting run, with occasional weekend use) or for those who perhaps only need access to a car two or three times a week. For the rest of us in rural areas, car sharing may tick a lot of green boxes, but it needs to be considered very carefully before any commitment is made.

Trust me.
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Thanks to Kevin for this post - for being so willing to share his difficulties with us!
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If you want to post a comment, and are having technical difficulties, you can email your comment to me at and I can post it for you.

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Monday, 5 July 2010

This week's guest post comes from Sandra White. Sandra works as an ecopsychologist and has a background in cultural change within government and business. She is a founding member of Transition Hertford. She also offers bereavement counselling, and all her work is rooted in long-term study and practice of depth psychology. She is author of 'Denial, Stories and Visions' published in Greenpeace Business and Sustainable Business in Winter and Spring 2010 editions respectively, and ‘White Lilies: Sacrifice, Transformation and Renewal in our Civilised Age’ in Thoughts on Sustainability Vol 2 published by Ashridge Business School, Summer 2010.

Denial, Stories and Visions

After Copenhagen, the need for wholehearted engagement on the part of our political and business leaders with a sustainable future becomes ever clearer. Even as the demands of the modern world compete for their attention, we need them to prioritise climate change. We also know there is an intimate relationship between the expressed needs and desires of the general public and how far politicians and CEOs will go in implementing change. Last year, opinion polls showed that the number of people who believe that climate change is real, let alone human-induced, is decreasing, despite more convincing scientific evidence. This is known as ‘climate change denial’.

Why is it happening? One conclusion we can draw is that presenting factual information about threats to the Earth’s systems is failing to galvanise the required action; there is so much to being human, this is not enough. Today, there is increasing focus on developing an understanding of what people want, what motivates them and what might attract them towards change. For the past five decades, psychologists have been integral to the marketing industry in shaping consumer society and its cultural narratives; as psychology has led us further in, perhaps it can now help lead us out.

What people are saying

A recent crop of in-depth studies into human attitudes to the environment help to flesh out the picture.

Significantly, the World Bank recently published a study entitled Cognitive and Behavioural Challenges in Responding to Climate Change by Kari Marie Norgaard. She focuses on the ‘failure of information to move through the public awareness and into policy outcomes’ and goes on to identify a high level of confusion about the science and name some of its causes: distortion of climate science and poor quality information in the media; and the behaviour of fossil fuel interest groups in influencing government policy and funding sceptics’ campaigns. She also finds that understanding information is not a pre-requisite for concern and, worryingly, informed concern does not in any case necessarily lead to action, particularly in industrialised societies.

Norgaard’s observations about some of the conflicting feelings generated by climate change help explain this lack of action. She found widespread helplessness at the enormity of the problem; guilt that the privileged lifestyles we enjoy contribute to it; and not wanting to feel like a ‘bad’ person or member of a ‘bad’ nation. She considers that these are more influential in preventing engagement than apathy. Given our culture of not talking socially about things which provoke uncertainty or guilt, she proposes that if climate change is not discussed at a community level, ‘we don’t know how to know about it.’

The report’s recommendations include developing strategies to reduce isolation, build community and create positive frames of reference; countering the influence of the oil industry on public debate; and developing ways of appealing to national identity and pride through emissions reductions. The common thread is the importance of engaging people's emotions and loyalties, rather than simply their intellect or sense of duty.

Aspects of identity

This thread is taken up by another new study, Meeting Environmental Challenges: the role of human identity by Tom Crompton and Tim Kasser for WWF. Crompton and Kasser point out that, in our culture, people gain their sense of value from ‘wealth, reward, achievement and status’, and highlight studies which show that these values correlate strongly with high CO₂ emissions and destructive treatment of non-human life. Such treatment can also be extended to other humans who are perceived as belonging to ‘out-groups’; people with whom we cannot identify and in whose presence we behave so as to enhance the standing of our own group. This behaviour is applied to the rest of life on Earth when rooted in ‘anthropocentrism’, a kind of human chauvinism in which the perceived needs and desires of humanity as the superior species are privileged over all other considerations.

Crompton and Kasser’s work is aimed at activists but their recommendations have profound implications for the political and business leaders who shape our society’s expectations and desires. They suggest greater emphasis on values of self-acceptance, affiliation and community feeling; communicating empathically about the difficulty of facing the enormity of climate change; and stressing the relationship between people and non-human nature and promoting more contact between them.

These studies reveal important aspects of the disabling impacts of climate change denial and it is well worth understanding more about it.

Explaining denial

Denial’ is psychological jargon for the way the mind’s defence mechanisms protect us from what we cannot cope with knowing. Climate change is exactly the kind of phenomenon which elicits denial. Most people consider that the word applies only to those who deny that climate change exists or is human induced, but this is not so. Denial operates in complex ways while we begin to take steps towards change, and shapes those steps.

Ministers and CEOs are especially exposed to the dynamics of denial. At the helm of the economic and production models by which our society currently realises its needs and desires, their investment in those models is naturally substantial. They have to deal with the double dose of denial within themselves as well as within their electorates and customers.

One of the most powerful triggers of denial is fear of loss. The pursuit of an ecologically sustainable world heralds for Western civilisation the prospect of fundamentally changing everything it has believed in and achieved over centuries, implying a change in the very foundation of our collective identity. For most of the public, the images put in front of them relating to sustainability threaten the loss of what is precious to them. For political and business leaders, this loss extends to the levers of the systems in their hands.

When denial is triggered by this scale of perceived loss, instantly a shutter slams down. In front of the shutter, huge emotional, cognitive and motivational energy is applied to holding on to and increasing what is precious and negating what threatens it. Behind the shutter an equal amount of energy is needed to ward off unbearable and conflicting feelings which may include guilt and shame alongside fear and anguish.

In the case of climate change, these feelings may be simultaneously about both the anticipated loss and the destruction we are causing. Not enough attention is paid, in my view, to the importance of shame, which is deep-seated and inseparable from core, often unconscious, desires to be intrinsically good and valuable to society. While most organisations are still hardly engaged with reducing their carbon footprints, working people are placed in a double-bind where, as they identify with, take pride in or simply need their work, they subliminally know or fear that their activities contribute to climate change. This triggers the safeguard of denial, in a vicious spiral.

Consequently, at all levels of our society, little psychological energy remains accessible for the kind of open and creative thinking needed to enable a meaningful and radical review of the situation. The vital, creative engine room that becomes available when deepest feelings are attended to is cut off. What results are attempts at less bad business-as-usual, which essentially maintains the vicious spiral. Little else will be available unless and until the mechanisms of denial can be helped to relax.

Three characteristics of denial

To this end, we need to understand three key characteristics of denial, which make it such a powerful obstacle to change.

• The onset of denial is not a matter of choice. This is the crux of the matter. This innate level of psychological defence is equivalent to bodily systems and safety reflexes which activate when needed without our knowledge or consent.

• As the shutter slams down, a new story is created. This story may be irrational or rational; it does not matter. Its sole purpose is to uphold the person’s core sense of validity when confronted with a major threat to their identity. Such stories include ‘climate change is due to sun-spot activity’ and ‘we can only act when we are certain of all the facts and sure of the outcomes.’ The latter sounds rational, but it contrasts starkly with how political and economic decisions are really made. This quality of ‘upholding’ fuels a genuine belief in the story and in its superiority over opposing stories; presenting a different case is near futile.

• The protection afforded by the shutter, the new story and the accompanying feeling of superiority will be unconsciously held in place until the danger has passed or a new desire emerges which allows the old one to be relinquished. If a new threat supersedes the earlier danger, the protection may tighten and a new upholding story may emerge. This is another way to understand the increase in climate change denial; the UK’s weather patterns are becoming less stable in line with predictions and more people are suffering from floods and mini-tornados, but more people do not believe in climate change. This is the new story, now that the need to change our whole way of life presses closer.

A clash of needs

The importance of all this is that the psychological protection of denial is essential – and here lies the heart of our difficulty. Right now, we are in a clash of two opposing but equally valid and vitally compelling needs: the physical need to protect the Earth’s systems from further deterioration, and the psychological need for people to protect their sense of legitimacy. Although it is clear that there is no ultimate conflict between looking after the Earth and looking after ourselves, a substantial threat to a person’s identity blocks out that perception.

An exhortation to ‘downsize’ is not simple. Underlying people’s identity is also the psychological dynamic of ‘identification’ which takes place at both conscious and unconscious levels. This means that we experience the valued thing that we identify with – our well heated home or our foreign holiday for which we have worked hard – as an aspect of our selves, not merely an accessory. Hence, the primacy that our culture places on material success, rather than on the intrinsic value of who we are, has resulted in most of our sense of self worth being defined by those things. If we imagine that building a sustainable world only means losing them, it feels like amputation and of course we resist it.

This brings me to why the subject of stories is so important, beyond the mechanisms of denial. As marketing specialists know, every personal, political and corporate action takes place within a story, whether conscious or subliminal. In a parody of Descartes (who famously said, 'I think, therefore I am'), our society’s guiding story seems to be, ‘I have, therefore I am’. We even call ourselves ‘consumers’ rather than ‘people’. Why would we think more deeply or act more wisely when, if the label is to be believed, we are already fulfilling our purpose and potential? Surely, this is too narrow a vision of what it means to be a great human being.

Visions of ecological sustainability

Perhaps now is the moment for a new strategy, one that addresses our larger cultural narratives. What if those of us who have them start to share our visions of sustainability that excite and inspire us? Here is mine: We are the privileged generations who have the opportunity to take part in an extraordinary endeavour to restore the Earth’s systems. It does not get greater than this. Far from being a project of impoverishment, developing sustainability gives each and every one of us a chance to use our talents, large and small, to the full. If we all come together, we can collectively contribute everything that is distinctive about humanity, to halt the trail of destruction we are leaving behind us. We can afford to give life the time and space it needs to repair and rebalance itself and, while we do, who knows what other riches we will discover?

Short talks and a workshop exploring how these ideas can be put into practice, aimed at those working to promote greater engagement with sustainability, will soon be available.

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a 3-part workshop for people promoting wider engagament with climate change.
Venue: Central London
Dates: 23-24 July, 30-31 July, 17-18 September (Friday evening and all day Saturday in each case)
Cost for whole series (not available separately): £225 individuals, £450 organisations

Participants are likely to be environmental campaigners working for major sustainability organisations, members of Transition Towns and other local eco-groups, sustainability consultants, and Corporate Social Responsibility practitioners within large corporations.

The content focuses on participants' real experiences of denial; provides tutorial input on the underlying psychology of denial; and supports participants to develop their personal strategies for dealing with its impacts and to learn how to try to avoid triggering denial. Some participants may also explore levels of denial within themselves. The learning methods will combine creative, experiential work with tutorials, and buddy relationships support the undertaking of assignments between the three parts.

For more information, contact Sandra White:

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Thanks to Sandra for this post. Sandra will be co-tutor with me on the 2011 course, Good Lives - because we have only one planet, 10-12 June.
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If you want to post a comment, and are having technical difficulties, you can email your comment to me at and I can post it for you.

If you are reader from outside the UK, please remember to post your comment in English - I won't post anything if I don't know what it says!
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