Michael Parker finishes his letter (Annual party ritual, Oct 18) by asking: “Isn’t it time people began to seek genuinely alternative ways of running society for the greater good?”
The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’ and people are. Mr Parker’s assertion that material consumption cannot increase indefinitely is true but not universally popular, with so many people struggling financially.
Material living standards have generally been rising for generations. Campaigners such as us are acutely aware that we need to prepare for the inevitable end to this situation. While there are greater demands on gas and oil supplies, the most urgent reason for reducing their use is to minimise climate change as far as possible.
In a wealthy country that still contrives to have millions in fuel-poverty, we need to find how to create a better future for everybody. While SCACC does not set out to be anti-capitalist, the conclusion that unchecked capitalism has gone too far is inescapable.
Equality is far more important than a country’s total wealth for its people’s wellbeing, in terms of many measures, ranging from crime rates to life expectancy. Further, if everyone has a role (generally, a job), satisfaction with their lives does not increase with spending power. A better future lies in more equality and encouraging a sense of community and co-operation that this in itself will help to bring about.
There is abundant sound evidence supporting these views. I recommend Prosperity Without Growth as a readable example.
On a more practical level, SCACC agrees with the majority of groups that are now opposing excessive public-sector cuts. I must include a plug for one part of our favoured way forward - please sign the “10 000 Climate Jobs” petition, at www.sheffieldclimatealliance.net . Anyone who can see the benefits of a fairer society should go to a meeting or event of sympathetic groups to see how they can get involved.
People-power is already starting to work!
Chris Broome, Sheffield Campaign Against Climate Change