This week has seen the launch of a publication by the 'Green New Deal Group' which starkly addresses the key issues many of us worry about but often put to one side when faced with vital and well constructed initiatives to transform education to meet the needs of employers and the economy.
Perhaps the issues raised here are the 21st century version of the issues that brought the WEA into being.
The report is available from the New Economics Foundation http://neweconomics.org/gen/
I copy the foreword here:
"This report is a call to wake up to the scale of the menace posed to the natural
world, the global economy and all our livelihoods by a triple crunch: the present
global financial crisis, climate change and the rapid depletion of oil.
To develop innovative, sound solutions that will deal with the gravity of this triple
crunch we have convened a group of ‘new economists’ whose backgrounds range
from the City, to the oil industry and the labour and environmental movements. We
set out to envision a different future, and propose policies for renewal. This report
is the result. It is a call for a radical transformation in the financial and economic
model that has fuelled these crises. In it we propose a Green New Deal.
As our executive summary suggests, the Green New Deal is designed to address
these great threats confronting society and restore stability to our financial, political
In doing so, we hope to correct a number of critical oversights. These include the
ways in which environmentalists have tended to neglect the role of the finance
sector and economic policy; how those involved in industry, broadly defined, have
failed to grasp the malign effects of the finance sector on the overall economy; and
how trade unionists have for too long ignored financial and environmental concerns.
We hope that the publication of this report will help bring these diverse social and
industrial forces together, leading to a new progressive movement. We believe
that our joint signatories point to an exciting possibility of a new political alliance:
an alliance between the labour movement and the green movement, between
those engaged in manufacturing and the public sector, between civil society and
academia, industry, agriculture and those working productively in the service
Such a political alliance is vital if we are to challenge the dominance of the finance
sector in the economy, its threat to the productive sectors of the economy, its
corruption of the political system, and its corrosion of social and environmental
By proposing a Green New Deal, this report acknowledges the limits to our
ecosystem; that ‘the biosphere that supports us is finite, non-growing, closed and
constrained by the laws of thermodynamics’, as the environmental economist
Herman Daly put it.
The Green New Deal promotes ‘joined-up thinking’ about the four systems that
dominate our world: the market, the state, civil society and the ecosystem. We hope
that it will lay the basis for a radical transformation and renewal of our financial,
political and ecosystems."
Is this an alliance that the WEA should be engaging with and a debate that staff, tutors, volunteers and students would want to join?