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We rise to play a greater part

(Update 2021)

A year on from its original publication, I bring these words to the attention of new readers — especially to those followers gained during this continuing pandemic struggle.

The turmoil and confusion that has so destabilized our worlds should be seen in the context of past disruptions. From the ashes of the 1940s, humanity made great strides and will surely do so again now that Covid-19 has exposed the distortions that have led us astray.

This past year has illuminated an increasing awareness of life-threatening planetary woes and the inadequate responses of prevailing economic ideologies.

This Easter, as…

Maybe not.

runner racing towards Covid hurdle finds massive Climate hurdle is next
runner racing towards Covid hurdle finds massive Climate hurdle is next
The next hurdle

Late up again, this morning.

I open the curtains to let in the new daylight.

Just over the road, I see a well-ordered, socially distanced, queue of masked parents, each with a toddler or two, waiting for school to begin.

Those youngsters, at the start of their schooling today, are destined to be the senior celebrants at the turn of 2100. Will they be anticipating the good life in the 22nd century? Or will they be cursing their forebears of the 21st?

Researchers have just revised how we predict sea-level rise. …

A new awareness of the need to be aware.

industrial smoke stacks
industrial smoke stacks
air pollution (source:

The upsurge of climate concern — a heightened awareness of planet abuse — does not yet trouble the systems by which our everyday lives are governed. Leastways, not yet. More immediately we latch onto small symptoms of systems failure and strive vigorously to resolve them.

We may (for example) bemoan poor air quality and argue for more cycling and fewer vehicles. We may be horrified by nitrate pollution of The Solent and fume about fertilisers. We might deplore anti-social behaviours and demand fines for fouling. Intuitively we sense the drifts but…

Another own goal for capitalism

Question Mark (

We are bombarded on every day with messages. Some are responses to our questions. Others, less invited, urge us to buy, to believe, to be amused, to be scared, to desire, to read, to vote, to diet, to care, to share, to explain. Confronted by this tsunami of daily deliveries how often do we pause to ask, “Why are they telling me this?”

This basic question signals a magical moment — that first brief flash of puzzlement and doubt that will later develop into mature reasoning as children gradually learn to explore their wider worlds.

They should not be discouraged.

Map of Southampton with predicted sea level rise at 2050
Map of Southampton with predicted sea level rise at 2050
Map of Southampton with predicted sea level rise at 2050. Source Climate Central

When local newspaper The Daily Echo ran a story recently featuring the likely sea-rise impact on Southampton, it unleashed a torrent of outraged climate change denial. Climate Central’s data was viewed as preposterous, extremely unlikely and unwarranted fearmongering. Barely 20% of respondents agreed with the report.

That reaction — the refusal to countenance the full impact of the way we live now — is perfectly understandable. There are not many things these days as trusted as bricks and mortar . . . as safe as houses. Unfortunately, that trust flies in the face of science…

A review

‘A powerfully disruptive book,’

Book cover for Less Is More by Jason Hickel
Book cover for Less Is More by Jason Hickel
Book cover image — picture source: Groupe Intellex

This aptly named work by Jason Hickel carries a powerful message — or rather, a series of messages. The academic papers that Jason normally produces are admirably short, to the point and oft published in peer-reviewed journals.

This work, however, is an expansion of his themes — initially prompting this reviewer to fear that more might be less. But that is not how this book will strike the minds of readers unfamiliar with his remarkably frequent and incisive outputs. …

‘Why tell the trees that ain’t so’

Weather system viewed from space
Weather system viewed from space
weather system — Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Prevailing winds across the wide Atlantic sent whispers of a great commotion. With the turmoil of weather patterns these whisps, sporadically delayed, arrived like random piles of jigsaw pieces and no certain guarantee that all belonged to the same story.

Over here in Little Old Locked Down Land, these whispers arriving on the wind were certainly welcome — hints of some great Cluedo-like mystery — and soon gave rise to a great range of explanations, theories, and alternatives. Well, at least they provided fuel to warm a nation of fresh frozen puzzle addicts — addicts who pride themselves as world…

Minding your gaps

image of Mind The Gap warning on London underground.
image of Mind The Gap warning on London underground.
Photo by Bruno Figueiredo on Unsplash

O Lacuna — sounds like a mis-remembered line from a Carl Orff choral work — but it’s less fortunate and yet more heartfelt than that. We’ve always had gaps in our lives. Gap years. Lost (maybe thankfully forgotten) years. The things we cannot find. The project failures. The people and heartbeats we miss.

Now with lockdown, the massed ranks of the Lacunæ are legion — missing work, missing school, missing shopping, missing hugs, and missing kissing, missing company, missing parents, friends, and children. We are reduced to survival essentials. …

Who knew the entire country would run out of excuses?

We may all feel that the past 12 months was a year of loss — lost friends, lost opportunities and a loss of the spirit that fuels our future.

Confused Penguin graphic
Confused Penguin graphic
Confused Penguin — source: Pixabay

We may perhaps have gained some new bonds and stronger local communities, but maybe not enough to compensate for the multiple disruptions — and no loss will be so keenly felt as the current, severe shortage of excuses.

Working from home leaves no excuse for not reading bedtime stories or tidying the garden. …

Groupe Intellex

Fresh thinking for economic & societal development: David Brunnen on Municipal Autonomy, Intelligent Communities, Sustainability & Digital Challenges.

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