10:10 - Pros and Cons
The latest big campaign, along the lines of Jubilee 2000 and Make Poverty History is 10:10 - a campaign to get pledges from people in Britain to cut their CO2 emissions by 10% in 2010. This is being promoted in the main "liberal" broadsheet in Britain (The Guardian) and its' associated webpages. The idea behind this is that it will provide a public focus to mobilise people around pressurising the politicians and policymakers who are to gather at the Copenhagen climate summit in December as well as making a modest contribution towards lessening Britain's overall carbon footprint.
There are many arguments both for and against this strategy, but on balance I think that it is worth pursuing. Yes the overall effect of the individual cuts will be very small, and no it is not likely on its own to sway many politicians or industrialists to do any more than exhibit their own displays of tokenism, but a campaign where people can actively engage and feel that they are involved in their everyday lives is better than sitting back hoping for a technical fix, or advocating fantastical revolution, or waiting for the ruling class to save us, or adopting gloomy defeatism.
Whilst admitting the dangers of letting government and business off the hook by "individualisng" the problem of climate change and the risk that over-zealous, largely middle class hair-shirtery might alienate some who should be in alliance with greens on this issue, the hope should be that "mainstream" public engagement will lead to serious questioning of our leaders on what they are doing. Yes the Tories and Liberals can sign up quite easily to pledge their cuts - but it is the job of socialist Greens and Ecosocialists to bring out the social justice and democratic issues inherent in the needed transition to a lower carbon economy and use these to argue for the kinds of organisation and action that can make a real difference. It is not as though people are starry eyed or naive about politicians these days! People are ready to question the status quo productively (rather than just cynically) if united in activity and given a lead.
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas' opinion of 10:10 is here.