Civil society is full of anchor institutions that often provide leadership by setting agendas and raising awareness of certain issues. One such group of these institutions is universities and due to the recent dispute with the UCU these organisations have often found themselves in the news. Although this trade union confrontation being at the forefront of discussions of campuses around the country, a number of universities are also making headlines by divesting themselves from fossil fuel companies. Removing universities’ financial support for companies destroying the earth will be a major step forward and has the potential to radically change the debate around anti-climate change measures.
When Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement the world stood firm in opposition to his idiotic decision. Something that was noteworthy from the time of the announcement was the number of governors and mayors who said that they intended to stand by commitments to reduce carbon emissions. This act of refusal is important because it shows how representatives outside of the federal government can tackle climate change even if the President has the intellectual calibre of an especially dim squirrel. The environmental movement has to use its resources carefully and focus its energies on ways to do serious damage to those corporations that are, in large part, responsible for the current climate crisis.
Labour has long claimed to be active in every community up and down the country and whilst this is not an untrue statement, there are many parts of Britain where the Labour Party is exclusively encountered in the press. For many citizens political activity is something that is people want to do but do not know how to get involved with issues they care about. My suggestion would be to make the Labour Party into a grassroots movement that is active at a level that is much more localised than just parliamentary constituencies. Empowering local people should be the future of the party and this requires a new approach to party organisation.