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Conclusion: seeds of hope

Patricia Daniel
14 August 2007
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I didn't change my ideas as regards the general approach needed for addressing climate change (from the bottom up) or the importance of women's contribution to, and the benefits they can derive from, sustainable development. I did learn a lot more of the science and technology, which, as Margaret Minhinnick says, helps to give confidence when talking about the issues - and certainly was a wake-up call to me on the urgency of the problem.

Whether in Nairobi at the World Social Forum, in Rostock at the alternative G8 summit or down in the depths of rural mid-Wales, I'm hearing the same song. The discourse may differ - Venezuela's 21st century socialism, the progressive left, cooperativism, ubuntu, human dignity. If it means greater equality, social inclusion and a caring economy, some form of socialism has got be good for the environment and for the majority of women in the world. (more...)

After travelling a lot this year, it was encouraging to find practical solutions right here on my doorstep. People are actually making another world possible, not just talking about it. There are examples of this happening at different levels: the micro-democracy at the Centre for Alternative Development; the rural community initiatives of Machynlleth and the Dovey Valley; the national mission in Venezuela to use oil for social development and ensure environmental sustainability at the same time. Women playing a key role in these experiments. Why not at an international level? Why not dream about global equity?

The benefits of radical change, as Paul Allen summed up, include the following: a better diet, healthier people, a robust local economy, getting out and about, a stronger community, a collective sense of purpose. It's technically possible. But will the UK government ever listen enough to take a strong enough (and initially unpopular) stance on the environment?

I also re-learned the fact that art and music have a particular veracity, which can be much more powerful than political debate or even serious journalism. It's a little sad that as a nation Britain has to import inspiration in the form of songs and legends from another hemisphere. Perhaps I'm overstating the case. I heard for the first time the excellent political band Seize the Day with their stunning female lead singer Shannon and her composition: Seeds of Hope. This tells the story of a small group of British women who were arrested for direct action against fighter planes being built for sale to Indonesia (for use in bombing East Timor). The refrain: "to defend my right to fight against violence."

There's a lot to learn from other people's experience. But before I hop on a plane to Caracas, I have to stop and think. As a member of the privileged minority of women I've been able to travel where and when I like. Now it's time to consider my own eco-footprint. Maybe I learned more than I expected at Machynlleth.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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