Grassroots Policies for Sustainability

Farming, food and wildlife

Alicia Hull is coordinating the webinar series and has written the following summary piece:

The development of grassroots policies for a People’s Manifesto

The very real threat of irreversible global warming demands public action. Disastrous policies over 40 years and a top-down approach have brought today’s cumulative crises - environmental degradation and climate breakdown, gross inequality, failed services, racism, child abuse and economic collapse, with homelessness, poverty, hunger and injustice for too many. Nothing works. And as politicians continue to promote growth and destroy democratic rights, it is unrealistic to hope for effective change from them.

When government fails so dangerously, the public must take responsibility. Civil society, the public with expert advice, can succeed. Those doing the work are best placed to identify problems and possibilities, and the public are way ahead of government in appreciating the urgency. Experts have been offering solution for decades. The grass roots movement in Europe (Diem25) has shown the way with policies such as the Green New Deal for Europe and Peace Proposals for Ukraine. Long delayed action inevitably means a harder transition. It will take ALL the public’s breadth of experience and expertise; its detailed knowledge of day-to-day life, ingenuity, realism and humanity to provide a variety of solutions all working together for the huge system change needed. Countless conversations between all views will reconnect policies to real issues. It cannot fail to educate us all and should show us how to co-operate in complex situations - an essential skill for a fairer, safer, happier world.

Just about everything needs to change, but we are starting with food, of vital interest to nearly all. Current farming systems are a significant cause of climate and ecological damage and hardship to small farmers, while the unequal distribution of food causes health problems and the scandal of food banks. Hundreds of farmers and growers are already working with nature, and developing local outlets to cut carbon heavy delivery lines and increase local resilience. Their work needs to be recognised, enlarged and developed into a formal policy to become part of a People’s Manifesto. It will follow the food from growers, through supply chains to sellers and the public. It will include the need for a healthy environment and an alternative economic system focussed on resource limits and the needs of people.

Simon Duffy


President of Citizen Network

Also see