Tony Juniper cycles and walks whenever he can, but the Director of Friends of the Earth UK freely admits that it is not always possible to live a 100% pure green life. And he told Off-grid he was inspired by the “spiritual” environmentalism of the Southern hemisphere rather than the “science-based analysis” we use in the West.
Inspired by “spiritual” environmentalism
“I am constantly challenged as to how to withdraw” (from the world of mainstream consumption) he told Off-grid. “And like a lot of people I am defeated. At home, we buy Energy from one of the green producers. It’s wind generated. And things like transport you can make a lot of difference walking, or bicycle and train.
“Like most people the practical aspects of trying to conduct a complicated life working on several levels simultaneously while navigating all these issue and challenges really isn’t possible. Culturally it is quite isolated still.
“It has to be approached with some reasoning around why you might want to do this and some reasoning around how to do it: in relation to food — the power that is wielded by the supermarkets is used to encourage greater car dependency and making agriculture less sustainable through the price wars where farmers find themselves squeezed in the middle.”
When Off-Grid asked him to name the Environmental campaigners he most admired, they were from the Southern Hemisphere. “People like Vandana Shiva, who is spear-heading the campaign against GM Food.” Shiva has helped movements in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with their campaigns against genetic engineering. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds. Her book, “The Violence of Green Revolution” challenges the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, reductionist Green Revolution Agriculture.
“The southern campaigners are particularly exiting because not only do they talk about the practicalities — the pros and cons of different technologies — they also have a very strong political and spiritual and rights-based analysis” said Juniper. “Over here we focus on the political and scientific issues.”