environment & politics
A rare Dutch water garden, in the West Country. That oak tree at the bottom is the oldest evergreen oak in England.
Also seen this weekend, but not pictured, were several wild boar piglets rooting around the forest floor – the first time I’ve seen them. Interestingly they have a profound effect on our forests, and improve the ecosystem immensely.
A Supercell Near Booker, Texas
Things like this remind me just how amazing the planet is.
Attenborough Nature Reserve
A very nice place to visit, and I don’t go there often enough. Aside from the bird life – including some marvellous grey herons and this curious-looking red-crested pochard – it was amazing how the goat willows were flowering a snow storm. They created a very fae scene, with bits of fluff filling the air, and gathering along the edge of paths and around the banks.
“Risking injury and incarceration, an environmental activist disrupts the clear-cutting of an ancient redwood grove by sitting on a tiny platform a hundred feet up in the tree canopy. Already three years into the tree-sit when filming begins, AMONG GIANTS blends vérité cinematography with intimate personal reflection to remarkable effect.”
The Week in Wildlife
Another fine gallery at the Guardian.
If you’ve not visited Scarfolk, you really should. (With apologies to those not in the UK, who might not get this humour.)
Stiglitz on Inequality
I’ve recently read – and utterly recommend – The Price of Inequality, by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. This is a brilliant book, great reading for anyone no matter what their political colour. It’s a tremendously thorough discourse on the reasons behind economic failures post-1970, the wage stagnation of poor and middle class earners, the utter corruptions of markets, and with a strong emphasis on rent-seeking (wealth captured from others and not genuinely created wealth for the economy – and that the people who ‘earn’ more might not have actually contributed anything to the economy), which has contaminated a lot of economic growth over the past thirty years.
Though very much a US-centric book, it’s written in a very clear language. A lot of it reminds me of old A-Level Economics text books, in fact, in their accessibility. It’s basically the sort of discussion that you wish politicians on all sides of the divide were actually having with each other in an effort to properly fix things, as well as something that chimes with the radical centre, where I feel the future of economics and politics will be. (At least in the Anglo-American sense – perhaps a movement towards Germany’s Social Market Economy of the past several decades? Who knows.) Even the IMF acknowledge the links between inequality and instability.
Anyway, if you don’t read the book, at least watch the video, since it contains some juicy stuff.