Written by Sharon Galliford (Surrey and Hampshire Border Green Party)
Green Party Autumn Conference – Bournemouth 2015
Fringe Workshop Friday 25th September: Green Party Philosophy – an introduction for new members
All party members set policy and have equal rights to vote etc. the same as any other member from the moment they join. The core values of the party are set out here and include policies for a sustainable society and the philosophical basis of the party.
The 10 Core Values of the Green Party are:
1] Social and environmental justice
Both are inextricably linked and central to everything the Party stands and fights for.
2] Upholding the diversity of the natural world
Human survival depends on this. We are totally dependent upon the functioning of natural and ecosystems.
- the only source of oxygen on the planet is photosynthesis
- we are entering the 6th great extinction period
- dead zones already exist in the oceans where there is no oxygen creation
- eutrophication of oceans i.e. overload of nutrients and excessive algae etc.
- climate change and migration of people and species. Fragmentation of regions and a lack of natural corridors inhibits this
- intense agricultural use such as fertilizer is expensive and uses a great deal of energy to produce. Fertilizer leaks into nearby lakes, rivers etc. causing eutrophication
3] Earth’s physical resources are finite.
Conventional economic policies are flawed and destructive, promoting unequal distribution of goods and unlimited use of resources/raw materials causes poverty. Advertising makes people believe that they must have the latest gadget etc. This added to a low level of recycling and reuse is catastrophic for the planet, and ergo for us. Recycled materials however are currently more expensive than raw equivalent and this makes no sense. Green Economy takes into account the REAL value of things. What contribution a resource makes to natural system and the consequences for the future of society if that resource is lost. There is a need to raise the price of raw materials and incentivize reuse, repair, and recycling. It is only in modern times that waste has become an issue. Natural cycles have no waste, and the human species has broken this link.
4] Narrow measures of economy need to be changed.
The image at the top of this article depicts the Doughnut Economy model by Kate Raworth. In this model there are 9 planetary boundaries e.g. freshwater, land use, and 11 top social priorities e.g. health, education.
5] People’s basic needs should be met
This requires both personal and political change. “The Spirit Level” by Wilkinson and Pickett highlights a series of research which shows when inequality is high wellbeing suffers. i.e. a healthy society is one of equality, being ‘fair’, equality is key to a sustainable future and some people cannot get involved in society due to their basic needs not being met see (Maslow hierarchy of needs). The Green Party seek to address inequalities through a number of policies including Citizen’s Income. Inequalities are obvious in income and land holding which in turn affect housing and the environment. There are also grave inequalities that exist in gender (as seen by the recent case of Tara Hudson), age, race, religion, and the environment which at present is subject to extreme exploitation despite the fact it is what keeps us alive.
6] The wellbeing of all nations and their inhabitants are equally important.
Exploitation of one nation/region to provide cheap goods for another is not ok. The UK has exported exploitation via colonialism and capitalism, although it is important to note that zero hour contracts etc. mean exploitation is occurring here too.
7] Democracy – emphasis on equal participation by all.
Voluntary consensus versus law – a healthy society based on consensus doesn’t need so many laws. Those closest to the problem should be doing the decision making; localized decision making. Locals have a direct interest in outcome, this causes greater engagement, and empowers people. A good or bad decision is just a learning process, we should not be afraid to devolve power. Devolve power to communities with responsibility for their own economic, social, environmental resources. This is an ecological society, one that is self-governing, where communities regulate local resources. At present, small business is being squeezed out of local areas e.g. large pension companies own shopping centres and extortionate rental rates over long time period contracts. The high street suffers from a stagnant lack of diversity and the only choice available to most is national chains.
8] Non-violent solutions – toward any conflict.
The Green Party consider the interests of minorities to be equal to our own. Euphemistic language used to lull people into accepting mass murder through international conflict and the arms trade. Armed forces should be used to go in and repair damage from conflict, not instigate it, they should protect the rights of those in a vulnerable situation, not exploit it at the behest of a profit driven government.
9] Electoral politics not only way to produce change
First past post excludes so many, therefore it is important to start at the grass roots, and educate to encourage lifestyle changes that lead to broader change. Where we spend our money and what we chose to put into/onto our bodies can have an impact. Which leads to…
10] Be the change you wish to see in this world!