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Of Plastics and Brexit – the struggle against the new lords of oil & gas

On 16th January 2019 news was leaked through the German paper Handelsblatt of The Alliance to End Plastic Waste. A new industrial coalition that will invest $1billion over the next five years in a campaign to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the world. Here was a powerful body of major corporations determining to...

Hopes and fears in the climate of change….

  I have been involved in various climate campaigns and research projects for the last 10 years and have often found myself in rooms full of well meaning, reasonably wealthy, middle aged white people. They are usually the Heads of Sustainability or Corporate Responsibility in their places of work – banks, local authorities, consultancies, funding...

Silence in the Storm – Business and No Deal Brexit

  The storm in Westminster rages so ferociously that at times it’s hard to hear ourselves think. There is second by second coverage of the House of Commons and Downing Street from every conceivable angle. Backbenchers so obscure that we’ve never heard of them before are dragged through the TV studios and closely cross-questioned. Others...

Victory at Leith Hill! Divest Fracking! Resisting sites of speculation

This piece was written before the news of the draconian jail sentences passed on those opposing fracking in Preston, Lancashire … but that bitter ruling does not destroy the reality that shortly before that decision we celebrated a Victory! The News of an Amazing Victory! We wrote of it as follows … The permission to...

The Invisible Machine – a gas pipeline in the Caucasus and a handshake in No10

On the evening of Thursday 26th April 2018, it was warm and sunny in London. President Ilham Aliyev strode down Downing Street and was met by Prime Minister Theresa May with smile and a handshake. They posed for the cameras on the red carpet outside No 10 and then retired inside. A short formal chat...

Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

On 18th April Ilham Aliyev will be inaugurated for the fourth time as President of Azerbaijan. His re-election comes as no surprise. It is so predictable that it barely counted as ‘news’ and consequently got next to no coverage in the international media. Originally the election was scheduled for 17th October, but at nine weeks...

La Zad puts down roots – sensing the future

We’re in the middle of the crowd. Standing some way back from the stage, watching transfixed and elated at the performance of Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp. Two trombones, two drummers, two marimbas, two electric guitars, two cellos and five other musicians blast out such a blissful riot of sound that our souls sail above...

Strip away the carapace – the Ice Age, BP, and the British Museum

It pushes me quickly to tears. I’m kneeling on the cold stone floor of the Great Court, legs tucked beneath me, one foot crossed under the other. I’m listening to a rendition of A Requiem to Sinking Cities – an agit-performance in the heart of the British Museum. Silent figures hold up two banners, ‘#DropBP’...

The changing wind – shedding the carbon skin

  I am cramming chocolate into your mouth. I feel the dampness of your lips against my fingertips and see the brown squares tumble into the darkness. It takes seconds to complete the task, but the time draws out, slows down. All around is mayhem. The wind makes the shrouds howl. The sound thrusts a...

Walking the Line. New Interactive Documentary

In Italy, Azerbaijan and the UK people are fighting against the devastating impacts of import pipelines and wresting back control over their energy system. In this beautiful documentary we made with Global Motion, Re:common and Counter Balance we meet the people who live alongside the Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline and are organising against this gargantuan piece...

Darkness Falling – 100 days in Azerbaijan

Today the appeal trial of Leyla and Arif Yunus continues in Azerbaijan. As it does James Marriott reflects on 100 days in Azerbaijan. For over 100 days I have been away from the hum of collective life in Platform, away from the buzz of e-mails and twitter, away from the news feed darting this way...

The Management of Democracy – a report from the BP AGM 2015

The low hanger of the ExCeL building – the London Exhibition Centre – squats grey and devoid of windows on the northern quayside of the former Royal Victoria Dock which was closed and privatised in 1981. Despite having visited this hall for most of the BP Annual General Meetings of the past decade, the place...