Archive for the ‘Economics’ category

The Spirit Level – The Fleece, Church Green

March 17th, 2013

SpiritLevelWednesday 20 March at The Fleece, Church Green, Witney, at 7.30 pm.  Admission Free but limited places.

If you have read The Spirit Level, you will find this talk by Madeleine Power, Senior Researcher at The Equality Trust fascinating. If not come and find out what it’s all about.

To book please access


Comparing life expectancy, mental health, levels of violence, teenage birth rates, drug abuse, child wellbeing, obesity rates, levels of trust, the educational performance of school children, or the strength of community life among rich countries, it is clear that societies which tend to do well on one of these measures tend to do well on all of them, and the ones which do badly, do badly on all of them. What accounts for the difference?

The key is the amount of inequality in each society. The picture is consistent whether we compare rich countries or the 50 states of the USA. The more unequal a society is, the more ill health and social problems it has.

Inequality has always been regarded as divisive and socially corrosive. The data show that even small differences in the amount of inequality matter. Material inequality serves as a determinant of the scale and importance of social stratification. It increases status insecurity and competition and the prevalence of all the problems associated with relative deprivation. Particularly important are effects mediated by social status, friendship and early childhood experience. However, although the amount of inequality has its greatest effect on rates of problems among the poor, its influence extends to almost all income groups: too much inequality reduces levels of well-being among the vast majority of the population.

Arranged by the West Oxfordshire Green Party.

Insulating a catflap or similar

August 12th, 2012

What do you do once you’ve picked the low-hanging fruit of sustainable household improvement? Let’s say that (like us) you’ve already had your loft and cavity walls insulated, and all your windows are double-glazed. Where do you go next? The two main directions are: think big (replacement boiler or wood burner, triple glazing, solar water heating); or think small (changing habits, draught exclusion.)

» Read more: Insulating a catflap or similar

LCCN session: homes and energy efficiency

January 18th, 2012

How can you get people to care about the link between fuel and climate change when they can’t even afford to pay the gas bill? This question kept coming up, in different ways, during the second morning session I attended at the Low Carbon Communities conference. As Chris Church, session facilitator, put it: “Energy is about bills for many people, not about climate change or renewables.”

» Read more: LCCN session: homes and energy efficiency

Getting started at the Low Carbon Communities conference

January 14th, 2012

When a national low-carbon event happens just a short bus ride away, it would be rude not to pop along. That’s why Sustainable Witney sent two delegates to the Low Carbon Communities conference today.

» Read more: Getting started at the Low Carbon Communities conference

Cutting carbon begins at home

May 31st, 2011

The current government promised to be the “greenest government ever”, but the UK’s carbon emissions are still too high, risking catastrophic climate change. However, many people don’t realise that 80% of emissions are as a result of local activity. We talk a lot about government action, but it’s time to bring the discussion closer to home.

Friends of the Earth, with the help of their partners in the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, have been organising meetings all over the country where people can meet their elected representatives and discuss local action to cut emissions. The meetings have been timed to happen while the Energy Bill, the first significant piece of green legislation to come from the current government, makes its way through Parliament.

Picture of the room at the Corn Exchange filled with people

The Witney meeting on 25th May

David Cameron declined to attend the Witney meeting on 25th May, but Councillor David Harvey took his place. As a town, district and county councillor, Cllr Harvey represents three levels of local government.

» Read more: Cutting carbon begins at home

The High Street

December 1st, 2010

Last night’s episode of ‘Turn Back Time’ was very revealing about human nature.

The programme was set up to produce a cost vs service situation in Shepton Mallet’s High Street, and even though we all know the answer, the result was still dramatic.

We might value highly the social benefits of ‘traditional’ shops, but when spending our money we almost always choose the cheaper option, even if we can afford not to.

It’s our choice, but it seems it’s a choice we have little control over.

The episodes taking the High Street through the ages are still available to view here,


Prosperity, Growth and Us

October 11th, 2010