ARF Analysis

– July 2013:  Towards the end of 2011 I started work on a research commission from Friends of the Earth to prepare a briefing on Global Population. Environmentalists always find it difficult to talk about this issue, but I started out with the hunch that “Discussion of global population issues can be seen as controversial … but it need not be, nor should be if environmentalists are to be able to engage with all components of our ‘Planetary Emergency’ ” [this being FOE’s principal analytical framework] The research could have reached another conclusion but in fact it demonstrated the power of detailed analysis – in this case of the demographics – to dispel various misrepresentations and confusions.

I’m also publishing the work myself as the first briefing from the Foundation:  Global Population  to 2050 and beyond: Sources, Analysis, Discussion which will be followed in 2014 by a companion analysis of UK Population – at present 63 million and projected by the UN to increase by another 10 million in 2050, and then a further 4 million by 2100. That subject may turn out to be actually controversial, but all the more reason to embark on the investigation.

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I believe in analysis-based campaigning.  Step 1: start by ‘breaking’ the analysis you’re campaigning against; there’s always a point of vulnerability, or flawed argument, to be found – as long as you look hard enough.  Step 2: then ‘set your strategy’, long-term and high-level, that will lead eventually to campaign success (or alternatively the most damage limitation you can hope for!)  Step 3: finally rigorously build your own analysis to underpin that strategy. Too many campaigns fail because they don’t follow this straightforward three-step sequence. Of course you need much more than ‘analysis’ for successful campaigning, but it’s still a prerequisite.

As chair of the Friends of the Earth Board’s Campaigns Committee I had to demonstrate an adequate command of all the issues across the FOE broad sustainable development agenda, and was the Board’s lead technical negotiator for the campaign content of the previous Strategic Plan (2008) and new Strategic Framework (2011). As an FOE volunteer campaigner over the years I’ve written and presented evidence for public inquiries into successive regional spatial strategies (for Yorkshire & Humber, and North East), local development plans (Calderdale), airports (Doncaster Finningley) and windfarm applications; and the submission into the 2003 Air Transport White Paper.

In 2011 the tempo of that analysis work picked up. I prepared submissions covering aviation (Air Passenger Duty consultation, and Sustainable Aviation Framework Scoping consultation) and High Speed Rail (Transport Select Committee HS2 submission).  In 2012 & 13 I’ve continued that work as FOE’s aviation campaigner.

Last updated: August 2013