A MESSAGE OF HOPE: Activist and writer George Monbiot addresses a rapt audience at the Chapel Lecture Theatre Photo: Greg McKinney

  • George Monbiot: How to Really Take Back Control
  • Chapel Lecture Theatre, Penryn Campus, Falmouth
  • March 16, 2018

Activist and journalist George Monbiot brought a message of hope to Falmouth University on Friday (March 16), providing a glimmer of hope that a new politics might yet emerge to pull us free from the ‘wreckage’ of our current political system at an event organised by Truthfal.

Speaking to an audience of 170 in the Chapel Lecture Theatre at the Penryn Campus, he cut straight to the chase to highlight the ‘multiple, manifold ecological crisis’ we face. ‘Climate breakdown’, as he described it (preferring this less passive description), poses one of the greatest threats to life on this planet.

But he argued there is a far more urgent environmental issue: ‘ecological cleansing of both the land and the sea by the food industry’. This, he explained, is rapidly destroying whole ecosystems and with it the soil, upon which the survival of life on earth depends.

Monbiot moved on to discuss the economic crisis now also impending, ‘a crisis of patrimonial wealth’, as he put it, which is concerned with the land people own and subsequently profit from at the expense of a fair economy.

He came bearing real solutions to the very real social, economic and environmental issues we all face.

This, he explained, has its roots in neoliberalism, the dominant ideology of our times, which we must seek to replace with a new narrative. ‘The restoration story’ which is the basis of all successful political narratives needs retelling, he argued, with the heroes being us, the people, who take back control by rebuilding our communities and generating a ‘politics of belonging’.

By revitalising communities so that everyone has a sense of geographical belonging, democratic and economic power can be restored to the people, he suggested. It provided the main takeaway of the evening: that it is within our local communities where we can, and must, really make a difference.

George Monbiot took us on a journey which started with despair, but ended with a tangible feeling of hope. He came bearing real solutions to the very real social, economic and environmental issues we all face. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the current state of our environment and the powers that be, however we must seek change and be prepared to fight for it.

He gave the example of the #metoo movement, which is a perfect case in hand of how an initially small group of people, who weren’t afraid to raise their voices against a recognised evil, brought about a definitive and positive shift within our culturally accepted norms.

As was the case with institutionalised sexual harassment, we need to stop turning our heads and collectively face up to what is happening. Only then can the tides of change truly begin to shift.

TRUTHFAL VIDEO: You can watch the entire lecture here…