On Thursday the 6th December 2012, as part of Oxfam’s weekend of action on the land campaign, we co-organised a well attended auction in Bristol city centre.
The auction wasn’t selling antiques, vehicles or even animals, but Bristol’s very own landscapes, neighbourhoods and monuments. Staff from Grab, Grab & Profit auction house went to town, selling off Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Temple Meads Train Station, Easton, St Pauls, nearby trees and even people. Grab, Grab & Profit wanted to promote private investment by selling off parts of Bristol to competitive corporate bidders at exceptionally attractive rates.
While some members of the public attempted to take part in the land rush, many others objected to the blatant injustice taking place, and put their name to supporting the land campaign. The Land Campaign calls for the world bank to enforce a 6 month freeze on all large scale land investments, and then review the process by which these purchases are conducted. More information on the land campaign, calling for an end to unjust land grabs here. Read more
Interviews with people at the Common Cause Lunch in Brussels
In Brussels, we try to meet regularly to discuss theory and practice of values and frames during lunchtime. On 21 November, we had the pleasure to welcome Rich Hawkins from PIRC in the European capital. Over the past few months, many more people showed interest in Common Cause, so this was an opportunity for us to refresh our knowledge about the use of values and frames and to introduce new comers to the concept. Individuals from ActionAid and Cooperatives Europe shared their impressions: Read more
Ralph Underhill worked on planning casework and water policy at the RSPB for seven years, before joining the Public Interest Research Centre where he is working on the Common Cause for Nature project. He would like to hear your thoughts on this piece and would like anyone interested in the project to get in touch.
Conservation is a dam. It tries to hold back a tide of potentially damaging impacts, that, if unleashed, would overrun the natural world and destroy the wildlife we care about.
With the increasing challenges brought on by economic development this dam is reaching its limits. Numerous biological indicators (such as this) are showing that the cracks in it are widening and water is spilling out at a rate not previously seen.
To date, the role of those working in the conservation sector has to been to try to maintain the integrity of the dam. Whenever a new threat emerges (be it a new infrastructure proposal, breeding failure on a particular reserve or a damaging government policy) it creates a fresh crack and we rush to stem the flow. Although some water gets through, it is never as much as would have done if we weren’t there.
We are making a difference, yet somehow things continue to get worse. Read more
Common Cause Brussels meets The Widening Circle
On 6 November 2012, some of the more active supporters of Common Cause here in Brussels had the chance to meet Uchita de Zoysa, Global Coordinator of The Widening Circle. According to the website, The Widening Circle is an action campaign to advance a global citizens movement for a Great Transition: global citizens are to engage for “a future of enriched lives, human solidarity and environmental sustainability” based on a “new suite of values”, namely quality-of-life, human solidarity and reverence for nature. Read more
This guest blog is by Valerie Mocker, who recently completed her postgraduate degree in Environmental Policy at Oxford University. Here, she describes findings from her dissertation research. They suggest that framing climate change as an ‘economic’ challenge may not be the best way to engage conservative audiences, leading people to externalise responsibility of climate change and express higher degrees of fatalism about the issue. This blog was originally posted on Talking Climate on 22nd November. Read more
This post is by guest author, researcher Jo Chamberlain.
How is it, Finding Frames asks, that while financial support for international development NGOs is increasing, public concern about global poverty is decreasing? Even after the massive Make Poverty History campaign, the report finds that public understanding of the issues is poor, and in the current climate of cuts, even support for overseas aid spending is diminishing.
Finding Frames suggests that the ‘successful’ fundraising strategies are part of the problem causing the lack of public engagement. The relationship between the organisations and the public has changed. Members are now supporters, and these supporters are held at arms length and interacted with on a transactional basis. Making a donation is the full extent of many people’s involvement. The charity frame dominates the issues of global poverty, where the roles of “powerful giver” and “grateful receiver” are still as fixed as they were in 1985.
The picture of Christian Aid which emerges from its Christian Aid Week material is of an organisation based on intrinsic values, and, to a large extent, using helpful frames to communicate with the public. The key outcome of its development work is described over and over again as enabling people in poor communities to determine their own futures and to successfully find their own solutions to poverty. This seems akin to Schwartz’s “self-direction” values. Christian Aid frames itself not as a charity but as a partner.I set out to discover which frames Christian Aid is using to engage the UK public, and whether it is as wedded to the charity and transaction frames as Finding Frames’ analysis of the sector suggests. Using the material produced for Christian Aid Week 2012, I identified the values and frames used to describe Christian Aid’s work overseas, and those used to encourage the UK public to get involved.