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Transition Universities conference, Winchester,
February 2011

Climate Change and Violence workshop series 2008 - 2012
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Climate Change and Humanity, November 2004
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Workshop 5:
Friday 18th March 2011
York St John University
Dr. Laura Potts
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Workshop 5: Human Consequences: Human Welfare 

York St John University

Friday 18 March 2011
10.30am - 5.00pm 

Format and process

  • The workshop aims to provide all participants with an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues and concerns about the health and well being of populations arising from climate change. All participants’ thoughts and expertise are important to this dialogic process.
  • On arrival, each participant will be allocated to a home group which will be the forum for discussion; there will be quick ice-breaker exercises to get us all thinking and talking together.
  • Each of the five presenters will have 20 minutes to talk to their chosen themes (see below), followed by 10 minutes for clarification with participants.
  • Groups will then discuss the following questions, using ideas and information provided by the presenters:
    - What are the core human values under threat?
    - How can we best act to protect human health and core values?
  • Towards the end of the day, further plenary discussion will be facilitated, to draw conclusions where possible, and to identify key themes and debates, and how they may best be presented in public social and political discourse. 

Venue details and housekeeping

The workshop will be held at York St John University, which is a ten minutes scenic and historic walk from the rail station and main bus services. The room booked is on the first floor of the De Grey building, on the corner of Lord Mayor's Walk and Clarence St, numbered 8 (in the bottom left) on this map. Directions to the university are here.

There is a lift to the first floor and ready access to all facilities for those with disabilities.
Morning and afternoon tea and biscuits will be served at the university. Lunch will be provided at a local community cafe five minutes walk away; all food will be vegetarian, and mainly locally sourced and organically grown.
At this moment the schedule and order of presentations is provisional and may be subject to change.

Registration and cost

We have a small subsidy to back this workshop but need to cover costs for lunch and sundries. We are thus  requesting £20 per person for waged participants. We will cover anybody who is unwaged.
As on previous occasions, we welcome donations to the cost and development of the Crisis Forum climate change and violence programme.
To register (both waged and unwaged) please contact Marianne at Crisis Forum, at: 
Marianne McKiggan marianne@crisis-forum.org.uk. Marianne will advise about methods of payment.  Please contact her no later than Friday 11 March.



Effective or provocative? Public engagement with climate messages
Jacqui Akhurst
The presentation will consider the video clip used to launch the Copenhagen conference, and the rhetoric and images utilised to evoke responses. The unintended messages of such communications will be discussed, emphasizing how people are alienated and become disengaged. More constructive means of engaging in social change will be considered, from a community psychology perspective, and participants will discuss different and more effective forms of engagement. Ideas and practices related to local communities and environmental activism will be explored.

Assessing impacts of climate change and displacement on human population: using rights-based approach
Ashirbani Dutta

A complex interplay of various issues around environmental, social and other pressure points will determine the impact of climate change on population. The interaction between these elements and human movement may be 'proactive' migration as a part of adaptive strategy, or 'reactive' displacement due to failure of available alternatives. This presentation will take as starting point the acknowledged complexities of socio-economic factors, and suggest what the likely real impact on the displaced population may be by reconceptualising their needs 'subjectively'.

Hot Under the Collar: Adapting to shrinking resources
Colin Feltham

Nations like the UK may struggle to accommodate waves of immigrants resulting from climate change, and competition for resources is likely to stretch altruistic limits and human rights claims. Likely rationing of food and housing may cause conflicts, escalating into increasing violence, and increased policing will also cause tensions. This is an opportunity to discuss how successful adaptation strategies will be challenged by cultural and religious attitudes.

The public health implications of climate change
Tony Waterston

Global warming will adversely affect food growth in many countries leading to widespread malnutrition, and the climate changes (sea level rise and adverse weather events) will make very large populations homeless. There will be an increase in vector born disease and in water born infections affecting the most vulnerable members of the population first .This presentation will invite discussion of appropriate responses to this scenario.

'The war without bullets': a perspective from 'So We Stand,' a community movement for self-determination
Dan Glass

Community struggles across the UK are beginning to take on board the narrative of the 'war without bullets' in campaigns against the interconnected injustices of poverty-inequality and climate change. Using David Fryer and Cathy McCormack's framing of 'the war on the poor', movements for environmental justice, such as 'So We Stand : for self determination', are finding how the discourse is empowering for communities on the frontline of injustice and, simultaneously, striking a defensive chord with other more middle-class activists. How then, should socio-structural violence be understood and how should that understanding be progressively deployed? How do we attempt to understand climate change as 'the war on the poor – the war being fought with briefcases and not guns'? How can we reframe interconnections between climate change, material poverty, societal inequality, socio-economic policy and psycho-social destruction in an attempt to understand and contest socio-structural violence - and ground this 'war' in our community struggles against the social impacts of climate change? Indeed, is such framing useful?

Presenter biographies:


Jacqui Akhurst is the current interim chair of the British Psychological Society's Community Psychology Section. As a Counselling psychologist, with a PhD in Psychotherapy, she has worked extensively with trainee counsellors and psychologists. She has published in the fields of community and peace psychology, as well as professional development.

Ashirbani Dutta is a PhD candidate from the University of Essex working on 'Protection of the Rights of Climate Change-IDPs displaced as a Consequence of Climate Change.' She worked in India on human rights issues and teaching before coming to the UK.

Colin Feltham is Emeritus Professor of Critical Counselling Studies, Sheffield Hallam University. His publications include 'What's Wrong With Us? The Anthropathology Thesis' (Wiley, 2007) and he is currently writing a book 'Failure' (in all its manifestations) for Acumen Press.

Tony Waterston is a retired consultant paediatrician and clinical senior lecturer; currently he leads the climate change and health campaigning in Medact (Medical Action for Global Security).

Dan Glass was recently named one the UK's youth 'climate leaders' and revels in creating militant but cheeky ways to challenge those destroying the planet. He is also a co-founder of 'So We Stand' bringing together anti-racism, anti-poverty and anti-climate change struggles for environmental justice.


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