Sam Partington

I support a number of charities, organisations and campaigns involved with campaigning on environmental and social justice issues.  This page contains information about just some of them.

WDM and Trade Justice

I'm a member of the Oxford branch of the World Development Movement (WDM).  WDM does not provide aid, rather they aim to tackle the injustices that keep people poor.  I'm particularly interested in Trade Justice issues; the current system is rigged in favour of rich nations and directly contributes to poverty and environmental destruction.  The current trade system causes such a range of problems that it's hard to summarise them, but here goes:

Forcing poor countries to open up their markets (one of the principles of "free trade") means their producers are driven out of business by the influx of subsidised products from rich-countries.  In the meantime, rich countries refuse to allow poor countries access to their markets.  And most of the subsidies the UK agriculture industry gets go to rich landowners anyway, when we have poor farmers of our own who need the money.

The insistence on removing "barriers to trade" can prevent countries (rich and poor) from doing things like labelling goods which contain genetically modified ingredients, or attempting to enforce higher environmental standards.  Free-trade policies also prevent poor countries subsidising their own businesses and producers.

Example after example shows enforced privatisation (eg of electricity of water) leads to less access for the poor and to a reduction in the quality of what is offered.  Water privatisation in Bolivia (now reversed after a heroic struggle by campaigners) made it illegal to collect rainwater without a permit!  Yet the big international financial institutions are still insisting on privatisation of services before they give countries aid.

The current negotiating system is undemocratic: poor countries can't afford to represent themselves, and the USA has an effective veto anyway.

The environment

I'm interested in too many aspects of environmental campaigning to list all of them here, but one area of particular concern is sustainable travel.  The Campaign for Better Transport is an excellent campaigning group for this issue, whilst the Man in Seat 61 tells you everything you need to know about travelling through Europe and the world without going by plane...

It's not easy to quantify the exact greenhouse warming due to water vapour and nitrogen oxide emissions from aircraft, but a scientific consensus is now emerging that the total warming effect of all emissions (carbon dioxide, water vapour and nitrogen oxides) put together is [approximately] 2-5 times greater than that of carbon dioxide alone.

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For details on how to buy train/boat tickets for anywhere in the world, read the relevant country pages on Seat61 as that tells you which sites to use for which part of the journey (if more than one is needed).

Since moving to Oxford I've got into cycling again; some interesting arguments as to why cycling is great can be found at Go By Bicycle (it's written for a US audience but the points are still very relevant to the UK and elsewhere).

I've also been involved with the Stop Esso campaign, and am still involved with the boycott.

Other campaigns

Finally, read about Baby Milk Action & the Nestle boycott.

Eat Bertha`s Mussels bumper sticker a snowy day in Monreal the Grand Canal in Venice