Blake Alcott, ecological economist & pro-Palestinian activist

Ecological Economics knows that the things in the natural world we can use as resources are limited. Therefore there is a limit to both the number of people on earth and to their per-person consumption of these resources. This quantity - population x affluence - is already at least double what the natural world can provide sustainably. So the human economy must shrink. Economic 'degrowth' is imperative, whether it happens politically and humanely or chaotically and disastrously. The most honest, and only effective, way of lowering our amounts of depletion and pollution is to enact legal caps on the extraction or destruction of good things like metals, fossil fuels, topsoil, fresh water, a productive climate, natural beauty and other species.


After about 20 years of thinking and writing about sustainability strategies, I've come to the conclusion that strategies of resource efficiency, lifestyle sufficiency, renewables and lower population must all fail because of the rebound effect: resources temporarily saved in one area, by one strategy, are snapped up by another area, or by other consumers, overnight. Yet no human polity in the next several decades will become ready to enact the necessarily effective strategy of resource caps. Thus, sadly, it is a waste of time to work for the big issues of global environmental improvement.


But some 'environmental' policies, on a smaller scale, do raise quality of life. For instance: while slowing population growth or, ideally, lowering absolute human population size might not lower negative environmental impact (population x affluence), for many of us - and certainly for all non-human animals and wild plants! - the world would be more pleasant if it were less crowded by us and our infrastructures. If we'd somehow legally reduce car trips and flights we'd have less noise and danger. If we'd convert to organic farming we'd have more biodiversity and a more beautiful world.


Alas, the Paris 2015 and subsequent COP meetings water down the valid Kyoto approach of hard caps and showed us that greenhouse emissions are not about to be lowered. So, save your energy, so to speak. Despite this opinion, I do work a bit for Degrowth and for the brilliant Swiss Glacier Initiative.


Since 2013 I've spent more and more time working for One Democratic State (ODS) in Palestine, for instance as Director or Co-Director of the NGO ODS in Palestine (England) LtdAnd since 2022 as a supporter of the ODS Initiative. I was long an active member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Cambridge branch), and published several articles on Palestine (at Publications).


Download my book, as a PDF free of charge, called The Rape of Palestine: A Mandate Chronology. It is a reference book made up of 490 separate instances of the dialogue, such as it was, between the Palestinians and their British colonisers in the years 1917-1948.

29 OCTOBER 2023 Gaza Battle


The press where I live - Zürich, Switzerland - has failed both professionally and morally since 7 October 2023. The NZZ, the Tages-Anzeiger, the Weltwoche, 20 Minuten are all HASBARA organs whose coverage is one-sided and is based on the unstated premise that a Jewish-Israeli life is worth (much) more than a Palestinian-Arab life. Disgusting. They apply a double standard in judging the actions of Hamas and the actions of the colonial-apartheid state in effect ruling Gaza, namely Israel. Unfortunately the two rather 'left' papers - Republik and the WochenZeitung - are only marginally better. As Daniel Binswanger, editor of Republik, titled his main article: 'We are all Israelis.' This is repulsive.

Example 1: Tages-Anzeiger published a list of 17 books (10 non-fiction, 7 'Belletristik') to help people understand the background to Gaza 2023. Guess how many Palestinian authors there were? One and a half, both not non-fiction: 1) Ghassan Kanafani's 83-page novella of 1969, Return to Haifa. That author was murdered by Mossad in 1972. 2) Samir El Youssef, who collaborated with Etgar Keret for a book of short stories. And these 'culture' editors call themselves journalists. Ridiculous.

Example 2: Big articles when Yocheved Lifschitz, the 85-year-old Israeli hostage released by Hamas, talked to the press. The things she said about 'going through hell' and the tunnels' being 'like a spiderweb' were duly recorded, but not her clear statement that she was in all respects treated very well by her captors. And no mention of how she turned and thanked and shook the hand of a Hamas soldier behind her before being led away by her daughter. Any sacrifice of journalistic and human integrity for the sake of HASBARA.

Example 3: The NZZ's Oliver Camenzind 'reported' on the demonstration/march in Zürich on Sat. 28 October. I was there. I saw and heard nothing remotely anti-semitic. The article claimed anti-semitic stuff was chanted, with no proof. That claim dominated the article, which means: even if there were two people who said something anti-semitic, or carried such a banner, focussing on that is a distortion. And of course the definition of 'anti-semitism' used is the absurd, morally dastardly one of equating anti-Israel with anti-Jew.

For me NZZ, Tagi, Weltwoche, WoZ and Republik are Zionist rags most likely unreliable on other topics. On this topic, they are both immoral and uninformed.

28 OCTOBER 2023 Gaza Battle


I stand unequivocally on the side of the Palestinian people in their fight against the colonial, apartheid state of Israel. Congratulations to this group who in its 'Statement of Solidarity with Palestine' on 13 October wrote, "The Feminist Library stands unequivocally with the Palestinian people in their long-enduring resistance to settler colonialism, apartheid, and occupation." Yes, with no ifs and buts.