What if we could imagine a world where people and planet thrive?

Addressing the roots of climate injustice

Reimagining Economic Possibilities
11 min readDec 23, 2022


This blog is part of the Reimagining Economics Possibilities series. This series accompanies the Neighbourhood Doughnut portfolio of work in which CIVIC SQUARE, along with many neighbours, researchers, partners and visionaries have, since 2019, been exploring large and small scale ways to reimagine economic possibilities.

The series brings together 19 commissioned works by visionaries who are reimagining economic possibility from a number of different angles. We are deeply passionate about Doughnut Economics and recognise the wealth of possibilities it unlocks, as well as its limitations. As Kate Raworth has said, quoting British statistician George E. P. Box, “all frameworks are wrong, but some are useful.” Therefore, we want to be able to stretch as far and wide as Doughnut Economics Action Lab invites us to, and see it as a platform to organise, whilst also encompassing a plurality of bold visions.

In this blog, Siobhan Harper-Nunes lays out how climate change and inequality are interwoven, with our current economic system at the root. In order to create something different, as citizens we need to engage in the project of imagining a better future.

Siobhan is a business consultant, mentor, trainer, blogger and the founder and Director of Shakti Women. She joined the Green Party in 2014, and was the Green Party candidate for Erdington in 2022.

“Imagine a world where this divine planet we inhabit is treasured, adored, admired, nurtured.”

IMAGINE a World…

Where all women have the power to author their own lives. Where there is no child wanting for food, clothes, a home or a rounded education; where people who are sick get the treatment they need; where individuals and communities have access to spaces and places where they can relax, and chill and simply be.

Imagine a world where racism, sexism and all of the other “isms”, are gone. Where each human being is allowed to live in peace and harmony, not for their contribution but for the very fact of their being.

Imagine a world where this divine planet we inhabit is treasured, adored, admired, nurtured; where animals and other species are protected and preserved as part of the complex, MAGICAL ecosystem that we have been gifted.

Imagine a world where our seas are filled only with marine life and our skyline with mountains, forests and ennobled with legions of majestic turbines: a testament to our progressive advanced civilisation.

That is the world I seek.

But will I live to see it?

And how can I hasten its coming?

“We were put on this magical planet, not to dominate and consume her, but to care for her and love her. To harrow gently. To harvest gratefully. To build reasonably.”

David Paul Kirkpatrick

Our glorious planet is facing catastrophic challenges. By burning fossil fuels, poisoning her air, and destroying her forests, we are creating a rise in her temperature, melting her icecaps and destroying her plant and wildlife.

At the same time, SHE is being poisoned by toxic waste polluting her soil and suffocated by the plastic we pump into her rivers and her seas.

SHE is angry.

Damn right she is angry and getting angrier the more we ignore her wake up calls.

SHE is no longer willing to be the gift that keeps on giving.

SHE spews forth drought, storm, disease, flood and murderous tsunami.

In the global south we see 59.1 million people displaced by climate related disasters: higher than those due to armed conflict, another consequence of our broken system. Farmers are losing their crops, their lands and their livelihoods whilst millions more are losing their homes and their lives.

SHE rages on whilst at her home in England, our England, this green and pleasant land; people are choosing whether to heat or eat. It’s also no longer so green, as we can now boast being one of the least biodiverse countries on the planet. As our communities’ simmer, as we have the second highest level of inequality of all the “developed” countries in the world.

Here in this ‘haven’ of democracy, one in four women will experience domestic abuse, women still earn 40% less than men, people of colour fill our prisons at a disproportionate rate, 22% of our citizens live in poverty, one in five of us are seeking treatment for mental health issues, and hate crimes — those isms again — are at an all-time record high!

And whilst the cost of inequality soars into the hundreds of billions, all of us are paying the price. But sadly, some of us much more than others.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King

Like climate change, inequality ruins lives. It affects our health, our sanity, our livelihoods and our very existence.

And these threads are inextricably linked. Social, political, economic and environmental injustice are all failures of the modern world order. They are just some of the core threads of the same flawed tapestry. A tapestry that has its roots in colonialism, in slavery, in the subjugation of women, of whole continents, in pursuit of more. More things, more power, more money, more growth…M O R E!

Now we are facing a global economic crisis and yet here in the UK, we plan to offset the rising energy crisis by increasing fossil fuel extraction, instead of adapting our already limited resources towards alternative energy and the amelioration of the global crisis, we are choosing “solutions” which will only make things worse!

We cannot keep tinkering with a broken system, we cry!

But the system isn’t broken. It does exactly what it was created to do. It subjugates continents, classes, cultures to justify growth, profit, wealth.

It fills the corporate coffers making some rich and others very poor indeed.

Climate change is a direct consequence of our ‘free’ market economy, the same economy that values GROWTH over human lives, social justice and our planet. The same system that preserves the wealth and power of the few at the expense of the many.

There is a very unequal carbon footprint. The reality is that just 100 companies are responsible for more than 71% of the world’s emissions. Indeed, a tiny number of big companies have made enormous profits from activities that have destroyed our climate. These are the “free-riders,” the ‘haves’ who stand to reap the biggest gains from fossil fuel extraction and use and yet will suffer the least impact from their plunder.

Each year more than 30 gigatons of CO₂ is being pumped into our atmosphere, and the biggest historical polluters, Europe and the United States, are the least at risk. The worst affected, the typically poorer countries, the object of our plunder, are the most vulnerable. They are the ones who suffer most from the heatwaves, the drought, the floods and the hurricanes. They are also the ones with the least resources to deal with these very unnatural disasters.

Climate change is caused by the rich and suffered by the poor!

Climate change is the single most important crisis this world has ever seen. It is the biggest R I P in an already worn fabric. It is a tear we can no longer ignore.

It is a RIP which brings starkly to light the failures of a flawed social, political, environmental, and economic fabric. A fabric whose core thread is the “free-market” economy.

Economics shapes the world we live in, and it is precisely our prevailing economic goals that are at the root of global chaos and ecological destruction.

There is nothing “free” about a system of power and resource imbalances that effectively ties people up in knots. There is nothing ‘free’ about a system that lets consumerism dictate our planetary decisions. Whether that’s a market for fossil fuel, war, cheap labour, fast fashion or for human organs; these ‘free’ markets are killing us all. And must not be allowed to thrive at the expense of human suffering, or at the expense of our world.

OUR SYSTEM IS BROKEN — it’s time for us to try something new.

So, what is the alternative?

“As you go through life make one thing your goal, keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.”

Margaret Atwood

In her paper to Oxfam in 2012, Kate Raworth offers a new economic framework, an alternative approach to global challenges. This approach is rapidly gaining traction internationally. Doughnut Economics is a system of allocating resources, one that puts people and planet ahead of profit. The inner ring of our doughnut is our social foundation. The basics of Good Housekeeping: equality, wellbeing, health, education, and community. Whilst the outer ring represents our ecological ceiling: land conservation, biodiversity, climate change, pollution and freshwater.

Within this system — the yummy doughnut — lies the “sweet spot.” The space where societies and communities thrive in harmony with the protection and preservation of our natural resources as fundamental tenants to our new world.

This is a new way of doing economics. This is the thinking embodied in the values, policies and priorities of the Green Party, the Women’s Equality Party and which is now being trialled in forward-thinking cities like Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Sydney and Melbourne. It is a system that I for one am willing to embrace.

Enough tinkering with something we all know has its roots in social and economic inequality and climate injustice. Only by rethinking our archaic and ineffective systems for the preservation and distribution of precious resources, only by creating new norms and structures based on integrity and human value, can we hope to transform our world and protect our planet and its people into something better, something worthy of our collective 21st century civilised minds.

We are facing unprecedented challenges. And we need new ways of thinking and unlearning; we need to draw on new ideas and insights to create a new map and to weave a better fabric if we are to survive.

I want to be a part of shaping a society and economy which works for us all. A world where my grandchildren can breathe and look forward to a prosperous future. A world where we live in harmony with the natural world. A world where SHE can guide us into a bright new future.

I want to see a fairer, safer, cleaner and greener society, filled with engaged and active citizens, and exemplary public services. I want to see investment into new technologies – those wind turbines – clean energy and green sustainable jobs, with respected people working for a fair and living wage. I want to be a citizen of a democracy which values our people and our planet. And I want to see big business accountable for the damage they have done and to fund the cost of repairs.

Each of us has a responsibility for making the world better, for weaving our own thread into the brave new colourful fabric and together creating a rich tapestry of our own design.

It is understandable to want to rage against injustice, it’s understandable to think we have no power, but as soon as we believe that we are doomed.

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

Anita Roderick

All it takes for this evil to thrive and continue its destructive path is for each of us to do nothing, to stay silent.

We have already given over the choices for peace, for planet and for a better quality of life into the hands of a ruthless greedy few.

It ends with us!

Our world is in crisis. SHE has asked us to clean up our mess. But we can’t leave it up to the bullies. We all have to do our bit. It is time each one of us took a stand to hasten change.

It’s time for radical intervention, yet in May 2022 only one in five people in our society used their vote. People are so disillusioned with government and so convinced that their voices count for nothing, they have given up.

But we cannot give up on this dream, we must not.

We must actively hold to account the people who are making decisions that affect us all. We must resist. We must act. We must disrupt, we must object and we must protest.

It’s time for each and every one of us to tell our stories, to collaborate, and to agitate. We must use our passion, our voices, and our humanity, and we must vote for change.

Anne Frank said: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

As a woman in her 60s, I know only too well how hard embracing change can be. So many people I know prefer the comfort of their Same-Zone — but change can be good. And I believe each and every one of us, by taking even the smallest steps or changing our actions just the tiniest bit, can make a difference.

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

Anita Roderick

We live in a magical world. And if like me, you still believe in magic, the change we are moving towards will speed that magic.

At worst we can turn this system on its head and at best we can collectively create a world we can all be proud to live in.

A world we can all finally call home.

“And how can you be sure your life won’t be better when it’s upside down.”

Shams of Tabriz

I don’t yet know what this new world looks like, but I know the one we currently inhabit is messed up. Increasingly as we learn to connect the threads, we see how the seeds of Climate Change are rooted in a complex system of racism and misogyny, of power and oppression, created by the rich and powerful to justify their power, to protect their profit, and their ability to build more wealth.

We have all failed to protect our planet, we have failed to protect our people, we have failed to protect our very eco-system. But we have an opportunity to rebuild.

The fight for social justice has never been so urgent, but social and economic justice without environmental justice is untenable and quite frankly impossible. SHE has her limits!

It’s time for us collectively to weave a better fabric. There is an opportunity for us to build a better world. One that will withstand the test of time.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”

Arundhati Roy

Reimagining Economics Possibilities also builds upon CIVIC SQUARE’s Department of Dreams portfolio of work, a site to imagine bold new futures that weave together the dreams of many.

Whilst understanding, investing, and unpacking the dark matter of large scale system change, we have learned quite deeply through the practice, inspirational movements, and from imagineers and pioneers that came before us that we must also invest in the dream matter — the artists, writers, designers, dreamers and creative visionaries — those who dare to dream up bold new futures for humanity, and have the capacity to stretch our imaginations further than we ever thought possible.

Thinkers, doers and makers dreaming beyond our existing systems have played, are playing and will continue to play a central role in crafting collective visions that transcend our current reality, and radically illuminate the responsibilities we hold to future generations. This is particularly driven by practices of imagination and identity, and, when woven together with dark matter findings and interventions, has the power to create a supernovae of transformation; the thinking, relating and behaving differently required to usher in a new reality that becomes irresistible, that we can all build and craft together.

Find out more by exploring the following materials from Department of Dreams 2020–2021:

Initial Dept of Dreams Blog — May 2020
Watch Back Re_ Fest Talks — June 2020
Dream Library Launch — November 2021
The Matter of Dreams: 2020–2021 — December 2021



Reimagining Economic Possibilities

Demonstrating neighbourhood-scale civic infrastructure for social + ecological transition, together with many people + partners in Ladywood, Birmingham