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Paul Mobbs &
Mobbs' Environmental Investigations –

Work Archive –
Themes Index:


I've worked primarily with community groups for many years – mostly in the UK, but also in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The materials produced from that work have relevance not just to the people who commissioned them, but many other communities too. For that reason I maintain an on-line archive of my work.

For details of the licensing restrictions on using these resources, see the Copyright and Sharing page.

Work Archive:
'Themes' Index




Media Coverage









Ecological Limits













Video and Audio

The 'Activism' theme covers various aspects of practising, teaching or encouraging community grass-roots activism.

Mainstream politics is all about small groups of people doing deals to dominate the public agenda – which inevitably reflects a narrow set of interests. It is my fundamental belief that only by having people directly involved in the political process, and driving the public debate from the bottom-up, that politics can truly reflect democratic consensus principles.

Though the core of my work is 'technical', the major part of what I do is developing ways to communicate that information to the public through writing and education. As time has progressed, I've also put more time into directly teaching the processes of activism as a subject in and of itself – to enable others to develop their own campaigns.

The resources in this section reflect my own activism, and my efforts to communicate the subject of 'community-based activism' to others.

The 'Activism' Theme

inc image The Global Military Infrastructure and You

July 2018

A cut-down version of the workshop produced for the Global Network's 2018 conference in Oxford looking at the central role of data in military and intelligence activities – and while focussing on USAF Croughton, it considers that all such networks are in fact now part of one unified network, generated through 'data dusion', which poses serious risks to our privacy and civil rights.

file icon goto YouTube video of presentation

file icon the handout accompanying the workshop
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inc image The Global Network's site visit to USAF Croughton

July 2018

The morning that peace activists from around the world gathered outside USAF Croughton to learn about the new global data network that imperils civil society.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image USAF Croughton, Networked Warfare, and the Intelligence-Fusion Complex

July 2018

A short report, produced for Croughtonwatch, on how digital networks, data, and artificial intelligence are blurring the boundaries between military, political and civil conflict.

file icon PDF version of handout
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file icon goto YouTube video of presentation

inc image What is USAF Croughton?

May 2018

A short video (produced for Croughtonwatch) on USAF Croughton's role in drone warfare and mass surveillance across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

file icon goto video information page
732.5 megabytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'For all its faults, 'fracking' is not the issue here...'


Approaching my tenth year of research on unconventional oil and gas in Britain, it has become clear that the true struggle has little to do with regulations, or technology, or the pursuit of fossil fuels, and everything to do with the failure of our national political dialogue.

file icon read the 'Musings' article
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Methane clathrate – the last desperate hope of the fossil fuels industry'


"Extreme Energy" is a term which encompasses many different forms of 'unconventional' energy resources. From fracking, to tar sands, to some types of renewable energy which take more energy and carbon to produce than they save, these 'extreme' energy sources represent the last hope of the global energy corporations. Why this is so tells a much greater truth about the global commitment to address the issue of climate change.

file icon read the 'Musings' article
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file icon download the A3 poster version
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Conservatives Planning 'Frackageddon' After Election'


Very few electors read manifestos, let alone debate the detail of them. That's a pity, as it might change the nature of the tired debates we see at every election. For this week's general election, the Conservative Party's manifesto outlines a sharp break in British planning and environmental policy of a scale not seen since the 1980s. Ostensibly their aim is to make 'fracking' require more exacting regulation. That sounds really great in theory. In practice it depends what your legal definition of 'fracking' is.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Ecolonomics no.17: The 'Fracking' Election – Why the 2017 UK General Election is a ground-breaking test of British environmental policy


I have been researching the issue of unconventional gas and oil in the UK since 2009 – shortly after the Government's 13th On-shore Licensing Round awarded many of the petroleum exploration and production licences (PEDLs) which are being drilled around Britain right now. Over that time the Government has steadily 'lost control' of the issue by a combination of public resistance, industry failure in the US and elsewhere, and changing economics. Today though, the response to the inherent problems of the Government's oil and gas policy represents not only an unprecedented twist in this long saga, but also an unprecedented break in UK environmental and town planning policy. What the Conservatives propose in their election manifesto is to make the development of on-shore oil and gas, below the criteria of what constitutes a 'major' operation in The Infrastructure Act 2015, "permitted development". It's important to unpack this seemingly subtle change to understand its true impact – and why it is so significant.

file icon PDF version
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file icon HTML version
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file icon UK PEDLs/contituencies map
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file icon North West PEDLs/contituencies map
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file icon North East PEDLs/contituencies map
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file icon South East PEDLs/contituencies map
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file icon South West PEDLs/contituencies map
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Fracking, Austerity and Brexit – why 'grey-haired' activists must support direct action today'


Of late I've been trying not to sound like Monty Python's 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch. I'm trying to communicate the idea that while some things in the world of direct action have not changed, some things – particularly the law – have changed for the better.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Ramblinactivist 1/17: "Domestic Extremism" – A Great English Tradition!


On a busy day in London, walking and riding the tube between meetings, I take you on a tour of England's historic tradition of 'domestic extremism'; its importance in shaping our country as it is today, and why it has always been vehemently opposed by the English state. Labels like 'domestic' or 'non-violent' extremism are a means by which the state tries to avoid having a discussion on certain pressing issues – precisely because they threaten the competency of the state and/or the manner in which it rules.

file icon goto Ramblinactivist's video blog 1/17
watch the video on the 'ramblinactivist' Youtube channel

file icon goto Mobbsey's Musings article
read the article accompanying the video
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inc image 'Open Source Intelligence' for Activists

August 2016

Computers and the Internet have, for more than twenty years, been an essential part of environmental and social activism in Britain. However, their use is challenged by the rise of "post-truth" politics – the use of an ideological- or public-relations-led approach to policy and decision-making where facts are often not just bent, they're deliberately ignored.

file icon download poster presentation
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Beyond failure at COP21, environmentalism has its own shortcomings to address'


Consider this: can we "save the planet?" That's a critical question if you're an environmentalist – though it requires an understanding of what 'saving' and 'the planet' means. And if those founding definitions are not based upon realistic information, what would be the result?

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
428.7 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Fracking distractions – why shale gas is a proxy for a more damaging ideological agenda'


After more than five years of delay, relaunches and circuitous consultations, the Department of Energy and Climate Change's 14th Landward Licensing Round concluded last Thursday. DECC's Oil and Gas Authority awarded the final 132 exploration and production licences; overall none of the 159 licences applied for were refused. Arguably though, this announcement was a cynical act of misdirection.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
113.4 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'UK Government attacks the public's right to affordable environmental justice'



file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'An activists' guide to the 'Snooper's Charter' – and what to do about it'


The so called "Snooper's Charter", the draft of which was introduced to Parliament by the Home Secretary on 4th November 2015, has created a media furore. It may appear to be threatening, anti-democratic and downright repressive, especially if you use technology as a de-skilled 'consumer' – without questioning how it works or what private information you exchange when using it. In practice, for those who have a working knowledge of communications technologies – certainly trained terrorists, organised criminals and fraudsters – many aspects of the draft bill are not threatening at all. If you use the technology in a certain way you can, to a certain extent, hide your on-line life from surveillance.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
129.5 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: ''Credo': If economics is a belief system, are we being ruled by religious fundamentalists?'


Brian Davey's new book, Credo: Economic Beliefs in a World in Crisis, is an analysis of economic theory as if it were a system of religious belief. It's a timely book. The simplistic, perhaps 'supernatural' assumptions which underpin key parts of economic theory demand far more attention. It's a debate we've failed to have as a society.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Keep Space for Peace Week, USAF Croughton 2015


A short video (produced by Oxfordshire Peace Campaign) on USAF Croughton, drones and surveillance, filmed at the Croughton Peace Festival 2015.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'The price of British justice – subjecting those without adequate means to 'trial by ordeal''


One of my favourite films is Terry Gilliam's Brazil. In the final scenes a guard, strapping the hero into an evil-looking torture chair, advises him – Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. In Brazil, I always found the bizarre world of a repressive bureaucracy entertaining – in part because I've spent a proportion of my working life involved in public inquiries and regulatory processes where sometimes bizarre, self-justifying administrative actions are commonplace. Unfortunately, I believe that such aspects of the film are fast becoming a reality in Britain.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Behind the spin of the Magna Carta celebrations Britain's 'dictatorship of the 1%' takes shape'


What do academy schools, fracking and international trade negotiations have in common? They're all part of the Conservative Government's agenda to roll back the ability of the public to question official policy, and to allow business interests to press ahead with their questionable economic projects unchallenged.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
81.5 kilobytes

inc image 800 Years of Activism


A video of my talk for Occupy Democracy on Polling Day in Parliament Square – presenting the history of activism in Britain from the Middle Ages to the present day.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Chris Smith, the frackers and the 'astroturf' consultancy – 'engineering consent' for unconventional gas in Britain'


What we're talking about here is the spectacle of a 'shadow play'; an illusion of form operated invisibly by people behind the scenes. What creates those elusive images is the craft of public relations; in particular the use, since its formalisation in the mid-Twentieth Century by Edward Bernays, of public relations techniques to convince the public of supposed certainties which are objectively misleading.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
85.9 kilobytes

inc image Arresting behaviour: smiling rambler turns warrior of justice


A small group gathers outside Westminster tube station in London. It is Thursday 5 March, and we are here at the request of environmental researcher and author Paul Mobbs. This smiling rambler from Banbury is kitted out in walking boots, khaki shorts and a colourful shirt. An unlikely avenging warrior of justice, perhaps, but then, you haven't met Paul Mobbs before, or read his research.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Arrest the Cabinet


Sometimes, as an environmental researcher, there are things which you come across which are completely awful. Events or incidents for which knowing, or telling through reports is not enough... they require action.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image In Bed With Bez

February 2015

I've always looked upon John and Yoko's "bed in" as a beautifully constructed action event. Little did I know that 45 years after that I'd be a guest at a similar event, 'In Bed with Bez'.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'When is "fracking" not "fracking"?: Do the EAC's plans for a 'fracking moratorium' go far enough?'


Today could be an interesting day for the future campaign against unconventional oil and gas in Britain. Today we potentially turn a corner – or, quite possibly, not, if the fossil fuel lobby within the government get their way.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
66.9 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Eco-sceptic politicians, not terrorists, are the greatest threat to the British public today – statistics versus polemic in 'The War Against Terrorism''


Over the last few weeks, as the situation in Syria and Iraq has deteriorated, we've seen politicians in the West become more bellicose about the "threat" of terrorism to our way of life. What few in this debate seem to address is whether there is any objective data, compared to other non-terrorist "threats", to support that assertion. Rather like the "reds under the bed" scares of the Cold War, the threat of 'Islamism' is held up as an existential threat to the British public innocently going about their daily lives. However, if we look at the statistics we can't demonstrate that claim.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
57.5 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself": Tolstoy, Paine and debating the ecological impacts of social media'


If you've seen my recent "musings", you'll note that the picture icons are mostly taken from old black and white films. That's not so much deliberate as reflective of the time when I've been subconsciously writing these posts. I've been really busy over recent months, and unlike newer films, with their complex plots and special effects, I find older films far more relaxing. There's something engaging about stripping out the trappings of the latest cinematic technology; focussing instead, almost like workshop theatre, on the simplicity of direct communication.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image On-line activism and digital technology

August 2014

Every year I like to do workshops at The Green Gathering, Britain's premiere eco-festival. In 2014 I did three different workshops over the week – one of which later turned up on the Internet.

file icon goto video information page

file icon handout for workshop
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'Journey's end, and new beginnings – Musing on the road travelled and the path ahead'


I'm sitting in the café at St. Mary's Church, Putney. When travelling to London there are a few non-corporate cafés I frequent. Normally Friends House, or few places on the edge of central London. On my recent travels through London I've been trying to get here as it's a nice place to sit and ponder – with its own unique and prophetic story to tell.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
101.9 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"Fracking" – The fact is, you are not important'


You are not important! I'm sorry if that's an unwelcome reality, but if we look at some recent developments in the battle over fracking in Britain (and/or the USA, Canada, Poland, South Africa, Australia, etc.) we can conclude little else.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
44.4 kilobytes

inc image Fracking, Food, and Futurology: An Interview with Paul Mobbs

June 2014

An interview on my work published in Oxford New Left Review (no.13), June 2014. "Paul Mobbs is a man of many labels. He is often referred to as an 'environmental consultant', but describes himself as an 'ecological futurologist', and has been described by others as an 'anti-fracking lobbyist' and an 'electrohippy'. He is the author of countless books and articles on a range of topics, including technology, extreme energy, consumption and the limits of growth."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
2.5 megabytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'SLAPPing campaigners for telling the truth – the underground coal gasification lobby turns even nastier'


SLAPP – a "strategic lawsuit against public participation". SLAPPing is a tactic often used in the USA, where companies intent on environmental destruction pre-emptively sue leading local campaigners in order to quash the local opposition. That tactic raised its head in Britain last week in relation to a technology that makes "fracking" look reasonable.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
54 kilobytes

inc image Campaigners call for halt to nuclear convoys


Banbury Guardian, 27th February 2014 "Anti-nuclear campaigners have spoken out against lorry convoys loaded with nuclear materials that pass through Banburyshire and which they say pose a potentially catastrophic risk to human life."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
224.4 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"A fistful of train tickets" – Eight months travelling for an explanation of the rush to develop unconventional gas'


For five years Paul Mobbs has been working on 'unconventional gas' (aka. 'fracking') in Britain. Over recent months that work has taken him to communities across England and Wales. What he has discovered along the way is that the political support for unconventional gas is not just about energy; it reflects the greater ecological crisis at the root of our current economic woes.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
68 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: 'The coming military/industrial drone 'investment agenda''


It's noticeable – after following the tech & policy journals for almost two years now – that in the US the drones issue has shifted from being a "military/defence" agenda to an "industrial investment" agenda. That in turn is bringing with it a more aggressive posturing in policy circles due to the "benefits" (jobs, "growth", etc.) that it is perceived to bring.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
37.7 kilobytes

inc image We Need to Talk About Fracking


A week on a rock 'n' roll tour bus with a group of anti-fracking experts and media people... and fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corre. It was supposed to be a debate, but the industry flatly refused to turn up and debate with us. So in the end it was just a long, at times surreal, bus trip where we met communities around the country.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image Extreme Energy


Published in The Ecologist, 23rd September 2013. "Paul Mobbs, leading environmental campaigner, author and engineer, tells the Ecologist Film Unit that extraction industries, including coal bed methane extraction, are going ahead in the UK despite serious environmental concerns."

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
533.5 kilobytes

inc image Mobbsey's Musings: '"Behind every picture lies a story" – statistical reality versus PR-hype within the political project of unconventional gas in Britain'


Let's get one thing clear, this is not about conspiracy theories. This isn't about a powerful elite meeting in darkened rooms to fondle their fluffy white cats whilst talking in menacing tones. This isn't about class warfare. What the diagram below represents is simply business... big business! As the saying goes, "every picture tells a story", and this one1 is a bit more complex, and in many ways more bizarre than other comparable tales. It's about a mystical belief system ("economics") which has become so abstracted from reality that it can no longer represent the truth it was created to describe – and which as a result has actually become harmful to those it was intended to serve.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Mobbsey's Musings: ''Drill Baby Drill' – a Polish perspective on fracking in the Thames Valley'


The links between Poland and Britain go back a long way. Quite apart from the trading links with the Hanseatic League dating back to Medieval times, in the 19th Century, long before Polish people came to Britain seeking work, we exported (or more accurately deported?) our surplus farmers from the land clearances and inclosures in Scotland and England to Poland – where Polish landowners were eager to take them, displacing local peasant farmers, in order to modernise agriculture. Locally Banbury, which now has a large Polish community, has had a Polish community since the Second World War, when free Polish soldiers settled here because they did not wish to return to a Soviet-dominated state. Today, quite apart from the cream of Poland's skilled manual worker's we've imported to support the educational flaws in our own economy, we've something else that unites us – a political establishment hell-bent on fracking the countryside, irrespective of any reasonable evidence to the contrary that the policy will not work as intended.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
81 kilobytes

inc image To 'Camp Frack', and beyond!

May 2013

Attending the "Camp Frack" event in Lancashire in May was heartening because, after our efforts over the last few years, things are starting to take-off. There is a real buzz in the movement as people get informed, network with other groups around Britain/the world, and pressure both the government and the energy lobby to justify the wild claims being made about unconventional gas.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
27.4 kilobytes

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
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inc image Free Range Sheet A1: Fracking, Do Something! – Action on unconventional gas

March 2013

As we reach the limits to growth the certainties that underpin the modern economic system are failing. As 'easy to produce' oil and gas deplete the energy industry is seeking more extreme fuel sources, from deep ocean drilling to tar sands. 'Unconventional gas' is a series of technologies that seek to get natural gas from hard to produce/unconventional sources of rock. This sheet looks at the legal and procedural issues related to the development of unconventional gas in the UK, and how the public can intercede at each stage in order to oppose these developments.

file icon HTML web page version
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file icon Colour PDF version
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file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
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file icon References/information PDF
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inc image "Extreme energy" developments in South Wales

November 2012

As we approach the limits to conventional energy production, governments and energy corporations are looking at "unconventional" technologies to keep the energy supply flowing. South Wales in particular is now being targeted as a potential source of unconventional gas, and this could have serious implications for the environment, wildlife and human health.

file icon download handout
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inc image FRAKNET: Fracking Facts


A guy asked to film my workshop at the national gathering. I said yes – this was the result. It's a highly rushed/condensed presentation of my "Jam Tomorrow" presentation squashed down from the usual 2 hours to under 30 minutes.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image Fracking Hell: Britain's Gas Rush


Produced by the Ecologist Film Unit, screened on LinkTV, this short documentary charts the project for unconventional gas in Britain.

file icon goto video information page
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inc image Ecolonomics no.10: When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?


Given his previous opposition, George Monbiot's shift towards a blithe acceptance – if not full support – for nuclear power, in spite of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, has left many environmentalists feeling a little betrayed; I've even had a few emails today, due to my long history of working on energy and nuclear issues, asking me to vociferously "take him on". I don't see the point of a personalised attack, or what purpose it would serve to advance the debate – although it might act as a conduit for people to vent their fear and angst at the seeming collapse of the ecological alliance against nuclear power. Right or wrong, George's opinions are rightly his own. However, if he is representing "opinion" as some sort of "fact", using his "green icon" status to lend credibility, then that's an entirely different matter (I'm not entirely sure if he is, given his rather diffident views on the whole nuclear issue of late). What matters then are the facts; George is free to interpret these as he wishes. Although, in that context, I'd expect him to apply the oft-quoted phrase from John Maynard Keynes; "When the facts change, I change my mind." So, looking at the whole nuclear issue, what "facts" have possibly changed to make us, or George, believe that nuclear power today – in contrast to last week, last year, or even thirty years ago (when I was presented with the arguments at school) – has any better chance of solving our various ecological problems?

file icon HTML version
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inc image Global Information Society Watch 2010

November 2010

A significant commission in 2010 was writing the thematic introduction for the Association for Progressive Communications and Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation's annual report, 'Global Information Society Watch'. The theme of the report was, "Focus on ICTs and environmental sustainability" – and as part of my general research touch upon the ecological impacts of electronics and technology the editors welcomed my input. As a result I wrote the introduction to the report, as well as the UK country report.

file icon The complete 'GISW 2010' report
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file icon GISW 2010: 'Introduction'
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file icon GISW 2010: 'UK Country Report'
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inc image Ecolonomics no.7: Sating the arboreal spirit in the "desert of the real world"


If Christmas is a time for peace and love why do people get so stressed out by it? We are expected, and usually expect ourselves, to accomplish certain tasks and undertake certain actions in order to satisfy the self-imposed rituals of what we call "Christmas", but in turn the modern conceptualisation of "Christ's Mass" twists these celebrations into an secular fallacy of consumption. You can opt-out of Christmas because you care about the environment, or carbon emissions, or just because you can't be bothered, but for whatever reason this doesn't address the fact that the modern Christmas "doesn't do what is says on the tin"; accept that fact and you might find a route around the enforced mania of consumption that the season imposes, perhaps to find a more ecologically conscious way to mark the turning of the year.

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inc image Ecolonomics no.6: "A man sits down to write a letter but instead he writes a book, the book begins 'Dear Sir'"


So many things that need to be said but often we can't; not because we lack the terms or evidence to describe them but because such a message isn't something that "our leaders and betters", and sometimes even ourselves, wish to hear. Like the game Chinese whispers, the message of the human ecological crisis has been edited and sub-edited to the point where the commonly used terms that describe the problem, and likely solutions, have little relevance to the original diagnosis; in particular, what started as the concerns of environmentalists in the 1970s, regarding the impacts of human society on the planet, have now been reduced to mere "carbonism" – a reduction of the complexity of human ecology to an issue of carbon or climate change being our principle problem, and a belief that we can solve the global climate crisis through simple, deck-chair re-arranging measures such as "low carbon technologies". The fact is we might have the capacity to address such problems realistically, and we might conceive of alternative ways of ministering to society's needs, but the unfortunate reality is that those in charge of the public debate do not wish to contemplate what this truly means to the lifestyles of the world's richest citizens. In possessing that knowledge do you, yourself, internalise the significance of that deduction into a programme of action, irrespective of what that means for you personally; or do you skip over the problematic evidence because it might adversely affect the "Western lifestyle" that we enjoy, and therefore cannot be considered a "politically realistic" way of characterising the problem?

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inc image Ecolonomics no.5: "We're all planetary hospice workers now"


The current economic crisis may, according to some pundits, be over but the trends that forced it into being are still operating in the background – and will return once the global economy takes off again. Amidst the pressures of our everyday life we focus primarily on the surface features of existence; we have so little time to peel away the surface of what is presented to us, and delve into its deeper meaning. If we did what terrors would that hold for a society inhered by the economic dogma that emerged from that previous great crash into the conference of Bretton Woods sixty-five years ago. The global economic framework that was developed in 1944 has delivered us into the world we inhabit today, but the assumptions upon which that system was based are no longer valid; such bad news might not be pleasant, but sometimes it is necessary to state such a truth in order to move on.

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inc image Ecolonomics no.3: The Trap – Technology, the Virtual World, and Hacking the Meanings of Society


The predominant view of how we radically change society is by "taking over"; revolutions – be they political, technological, intellectual, or merely the sophistry of the marketing profession – represent the succession of one dominant culture by the next, and are the means by which we take one way of viewing society can supplant it with another. But in a society where our relations are increasingly virtual, and we put our faith into mechanistic systems to handle our lives – not through conscious understanding but by attaching abstract meaning to technologically mediated interaction – is that view of changing society still valid?

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inc image Free Range Sheet Q2: Britain's Secretive Police Force – Politicising the Policing of Public Expression in an Era of Economic Change

April 2009

The role of NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU – private organisations that are exercising public functions in relation to policing policy – can be seen from two extreme points of view: groups working on policy and in a policing support role to protect the public; or, under the guise of countering "extremism", developing policies to crack down on campaigning groups in a way that could be seen as the kernel of what could eventually become a truly "secret" police force. This report examines what NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU are, and poses the question as to whether private organisations working unaccountably outside of the mainstream police service are compatible with the operation of a free, open and accountable society.

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inc image Free Range Sheet Q1: Intellectual Privateers – Intellectual property rights in the "digital age"

April 2009

The scope of intellectual property rights – both the powers used to prosecute infringement and the level of harassment that many people receive to pay to use "intellectual property" – has grown in tandem with the mass adoption of the Internet. In the digital domain the rights given to the holders of intellectual property rights represent a modern equivalent of the rights given to privateers during the early phases of Western colonialism five hundred years ago, and as a result our own rights to produce, copy and distribute information are diminished. In this paper we look at this process, and at the effect this has on the "information commons".

file icon HTML web page version
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file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
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inc image Free Range Sheet J4: Upgrading Old Computers – Recycling old technology with Gnu/Linux

March 2009

The computer world is obsessed with the utterly non-ecological trends of "bigger", "faster", and "newer"; much of the world's computer equipment is discarded not because it is broken, but because of the development of larger, more bloated software that requires faster computers to run it. This unit looks at the alternative option – recycling and upgrading old computer equipment to give it new uses.

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file icon Colour PDF version
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inc image Free Range Sheet J3: The CLTC System – The making of a free, recycled training platform

March 2009

The origin of the CLTC project was the development of a mobile computer training platform for community groups – The Community-Linux Training Centre. Although that system has now worn out and has ceased to function, the ideas created through its design, development and use continue to influence the recent research work of the Free Range CLTC Project.

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362.5 kilobytes

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1.9 megabytes

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1.8 megabytes

inc image Free Range Sheet J2: The Gnu/Linux System – The alternative to proprietary computer systems

March 2009

From the point of view of Windows users, where you don't necessarily have to understand what you're doing to make the machine work, Gnu/Linux can seem a complicated and difficult thing to get your head around. In reality, whilst you might have to become a little more "involved" in using your computer, the benefits – especially better security, lower costs and far less vulnerability to viruses – will outweigh the costs of learning to use a different system.

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90.5 kilobytes

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338.5 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Sheet J1: Thinking Outside the Cage – An introduction to Free/Open Source Philosophy

March 2009

"Microsoft Windows is what makes your computer work". People who learn to use computers at school or in the workplace may believe that most computers require Microsoft's Windows system to work, but this is not true. Windows, and it's latest incarnation Vista, might be what the mainstream computer media talk about but there are other options – and best of all, some of these options are completely free!

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100 kilobytes

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482.5 kilobytes

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inc image Free Range Sheet S3: Simplicity Solutions – Why "less" can mean "more"

October 2008

Peak Energy will affect all our lives, but it is only one in a number of trends that are converging to make life difficult; debt, housing costs and climate change will also negatively affect our lives over the next two or three decades. There is a solution that is able to address many of these problems, but in today's "modern" society it's considered too extreme to advocate: voluntary simplicity.

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117 kilobytes

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116.8 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Sheet S2: Transformation – Change your Consciousness

October 2008

The lesson we must draw from energy depletion is the need for a change in lifestyle, not a change of energy supplier. That's a very personal process of how we re-arrange our homes, our work and our lives. It begins by working on your "head space", because you must be able to understand and commit to the process of change if you are going to achieve long-term changes in your life in the face of great difficulties. But it's also important to network with others, and in particular, to press the urgency for change within your own social networks.

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14.9 kilobytes

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77.2 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Sheet S1: Limits to Growth – Why the Only Solution is "Less"

October 2008

The Laws of Thermodynamics cannot be changed – if we don't have the energy we need we are unable to carry out the work we want to. Consequently, as we face a peak in global energy supply, there is only one realistic option: We have to use "less" energy, and consume "less" resources.

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35.5 kilobytes

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153.9 kilobytes

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152.1 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Sheet O10: The Wilderness Effect – The Psychology of being 'outside'

September 2008

The past nine units of this series have looked at the practical benefits of learning to live outdoors. Now we look at a wholly different issue – psychology. Recent evidence shows that living outdoors "in nature" makes you feel better, and has been shown to help those with mental health problems. More importantly, by coming into closer contact with the natural world we can find the space to slow down from the pace of technological society, and in these circumstances perhaps we can more easily visualise our slower, simpler, low-energy future lifestyle.

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61.7 kilobytes

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436.6 kilobytes

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436.4 kilobytes

inc image The Community-Linux Training Centre


A slide presentation on the 'Community Linux Training Centre', a recycled open-source ICT edication and training platform.

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451.2 kilobytes

inc image Salvage Server Project 'Case Study' No.1: A Gnu/Linux Laptop for a Community Recycling Organisation

March 2005

This first case study from the SSP project dives straight in the deep end – installing a Gnu/Linux system on a recycled laptop. This report outlines some of the problems inherent to installing a Linux­based laptop, and ideas for installing a system specifically for use in a small community group.

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1 megabytes

inc image Free Range Bulletin 04/1: Use Your Loaf! – The Problems With Industrial Bread

September 2004

In October 2004, the Baker's Federation in the UK will be holding its third British Bread Month. However, rather than celebrating the excellent bread produced by British craft bakers, it is in reality a large promotional exercise for industrial bread – a mass produced product that is reliant on various biochemical processes developed over the last forty years rather than on the skills of bakers developed over the last few centuries. So what, in reality, is industrial bread?

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247 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Bulletin 03/4: 'What does not kill them makes them stronger' – The Hazards of Anti-Bacterial Agents

December 2003

'Clean is good'. The rule that dominates our technological society. But is it really true? Are some of the products we use to make our homes clean making us sick instead? In particular, is the sale of 'anti-bacterial' agents – in cleaning solutions and even toothpaste – a positive hazard to our health? Does Triclosan clean us, or does it damage our health?

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108.1 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Bulletin 03/3: Toxic shock! – my non-stick frying pan killed my budgie!!

November 2003

This is no joke. It's deadly serious – to budgies at least, and perhaps in the longer term humans too. There are a group of chemicals, per-fluoro-chemicals (PFCs), that are found in many products, and increasingly in human tissues. In the USA, where Teflon® is used in many products, a syndrome called teflon flu has been reported after people have been exposed to over-heated pots and pans. This is fatal to small birds. In the longer term, the build-up of these indestructible chemicals could damage our health too. Perhaps, like in the mines before safety lamps, the canary falling off its perch is a warning to us all.

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59 kilobytes

inc image Free Range Practice Guide No.4: Protesting in Public

October 2003

A guide to the procedures and legal pitfalls of demonstrating or taking action in support of campaigns

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
159 kilobytes

inc image "Anti-TWAT" (anti-The War Against Terrorism)

November 2001

Anti-TWAT was produced as part of the electrohippies day of action against the Afghan War, which launched a global on-line action from a tipi on top of a mountain in Wales (well, someone had to do it!).

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4.5 kilobytes

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14.8 megabytes

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13.4 megabytes

inc image Infowar: The Hacktivists


During 2001 I worked with an Australian production company to produce a documentary on on-line activism surrounding the FTAA Conference in Quebec. Whilst I appear throughout the 1 hour documentary, this extract shows the section about "the electrohippies", who I with worked on the project.

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159.8 kilobytes

inc image New Labour and the Planning Agenda

Spring 2000

An article, written for and published by Corporate Watch, on the way that New Labour has sought to restructure the planning system to favour corporate interests and keep out the public.

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83.5 kilobytes

inc image The Detractor's Convention: Identifying the future of community-based campaigning

January 2000

This pamphlet is all about managing change. Change can be problematic. The way to make change less problematic is to understand it, and through understanding, take what you can from it to assist and reinforce your own position. This process of characterising the effects of societal change on organisations and individuals, and then creating responses to this, can create divisions. The differing ideas and approaches on responding to change are especially likely to create divisions within larger organisations. Divisions can then go on to affect how people operate, and distract them from the real objectives they commonly hold.

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102 kilobytes

inc image The Internet, Disintermediation and Campaign Groups

January 2000

Written for ECOS, the quarterly journal of the British Association of Nature Conservationists, p25-32, Vol.21 No.1, 2000. A study of the development of the Internet, its effects on grassroots campaigning, and the future prospects of the larger campaign groups (adapted from an earlier work I wrote for the Free Range Network, The Detractor's Convention).

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106.1 kilobytes

inc image The Electrohippies Really Badly Edited Video (TERBEV)


How to make a video without real editing equipment? This clip is from a video where the electrohippies had a weekend making a video without proper equipment – hence, "Really Badly Edited"

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5.4 kilobytes

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3.8 megabytes

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3.3 megabytes

inc image Protest and the Net

November 1999

Channel 4 might not have been keen, but the BBC were really interested in my work. We took over some tables the end of the cybercafé at the top of George Street in Oxford, I gave then an hour's tuition on what the issue was about (whilst they plied me with coffee!), and this was the result.

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4.1 kilobytes

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11.3 megabytes

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10.6 megabytes

inc image N30

November 1999

This was Channel 4's second hacktivism item in November 1999 – again, I didn't really feature because I think they wanted to visually portray your typical anarchist, not a computer geek! A pity, as Mark Easton and his film crew took up quite a few hours of my time, and it was quite difficult fitting them all into my workshop!

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4 kilobytes

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5 megabytes

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4.8 megabytes

inc image Internet Anarchists

November 1999

I got a call from Channel 4 as a result of some of the technical workshops we'd been running on Internet and campaigns (somehow my name was dropped out of the electro-ether). I gave them some ideas.

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4.4 kilobytes

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14.9 megabytes

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14.1 megabytes

inc image Statement by Paul Mobbs relating to the genetiX snowball website

April 1999

My statement to the High court in 1999 relating to the action by Monsanto against the group 'genetiXsnowball'. I was covered by the injunction because of hosting the web site, and so I went along to the court hearings to argue for my rights to digital free expression.

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176.4 kilobytes

inc image Project Proposal: Development Plans in Wales

February 1998

A proposal to Friends of the Earth Cymru for a project to undertake work on all the development plans in Wales on behalf of Friends of the Earth local groups – taking advantage of the fact that all the plans were to be revised within a few years due to the creation of 22 new unitary authorities).

file icon Development Plans in Wales report
319.6 kilobytes

inc image Research Briefing: Five Myths About Waste Incineration

November 1997

Produced for groups in Hertfordshire (and Essex) opposing waste incinerator proposals, this now rather dated handout lists the popular myths that local authorities use to justfy building incinerators. Even though it's out of date people keep asking me for it because it's a good summary – but as the new Planning Bill will probably unleash a new round of incinerator proposals I'll probably have to update and re-issue it at some point.

file icon Five Myths About Waste Incineration
26 kilobytes

inc image Research Briefing: Environmental Activism

June 1997

As I became more involved in training people to become 'pollution detectives' as part of my work, I began to produce handouts and training materials. This is one of my early efforts. Essentailly, it's all about informaing people of their civic rights to information on pollution and polluting processes and then developing this information into a campaign.

file icon Environmental Activism
118.1 kilobytes

inc image The Campaigners' Computer Maintenance Mantra


A little funny verse to get campaigners to look after their technology... "This is my computer. There are many like it but this one is mine..."

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37.5 kilobytes

inc image One Minute to Save the Planet


Created by a group of people getting animated over what's the most important environmental issue they need to animate, they come up with a curious solution.

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5.2 kilobytes

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9.9 megabytes

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9.3 megabytes

inc image Atom Riddle: Harwell Accused Over 'Secret' Dump


Article published in the Oxford Star, 13th February 1992 – "Environmental campaigners have accused Harwell of secretly dumping waste in an Oxfordshire gravel pit."

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563.7 kilobytes

inc image Reclaim the Bases, USAF Croughton 1985

May 1985

This is a short 5 minute extract, focussing specifically on Croughton and Barford, is from a longer video made by Cruisewatch in 1985 called, "The Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier". It shows the campaign to reopen the right-of-way across the base, running from Croughton to Juniper Hill, which was closed off during the early 1980's expansion of the base.

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4.8 kilobytes

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8.5 megabytes

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8.2 megabytes