Plymouth, UK

6

(One remembers involuntarily and with goosebumps that in 1876–78, Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, First Earl of Lytton GCB GCSI GCIE PC (to whom, incidentally, Lady Windermere’s Fan was dedicated), serving as the Viceroy of India, considered himself to be doing well and doing good when he exported a record crop of grain from India to England while 5.5 million Indians died of starvation.)

[...] It serves me well by reminding me that mass anything is political. If one person is hungry, who knows, but if 50,000 people are hungry, what’s happening is necessarily a question of policy, of how we live together, of “who gets what, when, how”.

A first step, I think, is to remove any sense of inevitability. The Horn of Africa is not doomed to famines. It is prone to certain weather patterns that can lead to famine when other problems are also present. Which is true of everywhere. California is in a worst-in-1,200-years drought, but I am getting plenty of calories because, 😏🇺🇸 aside, we have mostly working politics. What’s happening in the Horn of Africa right now is worst-in-30-years, but there are likely people walking around today who will be dead of it before their next birthday. That’s a crop failure problem, and it’s a political failure problem.

Charlie Loyd’s newsletter, 6, feels like a masterclass on politics, environmental ethics and working in public.