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ASEN students review 'Manifesto: The Battle for Green Britain' by Dale Vince
(17/05/23)
Posted by : Avon School Eco Network

The opening of the book provides us with Dale Vince’s background and how he became the person he is today. Growing up he had quite a unique experience, travelling across the UK and even abroad at such a young age and finding himself in many difficult and sometimes dangerous positions. This has truly shaped him into who he is today having gained so much independence and knowledge through his many adventures. Dale Vince provides the perfect role model for younger generations-  he encourages young people to stand up for what they believe in and voice their opinions. Having gained so much knowledge, this book is the perfect place to platform these- everyone should learn from his experiences as they are remarkable.

 

Dale Vince is an extraordinary man and this book shares both his experiences and how his morals formed from these. He is someone everyone should look up to, he’s always had a drive for change to things he feels aren’t right and this is evident from the beginning of the book with his many tensions with the police. He never let things such as having little money at times stand in his way and this is truly inspiring.   

 

Dale Vince became comfortable with being uncomfortable at times when living off the road and I think this is why he’s such a pioneer. He displays true resilience and how his passion and drive were constant when many others would’ve given up. He says himself in the book how he was able to learn about himself and the way of the world through living on the road. He gained many life skills that were both practical and knowledgeable that he was able to transfer into his football career. The book imparts valuable lessons that Vince explains from his experiences of learning through other people’s perspectives. 

 

For me, the most inspiring message of the book was when Vince built his own windmill having little to no knowledge of them and choosing to get out of his comfort zone and learn new things. I think this truly displays his character and taught me that there is never a challenge that’s impossible and it’s important to push yourself not limit yourself. This is why he has a well-deserved OBE, he’s an extraordinary man who is able to inspire and teach people at the same time.

 

He exposes the flaws in society through an environmental perspective and inspires people to get out and see the world just as he did. 

 

Dale Vince then goes on to talk about his difficult experiences with big companies, specifically Thames, who overestimated their power. But Vince wouldn’t let them become bankrupt and took the dispute to the courts and didn’t back down until Thames gave up. I have to thank Vince for providing a wonderful phrase describing his battle with Thames - “fight fire with napalm”.

 

When reading the book, it is clear that Vince deeply values principles and I believe this is how we can stay true to our own principles - by not backing down in the face of danger. 

 

The world needs more business leaders like Vince, who put sustainability first

 and don’t discard all morals at the first sight of money. We need more innovators, optimists and problem solvers like Vince, who see small wins as wins in their own right. Some said the 5% target at Kyoto was too small… not Vince. He said that it was a huge step in the right direction that world leaders were accepting the problem, and I think anyone who reads his book will agree. 

 

This book has completely changed my view on the relationship between business and sustainability. It is not often you understand how capitalism can be manipulated and utilised to push forward sustainable development, instead of making our current climate disaster worse. 

 

Dale’s witty humour shone through in this book with the frequent additions of funny stories - my favourite being the hilarious moment of curry turning his teeth luminous yellow before a big meeting. 

 

Manifesto: The Battle for Green Britain makes it clear the numerous great things Vince has done for our country, our planet from windmills to the ‘Electric Highway’ I think one that really impacted me was how he transformed Forest Green Rovers. Not just in the business sense, but not backing down when people opposed the club going vegan, but instead was determined to prove to them how vegan food can be just as good (if not better) as conventional food. Football fans are probably thought of to be the least eco-minded people, but Vince has shown that we can change this, which shows how he does not back down from a challenge, however hard it may seem.

 

The final third of the book entails a very detailed and emotive message about how we can change and what we as a society and government need to do to fight for a ‘Green Britain.’

Vince has a very comforting style of writing. I found it a very easy and enjoyable read due to his informal style and friendly way of telling his story. This book is the perfect read for all ages, as it provides the reader with rich information about Ecotricity and the problems we face as a population, yet has an approachable style which enables it to reach a wider audience. This is incredibly useful as it can allow his message to reach his target of educating as many people as possible. 

 

As mentioned above, it is a very empowering book as it has completely altered my view on how businesses work and the changes they need to make as a whole towards lowering the effects of Climate change. He presents a clear and formulated plan which many people should listen to and follow- he shows well-researched information and a large amount of knowledge on this topic. I found this very inspiring as he was very passionate about what he was writing - in turn this inspired me more and sparked a genuine care in what he was writing about.

 

It was useful to understand the Uk’s position in reaching net zero in the context of the global approach to a common crisis. His detailed knowledge on the politics around the environmental crisis allowed me to understand a whole separate view on how countries and governments deal with the effects of global warming etc. One area that especially interested me was his writing on food production and consumption. He repeatedly enforced the idea to create more laws around meat consumption and investing more money into plant based alternatives. This proves a point earlier mentioned about Dale sticking to his principles and being brave. Although the topic of plant substitutes creates a lot of arguments and disagreement, he is continually stuck by his values which shows his compassion and grit around the issues of Climate change. He shows a consistent narrative of hope throughout the book which I found very uplifting- especially as someone in their teens. In the media, the topic of Climate change and other environmental issues is commonly perceived with a lot of despair and lack of hope and so this book provided me with some reassurance that change can still be made if we all contribute. 

 

One topic which I personally would have loved to see more on is the topic of eco-anxiety. As a teenager, I have experienced worries and concerns on what the future will look like and would have liked to see an adult perspective on how we can adapt and channel these worries into proactive action. 

 

-By Ishbel, Olivia and Sophie, students from the Avon Schools Eco Network

 

Dale Vince

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