26 Aug 2014

Stroud Climate event

So far the plan is to :

Meet at the Stroud Subs rooms at 11 am.

Present a petition to local government.

Carry flags to 'flag up' climate change.

Have plenty of information to give people, and to talk to the press presenting the unequivocal scientific evidence for climate change.

To symbolically climb the hill to Rodburgh Common straight up the road.

Go onto the very open area beyond the castle.

At the top to form a huge human circle (or heart shape)

To fly kites and take aerial photograph from kite of ourselves.

Arty Farty Green

The trouble with talking about the Arts is that this is all very middle class and will put working class people off.

Let’s take a step back from this statement and consider the assumptions underpinning it.

1)      Art and Culture belongs to the people who have the money. Art is for the elite, educated few, not for the masses.
2)      Popular culture doesn’t really count as either Art or Culture, because anything that is popular must, by definition be trashy.

3)      Anything that is trashy might well be popular, so entertainment aimed at the masses needs to be low brow, simple, colourful and must require no thought.

4)      Anything that is truly great as Art or Culture will not be understood or appreciated by the masses, so anyone talking Art is not addressing that troubling fantasy creature – the regular guy in the street.

Underpinning apparently normal attitudes to the Arts, are some pretty horrendous assumptions about class and quality. Further, ‘Culture’ should not be some fabulous bonus only available to the rich. Culture is the consequence of people connecting with each other, and whatever that produces, is a culture.

When it comes to Arts, we have some very old fashioned ideas about what’s good, and it all comes down to the money. Really expensive art is good. Never mind that Van Gogh could barely make ends meet when he was alive – now the rich will pay millions for his work, so he has a worth denied him in his own lifetime. If you can sell your dirty underwear for thousands as part of an instillation, you’re golden. If not, you’re just dirty. If your book requires a degree in English literature to have a shot at making proper sense of it, you are ‘Literature’ in the highest sense, and if your book inspires millions of children to read, you are low, and part of pop culture. Our measurements are nuts, and have nothing to do with innate worth, quality, capacity to move, inspire, uplift or do any of the other things you might want from a cultural experience. Green Party policy is helpfully clear that we should not value our arts in purely economic terms.

Culture shouldn’t be there to enable us to be smug, self important and to show off material wealth. Culture should enrich life. Everyone’s lives.

I’ve worked in the arts for all of my adult life – I’ve run a folk club, worked as an editor, written books. I’m married to an illustrator. I have friends who are professional musicians, artists and performers. I write comics – that most low brow of popular forms. I’ve worked in erotica – and many people will automatically make value judgements about the literary worth of that genre. In my experience, good stuff happens in all forms, and so does self indulgent rubbish.

Because of all of this, I am tremendously excited by GreenParty arts policy.   It’s all about engagement, rather than passive consumption. It’s about enabling people to get involved, as both creators and audience, and it is very much about grass roots, too. Green Party policy is clear that culture should be something we’re entitled to. Our own culture, not something foisted on us by a self-appointed elite with a political agenda. Traditions and innovations, localism, originality, and participation are what we need.

22 Aug 2014

Support Spaniel in the Works

Can you support Stroud based theatre group Spaniel in the Works with a new project?

 John (Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company) has been working so hard on the Stroud Theatre Festival that he has had little time gain funding for this piece. The script (an homage to Robert Tressell's book the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists) is already written, but the kickstarter funds would be such a help. If the show can premier at Stroud Theatre Festival, 'Spaniel in the Works' will be well placed to take it on tour in the run up to the election. The Theatre Company feel there is a real place for some 'agit prop' theatre to explore the issues that face the working poor of today, 100 years on. The kickstarter video will explain it all.

Stroud District Green Party is giving this a shout out because we believe in community based arts, and are keen to support political debate and engagement. We are utterly appalled by the way in which Tory austerity policies have stigmatised the most vulnerable in our society, and we know that in-work poverty is widespread, and a lot of benefits money goes on supporting people who are not earning enough to live on. This is why we need a living wage, and a citizens income.

Anyone requiring further details should get in touch with John Bassett - John Bassett, Director – Spaniel in the Works Theatre Company, Tel: 01453 751823, Mob: 07941284878, www.spanielworks.co.uk


21 Aug 2014

South West Young Greens

The newly formed South West Young Grens's Launch event is really shaping up fantastically. Below is the speaker list so far -  the full program will be released by the end of the week.

- What does the Green Party stand for? – Amelia Womack, Green Party Deputy Leader candidate
- Greens and Europe – Dr Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for  the South West
- Bristol Green Surge – Darren Hall
- Vibrant, progressive politics? Who are the Young Greens? –  Clifford Fleming, Young Greens Co-Chair and NUS NEC member

Panel 1: Youth Cross Party Panel: What does our generation face tomorrow?
Panel 2: Politics or Activism? How to bring about change tomorrow?

Everyone is welcome (not just Young Greens!), and we'd love to see some of you on the 30th!!!

19 Aug 2014

Mothing in the park

I’ve been to two moth events at Museum in the Park, Stroud now. They’re quite remarkable. It’s a free event, and if you can cope with the late night, totally family friendly. Stratford Park may look quite cultivated, but it turns out to have a huge moth population, and an array of bats who come to feed on them. Visiting the park at night with a moth expert, getting to see moths and learn about other local wildlife, is an excellent experience. Plus the museum building is really pretty when lit up at night!

Take a torch to peer into the lovely flower borders. I saw a mint moth, amongst others. You might want to take a snack or a thermos of tea, and sensible shoes are essential.

It just goes to show that nature is all around us and the beautiful surprises can be really close to home. We saw some lovely moths – many are really pretty.

The events calendar for Museum in the Park is here - http://www.museuminthepark.org.uk/special-events/

If you’ve been to something excellent in Stroud District and want to tell people about it, email brynnethnimue(at)gmail(dot)com to share your experiences through this blog. There’s lots of great stuff going on in Stroud, lots of amazing opportunities and interesting things to do, so if you have a story to share, we’d love to hear from you.

17 Aug 2014

Wool Against Weapons

By Chris Keppie
Blue sky, fluffy clouds, farmers making hay. Cricket being won by England. In, to woody Berkshire lanes. 240,000 hours of knitting, purling, thinking, caring, from all across our country and our world, which, this Nagasaki Day, became 7 miles of scarf - pink and beautiful, rolled out, sewn together, and held, in song and noise and silence; held to link and expose, once again, 2 grey, vast, concrete, wired abominations: our country’s nuclear bomb factories.
Aldermaston and Burghfield atomic weapons establishments make the nuclear fuel and casements for our country’s Trident missiles. Some more numbers. 1 Vanguard submarine holds 8 Tridents, each holding 5 warheads, each 8 times more powerful than the bomb which killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima. At least 1 of our 4 subs is on patrol all the time, with the ready potential, then, of murdering 45 million people (3x even the number killed in WW1).
As we mourn and condemn the slaughter and trauma of our cousins in Gaza, Israel, Iraq, Syria, Mali, and on and on, and remember the war that didn’t end all wars, let us also mourn and condemn weapons of most mass destruction, hidden in our seas here and now. Let us loudly say NO to our elected representatives as they sickeningly consider renewal of Trident over the next two years. The so-called deterrence argument rests on the premise that we would ever could ever condone sending these missiles of indiscriminate genocide and evil. It’s that simple. Nothing can justify it. Nothing fluffy or woolly about that. Oh, and a secondary point. What good things could we spend £100 billion on instead?
Such thanks and praise to Stroud’s very own Jaine Rose for leading this extraordinary Wool Against Weapons campaign over the last 20 months and for speaking so movingly and for being so moving at our milestone and on her bike; and to CND and ActionAWE for their ongoing prophetic brilliance; and to Molly Scott Cato MEP for her Quakerly Green voice; and to Thames Valley Police for eating cake with us; and to all who stitched and sang and smiled a tiny part of the awesome alternate whole. It felt like pure worship. I feel overwhelmingly privileged to have belatedly join the rewooloution :)
See Molly and more at Wool Against Weapons at: http://stroudcommunity.tv/molly-wool-2/

16 Aug 2014

Stroud events

Here’s the current list of things we know about that are happening in the near future.  Where relevant, we’re also listing events a bit further afield that you might be interested in, too. These are local events that are (unless it says otherwise in the listing) run by assorted local groups – these are all independent of the Green Party.
If you are aware of other talks, events, workshops or other community activities in the coming week or so, please do mention them in the comments. If there’s an event you would like our support in promoting, please email the details to brynnethnimue (at) gmail (dot) com.

Moths and Marshmallows for all
Thursday 21st August  7pm - 10pm
Venue:  Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud, GL5 4AF
Cost:  Attendance is free but booking is essential as capacity is limited.

Come along to the launch of the Wildlife Identification Network (WIN), a WIN is a training and support network for aspiring ecologists and naturalists. This event will be a chance to learn or hone your moth identification skills and learn about the relationship between bats and moths. You will learn how to trap moths using different methods be introduced to using bat detectors. Expert guidance will be provided by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Stroud Valleys Project and Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society. We will also be roasting marshmallows and tea/coffee will be available.

Book online: http://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/whats-on
Email info@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk or Telephone: 01452 383333

Walk and a Pint – a family outing
Friday 22 August  7pm  – 9.30pm
Venue:  start at Stratford Park and finish at Stroud Brewery
Cost for adult/£5  child/£3   Cost includes a free pint of beer, or a free glass of squash, or free tea/coffee
Booking is essential as we are expecting this to be a popular event. Please note that children must be accompanied by an adult.
Get some great exercise and then have a pint afterwards in this friendly and fun walk around some of our best sites. We will start by hearing from Stroud Valleys Community Car Club, and then we will walk to the Museum in the Park where we will hear about the Museum’s partnership work with Stroud Valleys Project. We will then walk through town to Capel’s Mill. We will hear from Fred Miller, our project officer who has worked with volunteers to plant 500 trees and 1000 native snowdrop bulbs. Finally, we will visit Arundel Mill Pond, which is a site owned and managed by Stroud Valleys Project before finishing at Stroud Brewery. Everyone who finishes the walk will get a free pint (or soft drink).
Unfortunately this event is not wheelchair friendly as there will be some steps down to the canal. Please note we will also be crossing some main roads where there is likely to be traffic.  Please wear sensible walking shoes and bring outdoor clothes in case it rains. You should also bring a bottle of water to keep you hydrated. Please ensure you arrange a lift home from the brewery. There will be a few spaces in the SVCC car to go back to Stratford Park if desired; please let us know if you need this.
To guarantee a place or for more information please telephone Stroud Valleys Project on 01453 753358.

The newly formed SW Regional Young Greens group will be launching with a fantastic outdoor event on Saturday 30th August in Bristol (see poster at top of page). If you are on Facebook, please do check out our event.

15 Aug 2014

Turn it off: Saving energy in the home

guest blog from Keiran Wake

New plans unveiled by EU commissioner for energy, G√ľnther Oettinger, will encourage EU states to increase their energy efficiency by 30 per cent by 2030.

Speaking of the new target, Oettinger said: “Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and encourage further investments in energy-saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment.”

With this in mind, it’s likely that governments across Europe will intensify the focus on energy efficiency in the home. In an effort to help you get ahead, this post will suggest ways you can reduce your energy consumption, improve safety and cut household bills.

The phone charger

Rarely are we seen without our smartphones, which usually means our trusty charger is in tow too. The average mobile phone charger uses around two to six watts of energy — fairly small fry in the grand scheme of our household’s energy usage.

However, if you’re a grab-and-go kind of person who’s always forgetting to unplug their charger when not in use, you could be wasting up to 0.5 watts an hour. If this happens all day every day for 365 days a year, you stand to waste 4,380 watts of energy — or around 730 full smartphone charges.
When put in context, this type of energy wastage should not be overlooked, so unplug next time your phone’s fully charged.

The tumble dryer

Our busy lives mean we all want to get our everyday household tasks done quickly and efficiently. As a result, many households make frequent use of a tumble dryer. However, the tumble dryer is actually one of the most expensive household items to use.

According to British Gas, the average tumble dryer costs owners around £30 to £40 per annum, producing between 129kg and 175kg of CO2. As you can see, this isn’t the environmentally or wallet-friendly option.
It’s easy to cut this energy usage in the summer. Drying laundry outside is a great way to eliminate the need for this energy-hungry appliance, helping to minimise your usage to just the winter months. If you’re looking to buy one, always choose the tumble dryer with a high energy-efficiency rating.

Overloading sockets

While it is important to be in the know about energy usage, it’s also important that we use our appliances safely. We’re all guilty of overloading sockets without even knowing, but doing so can be particularly dangerous, causing your appliances to overheat and potentially even cause a fire.
So how do you know if your extension plugs are teetering on the danger line? It can be difficult to work out, but Gentoo, in conjunction with the Electrical Safety Council, has made it easy with their socket overload calculator. This interactive tool is perfect for discovering what’s safe and what’s not.

These small changes won’t change the world overnight but, if we all work collectively, we can help our home nations to smash the new 2030 energy efficiency target. 

13 Aug 2014

Coastal Stroud

Regular Ruscombe Green cartoonist, Russ, created this image for us, along with the accompanying words. It's a sobering view, but if efforts are made now, it may not come to this. We can cut CO2 emissions if we put our minds to it, but we have to resist fracking, and be willing to change our lifestyles. We can have a good quality of life without trashing the planet, we just need to stop imagining that 'quality' is the same as 'money'.

Image by Russ
It says 5000 years.......wonder how Stroud fairs. I think where I am is about 50meters above sea level..."Melting all of it would cause the sea level to rise by a minimum of 216 feet (66m)"........just had an idea.....article says sea level rise of at least 66meters....when all ice gone.....just checked on this elevation map, and the Penny Farthing Cafe on the highstreet is about at that elevation....I think it would be good to have some sort of plaque..


12 Aug 2014

Knit one, purl one, protest!

Videos from Wool Against Weapons are starting to emerge, capturing events of the 9th August. This one features Molly Scott Cato. As it says in the film, this is not the end but the beginning, as the protests against Trident and direct actions will continue. We are going to resist this insane move of spending about one hundred billion pounds on the means to kill forty five million people. See more of the films on http://stroudcommunity.tv/tag/nuclear/

11 Aug 2014

Gloucestershire Young Greens

By Sahaya James

Exciting news from GYG - we have a new shiny site and a number of events coming up, all of which we need your help to make into a success! This new GYG page lists all upcoming events. It would be great to see you all there!

GYG's needs volunteers for all its other upcoming events (in Gloucester TBA, Cheltenham TBA and Uni Glos Park Campus Freshers Fair Fri 18 September). More info on these events will be coming nearer the time, but if you would like to help please be in touch.

In other equally exciting news - the newly formed SW Regional Young Greens group will be launching with a fantastic outdoor event on Saturday 30th August in Bristol (poster on the left). If you are on Facebook, please do check out our event.

For more info on SWYG -

Please do try and come, the launch is really shaping up brilliantly and with Molly Cato only recently becoming the first ever SW Green MEP and the likelihood of a Green MP for Bristol West, Darren Hall, these really are exciting times to be a Green in the SW. We would really love to see you there :-)

10 Aug 2014

Better ways to power our future

Taken with permission from the July 2014 STAND against Oldbury newsletter.
Wrong technology, wrong place, better ways to power our future

STAND is at present trying to find ways to get the people of Bristol aware of the plans for new Oldbury - and all the problems connected with it.  In October we will be taking part in Nationally organised events to highlight the issue of Nuclear waste. In the meantime, here is some national and International news.

This week the Government has said that communities could be paid millions of pounds just to consider having a facility to bury nuclear waste in their area.
Community projects could receive payments of up to £1 million a year if local people engage with officials about developing a geological disposal facility to permanently store underground the radioactive waste from nuclear power, industry and defence.
The figure would rise to £2.5 million a year if drilling of bore-holes to assess the suitability of a site went ahead - money that would be "no strings attached" as the community would still not be tied in to hosting a site.
However, alongside the bribes, the Government has removed a local council’s right to stop the process, as it is no longer possible for any one, single, layer of government to refuse to host the waste, as happened at Cumbria, making a mockery of any attempt at consultation.
With the process of talking to communities and investigating sites taking up to two decades, communities could be paid more than £40 million without committing to accepting a £12 billion nuclear waste facility - with increased payments if it gets the go-ahead.
The Government said going ahead with a facility, would be paid for by the taxpayer and take 100 years to plan, construct, fill and seal off.
 Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Louise Hutchins said: "This is a bullying and bribing approach by a government that is getting desperate about solving this problem.
"First David Cameron reneged on his promises not to allow new nuclear reactors until the problem of waste disposal was solved. Now he's resorting to bribing reluctant communities just to talk about nuclear waste whilst stripping them of the right to veto it.
"A better use of this money and political will would be to spend it on the proven clean energy technologies that don't require thousands of years and billions of pounds to clean up."

7 Aug 2014

5 Aug 2014

Wool Against Weapons

Green County Councillor Sarah Lunnon, and wool.
Wool Against Weapons: A huge, knitted protest against Trident.

Community crafting for peace.

An expression of hope, for a better future.

Get your coach tickets from Stroud for 9th August from Trading Post or Black Book cafe: http://stroudcommunity.tv/tickets-for-9th/

See Stroud folk saying why they will join the party on 9th August: http://stroudcommunity.tv/why-scrap/

Molly Scott Cato on why she supports the 7 mile long pink scarf: http://stroudcommunity.tv/molly-wool/

Join the Wool Against Weapons facebook community - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wool-Against-Weapons/570747079617581?fref=ts

4 Aug 2014

New Stroud company set to help businesses and organisations cut bills

Ruscombe; one of Stroud's five valleys
Here's some info from the company's press release last week: Verdant Future, a new company launching on Thursday 24th July, is looking for businesses or non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) within Gloucestershire who’d like to reduce their energy bills and gain greener credentials with no financial outlay and minimal effort.  Stroud’s famous Winstones Ice-cream manufacturer has already signed up as Verdant Future’s first customer, seeing that this new approach to energy management will help Winstones lower its operational costs and please its ice-cream lovers by adding yet another green string to their bow.

Verdant Future employs an innovative approach to meeting energy needs which doesn’t compromise businesses’ current performance or reduce output, and is the first company to offer this particular method. Verdant Future uses the roof of a business’ building – somewhere not normally associated with earning income – to generate solar electricity which is sold to the building user and to the National Grid. A proportion of this income is put aside each month and once enough has accrued, it’s used to pay for measures that will make the building and its operations energy efficient. The result is that less energy is used so the customer enjoys permanently lower energy bills, plus reduced dependency on the major energy companies. Verdant Future supplies the solar technology, carries out the initial energy audit, and organises the required energy efficient measures at no cost to their customer.  All that is required on the customer’s part is ownership of the building(s) that’ll be made energy efficient.

Philip Booth, who stood down as a Green Party District councillor earlier this year and set up Transition Stroud's Eco-Homes weekends to increase understanding and use of energy efficiency and renewables, commented: "A recent survey by Vickers Energy Group suggests that British industry is wasting up to 76% of the energy it uses in buildings and in its operations. It is great to see a local company, Verdant Future, trying to tackle this issue - it is my experience that many businesses and organisations don’t realise how much energy they use or the simple ways it can be reduced. I wish Verdant Future all the best with their business."

Jeremy Hand, founding director of Verdant Future said: “A business or organisation doesn’t need to make complicated changes to its infrastructure in order to bring about major savings in its energy bills. We want to build long-term partnerships with our customers so that we can lead them gently by-the-hand and give them all the support they need to become energy efficient and benefit from constantly lower bills. The Carbon Trust is a national charity which has advised over 35,000 businesses on ways to use less energy and save money, and it’s confident that energy efficiency measures can lead to businesses using 15% less energy on average, and in their experience, reductions of 25% aren’t uncommon.” 

Colin Vear of Winstones Ice-cream commented “What Verdant Future is offering businesses makes so much sense to us both economically and environmentally that we’re really pleased to be their first customer and urge other companies to sign up. Through our attempts to make operations at Winstones as environmentally-friendly as possible, we’ve found that making a profit and being more sustainable are compatible as well as increasing customer satisfaction with our products. Verdant Future helps businesses to reduce costs, reduce their green footprint, and support local communities all at the same time.”

Any business or NGO interested in working with Verdant Future should contact Jeremy Hand, 07866-434656 or info@verdant-future.coop