26 Mar 2015

Earth Hour Saturday 28th 8.30 pm

'Be part of the world’s biggest movement to protect the planet! Here's some of the real and lasting impacts that Earth Hour has achieved across the world:
  • Earth Hour supporters in Australia have been helping to save the Great Barrier Reef from climate change, and to keep it safe from coal and gas ports
  • 15,500 people in Greece united against coal-fired power plant Ptolemaida
  • 18 fishermen in the Philippines that were affected by Typhoon Haiyan have been provided with climate-smart fibreglass boats
  • In Uganda, the first ever Earth Hour Forest was created - it holds an estimated 36,000 trees and covers 120 hectares
  • In India 15,000 schools have launched an education programme for children
And… in the UK, Earth Hour has inspired millions to take action with 85% of you saying you’ll do more to protect the planet!'

I expect I will be playing a board game in candlelight for the hour, while sipping a good red wine! What will you you be doing? Sign up here.


Earth Hour 28th Marh 8.30 pm

24 Mar 2015

Hustings on Policies for the Countryside

On 26th March the Green Party candidate for The Forest of Dean, James Greenwood, will be battling it out with candidates from other parties on matters especially related to the countryside. The hustings is hosted by the CLA which is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales.

The event takes place in the Boutflour Hall of The Royal Agricultural University between 6 and 8 pm, is free and open to anyone.
See the University Website.

22 Mar 2015

Meat Free Week 23 to 29 March

I have been a vegetarian for about 34 years and have not missed meat at all.

I hope that Meat Free week will encourage others to think about how eating meat contributes to climate change, animal suffering and how if less land was given over to farming animals then more people could be fed by using the land for arable farming.

The Meat Free website gives mouth-watering recipes, some of which I will be trying.  Vegetarian recipes need not take ages to prepare and over the years I have gathered some quick and easy meals which suit today's more hectic lifestyle.

19 Mar 2015

International Year of Soils

I have just discovered that 2015 is The International Year of Soils.

To quote from the website:
'It may not be as visually striking as a green forest or appear as vital as fresh water, but plain-looking soil is a natural resource just as essential to sustaining life on Earth.'
When you come to think of it we could feed the world a lot better if the old practices of crop rotation were still routinely used and the roots of trees and hedgerows could help the soil retain water and stop the soil erosion that large fields encourage.

Take the Soil Association's Quiz to see how much you know about soil.

For more information see:
The International Year of Soils website
The Soil Association website

15 Mar 2015

First impressions of the Green Party

join.greenparty.org.uk

I joined the Green Party in December, part of the famous ‘Green surge’. I’d been vaguely interested in the Greens previously, but had never gotten round to doing anything about it. Always firmly left-leaning, it was social policies rather than the (admittedly extremely important) environmental ones that were most important to me. I spent a lot of my time very angry with what the Tories and Labour were doing to the country: mass privatisation, destruction of the NHS, regression of the educational system to that of the 1950s... the list goes on and on. So with a bit of time to spare before Christmas, I sat down with my laptop and looked at the Green’s policy website. And was very pleasantly surprised.

Although I didn’t agree with every word, I agreed with an awful lot. But what struck me most was that these policies were well thought through ideas, formulated by people who had a vision for a better world, a world that would work for everyone in it rather than just the privileged few. I filled in the membership form without hesitation.

I then went along to a Green party meeting. I’ll admit I was unsure of what to expect: being new to the area I didn’t really know what the Greens had been up to locally, and I didn’t know what the mix of people would be. There was even a small part of me wondering if it would be a room full of well-meaning folk with a vague longing for a better system but with no solid ideas to implement. Luckily, the opposite was the case: a large group of smart, engaged, impressive people, achieving lots on various councils and with solid plans to do even more. In other words, exactly the kind of people we need running things both locally and at a national level.

Another thing that struck me was just how friendly everyone was. Each new member got a round of applause as they introduced themselves: I’ve certainly never been congratulated for simply turning up to a meeting before! More established members went out of their way to speak to us newcomers and make us feel welcome. There was an instant sense of community, and as I’ve become more involved, that feeling has only deepened. To anyone considering attending a meeting, but unsure if they should, I would say: ‘Just do it!’ Even if you don’t end up becoming a more active member, you’ll learn a great deal and meet a whole bunch of lovely people, and that can only be a good thing.

14 Mar 2015

Hustings in the Cotswold Constituency

10th March saw Green Parliamentary candidate, Penny Burgess, debating with opponents at Cirencester College. Penny said
 'The students asked intelligent questions, that is the great thing about young people they are more concise with what they are asking.'
See the Cirencester College Website  and the Wilts and Glos Standard for detailed reports.

Penny says that requests to take part in debates are coming in fast and furious.

Confirmed Dates for your Diary so far are:
Monday 13th April in Wotton Under Edge  - time and venue to be confirmed
Thursday 23rd April at Cirencester Sundial Theatre, organised by Churches Together in Cirencester 7.30 -9.00


7 Miles of Pinkness: the scarf that won a Film Festival Award


Jaine Rose
Ben Hedley, Philip Booth and Steve Hurrell were the three behind a 5 minute film that covers the story of Stroud’s Jaine Rose who inspired thousands to first knit, then to unroll 7 miles of pink scarf on Nagasaki Day, 9th August 2014 between two nuclear bomb factories.

On 13th March 2015 the film was one of three short films to be recognised in the first Stroud Film Festival at a packed Brunel Goods Shed.

Philip Booth, one of the film makers and a former Green Party councillor, said: “Wonderful to get this recognition for the film and all those knitters and more who made it possible. The film captures the voices of some of those involved in this hugely creative campaign to stop the immorality of spending £120 billion on renewing Trident nuclear weapons."
Jaine watching film at Festival last night (Photo: Steve Hurrell)
Ben Hedley, another of the film makers said: “This was about the many different voices all saying why they considered nuclear weapons are wrong. It was a really powerful day that Jaine’s energy created and that comes across in the film. There are also many voices we couldn’t include but wanted to. And we’re excited to donate the prize money to the ongoing humanitarian effort to repurpose the scarf into blankets for areas of the world that need it. Of course I must also mention what fun we all had coming to the event with our cameras hoovering up as much of the atmosphere as we could.“

Jaine Rose, organiser of Wool Against Weapons event said: "I am delighted that this film has been recognised and can take the message of thousands of knitters to an even wider audience. We still can stop the moral and economic nonsense of Trident helped by the determined effort of creative activists. I remain in awe of the willingness of everyone who helped knit over 8* miles of scarf, and would like to send huge thanks to Philip, Steve and Ben for their brilliant filming of our big pink day!”

Jaine, Philip and Ben celebrating Award last night (Photo Steve Hurrell)
TO SEE THE FILM: http://stroudcommunity.tv/7-miles-of-pinkness/
The Film Festival runs for two weeks - for details see: http://www.stroudfilmfestival.org/

Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are all in favour of renewing Trident - we can change their minds.

The scarf is now being repurposed into blankets for humanitarian aid, including projects in Tanzania, Syria, and the U.K.

*The scarf needed to be 7 miles to link the two nuclear establishments but it turned out to be longer than 8 miles!

13 Mar 2015

Molly talks TTIP!

At our recent Green Party AGM some 90 people squeezed into the Old Town Hall in Stroud to hear Molly Scott Cato MEP give a talk on her work in Europe. Here just over 3 mins of film of her talk - this section on TTIP: http://stroudcommunity.tv/molly-ttip/

Also here's Molly in a recent press release talking about the controversial trade deal: “The EU and US treat risks in very different ways. In the EU the onus is on new products or processes demonstrating they are safe. If this cannot be done we follow the ‘precautionary principle’. By contrast, US regulation relies on proof of harm. We will be tabling amendments to defend the precautionary principle which we believe is essential to ensure the highest level of animal and human health.”

12 Mar 2015

Anger at more spend on Trident

I give a huge welcome to CND highlighting the Government have announced a further £285m spend on Trident at the same time they are cutting £300m in legal aid. This really is deeply disappointing but only a fraction of the £3.3bn the MoD has said it will spend ahead of the parliamentary vote on Trident replacement expected in 2016. Where is the public debate on this? Total replacement is likely to cost £100 -120 billion over the next 30 years - can UK really afford such extravagance? Is this really what we need for our defence? And what message does this give other countries about our commitment to nuclear disarmament?

The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dp
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
 
 
 
 
The economic and moral questions are clear.
“With the total cost of replacement likely to come in at an eye-watering £100 billion over the next 30 years, can the UK afford such an extravagance? Is a Cold War deterrent really the right solution for our defence needs in the 21st century?
“And what message would replacing Trident send out to the rest of the world about our country’s commitment to nuclear disarmament?”
- See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2012/10/30/green-party-calls-for-public-debate-on-trident/#sthash.OFJ16lDm.dpuf
CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: "This £285m splurge is a stark barometer of the government’s priorities. Just this week, the Justice Select Committee warned of the consequences of the £300m cuts to legal aid which have left a third of victims of domestic violence without access to justice. It’s boom time for the makers of nuclear weapons – while some of the most vulnerable in our society are left suffering by the wayside. This is a bleak snapshot of 21st-century Britain. David Cameron is content to spend billions in order to strut on the world stage with a Cold War weapon and an inflated sense of importance, while forcing those who are most in need to pay for it."

The Scottish National Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru and the Greens have said they would demand for Labour to scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons programme as their price for supporting the party in a hung parliament. Of course that would not be the only demand. Caroline Lucas has also spoken out demanding an end to welfare cuts and fracking. Can Ed Milliband be forced to abandon austerity and nuclear submarines? A strong Green vote can surely only help.

See here some of Philip Booth and other people's films of the Wool Against Weapons action last year to campaign against the renewal of Trident.

11 Mar 2015

This Changes Everything

I joined the Green Party as part of the Green Surge at the end of last year.  One of the things that inspired me was Naomi Klein's book 'This Changes Everything'. I have been a fan of Naomi, a Canadian journalist, for a few years now, and recommended 'The Shock Doctrine' to all my friends.

Her latest book is a must read as it gives hope for what seems the momentous task of fighting capitalism, turning the world around and keeping climate warming under the 2 degree rise limit that is essential. The Green Party is the only political party in England which offers a way forward to achieve this.





If you can't get hold of her book, The Guardian is currently offering an extract from it.

Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

10 Mar 2015

Remembering Kathy Dimock: oldest Green Party member aged 107

Kathy joining Green Party
One of Stroud’s oldest residents has died just a week short of her 107th birthday. Kathy Dimock was also the oldest member of the Green Party. In this short film Cllrs Martin Whiteside and John Marjoram play tribute at the Green Party’s AGM on 27th February to her support for the Green Party - go to: http://stroudcommunity.tv/remembering-kathy-dimock/

Also see Ruscombe Green blog from when Kathy joined the Green Party: http://ruscombegreen.blogspot.co.uk/2008/02/green-partys-25th-agm-warm-welcome-to.html


9 Mar 2015

We are number 5 in Top Green Bloggers!

5 Mar 2015

Time to Act on Climate Change march in London Sat. 7th March, 12.30

There are still places on the coach!

Coach to event leaves Gloucester, Brunswick Rd., outside the Library pick up (next to Boots Chemists) Gloucester at 8.30 am (return likely between 8.30-9.00pm). Hot drinks and toilet facilities on coach. Cheltenham pick up at Royal Wells approx. 8.55 am. Cirencester pick up at Beeches coach stop approx. 9.20 am. Cost £14.50p full and £9.50p concession. Return from London at 5.00 pm, expected arrival at Cirencester 7.30 pm approx., then Cheltenham, then Gloucester. Please book with organiser: Jonathan Whittaker  home 01452 615835  work 01285 652004 or mobile/text 07970710537 also email: tl4peace(at)hotmail.com

4 Mar 2015

The NHS

A year ago a film maker callled Peter Bach made a film about the NHS called Sell Off - The Full Movie.  So far neither the BBC or C4 has agreed to show it.

Peter describes the film as radical - it tells the 'alarming story of how the health service as we know it has been quietly abolished'.

The film is available on YouTube and is well worth seeing. It makes you realise that our NHS is not safe in the hands of the Tories, Labour or the LibDems.

Only the Greens are advocating 'a publicly funded, publicly provided health service'.
The Green Party:
  • Opposes NHS privatisation and treating healthcare as a market. 
  • Opposes the development of Foundation Hospitals
  • Opposes the Internal Market which has wasted badly needed resources on administration, and reduced the efficiency and morale of the whole system
  • Wants to end The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which has been a giant scheme for the benefit of private contractors

    See also the website: http://www.selloff.org.uk/nhs/default.html

3 Mar 2015

Tidal Power - the way to go for UK energy independence

Critics of renewable energy have always cited the unpredictability of wind and solar power. The ebb and flow of tides, however, can always be relied on. Advocates of renewable energy have always said that there should be a mix of clean sources.

Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power, told BBC News: "We have a wonderful opportunity to create energy from the dance between the moon and the earth."
 
There are plans to generate electricity with tidal power in 6 lagoons - 4 in Wales, 1 in Somerset and 1 in West Cumbria. The first is to be in Swansea Bay. The lagoons will capture incoming and outgoing tides behind giant sea walls, and use the weight of the water to power turbines. 
 
Althought initially expensive to build, these 6 lagoons could produce 8% of the UK's electricity and as they will last 120 years, the cost of producing electricity will reduce considerably over their lifetime.
 
Benefits are enormous when compared to fracking or nuclear as the lagoons provide clean energy:
  • The tidal cycles are well known and so the energy production is predictable
  • Unlike fracking there is no potential for inducing earthquakes, polluting groundwater or releasing climate change gases
  • Unlike nuclear there is no problem with waste disposal or contamination
  • Over time the electricty produced will get much cheaper
  •  British Industry guaranteed central role
 

For more details see an article on the BBC website

See also The Swansea Lagoon Project website