20 Sep 2014

The Greener Gloucestershire Festival

The Greener Gloucestershire Festival is happening at the University of Gloucestershire, Park Campus, Cheltenham this weekend from 12pm – 5pm!
Come along and join the celebration of all things sustainable in Gloucestershire – from local community initiatives and projects to local beer and face painting.

The festival aims to find out more about putting sustainable living into practice, with advice, information and support from many local experts, as well as interactive talks and discussions on topics such as G.M., carbon reductions, faith and sustainability and communications skills for effective sustainability.

The first event of its kind is organised by the Greener Gloucestershire Team at UoG Students’ Union, hopes to bring Gloucestershire communities together with staff and students to celebrate the amazing work in sustainability done by volunteers, organisations and businesses working to keep Gloucestershire a healthy, green and beautiful place to live. There will be something to meet the needs and interests of everyone, young and old – green and blue! The festival will be host to workshops, music, real ale and cider and the a chance for bakers and makers to exhibit at the impressive Cheltenham Connect Village Show

Stall holders from across the county will be selling their local produce and sharing their green initiatives and campaigns. This looks to be an eclectic event with delicious food, local cider and ale, and music from local bands including UkesAnon and Talis.

Greener Gloucestershire is a partnership between Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (GFirst LEP) and the University of Gloucestershire Students’ Union, and aims to enhance the student experience while they live and study in the county. The project was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) backed National Union of Students (NUS) Students’ Green Fund.

Greener Gloucestershire project manager Rachel Purdon is looking forward to the inaugural festival: "We're delighted to be hosting the inaugural Greener Gloucestershire Festival on Park Campus. It is a perfect opportunity to come along and ask some questions about what sustainability really means, and have your say on what you want the future of Gloucestershire to look like – as well as trying some delicious
food and drink.

“Everyone is welcome to come along - whether you're interested in gardening or electric cars, saving bees or football – we’d love to see you there.”

Groups who will be present at the festival include Global Footsteps, Vision 21, Transition Towns, Allotment Society, Zero Carbon Britain RSPB, UOG Beekeeping Society, Sustainable Direction Ltd, Gloucester Bike Project and many more!

The Greener Gloucestershire Festival will be held from noon until 5pm at the Park campus, The Park, Cheltenham, GL50 2RH. To find out more, please visit www.greenergloucestershire.co.uk/festival

Greener Gloucestershire an independent group not affiliated to the Green Party. We support them because we share their green vision for a better future. We are glad to host news, press releases, events and announcements from any group, organisation, charity, or business that share our aims and beliefs. 

19 Sep 2014

Nuclear waste is a huge issue for us on Severnside

Taken from STAND's newsletter. www.standagainstoldbury.org     

Angela Paine and Nimue Brown of Stroud Greens discovered at the Oldbury Community stakeholder meeting that, although Oldbury has not yet started sending waste to Berkeley, there are already 5 Nuclear Power Stations sending their Intermediate Level Waste to Berkeley by rail for storage.

This waste comes via Gloucester and then on to the Sharpness line, going off on a siding to Berkeley.

As well as this, High Level Radioactive waste is transported weekly by rail from Hinkley to Sellafield via Gloucester.

The new station at Oldbury will add to this.

So we will hold an action at Gloucester railway station to make the  population of Gloucestershire aware that this is one of prices they have to pay in order to have Nuclear Power.

We will meet outside Gloucester railway station at 12.00 noon on Friday 26th. September.

There we will disperse onto different platforms to peacefully give out  leaflets.
We will have our “Nuclear Waste Bin” (that we had at Lydney docks) to help draw attention to our action.

It would be helpful if you could let me know if you are likely to be there, as the press always ask “How many people will there be?”

Some information on Nuclear Trains: 

“Nuclear trains" are trains carrying used, but extremely radioactive, nuclear fuel rods from nuclear power stations to Sellafield in Cumbria for reprocessing.

There are over 1,000 nuclear transports through the UK every year. The trains carry spent nuclear fuel on the UK’s rail network – often at peak times and within three meters of ordinary passenger trains.

The trains from each operating Nuclear Power Station typically travel once or twice a week, but this depends on several factors: the number of fuel rods in the cooling ponds, the length of time they have been there, and the current state of the relevant reprocessing plant at Sellafield. For example, at the time of this writing there is a problem with the reprocessing at Sellafield, and some stations (eg. Sizewell have been told they may have to hold their fuel rods 2 or 3 years).

An unnecessary risk.

The fuel rods are taken to Sellafield for reprocessing to separate out the plutonium. The main use of plutonium is in nuclear weapons and there is apparently a world glut of this extremely dangerous substance.

The reprocessing does not reduce the total radioactivity but produces a much greater volume of somewhat lower level radioactivity, which still has to be dealt with as a highly toxic waste - as well as releasing some radioactive waste into the environment. The highly toxic waste will be radioactive for thousands of years.

Highly dangerous cargo

There are two main types of reactors in UK power stations, which use somewhat different fuel. The types are known as Magnox (Magnesium alloy is used to clad the fuel rods) and AGR (Advanced Gas cooled Reactor). There is also one PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor), at Sizewell. After nuclear fuel has been used it is far more radioactive and requires heavy shielding. So although new fuel rods are usually transported by road, used rods are transported by rail. "Nuclear trains" is a short way to refer to the trains which carry used fuel rods from nuclear power stations.

The used rods contain uranium and plutonium and are extremely radioactive. When taken from the reactor they are stored in cooling ponds at the power station for up to 18 months (thus contaminating the water). The rods are then loaded into water-filled lead-lined steel containers called 'flasks', onto which a lid is bolted. Each 50-ton flask is then washed down to remove radioactive surface contamination, loaded onto a lorry which carries it to the nearest railhead, then transferred onto a flat-bed railway wagon (which weighs about 100 tons). A metal cover or 'cabin' is placed over each flask.

Each flask contains about 2 tons of rods, and about 1 million Curies of radioactivity, or 37 thousand million million Bequerels (one Bequerel is equivalent to one click on a geiger counter; the Hiroshima bomb released about 3 million Curies). The outside surface of these flasks emit radiation well above background levels: even the 14-inch thick walls are inadequate shielding against the highly radioactive rods. If the water coolant was lost, the fuel rods would overheat then combust, dispersing a massive dose of radioactivity into the atmosphere. They are a highly dangerous cargo, which the industry insist on calling "spent fuel", thus implying that it is neither waste nor especially hazardous.

Risk of terrorism

The transport of nuclear material is recognised by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be the nuclear operation most vulnerable to terrorist attack or sabotage and tests have shown the flasks to be highly vulnerable to attack from armour piercing rounds. Nuclear transports are unescorted other than by a driver and a guardsman. Their movements tend to be regular and along a single route.

Accidents DO happen

In October 2005, due to simple human error, a cargo of radioactive nuclear waste sat unprotected at Bridgewater station for hours, less than 100  metres from a school.

Nuclear waste trains on the Dungeness to Wilesdan  route have twice been  involved in collisions with vehicles on an unmanned level crossing.

In January of this year a car on a level crossing collided with a Spent fuel rod train going to Sellafield at Silverdale Lancashire. Most fortunately the accident happened on the trains return journey so it was empty. But ………….

“Movement of nuclear materials is inherently risky both in terms of severe accident and terrorist attack. Not all accident scenarios and accident severities can be foreseen; it is only possible to maintain a limited security cordon around the flask and its consignment; the transportation route will invariably pass through or nearby centres of population; terrorists are able to seek out and exploit vulnerabilities in the transport arrangements and localities on the route; and emergency planning is difficult to maintain over the entire route.”

Independent nuclear expert John Large, 2006

So please join us if you are able,

on Friday, 26th September,

at 12.00noon, Gloucester railway station.

And please let me know if you can come.

17 Sep 2014

Zero waste

There is no such place as ‘away’. Everything we throw out winds up somewhere. Landfill is not a viable solution, and making things just to bin them is not a sustainable way to run a culture. We need a zero waste economy. There’s a lot we can do as individuals, with the whole reduce-reuse-recycle mantra, but that only works when you have the right materials in the first place. A disturbing number of important foods only seem to come in non-recyclable plastic packaging.

What to do?

Companies give us this stuff because they have convinced themselves it’s what the public wants, needs, expects. So we have to have clingfilm on cucumbers and re-sealable packets, and little plastic windows so that we can see the donuts inside look like every other fried confectionary we’ve ever encountered... it becomes normal so we expect it which justifies the idea that we expect it so they have to provide it.

We have to break that circle. I think we can.

I had a chat with @sainsburys on twitter recently. I’ve also started poking Quorn. I’m looking at companies I buy from and am commenting on how disappointing their packaging is. Doing it in the public domain – twitter and facebook are good – draws attention. I had a lot of support from other social media folk, out of the blue and with nothing organised. If enough of us tell them that recyclable packaging is what we want, they may listen.

We pay for this stuff, twice over. We pay to buy it. Then, we pay for our council to send it to landfill. With cuts eating into essential services, it is not acceptable that we should be spending any public money on burying refuse the supermarkets and others have forced on us. Rice, pasta, seeds, dried fruit – dried, basic, storeable things, are not reliable available in recyclable packaging. This has to change.

So, consider what’s in your bin, and who helped you put it there, and then drop them a polite and friendly line in a public space. ‘I am not happy’ is a good tone to take. At this stage its worth seeing if we can get some co-operation. If there isn’t much movement, petitions can work wonders, and we may have to consider posting clean waste back to the people who created it, explaining that as we can’t recycle it and don’t want to send it to landfill, returning to source seemed like a good idea.

16 Sep 2014

Waste opportunity?

A new report by Cambridge Econometrics estimates the UK economy would be 1.1 per cent bigger in 2030 if it met its carbon targets, with households £565 a year better off. “And that is before you even consider the climate change benefits that may result from decarbonisation,” writes James Murray in businessGreen.

That runs in a totally different direction to what we usually hear. Politicians from other parties, and industry folk tend to view anything green as an expensive, anti-business project. However, sustainable approaches do not have to be a sort of martyrdom. We could, as a country, live well by making better use of our resources in the first place. It’s also worth noting that climate change is going to be expensive. Flooding isn’t cheap, nor is the erosion it so often causes along with the havoc for home owners, farmers, and businesses. Damage from high winds has a price tag, dangerously hot weather and bitterly cold winters cost us as well. The more unpredictable the climate becomes, the bigger the costs, on every level.

You’d think that every last ‘suit’ with an eye for the bottom line would already be paying attention to this. With Greenhouses gasemissions hitting record highs,  the need for radical change is truly urgent.

In Stroud we’re looking at how to get a circular economy around waste. Re-using resources, rather than sending them to landfill, is much better in terms of carbon impact than sourcing from raw materials in order to bury them in the ground. New waste strategies, developed after 3 research reports and extensive public consultation, will bring some real benefits when contracts change in 2016. Green Cllr Simon Pickering has led the way in getting food waste collected.
Stroud has a good record in terms of what we send to landfill per person, but our percentages of waste recycled are not what they could be. The current waste collection contract doesn’t cover food waste, but when that changes, we’ll be moving closer to our target of recycling 60% of waste.

Click here for more about waste in the local news.

15 Sep 2014

Thanks to everyone who has given a bike to Access Bike so far!

Last term 20 young people were given a reconditioned bike, helmet, lock and lights for £20, thanks to those donations, the work of Creative Sustainability Community Interest Company and partners Tarmac and Trail.
The project is focusing on young people who couldn't otherwise afford a bike and has worked with Archway and Marling Schools  to find young people who need one. This term Maidenhill and Thomas Keble will join in with the project and 20 more young people will benefit.
Owning a bike means that young people can join in cycling related social, sport and community activities, giving them more independence to get to school and after school activities, increased social and recreational confidence and helping towards participation in activities such as cycling clubs and competitions.
The project has also given work to young people and aims to train two young people to become cycle safety and maintenance trainers. Callum Partrtidge, 19 says "This is an amazing opportunity for a young person who wants to make a career out of cycling. It's hard to find the money to invest in the training, but once you've done it there's loads of work out there. "
Anna Bonallack, Director of Creative Sustainability says "There are lots of ways that companies and individuals can get involved in Access Bike. We are looking for a like minded company to sponsor a young person to become a professional trainer; we need expertise to help us develop a local cycling plan with schools to help their students cycle safely to school, and more good quality bikes to recondition.  Like all social enterprises we also need some help to market the project!"
If you have a bike you don't use or can help with marketing, sponsorship or the cycling plan get in touch. All bikes will be reconditioned by experts at Tarmac and Trail but the better nick they are in the more bikes they can get through. Call Anna on  01452 770177 or email anna@cscic.org  
Access Bike is an independent charity not affiliated to the Green Party, although we are proud to mention that Anna Bonallack has stood as a Green candidate in the past. We support them because we share their desire to support healthy and sustainable transport and to tackle the disenfranchisement of our young people by equipping them with real resources. We are glad to host news, press releases, events and announcements from any group, organisation, charity, or business that share our aims and beliefs. 

Any Questions

by Sue Hartley

On Friday, 5th September, Radio 4's long-running, live political-panel programme, Any Questions? found its temporary home at Westonbirt School. I was one of a few local Green Party members who took up the invitation to attend. The hall was packed to hear the panel of Caroline Lucas (Green), Michael Dugher (Labour), Anna Soubry (Tory) and Roger Helmer (UKIP) answer questions submitted by the audience on the night.

As a regular listener to Any Questions? it was fascinating to get the 'behind the scenes' picture of how the programme is organised and to enjoy the 'warm up'. I was impressed to find that this excellent programme is run by a team of four people - producer and assistant and two technical bods, plus the public-facing Jonathan Dimbleby, of course. And to appreciate how Radio 4 segways seamlessly from the news in London to the outside broadcast location, wherever it happens to be in the UK.

But to the programme itself. The first two questions were about ISIL/ISIS - what would be the impact of air strikes and should British jihadists be allowed to return to the UK. On the first question, the other three panellists all spoke in favour of some level of military intervention, while Caroline argued that a settlement is likely to depend on regional political solutions, rather than military intervention, and we should be working to achieve a consistent (and hopefully ethical) foreign policy. She articulated really well the damage we have already done in the Middle East through military intervention, and the inconsistencies in our foreign policy - for example that we fund, supply arms to, and support Saudi Arabia despite its government  beheading a group of Saudi citizens last week and it being a source of funds to terrorist organisations. She was the first to receive a round of applause for her answer and continued to receive by far the most positive response from the audience throughout the evening. On British jihadists, Caroline spoke of the importance of dealing with UK citizens in the UK, rather than trying to render them stateless, and put human rights and due process at the centre of her argument. She stood her ground when Michael Dugher suggested she was giving terrorists 'the benefit of the doubt' and it was clear to the audience that this was just an attempt at political point-scoring. A light moment occurred when Roger Helmer suggested that the European Court of Human Rights was somehow exacerbating the problem and Anna Soubry retorted that, as far as UKIP is concerned, if anything's a problem, just blame the EU.

Two further questions got on the air. The first was about the bill put forward in the Commons to mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax. Proposed by a Lib Dem, this was carried to second reading on a combined Lib Dem and Labour vote -the first time Lib Dems have voted against Government policy on the tax. Here, Caroline and Michael shared the moral high ground as Greens and Labour have opposed this heinous policy throughout. However, both Lib Dems and Labour were accused of electioneering (LDs with an eye to the General Election, Labour to the independence referendum in Scotland). At one point Caroline described the Conservative policy on the bedroom tax as cruel - this riled Anna Soubry who said she'd come into politics to help people, but Caroline came straight back with the response "Well, you're in the wrong party, then", which was appreciated by the audience. The last question, from a 15-year old schoolboy, asked whether more work should be done in schools to alert young people to the risks of abusive relationships and how they should respond to child abuse. Here Caroline scored again, as she is about to present a Private Member's Bill to make PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) mandatory in schools.

One Green Party member, Nicola Hillary, was called forward at the start of the programme to put her question, "Given the opulence of the surroundings tonight, isn't a £10 minimum wage, as suggested by the Green Party, the least we can do?" As she was number 4 on the list, I was sure she would get on air, and was dismayed when the producer held up five fingers and instructed the man with the microphone to bypass Nicola in favour of questioner 5, the young man asking about sexual abuse. So near and yet so far!

It was good to attend an evening of wide-ranging political debate and, though there was clearly a group of UKIP supporters somewhere in the room, it was obvious that the majority of the audience was firmly in agreement with Caroline Lucas.

14 Sep 2014

Transition re-skilling

From Transition Stroud 
The Great

Learning for a
Positive Future

Many traditional skills have been lost at a time of increasing dependency on food and goods from around the world.

Yet in an era of decreasing oil supply and the need to reduce energy use to prevent dangerous climate change, the need for thrift and the revival of traditional skills is becoming increasingly important.

Transition Stroud promotes actions that reduce Stroud district’s contribution to climate change.


SkillsGain focuses on those self-reliance skills we will need tomorrow and offers taster workshops in these skills today.

Workshops usually last 2 hours are delivered by skilled volunteers and are open to all residents of Stroud District.

We usually ask for a contribution (£5 or 4 Stroud pounds) to cover venue hire. There may be additional costs for any materials used in workshops.

Through the SkillsGain taster programme it is hoped many people will go on to gain new skills. The skills we need are not just related to practical skills of growing or making things – but also the personal skills we need to maintain our own resilience.  SkillsGain workshops will offer both. So come along to a SkillsGain Workshop – aimed at re-skilling the community for our changing world.


Programme of Workshops
September to November

SkillsGain focuses on those self-reliance skills we will need tomorrow and offers taster courses in these skills today

Transition Stroud is a volunteer led organisation addressing climate change issues. We work for a future based on local food, sustainable energy, local economies and an enlivened sense of community well-being


How (and why) to build your own Wind Turbine
Wednesday 1st October
Time: 7.30 to 9. 30 pm; Venue: Nailsworth
Tutor: Pete Nelson
Cost: £5
We will be carving wooden wind turbine blades based on Hugh Piggott's intermediate technology wind turbine designs.  These can be built anywhere in the world, as they use tools and materials that are readily available.

The workshop will also involve a discussion about 'participatory renewables', or 'what role can you play in the renewable energy revolution?' Pete believes that a renewable energy revolution can only progress if there is greater participation.  Do come and participate

If you'd like to read the designs before the workshop, they're available at Hugh Piggott's website: www.scoraigwind.co.uk

If there is enough interest after this short workshop we could organise a longer course building a complete wind turbine from scratch

Pete is a philosophy graduate who segued into engineering, working for a number of years with Hugh Piggott's wind turbine designs and more recently installing mainstream renewables on domestic and industrial sites.
To book:  e mail:
erik.w@virgin.net  or ring 07725 900666

Active Hope Day
 Sunday 19th October
 Time: 11 am to 4 pm; Venue: Stroud
Tutor:  Fiona Ellis
Cost: Sliding scale: £20 to £10;   

Faced with challenges of climate change, an unstable political world and the tension of living within an increasingly stressed world, it's good to have space to reflect and explore feelings about all this. Joanna Macy’s work over many years has shown this workshop process strengthens people in their choices and resolve about how they live their life or do their work.

Active hope is about the kind of hope you need to carry on, when you do not have certainty about how things will be in the future for you and the next generation.
An opportunity will be made available to discuss the interest in the group meeting regularly

Fiona trained with Joanna Macey in the 1990s and recently again with Chris Johnstone , co authors of “Active hope” and “Great turning time”, and in her professional work is a facilitator and training consultant working with groups for over 30 years. She has lived in Stroud for 20 years.

To book:  e mail:
erik.w@virgin.net  or ring 07725 900666

Seed Saving Workshop
 Wednesday 12th November
Time: 7.00 to 9. 00 pm ; Venue: Stroud
Tutor: Jane Brown
Cost: £5

 Save Seeds, Save costs and Save some favourite flowers and vegetables for the years ahead!  Learn simple seed saving methods and rules from garden and allotment which can be done in your own kitchen with no special equipment.  Plants growing in your soil will adapt to your conditions and their seeds will become more and more suited to your land over the years.

Jane Brown trained in horticulture and has grown flowers, fruit and vegetables all her life, converting to Organic methods over 20 years ago. 

To Book: email:
johnbrown@cooptel.net  or phone 01453 764853

12 Sep 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 but we support them because we support their aims and methods.

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.

We came across these free courses across Glos (incl Stroud) about how to develop more inclusive and welcoming communities' – find out more here.


'Economics & Transition'

The next meeting of the Transition Stroud Book group

Black Book Cafe, Nelson St, Stroud.
Saturday 13th September
This month the Transition Stroud book group will discuss a theme rather than a single book: Economics & Transition. Last month we read ‘The Burning Question' by Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark, a key issue of which is that of a 'carbon bubble' - overvalued fossil fuel companies - that would burst if we keep fossil fuels in the ground as we must in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. So this month we will look at 'Economics & Transition' -  texts which present alternative economic models for the future, or at least offer further insight into the problems of our current economic system. Rather than a single book, we have 3 key recommendations, and a longer list of possible readings (as we cannot offer multiple copies of any of the 3 key books).

The Bioregional Economy by Molly Scott Cato (the South West Green MEP based in Stroud)
"In a world of climate change and declining oil supplies, what is the plan for the provisioning of resources? Green economists suggest a need to replace the globalised economy, and its extended supply chains, with a more ‘local’ economy... The concept of the ‘bioregion’ — developed and popularised within the disciplines of earth sciences, biosciences and planning — may facilitate the reconceptualisation of the global economy as a system of largely self-sufficient local economies."
You can read
pages 1-30 online for free.

Prosperity Without Growth by Tim Jackson.
"No one denies that development is essential for poorer nations. But in the advanced economies there is mounting evidence that ever-increasing consumption adds little to human happiness and may even impede it. More urgently, it is now clear that the ecosystems that sustain our economies are collapsing under the impacts of rising consumption. Unless we can radically lower the environmental impact of economic activity - and there is no evidence to suggest that we can - we will have to devise a path to prosperity that does not rely on continued growth."
You can read/download the
report for the Sustainable Development Commission on which this book was based online for free (pdf).

Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein.
"Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme - but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being."
As well as being available in hard-copy at a 'pay what you like' rate, this book is
available for free online, in both PDF and epub formats. In other words, if you have one, you can read it on your computer, laptop, tablet or kindle.

A copy of each of these books is available from the
Transition Stroud Library at the Black Book Cafe. As we only have one copy of each, we below supply a list of our other economics titles which we encourage you to read instead. We'd obviously like you to read one book in full if possible, but if you can't, feel free to come and hear what other people learned from the books, and contribute to the discussion. If you can't read any of the books, please read one of these short pieces by our key authors:

New economic model needed not relentless consumer demand" by Tim Jackson, published in The Guardian
Let's replace our fixation on growth with a steady-state economy focusing on lower consumption, leisure and ecological health" by Charles Eisenstein, published in The Guardian
Pages 1-30 of Molly Scott Cato's "The Bioregional Economy"

Stroud, Sun 21 Sep, Gloucestershire Climate March – Climate Change: we can Climb it!

Gloucestershire’s Climb for Climate

Stroud, 12.00 noon at the Sub Rooms Forecourt.

This is part of a global day of action to highlight the need for international agreement and local actions on capping carbon emissions. There will be events in cities, towns and communities all over the world, and a People’s Climate March in New York, where heads of government are meeting at a climate summit.
We will also be promoting local initiatives to cut carbon emissions, and asking our local government to commit to 100% clean energy. We will ask participants to sign up to the Tipping Point Declaration.
We will make a huge heart shape on Rodborough sports Field, of people and flags to declare our love for people and planet.
Children welcome   —   it is their future !
Green and Blue -  We will flag up the issue with a green/blue theme, to depict the planet
- Green/blue flags, banners and clothing
- Songs to celebrate the earth
- Percussion: eg. drums and bells.
- Kites
Bring a picnic !     Share knowledge on climate change.

11 Sep 2014

GlosCAN press release

Climate Change: “we can climb it!”
Gloucestershire Climate March, linked to People’s Climate March in New York, Sunday 21st September in Stroud.

On Sunday 21 September, people of Gloucestershire are invited to come together in a public statement on the issue of man-made climate change. The aim is to place pressure on governments to develop binding policies to curb CO2 emissions and to encourage humanity to adopt low carbon initiatives. Since 2007, scientists have developed better tools, and drawing from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Reports we can be certain about how humans are changing the climate.

The starting point at 12.00 noon is to be Stroud Subscription Rooms forecourt from where the march will progress up to Rodborough Sports Field. Here the plan is to make a large heart-shape to symbolize the things that are cherished: people, habitats and planet, which are under threat from the destabilising build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere. Participants will join in singing, music and picnics!

It takes place on a global day of action, spearheaded by climate campaigning groups 350.org and Avaaz. In New York United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a Climate Summit to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition. The Kirklees campaign against climate change argue that globally this will be ‘A weekend to “bend the course of history”’

Participants will sign a declaration and petition, which will be the start of many actions by GlosCAN.

Two planning meetings include one on Tues 9th Sept, 7 – 9 pm at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud, and a preparation day on Sunday the 14th Sept, 10am to 4 pm, at the same venue, where flags and banners will be made.  Volunteers with an artistic leaning are needed to help make inspiring cloth flags and banners, in green and blue that depict the connections between all forms of life.

GlosCAN committee member, Arun Cappi said, "The event is an opportunity to share information with the wider public, to help the evidence become clear; and to show that it is a fair and scientific assessment of the impact that we are having on the atmosphere."

Event planner, Fred Miller said, "The mountainous challenge that is climate change reminded me of the Bear Hunt story: ‘You can't go round it, you can't go under it, you have to … climb it’ … and ‘Climb it’ sounds like Climate, so that is what we called it."

Fellow GlosCAN committee member, Nick James, said, "It will also be a call to local government to 'up its game’, and commit to 100 percent clean energy for all its operations, and to urgently develop a sustainable zero carbon, local economy."

“It is also a call for leadership from our national government at the United Nations talks that are being held in Paris in December 2015. These talks are a last chance, very late in the day, to put in place global limits on more carbon emissions”, said Vaughan Webber, one of the GlosCAN organisers.

GlosCAN is an independent campaigning group not affiliated to the Green Party. We support them because we share their sense of urgency that climate change is a serious issue that must be faced responsibly. We are glad to host news, press releases, events and announcements from any group, organisation, charity, or business that share our aims and beliefs. 

10 Sep 2014

Water in perspective

Our cartoonist, Russ sent us this image to share.

The full quote goes:

"If the earth were the size of an egg, then all the water on the planet would be just a drop; all the air, if condensed to the density of water, would be a droplet only one-fortieth as big; and all the arable land would be a not-quite-visible speck of dust. That drop, droplet, and speck are all that make the earth different from the moon."

We live in a delicate balance. Water, air and soil are precious resources on which life depends. It is the politics of survival and sanity to treasure those vital resources, and it is the politics of madness of pollute and destroy what sustains us.

9 Sep 2014


By Trish Andrews

View from the field.
This special relationship of people and fields started over one hundred years ago.  Garden Suburb houses were built in Dursley between 1908 and 1910, on low slopes of escarpment fields, beneath hillside woods.  One row had two alleyways, giving access to meadowland at the back.  Diana Barton was born, at Number 10, in 1920.  Once old enough, she was out there, following the established pattern of local children, playing with friends, making dens, gaining wonderful, outdoor experience.

She was my mother.  Born in July 1945, I too grew up at Number 10.  My friend’s garden bordered the fields, neighbourhood children continued to play there.  My children grew up at 53, making them, with other local children, a third generation, able to enjoy everything the open green space behind our houses had to offer.  With post-war change to much easier lifestyles, parents and grandparents gained time to join in with leisure activities and the fields became a meeting ground for entertainment between family groups.  Nobody was ever approached by a landowner.

In 2010, contractors appeared, stripped the fields of all surface growth and decimated wildlife.  Huge bonfires burnt for weeks.   Shrubs at the woodland edge deemed not a hedge were removed.  The landowner organised Dursley town council to re-fence their wood and circulated his intention to introduce horses.  Field- use by neighbours continued as ever, avoiding contractors, but the motive was questioned, and doubted.  However, nothing further happened.  If any of us had known about Town Green status, we would have applied then.         

Just before August Bank Holiday, 2013, copies of a pre-planning proposal, for 69 houses on two fields off Hardings Drive, Dursley – those behind Garden Suburb - were hand-delivered from Snooks Planning Consultants, on behalf of clients, to all properties adjoining the fields.  They omitted to notify Dursley Town Council, as owners of adjacent woodland and gave residents a paltry seven days, to respond with opinions.  Following complaints, the time was extended.

These are Cotswold edge escarpment fields, within the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and compose the only open green space visible from Parsonage Street, in Dursley town centre.  Their part in creating the town’s pleasant rural aspect and ambiance is vital.  Replacing these green fields with a housing estate would completely ruin the appearance and nature of this town.

On 29 August 2013, residents from Torchacre Rise, Hardings Drive, Cedar Drive, Garden Suburb, Burnt Oak, Westfield and other areas, met at the Kingshill Inn to begin an Action Group Campaign.  Over 70 local people attended, giving support and help to fight any proposed development.  Memberships were taken and a steering group formed which met to establish the forward process.

It quickly came to light that one member had been involved with a Town Green application and after research, he thought the considerable use locals made of the fields, beyond the required 20 year period, ‘as of right’, without hindrance or permission, qualified us to apply.  The process would delay any planning application until finalised, success would give the fields their best possible protection.

The immediate glitch was new rules for Town and Village Green applications from 1 October, 2013, would make this status more difficult to achieve.  We had two weeks to write as many witness statements as possible, supported by photographic evidence and apply under the old rules.  Love of the fields, passionate that they stay as open green space and community spirit kicked in.  We went for it, found an amazing solicitor, who checked legal aspects in our endeavours, achieved copies of everything, made sure we were as presentable as possible and charged nothing!  No time to organise a community pot, anyway!  Our application was hand-delivered to Legal Services, Gloucester, at 2 pm on Monday 30 September 2013, the last day!

Between us, we recorded a fabulous array of field activities for the requirement of comprehensive use over the previous twenty years, with some of our long-term residents able to go much further back than required.  Naturally, there are all the usual events of daily walkers with and without dogs, adult walkers with and without children.  But we have a history of unaccompanied children using the fields for play and learning, den-making, sporting games, games of imagination.   Children at play all day, safe in the knowledge that they are free to do so, with home in easy reach if wanted, parents supplying picnics, children within easy call when they had to come in.

There have been organised events, team games of cricket and football, kite-flying, birthday parties, bonfire parties, November the 5th celebrations with fireworks.  Tents have been put up and children have camped overnight without adult intrusion.  From the first appearance of good snow, it’s a steep slope, scream-inducing, fun-fair toboggan ride.

Teaching the ways of wildlife and encouraging children to grow up revere our countryside landscape and preserve its legacies for future generations, is high on the list of importance for so many parents and grandparents who have accessibility, on their doorsteps, by living in a spectacular rural area.

The fields off Hardings Drive are loaded with exciting wildlife for adults and children to seek out and enjoy together.   We have bats, foxes, badgers, squirrels, an array of mice, shrew and vole prey items for raptors, many amphibians, frogs, toads, palmate and common newts, slow worms, birds of woodlands, birds of fields, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, shield bugs, other bugs and beetles, plus three types of deer with regularly produced fawns.  The One Show nature team visited the site in 2008, stayed longer than scheduled as wildlife was so impressive and put out a prime-time television programme as a result.

Bird watching is a serious hobby for many people who walk this lovely area.  So is landscape appreciation.  Walking from Hardings Drive, the fields rise steeply and the view opens up behind.  Turning, reveals the hanging valley Dursley nestles in, a landscape of surrounding Cotswold scarp slopes, bordered by beautiful hills, clockwise from Cam Peak, Cam Longdown, Downham, the south face of Uley Bury, showing its Iron Age defences, then miles of woods and escarpment fields curving round from Uley village.  No wonder, then, between wildlife and landscape, these fields have huge attraction for amateur and more professional photographers.  Owners of Clifton Cameras, Dursley, have just moved premises to double their floor space.  Customers are directed in the street, to focus their prospective purchases on Hardings Drive fields.  In rain, an assistant holds the umbrella!

Please support our Town Green application. These fields are vital to our community, too lovely to lose and every letter counts.  The address is: Head of Legal Services, (on behalf of the registration authority), Legal Services, Shire Hall, Gloucester, GL1 2TG, and quote reference JKS/51943

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Trish Andrews is not a Green Party member but asked us to share this blog to raise awareness of the issues.