Keeping the messages flying

September 4th, 2021


It’s been a while since I’ve written….

The first thing I want to say is to ask you (in the UK) to please support Caroline Lucas MP’s application for a Backbench Business Committee Debate (a form of debate when backbenchers can discuss a topic and the government has to respond).

Her debate will be called ‘Keeping 1.5 C Alive’, discussing the importance of keeping a limit of global heating of 1.5 degrees centigrade within reach, ahead of COP26 the crucial climate conference in November.

Your help is needed this weekend!

Please email your MP, asking them to support the application and speak at the debate. The deadline for the application is Monday (September 6th).

A template for an email is available – visit

Extinction Rebellion has been staging a fortnight of non-violent civil disobedience in London.

They targeted Buckingham Palace (the Queen’s & Prince Charles’ claims to support the environment certainly ring hollow on many levels…), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (‘stop the harm’ of new investment in fossil fuels), the Science Museum (to drop Shell’s sponsorship) and the City of London (‘If it were a country, it would be the ninth biggest carbon emitter on the planet’).

JP Morgan Bank is the biggest funder of coal, oil and gas extraction. At the beginning of my campaigning life, I wrote to Jamie (such a friendly name!) Dimon, JP Morgan Chase’s CEO. I had the fond hope that appealing to these people’s humanity would be ‘a way through’….

But I’m no longer ‘wasting my breath’/emotional energy with personal appeals….The only way such powerful people can live with themselves and their destructive actions, surely, is to hide behind layers of statistics, departments and impersonal ‘business as usual’….

A Gloucestershire GP was part of the XR protest outside London’s Canary Wharf headquarters of JP Morgan, a staged ‘die-in’, sitting and lying on the pavement to symbolise the deaths caused by fossil fuel investment.

I live in Gloucestershire but I cannot claim this admirable woman as my GP!

As Dr Grace Thompson said: “These people are killing our kids and killing kids in the global south. We just need to stop investing in fossil fuels. JP Morgan need to make their money in a different way.” 

Extinction Rebellion continues to be criticised, but it is just telling it like it is.

And using such imagination and creativity – I honestly don’t know where they get the emotional strength from….

Not only have they been criticised for these latest actions, but the police have also used violence against them…

One of the campaigners was Etienne Stott, who won gold in the canoe slalom for Britain in the 2012 London Olympics. He said: “I’m fed up of being criminalised for acting for the future of all life on Earth in a peaceful, disobedient and responsible way, and it feels quite wrong ….given the emergency situation that we are in.”

People were “arrested for caring about my grandchildren” and moved off private property (hurting no-one)… Where are our priorities?

OK, that’s enough of that.

I’d like to continue, by drawing everyone’s attention to The Flock (promoted in last week’s Guardian online) – an imaginative, humorous as well as serious (and wonderfully musical) podcast created by my sons, Jack Sanderson-Thwaite and Gecko (known together as A Ton of Feathers).

Inspired by ancient text The Birds, it is an environmental fable and epic adventure about the end of the world – told from the point of view of the birds.

The Wisest Bird promises to ‘leave no-one behind’. Justice for all – kind and fair: Cloud Cuckoo Land could be a reality… As Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future campaign asserts: “The climate crisis does not exist in a vacuum. Other socio-economic crises such as racism, sexism, ableism, class inequality and more amplify the climate crisis and vice versa.”

Jamie Wyver of the RSPB advised in The Flock’s planning stages. Our national charity for the protection of birds has joined with The Climate Coalition for the Great Big Green Week, which takes place from September 18th to September 26th. “Together we’ll be highlighting the dangers climate change poses for nature here in the UK – and what we can do to tackle it and protect wildlife, people and the planet.”

Check out both organisation’s websites – there are likely to be events in your area that you can get involved with.

And enjoy listening to The Flock!

Now, a few other encouraging pieces of news.

There is a campaign, by the Nappy Alliance, to encourage people to switch away from polluting single-use nappies – the government should introduce vouchers for reusable nappies.

Guy Schanschieff, chair of the group, said: “The last thing we want is parents having to pay more for disposable nappies…. There is a big enough issue with child poverty in this country already… it is about getting access to reusable ones.”

Sales of alternative nappy brands are already booming, even though the start up costs are higher.

In the long run it is estimated that parents can save £300 to £400 by using reusable ones, which can be passed on to other children.

I’m learning, from my daughter, how to use them – without the time-consuming nappy pins and terry towelling inconvenience of my mother’s day….!

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended protecting leatherback sea turtles as endangered.

This action came in response to a petition from Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Center for Biological Diversity.

And another campaigning success – Subway, the American fast food restaurant franchise, has finally committed to stop selling ‘FrankenChickens’ throughout Europe, under pressure from Open Cages, The Humane League UK and Animal Equality UK.

Fifteen major insurance companies have now ruled out coverage for the dirty tar sands pipeline, Trans Mountain. continue to put pressure on Chubb and others.

And finally, a small (but significant for party organisers…?) ‘win’ – TerraCycle (the group that turns single-use plastic into useable items) has partnered with Card Factory and Amscan to create The Foil Balloons Recycling Programme. You can drop off used balloons and banners at your nearest Card Factory store.

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