A Turning point?

October 15th, 2021


This is very short notice, but maybe it will reach someone….?!

The Green Party in England now has two new co-leaders – one of these is Carla Denyer in Bristol, a city close to my heart!

Tomorrow (Saturday, October 16th), people are invited to the garden of St Mary Redcliffe Church, 12, Colston Parade, Redcliffe, Bristol (BS1 6RA), from 10am to 4pm. This will be a day towards meeting the hopes that the next Green MP for England will be elected in Bristol.

“Join us to talk to local residents about Carla, our Green vision for Bristol, and the fabulous work of our local Green Councillor, Ani Stafford-Townsend.

“Training will be provided at the beginning of the day…. We’ll spend a few hours talking to local residents in either blocks of flats or on local terraces, before meeting up for a picnic lunch (weather dependent). We’ll continue into the afternoon for those who can stay.”

For more details, phone Heather on 07988878442.

More in Bristol, England – I’ll be heading (by train from Gloucester!) to College Green at the bottom of Park Street in the centre of Bristol for 12 noon on Saturday, November 6th.

This is the Global Day of Action, demanding change from leaders at the COP26 climate meeting.

So many organisations, including the RSPB, CPRE, War on Want, Action Aid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, are encouraging people to join the rallies and marches, ‘the fight that unites’, as well as individual grandmothers like me…

Visit cop26coalition.org to find out about actions in your part of the world.

And now a sign that the climate crisis is at last a subject for ‘normal’/mainstream/‘popular culture’ conversations – Coronation Street is using climate action storylines…

Lee Rayner, head of production at the soap opera, said: “Climate action falls front and centre of what we do now, it’s part of our culture.”

ITV is one of hundreds of organisations to have introduced carbon literacy training for its staff. The Carbon Literacy Project, founded in Manchester in 2011, has trained more than 21,000 people in workplaces, communities and schools. Participants take a one-day training course covering the science of the climate crisis and potential solutions, and commit to taking two actions – one in their own life and one that involves people around them – to reduce emissions.

Dave Coleman, managing director of the project, said: “We were talking to people and thinking: wouldn’t it be great if people just got it on climate change? If people instinctively just knew what was good and bad, and these are the kinds of things we need to do….”

Jamie Saye, a senior technician at Opera North in Leeds, who has become a carbon literacy trainer and is working across a number of organisations, said: “Arts and cultural organisations are uniquely placed to do something about the climate crisis, because I feel like talking about facts and statistics has only got us so far…”

Which brings me to… if you have another spare half hour this weekend (before midnight on Sunday, October 17th?!), please could you check out https://audioverseawards.net/vote/ and vote for The Flock podcast.

A galvanising piece of art – we need to do more for birds, the skies, the Earth…..

John Kerry, special envoy for climate to Joe Biden, is optimistic about the UN Cop26 climate summit (starting on October 31st in Glasgow), saying he anticipated “surprising announcements” from key countries – the world is poised to make a big leap forward….

Greta Thunberg, is far more sceptical – the world doesn’t need more ‘blah, blah, blah’, with government actions contradicting the pledges and leading us backwards.

As John Kerry said: “If you want a definition of insanity, it’s subsidising the very problem you are trying to solve”.

Surely that is the least we can hope for – the end of fossil fuel subsidies….

Please sign Friends of the Earth’s petition and ask your MP to speak up against fossil fuels.

All around the world, people are showing that there are different ways of doing things, ways that will bring about a better future for the Earth.

A miraculous eco-town in Sweden, Skelleftea, is demonstrating what a climate-conscious future looks like.

Skelleftea runs on 100% renewable energy from hydropower and wind, and recycles 120,000 tonnes of electronic waste a year, with excess heat from the process fed back into the city-wide heating system. And now, Skelleftea has a fitting monument to its carbon-cutting credentials – The Sara Cultural Centre and its 20-storey Wood Hotel show what it is possible to build with timber, storing about 9,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere in the process.

These blueprints for a new generation of ‘plyscrapers’ were incredibly quick to build. A whole year was saved by using wood, compared with steel and concrete, with a storey completed every two days. The number of truck deliveries was also reduced by about 90%, with practically zero waste on site.

Jesper Akerlund from contractor Holmen, analysing improvements to its workforce’s mental health following the project, said: “The people building this would never go back to steel and concrete.”

A timber building site is a picture of serenity compared with noisy, toxic, ‘normal’ building sites filled with fumes and dust.

It’s fire-safe too – CLT (cross-laminated timber) is very slow to ignite, designed here with an additional 4cm sacrificial layer on each side that would char in the event of a fire, protecting the structure for 120 minutes.

Next week (October 20th), the House of Commons will begin to review a final round of amendments to the existing Environment Bill.

This is a critical time to push the government to tighten the legislation, to protect forests as well as rivers (how is raw sewage allowed to pollute our waterways…?) – please email your MP, asking them to support the Amendment rooting out deforestation in supply chains and Amendment 60 preserving waterways; and share this action with friends and family. Sign the Greenpeace petition too, for good measure!

And finally, this week, hopefully Chris Packham is getting lots of well-deserved support (I’ve tweeted…) from all of us who are trying to protect Nature, following the attack on his home….

The determined conservationist and broadcaster delivered a petition (with more than 100,000 signatures), last Saturday, to the gates of Buckingham Palace, accompanied by more than 100 school strikers. Packham said: “This is a time for action”, urging the royal family to lead by example and improve/rewild the ecological condition of their land. They could make such a difference, ahead of COP26…..Prince Charles and Prince William believe in urgency to save the Earth, don’t they?….

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