Freed

It is with great delight I can update that the Frack Free three were freed (anyone want to make that a song?) from prison on Wednesday after a successful appeal.

The appeal judge ruled the custodial sentence to be ‘excessive’ and they were freed on a two year conditional discharge. Thank you and well done to everyone who supported them and the campaign during this difficult time. The judge who originally sentenced them case has a family connection with the fracking industry which is being investigated. There is a lot more work to stop fracking and in the words of the campaigners:

UNTIL WE WIN!

Advertisements

Our friends just went to prison for protesting fracking

During my work with Reclaim the Power I had the pleasure of working with Richard, Rich and Roscoe, friendly, kind and dedicated campaigners who now as part of the Frack Free Four have shockingly become the first anti-fracking protesters to be sent to prison… for 15 months.  And who need support, both personally to keep their spirits up and to keep the campaign going.

sunset-300x207.jpg

Last July they helped blockade a site in Preston where the company Cuadrilla is trying to fracture the land (fracking) in order to extract fossil fuel gas. The process generates large amounts of released greenhouse gases as well as generating toxic chemical waste water which usually gets put back in the ground (because it is too toxic to go to a sewage works). The blockade was part of the Rolling Resistance month of action with Reclaim the Power.

During their trial they were not allowed to use the reasons for their actions (stopping fracking) as a defense. So their actions were reduced to ‘sitting on trucks for several days’ and they were convicted of public nuisance. The difficult and courageous work of protecting our communities and country from fracking is about as far from a public nuisance as it gets.

At this very moment people are gathered in Preston for a ‘Free the Three’ demonstration, but if you can’t be there there are still many ways you can help.

Here’s how you can support them:

1. Writing letters to the prisoners. This really means a lot to people inside. 
Information on how you can write and prison numbers are here
:

http://frackfreefoursupporters.org/write-to-them/

2. Please sign and share the petition to the Joint Committee on Human Rights about the declining space for civil society to meaningfully oppose the fracking industry:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/hold-an-inquiry-into-the-declining-space-for-civil-society-to-oppose-the-uk-fracking-industry-1

3. Financial donations to the campaign support fund:
https://chuffed.org/project/free-the-three

Colour-work-up-transparent-background_edited-1.png

4. Hold an event to spread the word


5. Join the Week of Action against Permitted Development from 8th – 14th October:
The Conservative government are proposing to make exploratory drilling for fracking a ‘permitted development’ – which would bypass the need to submit planning applications to local councils and remove the right of communities to raise objections. This represents a huge attack on local democracy. Find or create an action near you: https://gofossilfree.org/uk/let-communities-decide/

Richard is a piano tuner from London, Roscoe is a soil scientist from Sheffield and Rich is a teacher from Devon. Imagine the impact on your life if you were suddenly in prison for months. It took a lot of courage and commitment to do what they did. Let’s get them out of prison and back where they belong – out in the world making it better.

Rich-R-portrait_edited-1-300x217.jpgHL_AGROSDIDIER_LORRY_SURFERS-6-240x300.jpgHL_AGROSDIDIER_LORRY_SURFERS-4-300x200.jpg

Frack free 3.jpg

 

 

Buzz Tour audio book

We’ve begun work on an audio book version of Pollinating Change!

headphones-2659490_960_720

It’s been several years since we published Pollinating Change – The Buzz Tour, and an audio book has been in mind for all that time but it’s finally begun. We’ll initially be releasing the chapters one at a time for you to listen to for free online and then you’ll be able to buy the whole book. We’ve recorded about a quarter of the 34 chapters so far and aim to start releasing them this winter.

Locavore – Ethical business Tour

In the south of Glasgow sits the grocery store and cafe Locavore which has been farming and supplying local produce for the last six years. I spoke to Kim from the social enterprise about the newly expanded shop and the range of goods they stock to keep packaging low whilst providing great environmentally responsible food and products.

Locavore organically grows much of its food at three sites, just 3 acres in total, within 10 miles of the city. They also run a scheme called Grow the Growers where they help growers gain experience and skills whilst supplying the shop. The founder Reuben started Locavore after working in community gardens around Glasgow and wanted to use a social enterprise to make a bigger difference for sustainable food.

We think at the root of all these big overwhelming global and local problems is the basic model of the big corporations who run the food system. They exist to extract as much money as possible from customers for the benefit of their shareholders. With supermarket chains in the UK holding 97% of the grocery market, it’s not much of a surprise that things are in such a dire state.

The shop stocks a great range of refillable goods including dry foods, spices, household cleaning products and even milk. At the cafe you can enjoy a seasonally grown organic menu with a good range of vegan dishes, salads, a stew, sandwiches and ploughmans. Locals can also enjoy the abundant vegbox scheme. With business in their new larger shop already three times what they expected it looks like the demand for more sustainable options in Glasgow is growing well. I also spotted some hemp tea on the shelves from our friends at Hempen 🙂

Locavore’s principles: Fairness, A healthy environment, Using money to do good, Honesty and Great food

Ethical business tour

Over the next year I’ll be visiting my amazing stockists around the country, to interview them about their businesses, from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands.

The first stop is Anything But Plastic, an online shop based in Glasgow, which as well as our Fit Pit deodorant also sells soap, laundry soap, toothbrushes, tooth tabs, floss, shampoo, makeup, containers, bags and cleaning products. In the beautiful setting of Glasgow’s Botanical Gardens I interviewed Jenny about her first and very successful year of Anything But Plastic.

ABP is here to help you cut down your plastic consumption. Plastic is the most pervasive man-made material ever, it doesn’t just go away when you throw it in the bin, it’s here to stay. So if you want to help contribute to a world with less plastic, you are in the right place!

nullMy sister Suzanne and I approached a local hotel a few years ago to use their waste jam jars for our business and Jenny told me that she also now reuses hotel jam jars for products. “You guys definitely inspired me and I’m looking for more hotels to get them from too.” When collecting from the hotel Suzanne used to encourage them to stop using single use jars all together. Week after week they would see the jars pile up in the buckets and we would take them away. Until one week they said that they were sorry but they would be stopping using the little disposable jars and were switching to refillable pots on the table. Far from being disappointed we were delighted at the reduction in waste, so it was really exciting for me to hear that Jenny too was influencing her local hotels.

Anything But Plastic has seen a great interest from customers as well as the media and is part of a growing trend of plastic-free businesses. It gives me hope that we can look forward to disposable plastic becoming history.

null3.png

null

 

Buddhafield Festival

Eve visited Buddhafield festival for the first time this July to give two climate change related workshops. The festival near Taunton is a alcohol and drug free, celebrating community and connection with the land through music, dance, crafts, yoga and meditation. There are Buddhist teachings and ritual open to everyone.

Buddhafield 2017

Buddhafield 2017 Photo Tara Green

The two workshops Eve gave were Overcoming Fear and Change the Culture not the Climate.

Overcoming Fear in the Wetheuncivilized lodge. Looking at the nature of fear and techniques so that it doesn’t hold us back. The process can be applied to many areas of our lives but the examples in this workshop were drawn from climate activism.

Change the Culture not the Climate in the Social Change Area. Drawing on many of the experiences of the Buzz Tour we be looked at the types of social change to protect the environment and how we might create system change.

It was the first time I’ve returned from a festival feeling rejuvenated!

The Buddhafield program was packed with workshops, talks, meditation, music and so many options on the giant notice boards that you have to relax into the certainty that you can only do a small number of the activities available. The sound system was turned off at 11pm and I made frequent use of the sauna area so I actually could relax and sleep well. My friends from Hempen hemp farm were there with their CBD food stall as were the Peasants Kitchen with intense seabuckthorn berry drinks.  Seabuckthorn grows in coastal areas and the bright orange juice has extremely high amounts of vitamins including vitamin C. A diet of raw chocolate CBD flapjacks, with apple juice and seabuckthorn to wash it down had me glowing by the time I left the festival.

Happy New Leaf!

When we have the time to reflect on our lives, we can make a choice. We’ve explored a lot of tactics and ideas in the Buzz Tour, and for New Year I’d like to bring them together to look at an overview. turn-over-a-new-leaf

It could be that you’re seeking inspiration on what work to give your purpose to, or it could be that your work has begun to take, rather than give, you energy. A change is as good as a rest, so I hope this summary is a useful tool for your reflections.

I use three categories when thinking about change work: System Change, Inner Change and Protection & Restoration. They overlap and we need all three types of work. Different people and at different times in their life will act through different methods. System Change involves changing the system and the choices we live within, Inner Change is about changing the way that we and others think and feel, Protection and Restoration is drawing a line to protect earth’s remaining resources and bringing them back. These categories are similar to Joanna Macey’s three dimensions of the Great Turning.
change-types

A great deal of the environmental work that we are familiar with would come under Protect and Restore – traditional environmental ‘conservation’ as well as protest/protection for specific places. With the devastating collapse in biodiversity and life around the planet it is essential that life be protected if we are to have anything left by the time we succeed in changing our culture’s direction. However, Protection and Restoration work only slows the erosion of the planet – there are too few of us to defend everything, all the time.dandelionspiral_

Inner Change would include facing and processing our thoughts and emotions so that we can work more effectively and make better choices in our lives. We could change a system to one less harmful, but if we do not change ourselves, we will eventually change it back and repeat our mistakes. Joanna Macy’s Active Hope or the courses at Embercombe are work of this kind – to assist people to change themselves. If a group of people experience an inner change leading to shared behavioural change, we effectively see a cultural change in that group. However, Inner change is usually slow. We can not expect the majority of people on the planet to have a change of heart in time to save us.

System Change work is harder to pin down. Most of what we do in our lives is predetermined by the system of choices we are presented with. The emotionally connected planning officer who agrees with the protectors and doesn’t want to see a ‘development’ will still approve it, if that is what the remit of her job and rules dictate. So what does it take to change a system?

The power to change a system is dispersed amongst different roles and people who make up the system. Usually each member of the system believes the power to change it sits with someone else. Believing you have power, and using it, is the first step.

Let’s say that our planning officer speaks up to other officers around the country and they agree the planning system is wrong. They coordinate and within their councils, internally call for the system to change…but nothing happens. Then they publicly call for it to be changed…and are disciplined, bringing members of the public onto their side and involving trade unions. Then they publicly resign in protest, leaving councils in turmoil, making news and leading to sympathy strikes. The escalating public pressure leads to a change in development legislation.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will…If there is no struggle there is no progress… I am aware that the insurrectionary movements of the slaves were held by many to be prejudicial to their cause. This is said now of such movements at the South. The answer is that abolition followed close on the heels of insurrection in the West Indies, and Virginia was never nearer emancipation than when General Turner kindled the fires of insurrection at Southampton.

Frederick Douglass from his “West India Emancipation” speech, 1857.

 

We all believe we are powerless on certain issues we care about. But it is a lie. However much others may use the threat of power to contain us we always have some measure of choice and power. How can you use your power with others to change our future?

MPs may believe they are powerless to change the law without large public pressure against the pressure from developers. In the story of our planning officer, she doesn’t make law yet she takes the power to change it.  If we want to change a system, we must believe that we can. If we want change, we must reclaim and use our power to get it. Standing together, we must step out of silent acceptance and into the future that we create.

I wish us all a happy new leaf.