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" A good traveller has no fixed plans,

and is not intent on arriving "

Lao Tzu

The Green Nobel Prize

April 27th, 2009

If you look for it, as fast as you hear depressing news you can find good news about amazing people doing wonderful things. Did you know that since 1989 there has been a ‘Green Nobel Prize’? Here are details from the BBC website:

Richard Goldman, founder of the “green Nobel prize”, says it is vital to recognise the efforts of grassroots activists. In this week’s Green Room, he explains why he believes some of the world’s most powerful people could learn a lesson or two from the winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Marc Ona (Image: Goldman Prize/John Antonelli)

As governments around the world struggle with the crushing economic downturn and increasingly scarce natural resources, leaders at the grassroots level are continuing the critical work that often goes unnoticed, promoting environmental health, civil society, and reform in the face of great hardship.

More from the BBC here.

Green Recovery

February 26th, 2009

This Sunday, Europe’s leaders will meet to agree on further steps to tackle the economic crisis. They face a crucial choice: pour money into an unsustainable economic system which clearly has holes; or embrace a Green Recovery Plan that invests in low carbon technologies, energy efficiency, green jobs and public transport. The European Union has a historic opportunity to shift away from short-term, protectionist measures and take bold action to create jobs and save the planet. We need all European governments on board. So let’s send our top political leaders a flood of messages, urging them to embrace a green New Deal that lays the foundation of a sustainable economic recovery. Click here to send a pre-written message, or – even better, delete the text and write your own!

Some Hopeful News?

February 18th, 2009

UPDATE: If you don’t want to run your car on water, run it on air: see here. Sometimes the problems we face seem insurmountable, so it’s good to be reminded of potential solutions from time to time. From Another Blog: We’ve seen plenty of promises about water-powered cars (among other things), but it looks like Japan’s Genepax has now made some real progress on that front, with it recently taking the wraps off its Water Energy System fuel cell prototype. The key to that system, it seems, is its membrane electrode assembly, which contains a material that’s capable of breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a chemical reaction. Not surprisingly, the company isn’t getting much more specific than that, with it only saying that it’s adopted a “well-known process to produce hydrogen from water to the MEA.” Currently, that system costs on the order of  $18,700 – not including the car, but the company says that if it can get it into mass production that could be cut to just under $5,000.

Buy It Naked

November 1st, 2008

Nakedness has been a sorely neglected theme in this blog these last few months. Perhaps because we’ve had such a poor summer. I’ve even received one complaint about this.

If you think the subject trivial, prurient or inappropriate please read one reader’s post here.

It reappears now because a new campaign has been launched: ‘Buy It Naked’ – sadly or thankfully it is not a campaign to encourage us to shop in the nude, but one which encourages us – and shops – to strip off much of the unnecessary packaging we are burdening the earth with. Rush over to their site now:

On the same theme, ten years or so ago I was interviewed twice by an enterprising citizen of Fremantle in Australia who had started a New Age radio show from her sitting room: Full Circle Radio. A decade on, she has branched out into Youtube movies, and has created this. Most readers will know much of what is being said, but the message is one we need to remind ourselves about, particularly as Christmas approaches. And there are some very good articulations of the most critical issues facing us in here:


September 24th, 2008

The time has come. All who have issue with the current state of affairs are invited to meet in Parliament Square. Monday 13th October 2008. At 5.30pm. For a peaceful rally.

Women will speak. We will outline our demands. The politicians must have it explained:
1. No third runway at Heathrow or Stanstead airport expansion
2. No new UK coal fired power stations: NO Kingsnorth
3. Government policy must reflect the latest peer reviewed climate science

Deeds not words.
At 6.25pm will shall march to the statue of Ms Pankhurst who, 100 years ago rushed parliament to demand votes for women. WHAT a mad idea that seemed at the time.

We shall engage in street theatre.
Come dressed as a suffragette. Come with friends. Come to support. Come to be counted. Come women, come men. Come because together is the only way we ever make a difference. Because things must change. Now.

Suffragette style sashes (red,stating CLIMATE RED ALERT because that’s how bad things are getting) are available from stewards on the day. Google for updates on speakers, preliminary actions, map etc

So can we

A Shameful Day

August 11th, 2008

A friend of ours, the talented musician and composer Dirk Campbell, who has played for the Royal Shakespeare Company and who writes film scores, has just allowed himself to be arrested in defence of his human rights, by refusing to be searched by the police when trying to exercise his right to visit a legally organised camp in a field.

At the recent Climate Change Camp the police set up a large marquee and insisted on searching every single person who entered the camp. This resulted in 1-4 hours delay as a vast queue built up as each person had their luggage poked through by policemen wearing rubber gloves. If you watch the film clip below you’ll see it was quite clearly an operation designed to obstruct the camp. As you watch it, ask yourself “Whose interests are the police representing? Why does the issue of people protesting over climate change warrant this response?”

What a sad indictment of our government and the police that they feel it necessary to do this to prevent people protesting about the fact that we are destroying the environment. It is shameful and simply reinforces reinforces any sense we might have that we are moving closer and closer to Orwell’s vision of 1984.

For background:

An Eco-Storm production-Exposing government tactics in reaction to environmental protests. Tactics shown in the film include arresting journalists and environmental protesters, Espionage, news manipulation and legal threats.

People not Cars!

June 8th, 2008

I am very upset. For the second year running events have conspired to prevent me from supporting the World Naked Bike Ride which took place yesterday in Brighton, London, and in cities all over the world to promote the cause of cycle riding over car driving. High Altitude Films has produced a very good documentary on the event – have a look at Part 1 which is only 8 minutes long. It’s educational, entertaining and well-made – and narrated by committed cyclist Jon Snow. Part Two follows.

The rest of the documentary is only available on DVD from High Altitude Films

The Generalist

January 25th, 2008

There are some very interesting people in Lewes – drawn here, no doubt, by the powerful vortex described a few posts down.

John May is one of these. He was editor of ‘Tree News’ – a sumptuous magazine that has sadly folded despite generous support from the ex Oz magazine magnate Felix Dennis.

He keeps two great blogs – one ‘The Generalist’ which John describes as: where new journalism meets oral history. It contains fresh and archive long-form audio interviews with interesting people, largely uncut and free to the user for non-commercial use. Read his interview with Al Gore, described on the site: This a highly relevant two-part interview, recorded more than 15 years ago, on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit. It has an interesting resonance given what has happened since. Gore was in London on the occasion of the publication of his book ‘Earth in the Balance’ in which many of the issues that feed into ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ were first outlined. It confirms Gore’s long-term and deeply-held views on the environment. The first tape was recorded during a meal at a restaurant in Covent Garden; the second tape, in the back of a limo speeding towards Gatwick Airport.

The other is called ‘Lewes Light’ – with his photographs of the town.

He’s an interesting man who often breakfasts in Nero’s with tousled hair and his nose deep in some fascinating book.

Canada, Japan and the USA climate-wrecking

December 12th, 2007

A message from – The World in Action:

Dear friends,

The US, Canada and Japan are climate-wrecking at Bali – here’s our global emergency petition to save the talks, please click on the link below! ” We call urgently for the US, Canada and Japan to stop blocking serious 2020 targets for emissions reductions, and for the rest of the world to refuse to accept anything less.”

We’re here at the climate summit in Bali — but it’s reached crisis point. Working late, negotiators were nearing consensus that developed countries should pledge post-Kyoto emissions cuts by 2020–a step which the scientists say is needed to avert the worst ravages of global warming, and which will help to bring China and the developing world onboard. But then the news broke: the US, Canada and Japan rejected any mention of such cuts. Every few hours the draft changes.
We can’t let three governments hold the world to ransom: so we’re launching a global emergency petition before the summit climax in 48 hours. We’ll deliver our message every way we can — a stark full-page advertisement in the Financial Times Asia, stunts at the conference gates, direct to country delegations — telling Canada, Japan and the US to accept the option of post-Kyoto targets, and the rest of the world to settle for nothing less.

Please take a moment right now to sign the new global emergency petition — the text is in the box above, so click this link to sign automatically if you’ve taken action with us before — then tell all your friends:
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the expiring Kyoto pact, but Japan, the US and Canada don’t seem to want a workable global deal to follow it. There is almost universal agreement in Bali that the idea of 2020 climate targets should be included, making possible a deal to bring the developing world onboard over time. As the news links below make clear, the US, Japan and Canada are destroying that delicate bargain, not even allowing the idea to be mentioned.
We’re doing everything we can. Tens of thousands of Canadian Avaaz members have launched an ad campaign telling their government not to betray them — our Japanese members are emailing their leaders — while our American members will send their own message to Bali as Al Gore and Congressional and local representatives land there, asking negotiators to ignore the official US delegation because it does not represent them.
Coming from every country on earth, all of us can play a direct role in the Bali face-off by signing this global emergency petition — delivered at the summit gates, in a full-page Financial Times ad, and direct to delegates. Add your name at this link, act now and spread the word — we have just 48 hours:
With determination and hope,
Paul, Ricken, Galit, Ben, Iain, Graziela, Milena and the whole Avaaz team
PS This article explains a bit of what’s going on:
The New Scientist has more detail here:
We’re in the thick of things here at Bali — Avaaz was the only organisation allowed to demonstrate inside the fortified summit Saturday. As hundreds of thousands marched around the world, we brought over half a million voices to the heart of the decision-making venue, carrying big banners and scores of country flags. We’ve also been hosting the daily Fossil Awards of the Climate Action Network, the umbrella of all the NGOs here – see

ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, New York, Paris, Washington DC, Geneva, and Rio de Janeiro.

Why talking about Climate Change doesn’t work

November 9th, 2007

The other day The Times and The Independent ran front cover headlines featuring the UN’s latest report about the state of the planet, but other papers seemed to ignore it. The magnitude of what we face is of course very hard to confront, and I was interested to read a perceptive analysis of why so many people simply don’t confront it at all in The Psychology of Denial: our failure to act against climate change by George Marshall. Here is an excerpt:

denial cannot simply be countered with information. Indeed, there is plentiful historical evidence that increased information may even intensify the denial. The significance of this cannot be over emphasised. Environmental campaign organisations are living relics of Enlightenment faith in the power of knowledge: ‘If only people knew, they would act.’ To this end they dedicate most of their resources to the production of reports or the placement of articles and opinions in the media. As a strategy it is not working. Read more