Archive | 11:09 pm

An apology

14 May

We are sorry to inform you that during the hours of Sunday night and Monday morning, the youth in Bonn lost their way, due to feeling all powerful after the first week’s success concerning article 6.
We had basically turned into the UN.

Originally the thought was to have a week long action to raise the spirits of the negotiators especially their feelings of Cancun in December. This action did have a good/great original concept; that is not going to be discussed here as it may be used in the future. (we do not want to spoil the surprise)
But it caused confusion between us; contained mixed messages for Bonn within the week ahead, felt grand but complicated and also had the use of an English word – which within a certain context makes no sense to those who do not fully grasp the language.

However as we started to discuss this whole action, we could not let it lie and be dead in the water, we continued to talk over it, long into the night and brought it up again in the early morning sun.
We even got round to perform a type of action, which I am sure not even one negotiator noticed.

So just like the UN, we were taking a very slow, reparative, route before action. Making false starts and stupid decisions that – if we actually listened to everyone i.e. the other youth in the group would never had happened. (Take that to heart bigger nations; do not forget the voice of those smaller then you!)

Can you guess which nations I’m hinting at here!

Youth are meant to be the complete opposite to this.

We were saved by the LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) loophole, which was being rushed through the UNFCCC system to end this Friday 11th, basically allowing larger countries for 1. Continue deforestation due to making loose, unbinding promises to replant some trees in a bid to carbon off-set.

This needed action now, it needed clear messaging, it needed youth input.
It was not some secretive action, trying to slyly affect the negotiators feelings for the future.
It was to make them act now on the future. The main reason we are in Bonn.

The youth were back with a bang.

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Approval

14 May

The UN is complicated; meeting after meeting – involving long words, sectioned paragraphs and endless conversations on wording.
Imagine if J.K. Rowling had to present a Harry Potter book to a commitee, who whould then spend time studying every sentence.
To see if it makes sense, if everyone understands that sentence the same way and if any comma is in its right place.
Yep thats the UN.

It takes ages to get anywhere and why many state that the UN should be shut down.
However this morning it worked – it actually bloody worked.
It took a whille, of course.
They was a moment when the meeting was all about the use of the word ‘relevent’ but education concerning climate change has now a fixed set of paragraph statements, each with a nicy shiny number/letter next to them.
I think everyone in the room wanted to cry with happiness

Climate Letters8: Simon (UK)-A Part of Something

14 May

The best environmental films

14 May

Nowadays it seems a new environmental documentary is released every week, what with the success of the genre hitting the mainstream due to Michael Moore’s efforts and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient truth. It now seems sensible for anyone who believes in a partially issue to grab film equipment and present the facts to hopefully bring chance in political, social and environmental attitudes. this includes

  • The Age Of Stupid
  • Pig Business
  • The Cove
  • The 11th Hour

All very hard hitting and popular within environmental and sustainable circles.

But the films that really matter, the films that reach a larger audience and make more money then documentaries. Are films with plots, characters, romance and action. Therefore here follows a list of films that have a blatant or hidden environmental message, that you can sneakily shows those people who don’t really care just in case it changes they perception of climate change.

The Day After Tomorrow

Concept of this film is that the North Atlantic Drift that predominantly keeps the UK warm with warm Caribbean water (cannot be bothered to go into the science for why) fails and within a day the whole of America and London turns to snow and ice. Why did it fail? – because of climate change. Is it any good? well its a nice adventure film, however if you try and explain the science behind it, you will be meet by blank faces who are thinking about the CGI wolves.

Water World

The film with the worst budget-to-open weekend ratio ever and to be fair, it is a little bit pants. The world is a world of water, Kevin Costner has webbed feet and Dennis Hooper plays a baddie. (again) They saviour is a little girl that has a map of land tattooed on her back. At one point webbed Costner takes a lady-friend to the bottom of the ocean to show her – you can guess it – a modern 1990’s city submerged with cars and fire hydrants. by the end they find land, which one must presume is the top of Everest looking all green and with horses on it.

Mad Max

Mel Gibson is mad, he travels around helping people, but you know he is mad – he has hardly any petrol damn it! Its some year in the future, there is no oil, solar power cars haven’t even been thought of as a travel option in the Aussie outback – not even bicycles??? but the point is there, one day we will run out of oil and we will all be mad

Dances With Wolves

This film is a bit more abstract – so a guy (Kevin Costner again) from the more developed world and gets to know the local natives, until he is inducted as one of them. Then his old friends turn up destroy there homes, decimate their livelihoods and general take over. Yay colonialism. Yay destruction of the Prairielands.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

So there is this human lumberjack guy, who finds himself magically transformed into a forest spirit, he then spends some time with the animals getting to know them, until one day the humans descend to cut down more rainforest, cue a battle to save the last rainforest.

Furry Vengeance

A kids film newly released at the cinema, a building developer, moves to a pristine forest location to start work on a new town – cue the woodland animals putting the guy into hilarious situations to make the young ones laugh, until he understands that he must help them save the forest. you have to be very basic with kids films!

Avatar

So there is this human guy who goes to a planet to help collect its resources until he joins the natives etc.. etc.. Its surprising that a film, which has a plot as simplistic as the above three films and many others could become the biggest of all time. Graphics are great, the level of depth of Pandora and its creatures is breathtaking, I just wish the plot was also.

 

Wall-E

Stunning graphics and characters; most of which just talk with beeps and whistles – it is basically a silent film, going more into depth about the problems with humanity more then the above films do. It also gets extra points for going into the issue of obesity.

Toxic Avenger

If you liked the straight-to-video gore films of the 80’s, the kind that are full of blood, crash-humour and semi naked girls then this the environmental film for you and I. Its the story of a weedy mop cleaner who gets  pushed into toxic waste and turns into a beefy mutant. he then seeks revenge on those that bullied him in the most sickest ways. However that’s not all its full of humour, its low budget somehow makes it great, the 80’s fashion is hilarious/ kind of cool and it has an environmental message. the Mayor of the city is aiming to gain loads of money from pouring toxic waste into the rivers – the Toxic Avenger stops him and the old lady running a white slave trade. This film was actually a success leading onto video games and an animated kids series – not bad for a 18+.

 

Princess Mononoke

In my mind the best film from Studio Ghibli. Like all these Japanese fantasy movies they seem kind of hard to follow at first; but the message is there. Iron Town is destroying the forests, the sprits are a bit pissed cue pay back. Yes you can say, it sounds like Avatar, however trust me – this in my mind is the ultimate environmental film. please check it out.

 

Any other environmental films to add to the list?

Volcano

14 May

Well after several days of peace and tranquillity with the population able to hear bee’s buzzing and birds singing, we are back to the sound of engines crossing the sky to far flung destinations or France.

If you have been in a cave for the last week or so then you wouldn’t know about the Icelandic volcano that has erupted, spewing out enough ash to cover the North Atlantic and Western Europe

The news has been covered in the usually way of saying ‘CHAOS DESCENDS ON BRITAIN’ like our lives were drastically changed and people were running down the streets screaming because of not being able to cope.

Of course some people had the problem of being stuck abroad wanting to come home, they may have complained; but who wouldn’t like extra days of holiday even if it is on uncomfortably airport chairs!

News channels also had the extra problem of not being able to pronounce the Volcano’s name thus it just became the Icelandic Volcano (last time scientists check they was more then one volcano on Iceland) and not Eyjafjallajokull.

What is more interesting about this whole episode is the amount of environmental discussion the volcano has produced.

One point is that, I bet there are scientists somewhere analysing the data collected during those days of grounded planes to do with temperature, CO2 levels and cloud cover; hopefully they will come up with the same results those scientist that did the same thing in America when planes were grounded after 9/11 – results that state. Planes really do add to the climate change issue.

– It’s also good to know that those climate sceptics who believed volcanic eruptions cause more CO2 were proved wrong by Eyjafjallajokull’s activities.

It can also be said that the issue of Britain becoming sustainable and living on home grown crops was raised. Not only were holiday makers disrupted but so was crops like radish and pineapples; stuff with modern technology can be grown here in the UK anyways. Usually 90,000 tons of fruit and veg arrive at Heathrow per year, so much that many of these tons just get thrown away due to rotten. How good would it be to go back to an age where gardens are used as a food source, instead of being full of fanciful plants?

Transport systems have also had a boost; many stranded people are now taking train and boat to reach the UK. Imagine if due to this there is a surge in ‘taking it slow’ travel to Europe at least; after all they is a quote that goes along the lines of ‘it’s the travelling that makes a destination more pleasant’

Maybe the most important aspect is that the disruption adds to the campaign against a third runway at Heathrow. Since Heathrow re-opened I have remembered how loud planes are. For example when I first moved to Twickenham I would wake up whenever a plane was flying low thinking; Jesus it’s going to crash – I got used to the noise and have the option to go back to my home town if I want to hear nature, however many who have been born and breed here, for the first time ever, know what its like to have peace and quiet. There is even a movement to have a ‘plane free day’ once a year just for this factor. http://ow.ly/1B7uL

Of course flight companies say this will cost the economy billions, but hey I’m sure billions of people will be able to cope with that fact for one day.

Now, however we are back to normal – press have moved on to talk about Girls Aloud and flight companies are raking in the money; it would of been good in my mind if Eyjafjallajokull kept on producing ash until real chaos did descend and the newly elect Prime Minister would have to establish sustainability initiatives but alas this time the volcano decide to calm down before a Hollywood produce thought it would make a great movie.

UK Aware & the Climate Summit

14 May

On Friday 16th, my day was busy – so busy I only had 5 hours sleep! (I usually live the lifestyle of a cat and sleep constantly)

This is due to an international conference call I willing signed up to help and accidently partake in.  – More on this latter.

for now lets concentrate on the exhibition earlier in the afternoon.

UK Aware as it states within its blurb

‘is the UK’s only green and ethical lifestyle exhibition. Providing tips and hints for greener living, and products, services and inspiration which will help you live a more sustainable, greener lifestyle’

Sounds fantastic! i was drawn in automatically and signed up to attend on its first day (plus i got a discount – which also helped)

It took place at Olympia and had over 100 exhibitors (or as the Average Joe calls them – stalls )

Now I can be cynical and talk about how small it was and that they expected footfall of 15, 000 was way of the mark; but that’s not positive and it does not help within the movement that I and all these exhibitors care about – being sustainable and ethical, in a world being affected by climate change.

While I was there, I picked up loads of leaflets (don’t worry I will recycle them) some can be looked over by REN to benefit our projects and our borough’s local groups. Some are for my personal use for career purposes and the rest are going to be used to make my housemates more eco-conscious.

Here is a list, link & brief description on those you might find useful.

More Eco Directory full of green, ethical and organic retailers + you earn a % cash back on everything you buy.

See what you are buying into A labelling scheme for businesses that have to go under an evaluation to see if their social, environmental and ethical (SEE) practices are good for the world! 

Green Metropolis a bookstore, in which you sell an unwanted book for £3 or buy a book for £3.75, 5p of this is then donated to the Woodland Trust – a great idea that keeps books out of the recycling bin.

Ecover Started of making detergents and cleaning agents, this has then expanded into helping customers make the whole home eco-friendly as possible.

Appetite For Action I don’t know if this has been spread around schools, if parents have had to take letters of their kids explain the scheme; but what it is, is a educational website to help schools tackle sustainability issues via food – Yum!

Action Aid For those campaigners out there, Action Aid are involved in stopping tax dodging by multinational companies, the Robin Hood tax on bankers and making people create events in which there get to wear T-shirts stating ‘Say Bollocks to Poverty.’

The event was Held by Global Action Plan and it has been growing year-by-year. All it needs is more footfall – so watch out for it next year.

Now time for the other thing I was involved in.

The Climate Summit The premise is simple – have a live international video conference involving those involved with Climate change – whether its on a volunteer, religious, media, educational etc.. level.

I became involved in this due to my work with the UKYCC and it lead to me having phone calls at random points of the day from someone in Hawaii! My role was simple – to help those taking part in the conference within London, become settled and ready – problem was I really did not know what I was doing?

I was up till 2am finding out who might be turning up to this conference and finding out where it was meant to take place – worse of all when I turned up at the supposed location, they had never heard of this event even being booked??? Oh and as 6 people were meant to turn up but only  4 did- I then found myself trying to join in on conversations about religion and insurances policies concerning climate change.

The whole event was a shambles – but it was the first of its kind, the main guy in charge hopes one day to get heads of religion and government leaders involved to talk about climate – and I hope it Will happen one day.

The issue is, this debate thing – was kind of like Copenhagen Cop15. In that we had these speakers from around the world who raised they points of views on how religion can play a major role in reducing climate change and how insurance within the western world can be a major drawback on climate initiatives; but they did not suggesting on how to act. Myself and Anna Keenan another youth and a true campaigner, who went on hunger strike throughout Cop15 agreed on this factor and that they were not really interested in our views as being the generation who has to deal with climate change. (just like Cop15 again)

Here is a link to the 90 minute debate – I come in at about 9 minutes and only speak for 2 minutes – because, they are more interested in religion issues then youth. (oh and i wasn’t that great at speaking)

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6223746

If you head to 60 minutes you get to hear Anna Keenan, who talks of global conscious, networking and the role of youth. In a realistic world this in turn could of led down a path of conversation figuring out religion and insurance polices relation to the younger generation creating something which then could started to be figured out.

Instead this great idea of getting great minds and people together just turned into a mild coffee shop chat.

REN F.book

14 May


Welcome

REN is an umbrella body that supports and promotes community-based environmental and sustainability activities within the London Bourough of Richmond upon Thames, England, UK 

We work with residents, voluntary groups, charities, schools and social enterprises (civil society). In addition, REN has its own projects, programmes and subgroups to deliver an increase in community environmental activity and responsability, biological diversity, sustainable thinking and practice in the borough to foster the more prudent use of resources.

Our specific aims:

Goal One:- To improve capacity of local charitable sector environmental and sustainability organisations and to provide advocacy.

Goal Two:- To increase engagement of the public around environmental issues and voluntary activities/ work.

Goal Three:- To protect, conserve and increase biological diversity.

Goal Four:- To promote prudent use of resources within the community, charitable sector, organisations and schools.

This encapsulates our activity on See full size image See full size image, blogs and other social media engines to promote local events, groups and important environmental and sustainability news – Giving you valuable internet links and letting you gain the stories and information from those concerned about our local environment.
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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens  can change the world. Borough. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”. -Margaret Mead.

 

So please sign up become a fan and help create fantastic change within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

 

Direct links:- Email http://richenvironmentnet.org.uk/Contact_Us.aspx 

Address –

3 Phoenix Wharf

Eel Pie Island

Twickenham

TW1 3DY