Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fracking : North Yorkshire Council

Here's what I said to the NYCC planning committee at Northallerton last Friday:

‘ I live in Knaresborough, but I’m speaking to pass on the views of the many people in Boroughbridge  with whom I spoke whilst standing as a Green candidate for Harrogate Borough Council before the election earlier this month.   The vast majority of those I spoke with are against fracking.  It’s clear that if the precautionary principle were to be adhered to, the risks are far too high to go ahead, since cleaning up a contaminated underground water system is impossible when the chemicals used for fracking are carcinogenic at parts per billion

To say we can trust regulation in the UK is laughable: I attended the Minerals and Waste Action Plan Joint Health and Transport scrutiny meeting here on January 22nd where elected members questioned the agencies responsible for regulation of fracking – agencies such as the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, and Yorkshire Water.   What was completely clear at that meeting was that the ‘responsible agencies’ were not at all confident that they could regulate this secretive, dangerous, deep and dirty industry.  Those ‘responsible agencies’  have been severely cut and do not have the capacity or scope to do the job of regulation – especially when they would be under immense pressure from a government determined to frack Yorkshire. 

The image that came to my mind was of rabbits in the headlights – each pointing at the others – passing the buck.  So much for much-vaunted regulation! ‘

To see the film of this speech go to

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mouse asleep in flower

This squeaks for itself...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

London South Bank Uni Alumna of the Month!

Alumna of the month – March 2016

Shan Oakes
MSc Education for Sustainability, 2007

Robert Humphreys
Shan Oakes campaigns tirelessly for the Green Party on issues of social and ecological justice. She also runs an eco-holiday house in York which promotes sustainable living.

“I first became worried about human effects on the planet when I was 8 years old and read about animal extinctions.”

Shan went into teaching to help children understand their environment and what they could do about it. She progressed onto roles in Local Education Authorities and then moved to Uganda with her husband who was working with a University in Kampala. Whilst living abroad, Shan collaborated with the Forum of Education NGOs, ActionAid Uganda and the Department for International Development.

Living in Uganda exposed her to the limits of the UK education system, so she co-founded Voice International which challenges the western model of education. Shan decided to enrol on the MSc Education for Sustainability to triangulate her conclusions with those of her peers: “The course validated my experience in East Africa, where there was no refuse collection and intermittent power and water supplies.” 

Moving into politics allowed Shan to address wider sustainability issues more directly: “I have been a European, parliamentary and local candidate for the Green Party. I do a lot of campaigning, petitioning and speaking in schools with a focus on the big issues like climate change, globalisation and resource depletion.” 

As an active campaigner, Shan recommends that students follow their heart and put their efforts into their passions: “Money is useful, but only in moderation. If we all decided to work towards a better world, we would get there.”

Developed in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Oxfam and the EU, the MSc Education for Sustainability draws on the expertise of environmental and development NGOs as well as academic and educational communities. It provides personal and professional development for anyone involved in communicating sustainability, whatever the context.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Canvassing in Boroughbridge today

You have to like people to be a politician!  Most people are very polite and friendly but one or two can be a bit of a challenge, especially if they say they don't mind fracking or removing support from people with disabilities...Anyway,  two people said they had enjoyed getting stuff off their chests, so I felt I'd been of some use... The very worst experience of today was the elderly woman who opened her door, heard I was standing for the Green Party, refused my leaflet and one on fracking and said, "I'm a conservative" as she closed it in my face.  Refusal to engage at all gets me close to tears

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Harrogate Climate March - last sunday

Terrible weather didn't stop this intrepid band from walking from the Friends' Meeting House via the Internationl Centre to the Cenotaph to show solidarity with the millions around the world who want urgent action on  CO2 emissions.  Placards read 'No to Fracking' and 'climate jobs don't cost the earth'...but the wind and rain peeled off some of these exposing previous campaign messages...and of course they are all connected by the common factor of corporate domination of our small blue planet.  We shouted:   What do we want?  Climate Action.  When do we want it? .... NOW!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The cat came back!

Arthur the cat disappeared -  again (he vanished for a week before) - for a night and a day.   Last night there were blue flashing lights outside.  A fire engine was at the school next door.   We remembered an alarm had been sounding (which we had thought was a car alarm). About 6 yellow-clad firemen with huge torches were searching the school.  I met them as they came out and said I wonder if my cat has got in somehow as he's disappeared.  I went with the woman with the keys back through the silent school to the part where a door had apparently been left open, calling 'Arthur!'    ...and in the last classroom a plaintive meow was heard...!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Evening walk around Knaresborough

..made perfect by the screaming swooping of 5 or 6 swifts