Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I am joining Friends of the Earth Uganda (NAPE) in their campaign to protect Uganda's unique heritage.
We lived in Uganda for a few years (2001-4) and saw how beautiful it is - although we were aware of how much of it had already been deforested. Please don't be tricked into ruining your wonderful country for another short term commercial modernist 'solution'.
We visited the Ssesse Islands and know that they are a fantastic tourism resource - but not if they are turned into monoculture plantations (the products of which are boycotted by growing numbers of people). Please support permaculture instead.
Please consider the long term future and the integrity of the age-old respect humans had for the land. Monocultures are dangerous - we need to protect biodiversity. At last many people are beginning to realise this (but our politicians do not as they are blinkered by vested interests)
We live in the UK and this country has been thoroughly despoiled by too much 'development'. The grassroots is now trying, through the Transition movement (now taking off worldwide), to relearn the old values which are not just about profit.
Please also see the international Earth Charter which lists the values and principles we need for a sustainable world.
In Uganda you know what it is to fight against oppression; this commercial oppression must be opposed. Please stand up for what's right.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
'Many state schools in England are not providing group worship, despite legislation making it a requirement, a survey suggests. The Comres survey for BBC local radio found 64% of the 500 parents questioned said their child did not attend daily acts of collective worship. 60% of the 1,743 adults asked said the legislation should not be enforced.'
I agree with them and have felt this for a long time. To me, enforcing ‘worship’ is appalling and this aspect should be separated from the activities it is linked with. The activities such as getting together and story telling (as long as the stories come from all over the world), and singing are great, but not enforced ‘worship’! If we got rid of this ludicrous element in schools, there would be no need to start all the various faith schools.
Here’s my secular version of that well known hymn (my favourite when I was small), All things bright and beautiful:
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, we must care for them all….
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Looking at TV film of riots in cities around England, we need to ask ourselves what sort of society has led to this sorry state of affairs. No one can condone the violence, looting and arson, but we do need to ask ourselves questions such as: Does our society value and promote peace and cooperation or does it value and promote war and acquisition of goods and status for the few? If the answer is the latter, then we should not be surprised at the violent and acquisitive behaviour of (a tiny minority of) young people.
The gulf between rich and poor in the UK is deeper than ever. Is this what we want? Inequality leads to unhappiness for all, both rich and poor. I have called on our local MP, Mr Stuart, to take a message to the emergency recall of Parliament that we need a real and careful review of what sort of society we want . What values does our society promote? If it promotes war (trade in arms etc), and a focus on consumer goods (‘growth’- on an exhausted planet) it will get just that, so we can only expect increasingly anti-social and fearful behaviour from everyone, particularly our young people.
Another world IS possible – but we will have to decide to make it happen. We need to really consider what we really want for ourselves and for our children.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Diversity, whether bio or cultural, is key to sustainability. Monoculture is destructive of sustainability.
These photos were taken in my garden and its quite a wildlife haven (in the middle of a town). It runs on home-made compost, self seeded plants, and absolutely no pesticides or other poisons.
Yes, the 'lawn' has buttercups and daisies and other plants in it, but I prefer that to a pristine over-managed garden which depends on hours of labour or regular dousing with chemicals.
I use the garden as a metaphor for politics. Green political theory values cultural diversity because it's enriching, progressive and self-organising. Different perspectives inform each other which promotes healthy social progress. The opposite, where cultures are kept apart, leads to prejudice, isolation and antipathy, a blinkered view of the world, and, ultimately, war. What could be more destructive?
Friday, July 29, 2011
Here's an impressive veg patch at a primary school in south London...this should be a major part of the curriculum in my view. If we continue bringing kids up to think that food is made in supermarkets we're super-stuffed.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I've been doing some gardening for a change - At least the neglect attracts wildlife... lots of frogs around, and a woodpecker (lesser spotted) turned up in the garden for the first time ever. There are birds nesting in every conceivable bushy bit. Have decided not to use lawn mower in future as its noisy and wastes energy - much nicer having a straggly lawn blending seemlessly with the edges...
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
On the bright side, the Greens did well nationally, picking up seats even against the odds
We were not impressed with the general arrogance of the Conservatives at the election count. You should also be aware that several of our Yes to AV and Green Party signs (correctly placed) near polling stations were mysteriously removed.
However, the main reason for me contacting you is that I understand the government is considering rejecting the advice of the Committee on Climate Change. This doesn't fit with promises to be the "greenest government ever".... Or does the Conservative Party know something the rest of the world does not know?
Please can you write urgently to the Prime Minister and ask him to accept the advice of the Committee on Climate Change in full. That has to include accepting their recommendations for future targets. If we are serious about tackling climate change, we have to bring down emissions at the rate which the scientists say is necessary.
It is unacceptable to argue that these changes to the targets should be made for reasons of short term economic necessity. If you are really green, you have to look at the big picture - long term.
Monday, May 2, 2011
This was baby Joshua's christening party at the Forester's pub on Beckside - the family invited us in and it was great fun as you can see - we drank a toast to 5 month old Joshua and it was a really lovely occasion. Thank you Joshua's family for these fantastic photos. Loved it!
Anyway - all the more reason to vote Yes to AV because it will mean that our votes actually count.
I also met a woman last saturday whom I'd taught in Hull in 1975 and we were both amazed that her name came straight to me....weird but true. She said she had seen me on TV. I was able to apologise for all the stuff I must have got wrong in my first teaching job (I'm only 7 years older than she is) but she kindly said I was a nice teacher... Another really lovely encounter, and if I wasn't doing this job it wouldn't have happened .
'not interested thanks'.
'what do you think of beer prices?'...
'we think landlords are being exploited by the big breweries.'..
'Oh do you?..well i'll be voting for you then.'
'we're the lot fighting vested interests which are poisoning the world'..
'That sounds good - I like that.'
'Yes - give me a vote green poster - i want to annoy my neighbour!'
'Im alright thanks'.
'Yes i'll vote for you - I'm not voting for any of them others'.
'That's a mint bike - give us a poster for the window'
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I've sent in my postal vote and my Yes to AV. Although AV isn't perfect, it's far better than FPTP (which we have at the moment) because every vote will count. It's a step in the right direction. The people wanting to keep FPTP are the Tories, the right wing of the Labour party and the BNP. The No campaign reasons are ridiculous. They seem to assume that people are completely stupid and can't count to 3. A lot of money has been poured into the No campaign. If this country decides to continue with FPTP we will deserve what we will get - more of the same dire politics.
We were struck by the contrast between Hull and Rottm in terms of wind turbines: Hull has one visible from the ship - and this pic is of Rotterdam dock. We then took trains to Munich and a sleeper train to Budapest. The photo of recycling bins was taken on a station - Dusseldorf I think.
The Hungarian greens took a few of us around their beautiful city showing us the political scenery: arts centres which had been rescued by the people, squares dominated by big business interests, recycling points which are as yet little used.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I met the distraught aunt of an only son who had just been sent to Afghanistan - It's no joke, and its unfair to entice people into the armed forces in a recession when people are desperate for jobs. These events should not be masquerading as a family day out. There are plenty of alternative ways to set up a good day in town - such as a community celebration, showcasing all the exciting activities going on in the area including business, sport, arts, heritage, food, etc.
I have no problem with Remembrance Sunday when we honour those who died and were injured in past conflict- its the least we can do - but AFDs are a very different matter. Please think again Beverley. At least the Town Council has had the sense not to participate this time.
from Peter Tatchell
Dear Brendan Barber,
Congratulations to the TUC for organising Saturday's anti-cuts protest. It's a great achievement to bring together the many disparate groups affected by the ConDem attack on public services. I'll be there on the march, in full support.
I am, however, somewhat perplexed why the leader of the Green Party hasn't been invited to speak at Saturday's protest, given the otherwise inclusive line-up of speakers.
Caroline Lucas MP - and the Greens – have consistently supported protests against job losses, student fees and spending cuts. She has been a clear voice in defence of public services and working people.
Caroline was one of the originators of the Green New Deal group – the first major policy intervention proposing an alternative route out of austerity. The Green New Deal is exactly what trade unionists, socialists and all progressive people should be campaigning for – rebuilding a fair, just and sustainable economy from the ashes of the recession.
Saturday’s protest is supposed to present a united front against the cuts. Sadly, this message is confused and diminished by having Ed Miliband as a speaker. He and Labour support massive cuts just like the Tories. The only difference between Miliband and Cameron is that Ed supports spacing the cuts over a few more years. Under Miliband’s plans, masses of people will still lose their jobs and huge swathes of our public services will be decimated.
If you are going to give Ed Miliband a platform, then surely you should balance his “fewer cuts now, more cuts later” stance with Caroline Lucas’s commitment to “no cuts now or later”?
Like you, I want to see a broad-based, pluralist movement against the cuts and the coalition government. This movement should include the Greens. I think it is only fair, and politically important, to feature at your rally the leader of the only political party to steadfastly resist the cuts agenda and propose a radical but pragmatic alternative to massive job losses.
The Greens are the only party that is unambiguously committed to avoiding public spending cuts by scrapping the Labour and Conservative military procurement programme, including Trident (saving £76 billion) and the air transporters and super aircraft carriers (saving £10 billion).
The Greens are also the only party advocating the Tobin Tax (Robin Hood Tax) on all financial transactions. A tiny tax rate of 0.05% (one-twentieth of 1%) on such transactions could raise up to £100 billion a year in the UK. This would wipe out the government deficit in just over 18 months – making the need for cuts in public services and jobs redundant. In the long term, this tax would provide major permanent funding for social welfare and environmental programmes.
I think it is important to have a speaker at Saturday’s demonstration who will articulate this credible alternative to the cuts. A simple anti-cuts message is not enough. Negative oppositionism will not galvanise the public. People rightly want to know how the trade unions, the left and the Greens will plug the deficit.
Given the Greens Party’s anti-cuts credentials and Caroline's track record in defence of working people I am sure there must be a very good reason why Caroline hasn't been invited to speak. But I have no idea what this reason might be. Could you advise me?
I hope that the omission of Caroline from the speaker line-up is an oversight and that you can remedy this by now inviting her to join the platform on Saturday.
Thanks a lot for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.
Best wishes for a fabulous turn out on Saturday.
Human rights campaigner
Green Party human rights spokesperso
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