Thursday, 17 December 2009

Tomorrow is the day the world leaders begin trying to bang out a fair and binding treaty to help solve the worlds climate crisis

With that in mind, it may be a good thing to clarify just what 
we are in store for, treaty ( if any ) wise and also what 
alternatives are being offered and brought to the 
negotiations table...
The heads of participating nations 

gather to negotiate and come to some 
progressive agreement that will lead the 
world out of this environmental crisis we 
face and put us all back on track to 
350 ppm ( parts per million ) of 
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 
(at present we are at 389 and that figure 
is set to rise dramatically if we do not 
start curbing our emissions NOW.)

The proposals set out in the talks in the run 
up to COP15 seem geared to reaching this
by means of Carbon Trading...

Carbon trading is the main way in which wealthy
 industrialized countries and companies are avoiding
 their emissions reduction targets - by trading carbon 
credits amongst themselves, either between countries
 (as happens under the Kyoto Protocol) or between 
companies (as happens under the EU Emissions 
Trading Scheme). Essentially, it's the way that
 industry can continue as usual, while encouraging 
the poor and disadvantaged to sell their rights to pollute.
Carbon trading is aimed at the wrong target. It doesn't 
address climate change. Solving climate change means
 figuring out how to keep remaining fossil fuels in the 
ground. It means reorganizing industrial societies' energy,
 transport and housing systems - starting today - so that
 they don't rely on coal, oil and gas.
Carbon trading isn't directed at that 
goal. Instead, it's organized around
 keeping the wheels on the fossil fuel 
 as long as possible. Carbon trading 
allocates industries
 a generous short-term numerical 

budget and then tries - through

 trading - to make
 it cheap and easy for them to 

continue business 
as usual within those budgets,

 by buying credits
 from less economically developed

 countries and companies.

Even if you were to accept that it might be a
 good idea, carbon trading has been a 
massive failure so far and doesn't show
 any signs of improving. The price of 
carbon has always been so low that it's
 cheaper for companies to buy permits 
than to 
start paying for more expensive 
 changes. The allocations of permits 
have been 
so generous that a number of Europe's
polluters have made HUGE profits by selling
 on permits that they didn't need, or
 by passing 
on the cost of the permits to consumers - 
 the fact that they have been handed out 
for free! 
E.ON is just one example of a company 
has made billions in windfall profits so far
 from carbon trading.

Markets themselves aren't a bad thing, 
but they 
are when artificially created and 
 based on an ideological commitment 
to solving 
every problem through the market rather 
 a natural evolution of trading in existing 
commodities. Important decisions, 
 and demands about climate change are being 
swept aside in favour of 'leaving it to the market,' 
despite the fact that it's a market whose 
and rules have been largely determined 
by some
 of the biggest polluters around, 
teaming up with 
the same financiers responsible for the 
'structured investment vehicles' and 
'credit derivative swaps' that have brought 
economies crashing down.

And that leads me to the second approach 
which is being highlighted at Copenhagen 
during the climate talks, 

The people's KLIMATFORUM09...

Where the official UN conference brings together
 heads of state, Klimatforum 09 unites
from global civil society.

Klimatforum09 is the first truly global, people's
summit on climate change. So far more
than 5.000
peoples from all continents have registered to
 participate. More than sixty international
 environmental networks and people's
organizations support the initiative. Among
them are Friends of the Earth, Campaign
Climate Change, Global Forest Coalition,
Via Campesina and Permaculture

Klimaforum09 aims at constituting a
framework for a multitude of conferences,
 workshops, exhibitions etc., to
which citizens,
 grass roots and organisations
from all over the
world will contribute during the COP15
conference in Copenhagen.

The basis for Klimaforum09 is the
that there is no technological »fix« to the
 mounting climate crisis. No technology
per se -
such as i.e. nuclear power, biofuels,
modified organisms, carbon capture
 and storage -
 can lead us out of the climate crisis.
solutions will typically lead to far larger
 problems than they solve. In contrast,
societies require a diversity of locally based
 solutions - which again require significant
 mobilization of civil society.

Klimaforum09 believes that what is
 needed is
building a finely balanced relation to
 thus reducing consumption and
rather than uncritically exploiting
and believing in economic growth
as is the
 case in global society today. To
such change we need new ways of
new cultural values, and new means
organizing society.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Isle of Thanet ...Save Our Planet!

I painted a banner with the numbers 350 and hung it outside Manston international airport at midday on Saturday 24-10-09 to celebrate International Day of Climate Action. Participating in the largest day of environmental action in history. organised 5,242 simultanious events on climate in 181 countries to draw attention to 350 parts per million ( ppm) which an overwhelming number of scientists now insist is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

It was a gloriously sunny day when I was on the bus going to the airport. As soon as I stepped off the bus, it started to rain! Took the airport security 1 and 1/2 hours to realise I shouldn't be doing this but I was very polite, which resulted in the guard going into shock but then asking me what it was all about. Got back on the bus and it immediately stopped raining!! Great fun though and I haven't been this proud since my son was born. Watch the video of the most widespread day of environmental action in the planets history...


Friday, 23 October 2009


Join me in erecting a banner On 24 october 2009 at midday, outside Manston International Airport to raise awareness of climate change. Manston Airport is planning to increase it's air traffic by commencing night flights from this tiny rural airport.

We are saying NO!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Blog Action day!

To celebrate blog action day I am posting up some photo's I took at Kingsnorth in the summer.

We are winning folks!

Friday, 25 September 2009

The Amsterdam Years

During the 1970s and 1980s, the squatters' movement in the Netherlands won a number of rights to prevent property speculation and buildings remaining empty for several years. As a result, squatters are allowed to take over a property if it has been empty for more than a year.

I was lucky to meet a group of Dutch squatters when I was in Amsterdam for a weekend, back in the late 80's. 

They invited me and my friend Nicki, to their squat 'Tugelaweg'  in East Amsterdam. It consisted of a row of old tenement houses,that had been empty for many years. 

Chris,an English Hippie, who had been living in the Dam for years ( probably after visiting for a weekend) ,Helmut, a Berlin punk who played guitar like a demon, Jim, Dirk and The Doc had the idea of turning the whole street into massive collective and music venue  but had only occupied a couple of the houses so far.
We put our plans to travel round Europe on hold and got involved with making this dream come true.

Amsterdam soon became my  
" Reason D'etre".

We knocked 2 of the houses into 1, this was to become our " Clubhouse". We built a bar and a stage from tatted furniture, scavenged from the streets and set up a kitchen.
A few weeks later, we were ready to open.
Taken when I was living there. ( my house is 3rd from the right)
A few months later we were the second largest squat in Amsterdam at the time. Every night over 200 people would come to our clubhouse to listen to bands, eat and discuss the future of the movement.We became a centre for artists, political activists and free thinkers.
We would go to the market at the end of every day, and bring back fruit and veg, on our bikes and turn it into gorgeous vegetarian food to serve in the evenings.
We worked closely with CONRADSTRAAT, our sister squat situated in disused warehouses along side the Amstel Canal.  
That was a fairly long time squat in Amsterdam. Whole families had made it their home. Kids were born there and brought up there.



Conredstraat was evicted to make way for luxury apartments on the site.

There were hundreds and hundreds of cops

                            CONRADSTRAAT EVICTION
The cops started moving in with water cannons. We held out, it was the last stand, we were not going to give up Conradstraat without a fight.
It ended up being the biggest eviction in European history at the time.

                     CONRADSTRAAT EVICTION


Fond memories :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Age of Stupid, London Greenpeace and what it all means to me.


1998, I attended a meeting of London Greenpeace, which was situated in a room above the radical bookstore, Housemans, in a side street in Kings Cross.

In a somewhat cluttered room with leaflets and files, I was introduced to a handful of people, of various ages, who welcomed me with honest eyes and hopeful attitudes. I was 32.
The inevitable question was asked " What brings you here?".

I explained that I wanted to help raise awareness of our responsibility as world citizens to protect the future from complacent mismanagement. I also explained that the awareness of my own responsibility had come about from travelling the world  and that I had just become a parent.

I was offered a chair and the meeting began.
The McLibel trial was discussed and I first heard the name of Franny Armstrong, a British film maker who was making a documentary about Helen Steel and David Morris, 2 London Greenpeace members often refered to as " The McLibel Two", who had an English Lawsuit filed against them by McDonalds over a pamphlet critical of the company. The original case, lasted 10 years, making it the longest-running court action in English history.   

                                                              David Morris& Helen Steel

I attended weekly meetings from then on and helped out in whatever way I could. I distributed leaflets, answered e.mails, posted letters and made tea.

A year later we helped to organise 'Carnival Against Capitalism', an international day of protest timed to coincide with the 25th G8 Summit in Koln, Germany on June 18th 1999, in which we worked closely with 'Reclaim The Streets' and 'Stop The City' .


On the day, Millions took to the streets and partied in over 40 countries, worldwide.

Global Actions took place in more than 122 cities, in 40 nations on June 18 including: Bayelsa State, Nigeria; Dakar, Senegal; Durban, South Africa; Harare, Zimbabwe; Dhaka, Bangladesh; 25 states in India; North Sumatera, Indonesia; Tel Aviv, Israel; Malaysia; Kathmandu, Nepal; Gujrat City, Pakistan; Seoul, South Korea; Thailand; Vienna, Austria; Minsk, Belarus; Barcelona, Reus y Castell=F3n, Catalonia; Prague Czech Republic; Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norfolk, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield, Stoke on Trent, Sunderland, Winchester, York, England ; Tampere, Finland; Dijon, Nantes, France; Berlin, Frankfurt, K=F6ln, Germany; Bologna, Milano, Roma, Torino, Italy; Malta; Amsterdam, Utrecht, Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Scotland; Asturias, Granada, Huelva, Lleida, Valencia, Madrid, Spain; Stockholm, Sweden; Lausanne, Switzerland; Cardiff, Wales; Calgary, Ottawa ,Regina, Toronto, Vancouver, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Albuquerque, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Eugene, Hattiesburg, Lawrence, Lincoln, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New England, NewYork City, Oakland, Portland, Reno, San Diego, San Francisco, United States; Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Australia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Paulo y Sorocaba, Brazil; Medel lin, Colombia; Montevideo, Uruguay.

It was the first of many future anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation protests.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone involved in the making of 'The Age of Stupid' ...