Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Camp Frack

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Camp Frack, for me, began on Friday morning; I got a lorry stuck in the mud; shifted what felt like hundreds of tables and chairs; tried to put up marquees which were missing guy ropes and central beams and all in the pouring rain. But at least I hadn’t spent the previous day and night driving around the country to collect all this stuff like some fellow ‘slaccers’ had! But Camp Frack was worth this effort a hundred times over – easily. Fracking releases methane (25 times more damaging than C02), poisons water supplies, pollutes the air causing respiratory problems and has been linked to earthquakes. There is no place for it in the ‘energy mix’.

Like many people I hadn’t heard of fracking until relatively recently. Not really a surprise considering even people living within a couple of miles radius of a Fracking test site (owned by Cuadrilla Resources) knew nothing about it either until a massive drilling rig appeared. There was a notice from the planning department, just one I think, it was placed on a telegraph pole (field side not road side) halfway up a private road.

So I went to Camp Frack to learn more about this extreme form of energy; show support for local people opposing it and network with others to build a strong, effective campaign. I think anyone that was there would say the weekend was a complete success; I definitely achieved my aims.

Camp Frack was a very well thought out event; Saturday morning consisted of a welcome meeting first thing then a variety of workshops ran till mid-afternoon. There were workshops on Fracking, films, introduction to direct action; using social networking sites for campaigning, banner making; the list goes on… Late afternoon was the highlight for me; there was a meeting which saw Camp Frack split into three groups to look at a national campaign against fracking, local campaigns and direct action. This felt really smart; good co-ordinated strategic work! The smaller groups had over an hour together before re-joining as a whole and feeding back. Obviously I can’t reveal the ins and outs of these meetings, but I can tell you that I don’t think the fracking industry stands a chance against us!

To keep the momentum from these discussions, lots of working groups were set up and arranged to re-convene the following day to create some plans of action. But the main focus on Sunday was the protest march. Numerous banners were created to show Cuadrilla what we thought of them; one of the biggest at 8 metres by 1.5 metres and probably the least subtle simply read: ‘Frack Off’. The March set off straight after lunch and local campaign group REAF (Ribble Esturary Against Fracking) led the way. There was much enthusiastic chanting, one young woman on the megaphone had us all shouting (with as much attitude as gangsta rappers) ‘Cuadrilla, Mark Miller, toxic water spiller (Mark Miller is CEO of Cuadrilla).

It was a shame we couldn’t go right up to the drilling rigg, but as there is no public right of way and the general feeling was to stay on the right side of the law (for now at least) we settled for stopping half a mile from the rigg. The rig is surrounded by flat agricultural land so the press could still get their shots, 150 beautiful protestors in the foreground, ugly drilling rig placed undemocratically in the background. On the walk back to camp it was great to see most of the stationary cars winding down their windows to take some information on fracking, that made the demo even more worthwhile. We returned to camp to be fed (as we had been all weekend) by the 1 in 12 club from Leeds; my impression of them was great vegan food, lovely smiles and very hardworking!

And this brings us abruptly to the end of Camp Frack. After a short but productive two days, tat down began. Cobbled together marquees are a lot easier to take down than they are to put up; there were many people that stayed around to help carry the ‘hundreds’ of tables and chairs, the sun shone and our lorry went nowhere near the soggy grass.

In the days that followed Camp Frack Cuadrilla Resources have been on the PR offensive. They are looking for investment and have announced they want to drill 400 – 800 wells in the UK. I say, louder than ever, Frack off!

Further information on fracking can be found at:

Manchester Air Freight Terminal Targeted

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Activists from the group Manchester Plane Stupid have breached airside security at Manchester Airport on Monday 26th May in a protest against the expansion of the airport. The protest involved two groups.

The first group of 6 people cut through the perimeter fence and created a human circle around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons.

A second group have used tripods to blockade the road entrance to the World Freight Terminal preventing airfreighted goods from being taken in or out. They have unfurled a banner reading: “More air freight = more climate change. Stop all airport expansion now.”

The group are protesting against the recent decision to expand the World Freight Terminal which will involve the demolition of historic homes on Hasty Lane.

Lisa Jameson from Manchester Plane Stupid said, “This isn’t just about airport expansion or rising carbon emissions. This is about challenging an economic system based on the absurdity of infinite growth on a planet of finite resources, a system which prioritises bail-outs for the banks and then makes us pay for it in public service cuts. Capitalism is the cause of the problem, climate change is just a symptom.”

Following the recent decision to stop expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead airports, the aviation industry is likely to look to regional airports such as Manchester to increase profits.

“The third runway at Heathrow was stopped because ordinary people stood up to the government at the time and the aviation industry using a broad range of tactics. Direct action has historically played an important role in creating social change and will continue to do so.”

The aviation industry consistently overstate their importance in creating jobs and their contribution to the economy.

The lack of tax on aviation fuel is costing the UK economy £9 billion per year. There is also a tourism deficit in the North West region of £2.2 billion.[1] That is the difference between what Britons flying abroad spend in foreign countries and what foreign visitors spend in the North West.

Each round of airport expansion is justified on the promise of more and more jobs. In the 1990s Manchester Airport promised to create 50,000 jobs with the second runway – but the actual number was far lower. We need to begin a just transition to a low carbon economy by creating jobs in sustainable industries such as rail and renewables”

Annie McLaughlin said, “Recently, we’ve seen attempts by British Airways to use the courts to overturn workers’ right to strike. We support the rights of all workers to fight for good conditions. It is essential that the changes needed to prevent climate change are not used as an excuse to restrict workers rights.”

The airport, which is owned by local councils, has kept local residents in the dark about the proposed expansion plans, failing to adequately inform them that their homes face demolition.

McLaughlin continued, “The proposed expansion of the freight terminal makes no sense, economically or environmentally. The existing capacity is not fully utilized and an expansion would simply be a stepping stone to expansion of the airport as a whole, which would be an environmental disaster.”

“ With the planet on the verge of climate breakdown it is essential that the real cost of aviation expansion is taken seriously – currently emissions from aviation are not included in Manchester City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan.”

The protesters say they are locked on to halt emissions and are prepared to stay for as long as it takes to get their message across.

What is 350?

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Creative awareness raising in Kendal, April 2010

350-as in parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.

Accelerating arctic warming and other early climate impacts have led scientists to conclude that we are already above the safe zone at our current 390ppm, and that unless we are able to rapidly return to 350 ppm this century, we risk reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt.

see for ideas for solutions.

Latest: now has a CO2 graph incorporating the March CO2 ppm as well as a link to a BBC animation with graphs.


Friday, April 16th, 2010

Thursday 15th April 2010:

Campaigners from Earth First! including two members of SLACC have today stopped peat extraction work at Peel Holdings site on Chat Moss in Greater Manchester by chaining themselves to machinery.

One SLACC member said

“We’ve been here about ten minutes and right now one of the workers has got into the digger and is trying to move it which is putting my safety in jeopardy” he said “They have been quite threatening and I understand that the police are on their way but we’ll stay here as long as we can to stop the destruction of the peat bog…”

Another colleague has chained himself to a lorry on the site, while other protestors are also trying to stop peat removal. The direct action by Earth First! comes as a direct response to the lack of environmental guts by Salford City Council which has stood by and allowed the destruction of one of the top rated sites of biodiversity in the North West.

For many years locals have been trying to draw attention to peat bog destruction on Peel Holdings owned land on Chat Moss. Now Earth First! have taken direct action to physically try and stop the extraction by occupying the site today.

Peat bogs have recently become the focus of international attention because they act as huge ‘carbon sponges’: as peat is formed it locks away carbon that has been absorbed by plants as they grow, thereby helping to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere and slow global warming. The draining and extraction of this unique habitat causes the release of thousands of years worth of stored carbon. Globally, peat bogs cover just 3% of the world’s surface but store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests combined.

The greatest threat to peat bogs is from peat extraction for use in horticulture.  An area the size of 250 Trafalgar Squares is dug up every year for the UK horticultural industry, with 70% of this demand coming from amateur gardeners.  This is despite the fact that there are a wide variety of good quality peat-free commercial composts, meaning that there is no need for the UK to consume any peat at all.  The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, for instance, has been peat free since 1992.

One local campaigner said

“We are stopping the destruction of Chat Moss bog to protect this site for the benefit of present and future generations.  Peat bogs harbour a wide variety of birds, plants and animals that can be found nowhere else.  Instead of protecting this valuable habitat Peel Holdings are vandalising it in order to  ake a profit when there are countless alternatives to peat for use in compost, as well as more sustainable jobs in those industries.”

One Earth First! protestor added

“The Council tell us they are serious about climate change and the environment yet allow valuable sites like Chat Moss to be bulldozed. They say they will protect the Green Belt but it’s all just hot air. We have come here today in solidarity with the local Save Our Greenbelt campaign, and to protect this valuable habitat and to say enough is enough – leave our bog alone!

UPDATE: An account of the day by one SLAC member:

“We locked on around 10:30am. Some of the workers initially reacted aggressively, trying to move the digger while people were on it, using abusive language and assaulting one of our group – though we were emphasising that we were peaceful and that they were breaking the law by acting dangerously towards us.

After about twenty minutes of several members of our group talking calmly to them, they stood down and waited for the police to arrive. The police turned up shortly after, trying to talk us down, but we stayed locked on until the Tactical Aid Unit arrived with bolt cutters to extract us.

Interestingly, it seemed they wanted everyone else out of the way, so they could ‘deal’ with us and get the job done as quickly as possible. We’ve found out that lots of local people tried to join us, but were being stopped by the police well out of visible distance.

The police Tactical Aid Unit also showed little regard for our safety – their intention was to simply remove me from the digger by any means necessary – which was effectively to try to throw me off it. An ambulance also turned up pre-emptively, which suggests they were anticipating that our extraction would necessitate the use of force, and unnecessary harm to our persons.

We managed to stay there for several hours to halt the destruction of the bog and to get the message out.

After the police released us, we met up with some of the local campaigners from Save Our North West Greenbelt, who’d had a meeting in the evening, which was really empowering.  They were very very supportive and thankful.

At first I was arrested for aggravated trespass, but then de-arrested and re-arrested after being cut free under new charges. We’ve been charged, oddly, under Section 4A of the Public Order Act, which covers using words/behaviour to cause harassment/distress, even though our protest was completely non-violent and good humoured.

Our court date is May 10th, 9:30am at Salford Magistrate’s Court – a solidarity demonstration is being planned for this date, and any support would be gratefully welcomed!”

Copenhagen Coverage

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

For footage live from Copenhagen check out:

Join over 11 million others in signing the Avaaz petition:

With three days to go, the crucial Copenhagen summit is failing.

Tomorrow, the world’s leaders arrive for an unprecedented 60 hours of direct negotiations. Experts agree that without a tidal wave of public pressure for a deal, the summit will not stop catastrophic global warming of 2 degrees.

Click below to sign the petition for a real deal in Copenhagen — the campaign already has a staggering 10 million supporters – let’s make it the largest petition in history in the next 72 hours! Every single name is actually being read out at the summit — sign on at the link below and forward this to everyone!

Group reaches Denmark

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

The Magnificent 15 crossed the border into Copenhagen about an hour ago after a safe journey across on the ferry. They will join thousands from around the world calling for climate justice for all.

the Wave – Glasgow

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Glasgow Wave December 2009 002

Last Saturday a brave coach load of Cumbrians took to the streets of Glasgow to demonstrate thier desire for a fair, ambitious and binding treaty to be signed at the Copenhagen summits this week.

Glasgow Wave December 2009 027

Thousands lined the streets in a huge wave of people calling for climate justice for all.

Glasgow Wave December 2009 020

Glasgow Wave December 2009 040

Climate change affects us all. While we can’t be 100% sure that any particular extreme weather event is attributable to climate change, the unprecedented levels of rainfall in Cumbria in recent weeks, and their tragic results, are completely coherent with the predicted consequences of climate change.

Unless we take robust and urgent action on personal, political and professional levels we can expect such events to happen with increasing frequency. We need action now for a real deal for climate justice.

Fourteen days to seal history’s judgment on this generation

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Yesterday 56 newspapers in 45 countries took the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.

Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.

The science is complex but the facts are clear. The world needs to take steps to limit temperature rises to 2C, an aim that will require global emissions to peak and begin falling within the next 5-10 years. A bigger rise of 3-4C — the smallest increase we can prudently expect to follow inaction — would parch continents, turning farmland into desert. Half of all species could become extinct, untold millions of people would be displaced, whole nations drowned by the sea. The controversy over emails by British researchers that suggest they tried to suppress inconvenient data has muddied the waters but failed to dent the mass of evidence on which these predictions are based.

Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.

But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty. Next June’s UN climate meeting in Bonn should be their deadline. As one negotiator put it: “We can go into extra time but we can’t afford a replay.”

At the deal’s heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world covering how the burden of fighting climate change will be divided — and how we will share a newly precious resource: the trillion or so tonnes of carbon that we can emit before the mercury rises to dangerous levels.

Rich nations like to point to the arithmetic truth that there can be no solution until developing giants such as China take more radical steps than they have so far. But the rich world is responsible for most of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere – three-quarters of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1850. It must now take a lead, and every developed country must commit to deep cuts which will reduce their emissions within a decade to very substantially less than their 1990 level.

Developing countries can point out they did not cause the bulk of the problem, and also that the poorest regions of the world will be hardest hit. But they will increasingly contribute to warming, and must thus pledge meaningful and quantifiable action of their own. Though both fell short of what some had hoped for, the recent commitments to emissions targets by the world’s biggest polluters, the United States and China, were important steps in the right direction.

Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of “exported emissions” so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than “old Europe”, must not suffer more than their richer partners.

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.

Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.

But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels.

Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation.

Overcoming climate change will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”.

It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too.

The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it. We implore them to make the right choice.

This editorial will be published tomorrow by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages including Chinese, Arabic and Russian. The text was drafted by a Guardian team during more than a month of consultations with editors from more than 20 of the papers involved. Like the Guardian most of the newspapers have taken the unusual step of featuring the editorial on their front page.

This editorial is free to reproduce under Creative CommonsEditorial-logo-001

Age of Stupid

Monday, September 7th, 2009

logo age of stupid

Theatre 1 at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal was packed out on Sunday evening 6/9/9 for a showing of the film Age of Stupid. Tickets sold out (SLACC/Transition South Lakes hope to be able to organise another screening.)

The film, by documentary maker Franny Armstrong, stars Pete Postlethwaite portrayed as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old (real documentary) footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

Sonny Khan, chair of SLACC, took a question and answer session after the film. Movie goers were urged to sign up for the 10:10 campaign – to reduce your carbon footprint by 10% during 2010. This sends a powerful message that we are willing and able to make the changes to our lives necessary to avert a climate catastrophe. There are many simple things that we can do to reduce our emissions by 10% – let us as individuals publicly commit to this and acknowledge what we are doing to meet this target.

As a follow up to this screening, SLACC/TSL have organised a talk: Climate Emergency. Come along even if you missed the film, to discuss and learn about your concerns about climate change:

Climate Emergency, Thurs 17th Sept, 7-9pm, Kendal Town Hall

Phil Thornhill, National Coordinator of the Campaign Against Climate Change, will be coming to Kendal to talk about how the effects of climate change are even more rapid and dangerous than was predicted by the UN Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report.  He will also be highlighting and discussing ‘Emergency measures’ that are sufficiently far-reaching and radical to form an appropriate response in the light of this latest science.
This is our big meet of the year, so please come along. Don’t let the fear that individual action will have no impact stop you from trying.

Lets channel our energy into coming up with some positive solutions, instead of going home feeling depressed after seeing this film. This is an important opportunity for us to get together and discuss our future. Lets make sure it’s not like the future portrayed in this film"Every day they take our oil they go. No good roads.  No school. No lights.  No water to drink. No food. No hope".

Copenhagen: A Call to Action

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

We stand at a crossroads. The facts are clear. Global climate change, caused by human activities, is happening, threatening the lives of millions of species. Social movements, environmental groups, and scientists from all over the world are calling for urgent and radical action on climate change.

On the 30th of November, 2009 the governments of the world will come to Copenhagen for the 15th UN Climate Conference (COP-15). This will be the biggest summit on climate change ever to have taken place. Yet, previous meetings have produced nothing more than business as usual.

There are alternatives to the current course that is emphasising false solutions such as market-based approaches and agrofuels. If we put humanity before profit and solidarity above competition we can live amazing lives without destroying our planet. We need to leave fossil fuels in the ground. Instead we must invest in community-controlled renewable energy. We must stop over-production for over-consumption. All should have equal access to the global commons through community control and sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water. And of course we must acknowledge the historical responsibility of the global elite and rich Global North for causing this crisis. Equity between North and South is essential.

Climate change is already impacting people, particularly women, indigenous and forest-dependent peoples, small farmers, marginalised communities and impoverished neighbourhoods who are also calling for action on climate and social justice. This call was taken up by activists and organisations from 21 countries that came together in Copenhagen over the weekend of 13-14 September, 2008 to begin discussions for a mobilisation in Copenhagen during the UN’s 2009 climate conference. The 30th of November, 2009 is also the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) shutdown in Seattle, which shows the power of globally coordinated social movements.

We call on all peoples around the planet to mobilise and take action against the root causes of climate change and the key agents responsible both in Copenhagen and around the world. This mobilisation begins now, until the COP-15 summit, and beyond. The mobilisations in Copenhagen and around the world are still in the planning stages. We have time to collectively decide what these mobilisations will look like, and begin to visualise what our future can be. Get involved!

We encourage everyone to start mobilising today in your own neighbourhoods and communities. It is time to take the power back. The power is in our hands. Hope is not just a feeling, it is also about taking action. To get involved in this ongoing and open process, sign up to the email list: international[at]