Life in the Highlands

Hello and thank you for looking at my Blog...i hope you enjoy my site. I'm pretty new to this but hope to keep it all updated with the progress of my garden. I've really enjoyed being able to start everything from scratch and the hard work has been worthwhile. I hope you enjoy seeing my progress too! Feel free to leave comments it's always nice to get feedback.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Climate Camp 2008

It was so off the wall i had to do it! Travel to Hoo Peninsula in Kent and join the Climate Camp in an attempt to make a difference! For the uninitiated it may seem like a bunch of hippies just setting up a camp, but i'm no hippy and there where plenty just like me, normal people who held down responsible jobs.

Like minded people gathered together and for one week, formed a self sustained community to look at how to tackle the root causes of climate change. The idea was to be able to live sustainably for a week, to explore problems and propose solutions; educate and pass on skills to prepare for a future in order to burn less energy. These ordinary people working together to look at how to turn things around and look at the longer term solutions needed around climate change. Now i wouldn't want you to get the idea this was just a British thing, there are climate camps taking place around the World in Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, US and Iceland. The Australian camp had over 1000 people who got involved and blocked the railway lines to the Newcastle Coal Port.

On arrival at Strood, I was picked up with others from the Station. Legal Advisors advised us on our rights as the Police were stopping and searching under Section 60 as you were entering and leaving the site. The camp was legal but the police had a strong presence around the site, at first this was a tad intimidating but once you got used to this procedure then it was actually fun and the Police on the whole where light hearteded but thorough in their searches. Once through this procedure it was full ahead to the camp.
My first impression of the camp was the sheer size and number of people there. Camping around the central workshop tents in 'neighbourhoods' based on geographical area; i was in the Scotland and Newcastle Barrio. In this neighbourhood you lived, slept and eat and made decisions for daily living. Everyone contributed to the running of the neighbourhood, chopping vegetables, cooking, washing up, tidying, making fire, recycling, cleaning, clearing rubbish and welcoming people. Each person did their bit to keep the site running which meant it was a functioning collectively run site. The second tier was the Campwide work which needed teams to ensure things happened. You signed up for these at the jobshop, you could volunteer for as much or as little as you felt you wanted to do. There was a daily timetable of workshops that you could attend based in different tents from Christian Aid Climate looking at climate change and poverty to Vegan cake baking sessions where you learnt to cook and provide food to the camp, with something for everyone. One of my favourite was One World Many Voices; How to engage with people from different cultural backgrounds. The programme was varied and informative.

The week culminated with a mass protest on the Saturday. A contingent of campaigners went on the ‘Orange’ march on the day of mass action. The march was a family friendly affair, with people dressed in bright colours, carrying beautifully made banners with slogans like ‘coal kills’, ‘burning our future: no new coal’; and ‘yes to Kingsnorth workers, no to E.ON bosses’.

We marched from climate camp to Kingsnorth power station, picking up local residents as we went along. As we walked, residents came out to talk to us and cars slowed down to cheer or talk. We gave out a leaflet looking at the impact of climate change in Kent. It highlighted the impact of new coal power in the UK and the devastating effect that it will have in the local area, as well as on the poorest people in the world.

It took us about two hours to reach Kingsnorth, and we were greeted initially by only a small number of police. With music and speeches, it was time to break out the sandwiches. The speakers shouted above the noise of a police helicopter overhead, and gave impassioned speeches covering workers’ rights, impact of climate change and poverty on women, the contribution of capitalism to climate change and a speaker from Kingsnorth Climate Action Medway, who are local campaigners, who spoke out about the effects of Kingsnorth, not only in their backyard, but also on the rest of the world.
The march headed back towards the camp, to the sound of steel drums, the time passed quickly. With a detour through the village of Hoo to talk to more people about what we were doing and why, and to pop into a shop to get some supplies for the evening’s celebrations.

There was a round up of all the day's activity, and people headed to their various neighbourhoods to eat, drink and dance to the sound of the peddle powered sound system.

So what is it all about? Energy company E.ON are proposing to replace the existing coal power station with a new one. Coal is the most polluting way of generating electricity and is a step backward in the UK's commitment to fight climate change. E.ON the German utility giant is Britain's single biggest greenhouse gas polluter. The company is aiming to have Kingsnorth 2 built by 2012. Despite claims that the new plant will be more efficient, it is estimated that it will emit 8.4 million tonnes of climate changing pollutants every year, compared to the 8.7 million tonnes the existing plant releases annually, and nowhere near the 80% reductions needed to combat global warming.
So what did i get out of it? I met loads of amazing people, challenged myself and had fun but more importantly i learnt a huge amount about renewable energy and the impact of our energy choices on global climate!

"Kingsnorth is a terrible idea. One power plant with a lifetime of several decades will destroy the efforts of millions of citizens to reduce their emissions" James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies

"The new power station planned for Kingsnorth will output more CO2 each year than the whole of Ghana" World Development Movement


Blogger soggibottom said...

Think you are a brave lady or completely nuts. It's a nice thought though, to change the ways of the world. Keep at it. xxxx

12:20 AM  
Blogger Ziggywigs said...

Thanks Michele. I think i'm a bit of both LOLOL...i like to try and do my bit. Looking forward to the one next year!

12:22 AM  

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