Newsletter for November 2019.
The time is fast coming when we all need to know just how many beans make five!
At a meeting on Monday 4th, calculated decisions resulted in things starting to add up. Financial pledges and personal donations to Ben Auton’s campaign have come in – and we certainly hope for more! Supporters too have been coming forward to offer to do some foot-slogging – if you haven’t yet, fine, there’s time! The reclaimed wood leaflet pushers merely await a coat of linseed cricketing oil to be ready to save your fingers from every vicious letterbox and guard dog.
DIARY ACTION DATES:
The big massed leaflet blitz of Warmley & Minworth, Sunday 24th November. Contact Ben himself via [email protected]
Leafleteers & canvassers will meet up at 10-00a.m. At 15, The Moor,
Walmley, Sutton Coldfield B76 1SQ (Alternative individual leafleting times)
Sunday is usually a good moment for voters be around & feel sufficiently leisurely to engage informally without a knock on the door and a wait
Next Meeting of the Sutton Coldfield Green Group: Wednesday 4th December
29 Shepherds Pool Rd, Sutton Coldfield B74 6NB at 7-30 pm.
Notification of Hustings to be held at the Town Hall, Sutton Coldfield. 6th or 9th December (date to be finalised).
[ News of the COMPETITION further down plus Swaps, Wants & Freebies.]
Contact the Newsletter Team on [email protected] ]
Other events also listed further below –>
This election is extremely critical. We are not the only ones to be aware of that! The “OpenDemocracy” organisation has just revealed how Russian donors have been pouring millions into the Conservative Party war-chest, only days after Boris Johnson was accused of ‘covering up’ a report on Russian interference in British politics.
“Open Democracy” has also spoken of plans by a Hindu nationalist group to target 48 Labour-Tory marginals. World tensions appear more domestic.
We would still appreciate local comments & information about the “dormant” Reddicap community centre and youth community facilities elsewhere.
What is “domestic” could be said to be what gets into our homes. One correspondent points out that Wiki-media’s Foundation donation requests have got into his Inbox. He comments, “I used to donate to WikiLeaks, but since I found out that Jimmy Wales is an anti-socialist libertarian who allows anti-left editors to doctor pages to put subjects in a bad light, I had to refrain. Many commentators think it has been co-opted as a propaganda tool.”
The Green Party, by contrast, provides information transparently and campaigns for the common good. For those who have no election poster to stick in their window or elsewhere, we append in the Appendices two forms for printing as A4 size. Printer ink is costly – hence the posters’ minimalist black & white form.
A big plank in the Green Party Manifesto & our Ben Auton’s Election Leaflet is as he says in his own words, “We want to see social justice for working people. We have seen this “austerity” policy cut millions from our public services whilst corporations get tax breaks and can exploit tax loopholes. We want to have a radical economy that invests in people and the planet.”
And it is not merely the legal injustice of unfair taxation which outrages Green campaigners but also levels of fraud such as have been announced by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) regarding bleeding off hundreds of £-millions into tax havens by many care home firms that provide most of the near half-million beds, many of which are owned by or linked to hedge funds – of the type of organisation backing Brexit to be freer of regulation & investigation over tax haven use.
A sure reason for suspicion being that whereas large not-for-profit care providers spend appprox 2% of income on rent, nearly half of the largest for-profit providers spend 15 to 32% of income on rent instead of on frontline care – “Hey didle-diddle, the cat and the financial adjustment!” to the benefit of interlinked companies – as reported in the “I” newspaper (8nov).
On the positive side, bulletins received from an increasing number of organisations primarily concerned with other more specific goals are announcing their commitment to fight climate change.
‘Humanists UK’ reported that Humanists International at its Reykjavik General Assemply passed their Declaration on the Climate Change Crisis.
Amnesty International, known for fighting individual cases of human rights abuses, then the rights of groups to their habitat, has now also taken on the the Climate Change battle and has been strongly committed with issues concerning the Amazon.
The international group, Re-evaluation Counseling, has brought into being measures for supporting members in face of the threats of climate change.
And certainly related to the issue, it is a step forward that Janus Henderson investors, included an article in its summer bulletin on the social dangers and injustices inherent in the shift to electric power. [COBALT: SAYING ‘NO’ TO CHILD LABOUR ]
BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show Wednesday evening, November 20th. A live special featuring a Green Party leader – Wanna be in the audience?? See below!
Really appreciate your help. Here is the info:-
I’m a producer on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show and we’re coming to the Midlands next Wednesday evening, November 20th, for a live special on the upcoming election. This will be a debate featuring a Green Party leader and it will air live on BBC1 at 7:30pm. We are looking for people who would like to come along to the recording as audience members on the night, to potentially also ask a question. They don’t necessarily need to be supporters of any particular party or viewpoint – we are looking for a varied audience. Anyone interested in learning more can contact Ceri on 07746929195 or email [email protected]
Thank you again, Ceri Isfryn
– And from NIMI, news of local action in a national tree planting event.
“TREE PLANTING EVENT on 30th NOVEMBER at Brookus Farm, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield B76 (See Link for map below).
The event is being done via my rôle on the Students For Trees council run by NUS (National Union of Students).
We have teamed up with the Woodlands Trust for National Tree Charter Day (on the 30th), who are giving people free trees across the country so they can run their own events – hence me running one for Sutton Coldfield area.
There are 100 trees supplied by the Woodlands Trust that need to be planted so please email us if you would be interested in coming or for further details: [email protected]
The Event is on Brookhus Farm, by The Haybarn off Brookhus Farm Road- it’s essentially a large field that I’ve located through the help of the Sutton Park Rangers.
Thanks so much- that’d be awesome if you could spread the word!! – Nimi”.
Limerick Competition in the SC Greens’ Newsletter for Nov 2019
The Green Limerick Competition publicised by Mrs Trellis of North Wales and being piloted here in Sutton Coldfield has had its gun jumped by Cool Molly. Faced with her entry, the adjudicators feel a distinct reluctance as it begins,
“There was a PM thick-skinned and numb . . .”
However, submissions with other rhymes will be welcomed.
Permitted themes: Politics; Environmental issues; Propagation & cultivation.
The Prize is half a dozen, organic, naturalised, local Jerusalem Artichoke tubers. The prize is real and is being kept in the dark in a fine tilth of Suttonian compost and boulder clay until the adjudicators publish their decision on the 14th of December. Entries are open to all members & supporters.
- A second Limerick entry has also already been received.
– 5G news: Mobile systems
A Russian ‘Istochnik’ item on the web stated that Japanese Minister of High Technologies, Nobunari Kabato, had said that Japan was not setting up any 5G system because of harmful effects on public health. Sad! FAKE NEWS.
However, another source does estimate that only 18% of mobile users across world will have access to 5G in next 5 years.
John Kitson, www.5gawareness.com, based in the SW of England has been touring communities explaining the established risks known about the frequencies and levels of microwave radiation that would be used by 5G.
In the USA, proponents of 5g were unable to provide a Senate hearing with any independent research sources on 5G transmissions.
Future biopsies of Suttonian citizen Guinea Pigs should provide eventual definitive answers once 5G is spearheaded to the town.
Radiation pollution – See also Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4b2XOi5TKc&fbclid=IwAR1KPOhHrO7gH_PVirN2ZC-SpEwi_CcwkN1GYtXJUNOwbMDtV0IhIhghhEk
Plastic.. Sutton may be fairly low-risk vis-à-vis frackerama but it really ought to keep its powder dry – it is a “moratorium” only that has been declared. As the Newsletter Team sees it, though the moratorium purports to be a rational response to a recent Oil & Gas Authority report, this is more pre-election pandering to county & small town Tory voters’ techno-hostility. Three days later, it became clear it was no “ban”. This Boris! So why the shock headlines, “Boris backtracks!” The Machiavellian truth was proven surely by government approval – despite opposition – for the new deep coalmine. Where? West Cumbria where it will have an encouraging Tory electoral effect on whom? On at least the 500 to be employed there of the latest demographic species to evolve, ‘Whitehaven Man’. – This is no ‘green’ govt’!
Plastic. While journalistically in the NW of the UK, it is appropriate to cite the follow-up by two geologically orientated Green Group members to Ben Auton’s report on the progressive erosional release of dumped plastic and other waste into the sea off the lovely Walney Island protecting Barrow-in-Furness. See their field evidence below.
The laboratory evidence produced by Nienke Vrisekop’s team at Utrecht University has found that when microplastic particles like those ending up in the body come into contact with immune cells, the cells die at three times the rate of those which have not. Scary implications!
Going ‘global’ however, alters the perspective! Whilst China frantically seeks to clean its rivers, pending the implementation of a development ban on a third of its shores, it continues to move polluting industries to the coast with a consequent 27% rise in marine dumping to 200 million cubic metres of waste. Using China as our workshop, we must take a per capita share of blame.
Air Quality & Life Expectancy:
EcoSutton, the Green Group, Friends of the Earth – indeed others long past who brought in the Clean Air Act & who stopped leaded petrol – have been emphasising the potential harm leading to a possible tens of thousands of deaths.
We have seen the smog of the Chinese industrial conurbations – and now in Delhi, so severe that the state closed schools & advised staying at home.
Why are Sutton Greens so concerned about air quality?
Well, for a start we are right where the south-westerlies blow directly from the Birmingham conglomeration which is still not wholly post-industrial.
Forthcoming air-quality readings by EcoSutton will highlight to the Council the need for the purifying presence of twice as many trees.
EcoSutton is to facilitate air monitoring by each school, starting with those in Warmley & Minworth. Linda Hudson already has long-standing links with the Shrubbery School and will initiate the process.
Summary of Birmingham’s score on their climate-friendly test provided to us by Friends of the Earth: Birmingham: 60%
The Birmingham area’s performance on climate change is poor compared to other local authority areas.
Trees: 6% of Birmingham is woodland.
The highest proportion in similar areas is 13%.
Transport: 35% of commuter journeys are made by public transport, cycling & walking.
B’ham should aim for 80% by 2030.
Housing: 29% of Birmingham homes are well insulated.
Waste: 21% of household waste is reused, recycled, or composted.
Birmingham should aim for 70% by 2025 on the path to zero waste.
Renewable energy: Birmingham has only 39 megawatts of renewable energy available.
Electricity can’t come from dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas anymore.
See fuller test score comments in APPENDICES below : ………………….
HABITAT, CONSERVATION & CULTIVATION:
BONFIRE NIGHT: Even a once-a-year garden fire must be deemed bad for the environment – like all these harms, its damage per capita is sleight but it is the mass of population which tells. Even so, the Team is glad its Bonfire wildlife-safeguarding steps were again timely publicised. The usual sample fire-pit, when cleared for fauna rescue in preparation this year yielded one fat toad, 80% fewer frogs but those there were, four to five times the size of the average found in 2018. Woodlice were the majority of invertebrates. Very few slugs but varied. No snails. Hedgehogs nil.
A separate observation: Snail migratory adaptation technique: 8mm diameter snails numbering six travelled on car bodywork from Four Oaks to Quinney Hall. [Photographic evidence held by chauffeur] See APPENDICES.
Bat Crisis: Certainly according to reports from Kent, this Autumn has seen greater losses of bats from starvation – insect populations have plummeted.
If rescuing a bat, wear gloves to protect your skin from scratches.
Contact the Bat Helpline : 0345 1300 228 (bats.org.uk) [The ‘I’ newspaper]
Targeting Habitat for conservation To preserve diversity, seek unusual terrain rather than animal & plant variations reckons US Nature Conservancy’s Mark Anderson & colleagues having established that 90% of temperate species diversity can be explained by four landscape features: number of rock types; latitude; elevation range; amount of chalk/lime bedrock. [ New Scientist sept ] So – Get walking! not just in Sutton Park but the red sandstone high points in town.
Permaculture as a holistic cultivation approach has been devised by learning from and working with Nature – as a lifestyle it is ‘green’ too. Don’t “tidy” the garden to death – it might see off the pests but it will also see off the predators. Think of the bats. Shorter days, semi-hibernation & you’ll have time to find out more – Oregon State University’s Andrew Millison offers a FREE download of his book, “Intro to Permaculture” https://info.pace.oregonstate.edu/permaculture
For Info: The beans that figure on the front title page are from such a garden.
An October study publication stated that 41% of UK species have declined since the 1970s – climate & farming change. UK gardens, 24 million = the area of Suffolk, with some thought but little effort wildlife could be helped – and with Permaculture methods, even more. And make holes in fences!
We don’t know about their politics or working conditions & they are international . . .but the “I”’s Rhianon Williams reports that though the UK has a worse than average recycling record for electronic devices, it’s not the fault of GSUK off the Kingston Bypass in Surbiton.
The N’letter Team has been berated for omitting all submissions from
Cool Molly last month. She writes –
“An astronomer I went out with a few starry evenings in Digbeth told me Mars hasn’t got much of a magnetosphere as a protective sheath to speak of. It cops everything nasty coming its way – but not much good.
It gets very little solar power reaching it – but quite a lot of cosmic radiation.
It doesn’t seem to have enough gravity to hold on to its atmosphere – and what there is of it is unbreathable. Water? Well, not enough to make Coca Cola or Nestle’ bother to steal it there too. And forty degrees below zero may freeze peas for Birds Eye but it won’t grow any.
That doesn’t sound a very promising start for anyone making a shortlist of places to “terraform” – and there Are some who are doing that!
– So, next Party Conference, I propose a policy of NHS investment in psychiatric therapy and vocational rehabilitation for them through secondment to the Green Party in working to keep the best bet for “terraforming” already still a bit “terraformed” for future generations.
– Psychiatric prescription? Well, some very thin sheets of paper and a herbal remedy.”
SWAPS, WANTS & FREEBIES:
Wanted – Aluminium Scrap: by EcoSutton for fund-raising. [email protected]
Wanted – Surplus hand-tools: by the Green Group for the ‘Tools for Africa’ charity based in Kings Heath Park. [email protected]
Offers for swap or Free – Locally saved non-F1 veg & herb seeds (preferably with variety name) for Seed Swap early in the new year thru’ the SC Green Group & the ‘Body & Nutrition’ section of ‘Refresh, Mind, Body & Spirit’ via [email protected] [ A number already received & in store ]
Offer – Free. Large bread-delivery tray of 3½” plantpots (plastic!) via N’letter Team contact at [email protected]
Offer – Free: Echinopsis tubiflora cacti – original presents for your Christmas stocking! Also aloe variegata a harmless, trouble-free way of trapping carbon out of the air. Nolic via N’letter Team [email protected]
Finally, we have been prompted by an activist of ‘Compassion in Farming’, who herself has taken rescued battery farm hens under her wing, to stress the direct humanitarian effects of our food buying decisions – even those of us who are not vegetarian. We should remember that today, broiler chickens on an intensive farm will grow up to four times as fast as a chicken in the 1950s, and their lives have been shortened to as little as five weeks.
– This genetic game-playing is simply unethical, inhumane and wrong, she states.
Commonly confined in a barren shed, and bred to grow so large, so quickly, a factory farmed meat chickens can struggle simply to survive. Their own body weight means that their small legs may buckle under the surging weight of their frame.
The least you can do is buy ethically.
Birmingham’S score on Friends of the Earth’s climate-friendly test: Birmingham: 60%
The Birmingham area’s performance on climate change is poor compared to other local authority areas.
All local authorities, even the best performing, need to do much more if climate catastrophe is to be averted.
Birmingham particularly needs to do much better on increasing the use of public transport, cycling, and walking,
improving home insulation, and increasing waste recycling.
Trees: 6% of Birmingham is woodland.
The highest proportion in similar areas is 13%. Trees are great at removing carbon from the air around us.
Doubling tree cover across the country would help reduce emissions.
Transport: 35% of commuter journeys are made by public transport, cycling and walking.
Birmingham should aim for 80% by 2030. We need fewer vehicles on the roads – they increase air pollution and are harmful to our health.
Housing: 29% of Birmingham homes are well insulated.
Poorly insulated homes cost more to run, which is inefficient and contributes to fuel poverty. Birmingham needs to ensure all homes are properly insulated by 2030.
Waste: 21% of household waste is reused, recycled, or composted.
When waste isn’t reused, recycled or composted, it may end up burnt, (Tyseley incinerator!), in landfill or even in our waterways and seas.
Birmingham should aim for 70% by 2025 on the path to zero waste.
Renewable energy: Birmingham has 39 megawatts of renewable energy available.
If the area matched the best of similar local council areas it would have 175 MW. We need 100% clean energy from the wind, sun and sea.
Electricity can’t come from dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas anymore.
LINKS & E-ddresses: The Newsletter Team: [email protected]
Ben Auton, Green Candidate: [email protected]
Help writing letters: http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Letter writing
MEP – Ellie Chowns for W. Mids https://twitter.com/elliechownsmep
or visit http://www.greenherefordshire.org.uk/ellie4northherefordshire/ for her ‘contact’ form.
For Birmingham Greens Info’: https://birmingham.greenparty.org.uk
David Ratcliff – SC Green Group contact: [email protected]
There will be an election! – and we know when.
The Sutton Coldfield Green Group has been moving ahead towards readiness for 12th December for some time.
Now is the moment for us local members and supporters to step forward with a clear statement of what we can do to help campaign for our candidate Ben Auton.
Posters in windows,
Panorama “The Climate: What can we do?”
in this programme the BBC showed how one could cut the carbon footprint by one third whilst still living in a 21st century Britain not of their making by very humanely harnessing a human family as guinea pigs, . The key conclusion was that by individual lifestyle changes alone average citizens cannot achieve a zero carbon UK.
To achieve zero carbon we must use our collective political influence through campaigning and the ballot box to force governments to take de-carnbonising measures which will change the infrastructural, systemic fabric of the nation which alone can provide the remaining two thirds reduction needed in addition to the efforts of us as individuals.
That is why we call on Green Party members & supporters to become electoral activists.
“Climate: what can we do?” https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009drg
Those of us who grow food organically applying permaculture methods are further reducing their carbon footprint by reducing ‘food miles’ to mere ‘food feet’. They also provide safe habitat for urban wildlife, invertebrates & symbiotic fungi. https://www.permaculture.org.uk/
A TALE OF TWO CONSULTATIONS:
Consultation 1. – for a re-vamped Sutton Coldfield Centre distributed to nearly all Suttonians projected photographic legitimacy with the three figure heads of Andrew Mitchell, Andy Street and Simon Ward on view.
It masqueraded as “Official” but the back page was a Tory Party recruitment form! We failed to note the “attribution” of the circular!
How many other Suttonians did likewise?
The latest Tory escapade – tho’ clearly headed ADVERTISEMENT on the ‘wrap’ of the Sutton Observer that week – projected the notion of authentic newsprint. Well, Green Candidate Ben Auton didn’t like it one bit! – We looked in the following week’s Sutton Observer but no! They had not printed Ben’s letter. However, we shall – in the ‘Appendices’
Consultation 2 – the Sutton Coldfield Town Council’s Strategic Plan for the town:
Our busy Green Candidate, Ben Auton, fighting for the Climate Case to be fully integrated into the SC Strategic Plan, tells the Newsletter Team:-
“Below is an email in response to Tuesday’s council meeting where I raised the demands on the climate protests on Friday. I was met by the offer of doing “environmentally themed” workshops with children during summer schools and a vague-sounding public consultation based apparently on recommendations from EcoSutton.
I would like to put some policy proposals to a meeting I will be having with councillor Briggs next week and some points to bring up at the next highways and planning meeting where the workshop/consultation/idea will be further discusse
An email to. <[email protected]>
Subject: environmentally themed workshops/consultations
Dear Cllr Horrocks,
I must state I was utterly horrified at Tuesday nights meeting by RSCTCs lack of policies on climate change. I had expected initiatives to already be in place and policies ready for future works. While I welcome your intentions for workshops and public involvements of an “environmentally themed” nature, but I fear this woolly language will not bring the council to a major policy initiative. I fear it will confuse minor actions like saving water while brushing your teeth with major initiatives like electrification of transport or running all council assets off renewable energy. While I cannot speak for them, I am sure when you met with Eco Sutton, they were calling for stronger action than what has been proposed. It pains me to see the council is a long way behind the public opinion on the seriousness of this matter.
My recommendations are as follows:
First, Do not use the term “environmentally themed”, it is too woolly and too broad, please narrow the focus to carbon reduction to act on climate change.
Secondly, Please set this up as a genuine consultation for constituents to put forward proposals and vote for council policies.
Thirdly Be prepared to fund these proposals and to work to make initiatives live within 4-6 months. Any longer will seriously undermine RSCTC’s credibility not accepting the severity and urgency of the climate change issue.
On a personal point. When you go to the local authorities conference might I respectfully suggest speaking with Aberystwyth Town Council, Sedgemoor District Council, or Norfolk County Council about the extensive work they are having to do to prepare for storm surges, long term floods and the need to abandon dwellings to rising sea levels (respectively). I feel they can highlight the seriousness of acting on climate change.
And one final point, I would like to draw attention to the need for safer cycling routes. In particular, connecting up extending ‘blue’ routes to and from the town centre. Personally I use the Newhall Valley route as it is a very pleasant thoroughfare but becomes treacherous cycling around the main routes in the town centre (the ring road, Birmingham Rd, Mill St, High St.) Furthermore, I think more can be done to highlight cycling down Hansons Bridge Rd to be done to connect up the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal route.
Best Wishes, Ben Auton
The “Tory” questionnaire (ie Consultation One) about the future of the town centre has now yielded its statistics –
Though it has only been sent to addresses from which answers had been received. Despite any cynicism expressed by us Greens, we returned a good clutch of forms – and seized every opportunity to argue our case. Though the total opinions submitted ran to just over 10,000 we were gratified to see a number of our main recommendations emerge among the higher percentages logged: namely – our main shopping being local; our wish to see more independent shops; expanding rail services & opening the Sutton Park line. The highest percentage of all was for more services handed over to the Town Council – at which point we turn to other matters. .
Regarding the Brexit process, The Green Party sets more store by a continued direct democratic right of the electorate to have the final say on the implementation of the 2016 vote and we have received a reply from MP Andrew Mitchell in which he concludes by saying, “I believe that the value of democracy lies not just in the number of times citizens vote but also in the effect of that vote.”
The Langley housing development: As has been stated in the minutes of the last SC Green Group meeting, EcoSutton has continued to press for the inclusion of the highest eco-standards in the housing but fears that the owner-developers are back-sliding on that. Their argument of “impracticality” on the limited scale of the development, however, is clearly refuted by the evidence of the award of the Sterling architectural prize to the Goldsmith Street development of 100 ‘ultra low-energy homes’ in Norwich. Consolation may ultimately come once the Grenfell Report is published bringing improved building regulations and provision for vehicle charging points made mandatory. Thus, the later batches of the 5,500 Langley houses to be constructed should be to an improved standard.
The Climate Protests are said to have cost the taxpayer £37million
At the risk of alienating the commuters on the proverbial “Clapham omnibus” who were unable to get to work and who felt that they can do nothing about climate – each could in fact cut her/his carbon footprint by one third: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49997755– [demonstrated on BBC Panorama]
Our activists Steve and Linda took part in the rally in Birmingham – where they encouraged Roger of EcoSutton to make a very effective public address in support of the Sutton Coldfield Trinity Protest and young Suttonians rallying there. But Hell! What’s a conscientious Greenie to do?
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The Newsletter Team, following up on the agenda item of the boarded up Reddicap Community Centre, would like any Green residents of the ward to contact us with on-the-spot reactions and information.
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Two items from the Dugdale Crescent Friends of the Green Newsletter:
We Greens have been supporting the residents in their bid to establish the Green’s status as a community amenity. Our personal association with the Green is that the adjoining Hill Allotments are where some Green Group members and supporters grow their crops . Furthermore the Allotment Social Club is where we hold our meetings. We are therefore glad to pass on the news that residents have planted 300 successional bulbs on the Green and that Saturday 7th December will be CHRISTMAS ON THE GREEN – For information, call 07470 660533
Earlier in the month the “I” newspaper gave a ‘special’ on electric vehicles. This is of local relevance as the Royal Borough has the highest proportion of cars to people in the UK. Ironically the Headline was ‘WHY SHIFTING GEARS TOWARDS EC0-DRIVING IS MORE URGENT – BUT EASIER – THAN EVER!’ -and ‘UK’s EV CHARGING NETWORK IS ONE OF THE LARGEST IN THE WORLD.’
BUT – tucked away in a bottom corner “BOLIVIA – LITHIUM PLANT PROTESTS GROW” calling on the government to scrap plans to develop lithium reserves at the Uyuni salt flats. Students set off dynamite in Potosí demanding “No Deal” with a German firm wanting to build a battery & lithium hydroxide plant there. They know it is STILL the “being developed” world that pays the health & destruction price. .
Suttonians have been chosen as guinea pigs for piloting G5 mobile coverage . EM Radiation Research Trust puts UK Government on notice regarding 5G amidst profound world-wide health concerns The EM Radiation Research Trust are the calling for an outright ban for risky untested 5G technology in response to the UK Government’s consultation calling for proposed reforms to the permitted development rights for the deployment of 5G to extend mobile coverage. It is not appropriate to impose untested 5G radiation throughout the UK.
The appeal to the United Nations & the World Health Organisation:
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BONFIRE NIGHT – WILDLIFE & FIRES: Yes, we’ve heard it before BUT . . .if you’re having a Bonfire, make sure that perfect pile doesn’t become a towering Inferno for wildlife.
While it’s being built up over the days, it gets to form an attractive refuge for Hedgehogs, Frogs & Toads, Insects galore, that are essential for natural processes in the garden.
Preferably, pile the stuff to be burnt to one side of where it is to be lit. Build the structure as near to the time of ignition to cause the lodgers to evacuate safely & not return. Yes really! — We’ve checked! They’re busy communities!
LINKS & E-ddresses:
For Birmingham Greens Info’: https://birmingham.greenparty.org.uk
David Ratcliff – SC Green Group contact: [email protected]
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MoreItems: Scroll on down . . . .
UK to use finance meant for green energy to support fracking in Argentina Documents show the UK government’s £1bn commitment in 2017 later prioritised support of major oil companies planning to invest in Argentina’s controversial oil shale industry using the export finance commitment intended to support green energy, according to government documents seen by the Guardian. UK Export Finance, the government’s foreign credit agency, promised in 2017 to offer loan guarantees up to £1bn to help UK companies export their expertise, including in “infrastructure, green energy and healthcare”. Instead, official records, released through a freedom of information request, have revealed the government’s plan to prioritise support for major oil companies, including Shell and BP, which are fracking in Argentina’s vast Vaca Muertashale heartlands. Fracking has already caused irreversible damage to the ancestral homeland of indigenous Mapuche. One government memo, uncovered by Friends of the Earth, said that while Argentina’s clean energy sector was growing, it was “Argentina’s huge shale resources that offer the greatest potential” for the UK. ============================================================
During a nutritional discussion at “Refresh” (Wednesday mornings at the Quinney Hall, Canwell) the question arose of cyanide content of linseeds, prized as a vegan source of omega 6. The subsequent Link was circulated.
Summary 61 Following a request from the European Commission (EC), the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the 62 Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) evaluated the risks to human health related to the presence of 63 cyanogenic glycosides (CNGs) in foods other than raw apricot kernels. . . . . 70 CNGs contain chemically bound cyanide and are present in foods such as almonds, linseed, or 71 cassava. When the plant cells are damaged, by for example grinding or chewing, CNGs and their 72 degrading enzymes are brought into contact and cyanide is released. . . . . . In a human 77 bioavailability study, mean peak concentrations of cyanide in blood were different after consumption 78 cassava root, linseed and persipan, indicating a fast and practically complete release of cyanide after 79 chewing of bitter almonds and cassava roots but not with linseed and persipan.
TRADE & CLIMATE HANDLING BY THE BORIS BRIGADE & WHY WE NEED THEM “OUT”!
The international trade secretary, Liz Truss, met with hard-right pressure groups in Washington DC last year to learn about the benefits of Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda, according to official documents obtained by Unearthed.
In “off the record” meetings with climate sceptic think tanks that have driven Trump’s radical program of deregulation and tax cuts, Truss sought to learn whether such policies could benefit the UK.|
In one meeting the then chief secretary to the Treasury discussed the success of Trump’s efforts to slash regulations with the chief economist of a controversial lobby group funded by the Koch brothers.
In another, Truss planned to ask what lessons she could learn from Reaganomics “on things like regulation and red tape.”
Truss is now responsible for negotiating a trade deal with the United States and due to visit Washington DC to recommence talks.
Truss has cosied up to organisations that want the UK to slash taxes & regulations.
In January, Unearthed reported that powerful US agricultural interests have demanded that Trump make any trade deal contingent on the UK ditching EU rules governing pesticides; genetically modified crops; and imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef.
The UK government has previously ruled out weakening standards as part of a US-UK deal but Boris Johnson has appointed a number of pro-deregulation Conservative MPs to senior cabinet positions.
Truss recently argued that the UK could learn from Trump’s approach to regulation and has recruited special advisers from libertarian think tanks that support a deregulatory trade deal with the US.
Sophie Jarvis, recently of the Adam Smith Institute, will advise Truss on policy issues; while Nerissa Chesterfield, is moving from her role as head of communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and will advise on media.
Over the last two years, the IEA has run a concerted campaign for a hard Brexit that seeks to shift the UK away from the EU’s system of regulation and towards that of the US, which is widely considered to be less stringent.
Barry Gardiner, Labour’s shadow trade secretary, told Unearthed that Truss’ appointment showed that Boris Johnson “is a fan of damaging right-wing deregulatory dogma.”
“Truss has cosied up to organisations that want the UK to slash taxes and regulations… they are planning a UK-US deal that would destroy worker’s rights, our food standards and animal welfare regulations,” Gardiner said, “an agreement like that with the US would make it far harder to get a deal with the EU that protects jobs and our economy.”
More on US trade negotiations
- A leading think tank brokered access to ministers for US donors looking to influence Brexit
- A hard-Brexit think tank accidentally published its plans for US-UK ‘shadow trade talks’
- Downing Street raised concerns about Boris Johnson hosting hard-Brexit think tank event
Off the record
During her three day visit to Washington DC in September 2018, Truss attended an “off the record” meeting with senior representatives of the Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to discuss “regulatory reform,” according to documents obtained by Unearthed under freedom of information rules.
A briefing note preparing Truss for the meeting on September 19 reveals that she was to ask Heritage: “What can we learn from ‘Reaganomics’ on things like regulation and red tape.”
Imports into the UK will meet our stringent standards
Reaganomics involved a radical programme of tax cuts, decreased social spending, increased military spending and sweeping deregulation. The Heritage Foundation pursues a similar agenda and is widely acknowledged to be the driving force behind Trump’s deregulatory agenda.
Truss also planned to tell Heritage that she is “committed to” and “personally interested in… exploring supply side reforms” in the UK.
Examples of supply side reforms include making it easier for companies to fire employees and slashing environmental regulations to make businesses more profitable, both of which could fall within the scope of a US-UK trade deal.
Last year Unearthed revealed that the Heritage Foundation and CEI – together with the Cato Institute, which Truss also met with during her trip – were part of a transatlantic coalition of libertarian think tanks seeking to influence the contents of a US-UK trade deal. The IEA and the Adam Smith Institute were also part of the project.
Truss’ visit to the US directly coincided with the Washington DC launch of this coalition’s “ideal” free trade agreement, which sought to provide a “blueprint” for the US and UK government’s to follow.
A spokesperson for the department for international trade told Unearthed: “We are committed to negotiating an ambitious free trade agreement with the US that supports good quality jobs throughout the whole of the UK.”
“Without exception, imports into the UK will meet our stringent food safety and animal welfare standards. That’s not going to change,” he continued.
On September 18 Truss met with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), during which she discussed deregulation and Trump’s tax cuts with its chief economist, Jonathan Williams.
ALEC is a controversial coalition of corporate interests – including the Koch brothers – and state-level politicians, that meets regularly to draft business-friendly legislation that is then enacted by state governments across the US.
In recent years a number of blue chip companies, including Shell, BP and ExxonMobil have quit ALEC over its opposition to efforts to tackle climate change.
Notes from the meeting reveal that Truss discussed deregulation with Williams, who praised Trump’s “1 in 2 out” policy on regulations for being “gimmicky but effective.”
According to the documents: “ALEC said they thought the understated success of Trump has been this.”
A few months later, in January 2019, Truss wrote in The Telegraph that the UK could learn lessons from the Trump administration’s “about-turn in regulatory direction and the manufacturing revival.”
This “about-turn” has involved the elimination of the United State’s policy framework for meeting the Paris climate agreement, including Obama’s clean power plan; fuel economy standards for cars and regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions from oil operations.
Another document reveals how an official from the Foreign Office wrote to a free market think tank called R Street on Truss’ behalf requesting a meeting to discuss “business deregulation”.
A version of this story also appeared in The Observer.
The people of Osceola Township, Michigan, US, have been facing a huge legal showdown with Nestlé,
Nestlé’s vast water processing plant is devastating this small community in Michigan. Like a giant leech, it sucks up 350,000 gallons of water daily to bottle for profit. The town’s stream runs ever lower.
When the township fought back, Nestlé sued them — and now the final legal showdown is here. The expert lawyers they’ve hired are expensive and costs have gone through the roof.
Guess how much Nestlé pays to pump 250 gallons of water a minute, or more than 350,000 gallons every single day, from Osceola Township? – Just $200 a year.
The spring water generates huge profits for the corporation when they sell it in disposable plastic bottles, many of which end up polluting rivers and beaches.
Osceola’s water is a precious resource that should be used for the benefit of the community, not sold at a profit to pay for the private jets and fancy suits of Nestlé executives.
But you can make sure this community wins this fight. Nestlé has millions to throw at this court case, but this group of dedicated fighters in Osceola has you. With your donation today they can keep their lawyers and make sure they have the best legal team on hand in these last critical days so that Nestlé can’t pump more of their precious water. Donate £28 nowDonate £43 nowDonate £57 now Donate another amount
The incredible SumOfUs community has supported this brave group in Osceola before to take on Nestlé. Together we’ve given more than $50,000 to help in the legal fight — helping the township stay afloat and have a fighting chance.
And it’s not just Osceola — together we’re supporting communities in Australia, France, and Canada take on the might of greedy corporations who want their water.
Climate change means more extreme weather and longer droughts. Water will only become more and more precious, so we need to stand up now for the rights of people over corporations to benefit from this life-giving resource.
LINKS & OTHER SOURCES:
BBC half hour PANORAMA on Climate change reduction: What YOU can do plus – what government HAS to do https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49997755
When to complain to an Ombudsman if you’ve already contacted the company you have an issue with, but you haven’t managed to achieve a satisfactory resolution to your complaint, then you can consider taking your complaint to the relevant industry ombudsman. https://www.resolver.co.uk/how-to-complain/which-ombudsman-to-complain-to .
‘SumOfUs’ Campaign against future Glyphosate risk in Europe: With enough mounting opposition across the continent, Bayer-Monsanto won’t succeed in renewing its herbicide when its license ends in 2023.
That’s why we’re calling on you to join the growing chorus and demand a ban in the United Kingdom — as well as every other country in the EU. Tell the government of the United Kingdom to ban glyphosate now!
Over in the US, the megacorporation is “prepared to go through the entire court system” to fight cancer patients demanding justice. And here in Europe, Bayer’s top pesticide exec said the company would “consider legal action” if the EU bans glyphosate.
‘SumofUs’ persuaded the EU to ban Bayer’s bee-killing neonics last year and our pressure got glyphosate’s license time slashed in half the last time it was up for renewal in 2017.
Yes! I’ll tell the government of the United Kingdom to pass an immediate ban on glyphosate.
And so, we have worked our way towards the New York Times article on the GLOBAL MACHINE BEHIND THE RISE OF FAR RIGHT NATIONALISM https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/world/europe/sweden-immigration-nationalism.html Russian & Western entities that traffic in disinformation, including an Islamophobic think-tank whose former chairman is now Mr Trump’s national security advisor, have been linked to Swedish far right sites – six of which have received financial backing through advertising revenue from a Russian & Ukrainian-owned auto-parts business based in Berlin whose online sales network contains buried digital links to a range of far right divisive content. Writers for the Swedish sites have been befriended by the Kremlin. And ideally, to discredit the supposedly utopian Swedish model.
97 Reasons for Remaining in the EU: Membership of the world’s largest trading bloc with over 500 million consumers, representing 23% of global GDP – but it’s not just about economics!
- The UK has greater global influence as a member of the EU
- The EU provides a counterweight to the global power of the US, Russia and China
- With Trump in the White House the UK’s strongest natural allies are France, Germany and our other West European neighbours
- Tariff-free trade within the EU
- The abolition of non-tariff barriers (quotas, subsidies, administrative rules etc.) among members
- Participation in free trade agreements with Japan and Canada as an EU member
- The EU accounts for 44% of all UK exports of goods and services
- The EU accounts for 53% of all UK imports of goods and services
- Cheaper food and alcohol imports from continental Europe
- As a member of the EU the UK maintains a say in the shaping of the rules governing its trade with its European partners
- 3.1 million jobs in the UK are directly linked to exports to the EU
- Free movement of labour has helped UK firms plug skills gaps (translators, doctors, plumbers)
- Free movement of labour has helped address shortages of unskilled workers (fruit picking, catering)
- The Single Market has brought the best continental footballers to the Premier League
- The EU accounts for 47% of the UK’s stock of inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), worth over $1.2 trillion
- Access to the EU Single Market has helped attract investment into the UK from outside the EU
- No paperwork or customs for UK exports throughout the single market
- Price transparency and removal of commissions on currency transactions across the Eurozone
- FDI into the UK has effectively doubled since the creation of the EU Single Market
- The UK’s net contribution to the EU budget is around €7.3bn, or 0.4% of GDP (less than an eighth of the UK’s defence spending)
- No time consuming border checks for travellers (apart from in the UK)
- The City of London, as a global financial hub, has acted as a bridge between foreign business and the EU
- British banks and insurance companies have been able to operate freely across the EU
- Cornwall receives up to £750 million per year from the EU Social Fund (ESF)
- Structural funding for areas of the UK hit by industrial decline (South Wales, Yorkshire)
- Support for rural areas under the European Agricultural Fund for Regional Development (EAFRD)
- EU funding for infrastructure projects in the UK including £122 million for the “Midlands engine” project
- Financial support from the EU for over 3,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK
- EU funding for the British film industry
- EU funding for British theatre, music and dance
- EU funding for British sport, including football apprenticeships, tennis and rugby league
- Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008) benefitted from being European capitals of culture, stimulating their local economies
- EU competition laws protect consumers by combatting monopolistic business practices
- Strict controls on the operations of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in the EU
- Human Rights protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
- The death penalty can never be reintroduced as it is incompatible with EU membership
- Minority languages such as Welsh and Irish are recognized and protected under EU law
- The right to reside in any EU member state
- The freedom to work in 28 countries without visa and immigration restrictions
- The mutual recognition of professional qualifications has facilitated the free movement of engineers, teachers and doctors across the EU
- The mutual recognition of educational diplomas
- The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) has standardized assessment of language proficiency across the EU
- The freedom to study in 28 countries (many EU universities teach courses in English and charge lower fees than in the UK)
- The Erasmus programme of university exchanges (benefitting 16000 UK students a year)
- The freedom to set up a business in 28 countries
- The ability to retire in any member state
- Pension transferability
- The right to vote in local and European Parliamentary elections if resident in any member state
- EU laws making it easier for British people to buy property on the continent
- The right to receive emergency healthcare in any member state (EHIC card)
- Consular protection from any EU embassy outside the EU
- The EU has played a leading role in combatting global warming (Paris 2015 climate change conference)
- Common EU greenhouse gas emissions targets (19% reduction from 1990 to 2015)
- Improvements in air quality (significant reductions in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) as a result of EU legislation
- Reductions in sewage emissions
- Improvements in the quality of beaches and bathing water
- EU standards on the quality of drinking water
- Restrictions on landfill dumping
- EU targets for recycling
- Common EU regulations on the transportation and disposal of toxic waste
- The implementation of EU policies to reduce noise pollution in urban areas
- EU policies have stimulated offshore wind farms
- Strict safety standards for cars, buses and trucks
- Protection of endangered species and habitats (EU Natura 2000 network)
- Strict ban on animal testing in the cosmetics industry
- Membership of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which monitors the quality and safety of medicines (until recently located in London)
- 13% of EU budget earmarked for scientific research and innovation
- The UK receives £730 million a year in EU funding for research
- EU funding for UK universities
- Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a member of Euratom
- Minimum paid annual leave and time off work (Working Time Directive)
- Equal pay between men and women enshrined in European law since 1957
- The right to work no more than 48 hours a week without paid overtime
- Minimum guaranteed maternity leave of 14 weeks for pregnant women
- Rights to a minimum 18 weeks of parental leave after child birth
- EU anti-discrimination laws governing age, religion and sexual orientation
- EU rules governing health and safety at work
- The rights to collective bargaining and trade union membership are enshrined in EU employment law
- The UK enjoys an opt out from the single currency and maintains full control of its borders as a non-member of the Schengen area
- Since 1985 the UK has received a budget rebate equivalent to 66% of its net contribution to the EU budget
- EU cross-country coordination offers greater protection from terrorists, pedophiles, people traffickers and cyber-crime
- The European common arrest warrant
- Europe-wide patent and copyright protection
- EU consumer protection laws concerning transparency and product guarantees of quality and safety
- Improved food labeling
- A ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives
- Cheaper air travel due to EU competition laws
- Common EU air passenger rights
- Deregulation of the European energy market has increased consumer choice and lowered prices
- Mutual recognition of the common European driving license
- The introduction of the European pet passport
- The abolition of mobile telephone roaming charges
- The EU acts as a guarantor of the Irish Good Friday Agreement
- A frictionless Irish border
- The EU acts as a guarantor of the special status of Gibraltar
- The EU helped support and maintain democracy in Spain, Portugal and Greece from the 1970s and these countries have become major destinations for British tourists
- EU membership has helped facilitate intercultural dialogue
Wed 19 June 7:30 pm, Hill Allotments Social Club B75 5EY
Prioritise this agenda
Apologies: Minutes: and comments
Litter Pick 30 June – arrangements
Ben Auton: Report on Conference
Other items from Ben
Developments Peddimore & Langley: Dugdale Crescent
Local pamphlet/crowd funding
Local 6 school group
Cycling – Birmingham/Sutton plans
Buses – Walmley development
2050 zero carbon
Eco Sutton policy
Sutton town /Birmingham city
Birmingham /Oxford contact
Sutton water/nature pathways
Air – local data
5G – Microwave issue
Chemicals: has glyphosate gone?
Air pollution – vulnerable persons
Town council/local meetings
Planning – back gardens, 5G
New members included on lists.
Use of mail chimp.
Political /social research
Youth services, vulnerable persons, air pollution,
Edited version for local door to door delivery.
Sutton Observer – Andrew Mitchell – MEPs
B Auton proposals for referendum
Andrew Mitchell favours Johnson and ‘no deal’ exit
Food waste – Local waste segregation
Devolved powers to Sutton
Date of Next meeting – to be announced
How to get to the meeting:
If you come by bus get off at the first stop in Gibbons Road and walk downhill on the same side for about 70 yards then turn left into a lane between two houses where after 80 yards you will find a gate on your right hand letting you onto path. The Club house is another 50 yards down this path.
If, instead, you come via Gibbons Road and Bodington Road into Dugdale Crescent go clockwise around the Crescent, past a cul de sac on the left and a few yards later turn left into the drive that leads to the allotments. Turn left again, once inside the site
NEWSLETTER MARCH 2019
BY-ELECTION – THURSDAY 28 MARCH for
WALMLEY & MINWORTH WARD, TOWN COUNCIL
We’ve been busy. But in spite of this Tory dominance of our political life in sutton Coldfield appears undiminished. !
All local members of Birmingham Green Party received the appeal for help in leafleting Ben’s ward.
Activists from various corners of the whole constituency collected their route details, in groups and individually.
Door-to-door calls brought personal contact with voters – many also on driveways & in the street.
Considerable hostility to politicians! But warmer reactions when they find we’re Greens.
Remember the reason for this by-election! It is crucial & illustrative of what we face here with a first-past-the-post system for the Town Council.
Your local Green Group proved its preference for cooperation rather than conflict in last May’s election in campaigning with three other parties. This by-election was called since one of two Tory councillors, Dominic McDonough, too often absent from the Planning Committee, had moved to Sunderland. He did eventually resign.
Greens endorsed the call for an active, in town replacement for him in Walmley & Minworth ward. The Tory dominance here leads many Suttonians to abandon all hope when it should incite them to action!
As Sutton Observer readers may recall, Leader of the Town Council, Simon Ward, and Christopher Ives of the local Tory Party decried the demands for the by-election on grounds of cost, though we have been told that specific moneys exist in the budget for any by-election.
Let that now be history – as Ben’s election leaflet showed, our stance & policies remained positive .
Dugdale Crescent and its green are receiving well focused community effort & attention through the Friends of the Green Association which we can attest is a very effective organisation.
Our involvement is the closer because our meetings are held at the Hill Allotments Social Club, just off the Crescent, where Friends of the Green Association, hold their meetings. We have a Green Group member allotment holder and allies there, are liaising in future plans for the Green and are able to draw on advice from the Permaculture Association UK.
Preparation of OUR POLICY on SUTTON PARK has been in the ‘pending tray’ due to the pressure of other demands. Feedback from environmentally committed allies & ‘ex-pat’ Suttonians continues to suggest that the Park doesn’t need so-called “improving”, it needs maintenance and it certainly doesn’t need commercialising.
HELP CANNOCK GREEN PARTY WIN AGAIN!
SC Group members’ help during their previous election certainly contributed to the election of another Green councillor. We encourage readers – Volunteer your services on the 30th March (if you have any energy left by then!) We’re meeting for lunch 12.30 at 46 Uxbridge Road, Hednesford, WS121DB.
It can be done! You may have already heard the good news that long-time Green campaigner David Lyons has become the newest Councillor on Aylesbury Vale District Council, as well as our first ever Councillor in Buckinghamshire and our 179th sitting Councillor country-wide. He won his by-election from the Conservatives in one of their strongest areas.
Inherent risks of International Trade Agreements shaped by corporate ‘clout’ Group activists have stepped up our trade agreements campaign over safeguards, guarantees and transparency.
We are using email, letter and petition to increase citizen-electorate pressure and thus counter the sumptuously funded corporate lobbying schemes which we have consistently fought for many years . Andrew Mitchell’s frequent replies to our letters to him stress that “international trade agreements will be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny.” Yet it is of great concern that it is only more recently that the Lords passed an amendment that would give Parliament a meaningful vote at the beginning and end of trade negotiations. As ‘War on Want’ has put it, “ the Trade Bill is not final yet and the government may well try to overturn this in the last stages. But together we’ve been able to force trade democracy onto the agenda and get a result. Peers argued that Parliaments around the world are increasingly involved in scrutiny of trade. Why should this parliament be sidelined? At heart this is a question of who has the right to make decisions that will affect people in a very material way. It should be Parliament.
Natural England licences to kill protected species: We have failed to get a satisfactory explanation of the facts in this preposterous decision. Clearly, we oppose the vast number of licences issued but disparate slants on this matter have reached us. Please pass any information back to the Team, we need to know in order to campaign effectively. Please peruse the ‘jumble’ below:
“Watchdog permits 170,000 wild bird killings in five years”.
Greenpeace: “The facts about licences for wild birds.gov.uk”. Go to:-
. . . and A COMMENT tagged to us on Facebook:
“As, I’m sure, is the fact that the Chair of Natural England, Andrew Sells, also happens to be one of the founders of Linden Homes, a property development business specialising in the development of brownfield sites for residential housing.
Tory government ministers chose Andrew Sells – a venture capitalist with no experience of ecological or environmental matters – as the Chair of Natural England a few years ago.
A surprise decision which I’m sure was not at all influenced by the fact that Andrew Sells is a major Tory party donor and the fact that property developers in general are some of the Tories’ biggest donors.”
(We have not verified this comment.)
BUSES DESERVE PRIORITY:
Highways England asked ‘Better Transport’ to look at how major roads could be made better for buses. Their findings which will be applicable much more widely are now with Highways England. Link & more details in the Appendices below.
We have written to Andrew Mitchell in support of explicit reference to whole farm agro-ecological systems being included in the new Agriculture Bill.
See our full letter in the Appendices below.
BAYER’S ‘ROUNDUP’ glyphosate weed killer caused cancer:
Heartening news about a disheartening matter (via Reuters) 19 March 2019) is that a second U.S. jury ruled that Bayer’s Roundup weed killer caused cancer.
Bayer, which denies allegations that glyphosate or Roundup caused cancer, said it was disappointed with the jury’s initial decision. Bayer acquired Monsanto, the longtime maker of Roundup, for $63 billion last year.
Tuesday’s unanimous jury decision in San Francisco federal court was not a finding of Bayer’s liability for the cancer of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. Liability and damages will be decided by the same jury in a second trial phase beginning on Wednesday.
Bayer shares were 12.5 percent lower at 1110 GMT, the biggest intraday loss in 16 years, wiping some 8 billion euros ($9.1 billion) off its valuation.
They were not protesting, they were just doing what conservationists do all round the world . . . but In January, Iranian officials arrested eight renowned nature conservationists who are all members of an internationally known environmental group, the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards accused them of using camera traps to spy on the nation’s ballistic missile program. In reality, the conservationist were just monitoring rare Asiatic cheetahs and other endangered wildlife. Now they are threatened with the death penalty.
Urge the Iranian government to provide the detainees with the opportunity of a fair trial by adding your name to this Care2 petition!
One of the activists died in detention mere weeks later under suspicious circumstances. Iranian authorities claimed that he committed suicide, but they have not conducted an impartial investigation into his death. Then they arrested yet another conservationist to replace the one they may have killed!
The conservationists serve on international organisations that add or remove species from threatened species lists. Among them are two cat specialists and a bear specialist. They are still behind bars and facing the death penalty, just for trying to protect animals.
In November more than 340 conservationists and scholars from 70 countries across the world including UN Ambassador of Peace, Jane Goodall DBE, signed a letter expressing support for the eight detained conservationists.
And to avoid being criticised for hypocrisy . . . we at last mention that seemingly forgotten event, the CLIMATE CONFERENCE A KATOWICE & what it should have achieved. It was elbowed into touch like so much else by Brexit and for most, went unnoticed.
For now, in this edition we simply quote from the email Caroline Lucas has just sent us all, to say that you wouldn’t realise we’re living through an environmental emergency from looking at what’s happening in Westminster.
That’s why she tabled an Early Day Motion on a UK-wide climate emergency and asked Green supporters to contact their MPs to urge them to sign her climate emergency motion.
We do need to invest in a Green New Deal to rapidly decarbonise the UK. And we need to release funding to local authorities so that they can take bold climate action & it’s urgent.
We have written to Andrew Mitchell urging him to sign. Our letter is included below in the Appendices below.
The Date of the Next Committee Meeting is yet to be set.
Notification of the date will be sent out by Email [and announced on this website].
LINKS & E-ddresses:
Help writing letters: http://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Letter writing
For Birmingham Greens Info.: https://birmingham.greenparty.org.uk
David Ratcliff – SC Green Group contact: [email protected]
Scroll on down for APPENDICES:
BUSES DESERVE PRIORITY.
“How can major roads be made better for buses? That’s the question that Highways England asked us, and it’s an important one. Our road network isn’t just for cars and lorries – it needs to work for cyclists and pedestrians, for nearby communities and for the environment, and, crucially, for buses. A fully loaded double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road!
Highways England manages the strategic road network of motorways and major trunk roads, including some used by important bus routes. They don’t control the bus services but can have a big impact on issues, ranging from how safe it is to cross the road at bus stops, to how traffic information is shared with bus operators. So when Highways England asked us to look at how major roads could be made better for buses, we jumped at the chance. Together with Transport Focus we’ve been looking at bus facilities on the M32 near Bristol and the A27 in East Sussex, including visiting bus stops, bus bays and villages along the routes. Our findings will be applicable much more widely, however. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your views. Many people particularly wanted to see:-
• The introduction and enforcement of bus priority measures (such as bus lanes) to beat congestion and deliver a reliable service
• Bus stops that are in the right place and well-maintained, with safe access and crossing points
• Traffic information shared with bus operators, so that live travel information can be displayed at bus stops and park and ride services
Our findings are now with Highways England, and we hope to see improvements for bus users in the near future.”
To end:- two letters to Andrew Mitchell MP from one of our members:-
“Whole farm agroecological systems & the Agriculture Bill:
Dear Andrew Mitchell,
As a small-scale grower myself, a member of the Permaculture Association and the local Green Group, and aware of the acknowledgement by the UN FAO of the validity of ‘agroecology’, I urge you most strongly to make firm representation on our behalf to ensure that the new Agriculture Bill makes explicit reference to whole farm agroecological systems.
I was present yesterday at the meeting you addressed regarding UK government policy and your own stance on the issue of Climate Change. The approaches to cultivation as set out below – and Permaculture techniques are effective means of countering climate change and, in a number of areas of the world, reclaiming desert zones. Indeed, I understand that at least a year ago, the British Commonwealth accepted permaculture as a valid mechanism for land improvement and retention.
A sustainable food system is pivotal to human and environmental well-being. I urge you to consider what you have eaten today, we could make that plate more nutritious, kind to the planet, beneficial to communities, economically sound, and supportive of farmers.
The UN FAO provides the following definition -: “Agroecology is based on applying ecological concepts and principles to optimize interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for a sustainable and fair food system. By building synergies, agroecology can support food production and food security and nutrition while restoring the ecosystem services and biodiversity that are essential for sustainable agriculture. Agroecology can play an important role in building resilience and adapting to climate change.”
The French government, which has made agroecology the central plank of their agriculture policy describes agroecology as having triple performance:
1 Environmental: increases to biodiversity and resilience, improves soils, mitigates climate change.
2 Economic: improving yield and efficiency.
3 Societal: beneficial to society at large including benefits to health and nutrition.
Almost everyone agrees that the purpose of an Agriculture Bill is to support the accessibility of healthy local food for everyone in the UK. Many MP’s have voiced that we need a Bill, which strengthens support for sustainable food production, promotes healthy outcomes and supports local economies. Many have raised the concern that good-quality, healthy food must not be allowed to become the preserve of only those who can afford it. Others say, restoring nature without producing food is a very real danger to a resilient food system.
I stand with the Land Workers’ Alliance to support the amendment to the Agriculture Bill by Zac Goldsmith (Con), Kerry McCarthy (Lab) and Caroline Lucas (Grn). I ask of you to support the following amendment in the Commons;
[proposed by] Kerry McCarthy MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, Caroline Lucas MP: 1. Clause 1, page 2, line 8, at end insert— “(h) establishing and maintaining whole farm agroecological systems.”
Kerry McCarthy MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, Caroline Lucas MP: 2. Clause 1, page 2, line 23, at end insert— ““whole farm agroecological systems” include any whole enterprise system for farming or land management which is designed to produce food and/ or fuel while delivering environmental and social benefits, and may include organic farming.”
Agroecology combines the need for good food for all with the absolutely essential goals of restoring nature and mitigating climate change. Access to agroecological and local food improves public health by encouraging people to eat nutritious, seasonal foods from farmers they trust. Local food produced by farms that work with nature is also of vital importance to our economies, supporting tourism, restaurants, landscapes, and communities.
Incorporating agroecology into the Bill will make a critical difference in maintaining a focus on whole farm systems producing healthy affordable local food over successive governments for generations to come.
For more information contact the Landworkers Alliance policyteam:
[email protected] www.amendagbill.uk
Attn: Andrew Mitchell MP Friday 22 March 2019
“Caroline Lucas’ Emergency Climate motion:
I am aware of your consciousness of the major threat that climate change constitutes around the world.
I am not ignorant of the political practicalities which can be faced by an MP in the House nor, I think, of your feelings about Early Day motions . However, as you have acknowledged in the past, the important issue of resolving the Brexit conundrum has elbowed aside the greater and more terminal challenge of adapting positively to mitigate our human contribution to global habitat destruction – including our own. I am therefore writing in hope on my own account as well as that of Sutton Coldfield Green Group and members of my family to ask you to sign Caroline Lucas’ Climate Emergency motion calling for a UK-wide climate emergency to make a start at least on “acting locally”. We share Caroline Lucas’ view that as more and more councils declare climate emergencies up and down the country, we need Parliament to declare a climate emergency. We need to invest in a Green New Deal to rapidly decarbonise the UK and to release funding to local authorities so that they can take bold climate action. In addition, it would seem that a Green New Deal would create hundreds of thousands of good, well-paid jobs in every region of the country. I cannot help but feel that in a post-Brexit era, it would serve as a very positive initiative.
I should like to take this opportunity to thank you for your reply today regarding the current maelstrom of our leaving Europe.