It’s Started

I imagine this is how some people felt years ago before going into a battle.  A kind of serene calm has taken hold of me, with the inevitability of what is about to ensue washing over my consciousness.  I know that humanity will eventually be persuaded to take meaningful action on climate change – that is inevitable, as nature won’t let us do otherwise.  What we need to do is all we can to bring that date as near to now as possible, to limit the damage we are causing to the lives of our offspring.

Alongside the work with Transition Town Berkhamsted, I have been networking with members of national organisations to see how I could help direct activity to be more coherent and co-ordinated.

I’ve spoken with and am very grateful for the time of the many people to whom I have spoken and got acquainted.  I am constantly left gob-smacked by the level of knowledge, eruditeness and enthusiasm of the folks involved in helping us move on to a fairer world.  In no particular order, thank you to Melanie Coathe of RSPB, Michael Davies of StartUK, George Marshall of COIN, Guy Shrubsole of Friends of the Earth, Ben Brangwyn of the Transition Network, Ed King of RTCC, Chris Church of the Low Carbon Community Network (LCCN), Becky from 38 Degrees and Nicolò Wojewoda of 350.org.
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There are a couple of very interested leads among there.  LCCN ran a conference about a year and a half ago with the purpose of bringing together these disparate organisations, and are planning on running another in the Autumn.  I have spoken on a couple of occasions with Chris Church, the current chair of LCCN, and I may well get involved in helping to organise this conference.  One of the foci of the conference is to be supporting the leaders in climate action.
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The other very promising lead is with 350.org.  They are an organisation that grew up in the States, where the focus has been on persuading organisations, funds, cities, colleges etc to divest their investment portfolios from fossil fuels, with the realisation that if climate change is to be defeated there will be £trillions of related stranded assets (i.e. investments that cannot be redeemed, e.g. the perceived value of fossil fuel reserves).

350.org are organising a Global Power Shift – a co-ordinated international grass-roots movement to address climate change and our response to it.  The first phase (to which I will not be going) is a global conference in Istanbul, bringing 500 climate leaders together to determine the strategy for the movement.
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The next phase will be national Power Shifts within individual countries.  I met Nicolò, the UK co-ordinator, at a demonstration ahead of the G8 conference in London (we were attempting to persuade US Secretary of State John Kerry to not approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would link the very dirty tar sands in Canada to refineries in Texas).

Subsequently I have joined the UK national team of 350.org, and will be involved in helping to map the context of the UK, coming up with ideas for campaigns, developing and sharing ideas for regional events and developing a media strategy.  I need to decide which of those areas to focus on – which would I be best at and enjoy the most?
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The LCCN opportunity and the 350.org one could work together – the LCCN conference could be a way to launch the UK Power Shift.  We’ll see what doors open.

John Bell,

Ordinary bloke

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