Get a Shift on

It’s very gratifying to see Power Shift UK taking shape.  Months of discussion and work are finally paying off.  It’s all been from an ever changing team of volunteers, spending their spare time moving the Shift forward (or shifting the movement forward, possibly).

For me, it started before I left my job to help the climate effort in February last year.  I unsuccessfully applied to join the Global Power Shift in Istanbul.  Thankfully that wasn’t the end of the road, as I bumped into Nico Wojewoda of 350.org at a rally against the Keystone XL pipeline.  That got me on to the UK team.Tour

Skype has been our friend, and we’ve made good use of shared documents and email to help new people get on board as quickly as they might.  There have been highs where the team looked unstoppable, such the London Fossil Free tour.  I was brought to tears at a flash mob, singing about the melting arctic.  And there have been lows when the team withered away and was reduced to one or two.

The direction of the Power Shift in the UK took a while to emerge, and I’m glad that it did. Susan, Claire, KMT, Tara, Ben, Phoebe, Asad, Tom, Suzanne and David – the team that did go to Istanbul – lead the way to the theme of increasing the diversity of the climate movement.  The UK is already doing very well, thank you very much, with many groups dealing with fracking, fossil fuel divestment, local food solutions and the like. What is missing a platform which links it all together so that connections are strengthened across all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds – this is the aim of Power Shift UK; to connect us in a movement, together.

This theme and the idea of the Power Shift UK conference that is now happening on the 3rd and 4th May was fleshed out one blustery weekend at the May Project Gardens in Morden in south London.  The team at the time was KMT, Jenny, Tom, Susan, Ben, Claire, Izzy, Tara, David and myself.  Bernadette facilitated as the plans for the conference were put down on paper.  Amanda, Suzanne and Louise have all played their part.

It wasn’t until much later that the date and venue were set in stone, as team commitment and energy went through a lull, which was finally ended with the addition of the marvellous Emily, who was able to dedicate some meaningful time to the task in hand.  She then brought in the Campaign against Climate Change, and in particular the fantastic Fiona, and now we have the remarkable Lindsay as well.  This is the group, with the help of Claire, Susan and myself, who are bringing the plans into fruition.

It was great to hear at the recent gathering of the Climate Coalition (formerly Stop Climate Chaos Coalition) just how well our plans fit into the wider UK climate movement.  We’re on the right track.  The Power Shift will help lead through to the “For the love campaign” and an escalating series of events leading towards the crucial talks in Paris next year, where the governments around the world will put pen to paper with a deal on climate change.  We’re going to make sure that deal is up to the task, while building the solution from the bottom up should the politicians fail.

It all starts on 3/4 May – come and be part of history.

John Bell

Ordinary Bloke

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