Greens Shift Gears for Green Jobs
Jean Lambert, the Green Party MEP for London, launched her new report Green Work: Employment and skills - the climate change challenge at the party's conference in September. The publication finds that the UK is failing to expand its green industries and in doing so is trailing many other European countries when it comes to creating new green jobs.
Around 40% of Europe's total wind capacity is located in the UK, but we produce little more than 4% of its wind energy. This lack of investment in green industries means that the UK has, at very best, 26,000 jobs in renewable energy, while Germany has 250,000.
Greens in London have been seriously disappointed with Boris Johnson, who has put a cuts agenda ahead of the environment at City Hall. He has cancelled a fleet of hydrogen cell buses and is putting up bus and tube fares. Future commitments to a range of London green initiatives, secured by Green Party London Assembly Members, are now in question. In contrast, Jean's report shows how the green agenda is intrinsically linked to jobs, skills and the economy. Failure on green issues also means failure in terms of creating sustainable jobs, new skills and investment in industry and manufacturing.
Jean Lambert, who is a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, said: "There is high unemployment in London and an urgent need for skills training and investment in green industries. The government must enable the UK to prosper as a green industry leader to reap the associated environmental, economic and social benefits."
For more information see Jean Lambert's new report, Green Work: Employment and skills - the climate change challenge, at www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk
Westminster Project Needs You!
Joe Hulm and Khalid Hussenbux, Green Party Executive co-Finance Co-ordinators
A central focus of the Green Party’s national efforts is to elect our first Green MPs, which will not only make history, but greatly advance the party, and change the country.
But that takes money, lots of money, and even the great generosity of members’ efforts – both in time and money – won’t be enough. To compete at this level we need a lot of cash, something you can help with, without laying out a cent.
If you know someone who is sympathetic to the cause of environmental and social justice, and who may be in a position to make a significant financial contribution, we’re asking you to suggest their name to party member Quentin Tyler.
The Green Party Executive (Gpex) has commissioned him to collect donations for a Westminster Fund. Money raised is ring-fenced for use in electing Caroline Lucas MEP, Cllr Adrian Ramsay and Cllr Darren Johnson AM to Parliament.
Priorities will be determined by the fund committee (the Elections Co-ordinator, Co-Finance Co-ordinators and Party Chair). Benefactors must complement our values and be on the electoral roll. (A scrutiny panel will check this in strict confidentiality.)
Quentin Tyler Tel: 07590 050565
Green Party members from across the country attended the camp for climate action in Kent during August at which nearly 2000 people gathered to discuss how to tackle climate change. Medway Green Party, one of nine local parties in Kent, participated in the demonstration on Sunday against a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth. Dr. Hazel Dawe, Chair of Kent Green Party, explained the economic problems that the party has identified with the proposal to press on the day: "The Climate Camp at Kingsnorth is emphasising what should be obvious to the Government: that a new Coal Fired power station is neither economic nor consistent with its own aims on Climate Change. The biggest immediate challenge is to cut energy demand and reduce emissions, as many experts have argued."
The organisers of the camp reported the event a success, as four rebel rafters got very close to the power station water intake pipe before being boarded and captured. They were arrested and charged with aggravated trespass and, according to their charge sheets, "they did an act, namely disrupting the running of the power station by causing the water inlet cooling system to be shut down." E.ON, however, maintained that the power station had been running normally all weekend.
Detracting from the importance of the event was the way in which Kent Police forces chose to deal with campers. Being possibly the most blatant case of political policing since the miners' strikes, Gordon Brown was rumoured to have earmarked £3m for policing the camp and it was confirmed that at least £1m had been spent. The impression given by the heavy handed policing at Kingsnorth was that the true purpose was not public safety or prevention of violence but to try and deter people from joining the Climate Camp. Many people, including Caroline Lucas MEP, Norman Baker MP and Colin Challen MP, wrote a letter to the Gold Commander of Kent Police querying the tactics employed by the force.
The Green Party will be writing to the Home Secretary to request an enquiry into the style of policing at Kingsnorth citing, amongst other things, the excessive use of stop and search powers, over-enthusiastic confiscation of private property - including a children's board game - and harassment by police helicopter in the early hours of every night at the camp. The police confiscated so much property that they are having trouble reuniting it with its owners. The letter is based on an emergency motion passed unanimously by Green Party conference in September. The party is asking that the lessons learned from such an enquiry should be used to inform policing at future Climate Camp events.
Broxtowe Greens save Out of This World
Green Party Councillors in Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire, have led a campaign to save Out of this World, a local organic and fair trade supermarket in the town of Beeston, from threatened closure.
The local shop is popular with residents and represents one of the few local options for ethical shopping in a town that is soon to house a huge Tesco superstore - one of three within a seven-mile radius. The shop was under threat because of a proposed planning 'change of use' to accommodate an enlarged restaurant next door. Green Party campaigners worked with the shop's owners to notify local residents and circulate objections and emails. Activists also set up a campaign blog to help keep people aware of developments. The proposed plans were presented to a meeting of Broxtowe Borough Council's Development Committee at the end of June and Green Party supporters protested outside the council offices as councillors entered the building for the meeting.
The proposed plans were unanimously defeated. Paul Anderson, Broxtowe Green Party chair, said: "Out of This World is one of the gems of Beeston life. It is popular with local residents and people from all over the wider area. If we really want Beeston to be a Fair Trade town then we had to save this shop and we are so pleased that the council has seen sense on this one."
Big Green Clean
Residents, councillors and council staff in Brighton joined forces to spruce up the Eastern Road area of Brighton in September. Volunteers spent the morning planting bulbs, to add a splash of spring colour next year, picking up litter and carrying out a general clear up.
Cllr Ben Duncan said: "These 'Clean Up - Green Up' days are a highlight of the Eastern Road area community calendar. Today's event was a real success, and it was great to see so many people taking part.
"This will be the third such event I've attended, and the lasting environmental improvements they deliver bring the community a little bit closer together - and make a real difference to local people's everyday lives."
He added: "The latest report into the city's health trends shows that the Queen's Park ward is one of the most deprived in Brighton. People living here want safer, healthier and greener lives - and events like this make all the difference."
The clean-up days, organised by the council's Neighbourhood Management Team in conjunction with local community partnerships, now run twice a year. They have been a big success and are making a real impact on the look and feel of the neighbourhoods. The initiative is in addition to the regular work the council carries out in the area.
Richmond & Twickenham Green Party has elected the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's UK Director as its Parliamentary candidate for Twickenham.
Steve Roest has diverse first hand experience of social and environmental issues, from serving as a Salvation Army volunteer, teaching basic skills, to working on marine conservation projects worldwide. He has campaigned and protested on human and animal rights issues since his teens.
Steve is passionate about the oceans and, as a scuba diving instructor and whilst working on marine conservation projects, has witnessed oceanic and marine life destruction. These experiences led to his involvement with the UK conservation charity the Shark Trust, first as a volunteer and later as a Trustee, until joining Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 2006.
Steve was recently appointed UK Director of Sea Shepherd and, in November, will be travelling to Antarctica for four months to crew The Steve Irwin during the Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign Operation Musashi. The operation name was chosen to reflect Sea Shepherd's approach of aggressive yet nonviolent confrontation and the increasing global awareness of Japan's ongoing illegal whaling activities.
The goal of this fifth campaign to Antarctica is to keep the Japanese whaling fleet on the run continuously. The risks are considerable, voyaging into one of the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet to enforce international conservation law, not simply protest.
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. Steve, himself a firm believer in non-violent direct action, has formed close relationships with activists in all areas of international animal and human rights and environmental conservation.
Steve's recent actions include protesting outside the Japanese Embassy at the kidnapping of two Sea Shepherd crew by Japanese whalers and orchestrating an alliance between Sea Shepherd and marine conservation organisation Bite-Back to hold protests in Chinatown against Shark Finning. This led the prestigious Hakkasan restaurant to cease the sale of shark fin soup. Other actions include successfully putting a protester on the balcony of the Japanese embassy to lower the Japanese flag to half-mast in protest against Japanese Whaling in the Antarctica Whale Sanctuary.
Leave of Stay
Green Party members have been involved in the campaign to prevent a young Burundi woman from deportation. Annociate Nimpagaritse was ordered to fly to back to Burundi, the fifth most dangerous country in the world, by the Home Office in September.
Campaigners held a vigil for Annociate outside Sheffield Town Hall and conducted a letter-writing campaign to Kenya Airlines who were scheduled to fly her out of the country. After plenty of media coverage in the local area, with supporters appearing on Radio Sheffield and the Times Educational Supplement responding to a press release issued by her college, she was picked up by Immigration Officials in a dawn raid, but not forced on to the plane.
Annociate is still an Asylum Seeker and will have to report to the Home Office building in Sheffield every week. The campaign intends to continue until they can publish some pictures of Annociate's wedding.
Greens Launch Report on Index of Human Rights
The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights will celebrate its 60th birthday on December 10th 2008. To mark the occasion, Peter Tatchell, the Green Party's Human Rights speaker, and Green Party candidate for Oxford East, will launch a Report on the Index of Human Rights in the United Nations (IHRUN) on Monday 3rd December. The unique concept of the report is that by publishing every year an easily viewed account of the human rights record of all nations, the UN will move from a reactive to a pro-active stance. The IHRUN is a Green Party policy that has been adopted by the Global Greens, so all the Green parties in the world, numbering 75 and rising, are behind it. The aim of an Index of Human Rights in the UN is to produce:
1.A general tendency towards improved human rights performance. Governments, even tyrannical ones, are sensitive to public opinion, as evidenced by the success of Amnesty International's letter-writing campaigns over individual cases. There will be a natural desire to rate more highly on the scale.
2.Trends for regimes' performance will become transparent. For example, the standing of the USA would fall in the Index as a result of Guantanamo Bay and the renditions scandal.
3.All parties will know where they stand. At present, tyrants are dealt with in an arbitrary and ad hoc way. The demonisation of a particular tyrant (prior to waging war) will be less easy to do if everyone knows that he is only, say, 6th from the bottom on the Index.
4.Appeals by Governments against their ratings leading to prisoner release. The UN can then send in inspectors to review the conditions in the country. Regimes will tend to release prisoners and improve their conditions prior to the appeals inspection.
5.Acceptance of advice and assistance by some governments in improving their human rights performance, and hence their position on the Index.
Finally, when the Index is established, it can be used to bring specific legal action and targeted sanctions to bear on the very worst offenders.
As well as the Global Greens, the Index has received support from the Movement for the Abolition of War, European Green Party, World Concern, Global Action Plan to Prevent War, World Disarmament Campaign, Arms Reduction Coalition, Culture Change, and, last but not least, the United Nations Association of the UK. Bruce Kent and Fr. Paul Lansu, Senior Policy Advisor Pax Christi International Secretariat, have also endorsed the project.
In a world that is changing fast, and not always for the better, the UN needs a proactive framework in which to act to improve Human Rights.
For further information: go to http://tinyurl.com/5wt5px
Greens Come Home
A blogging hub for the Green Party has been launched which aims to develop an online community for members. Green Home will promote news from the grassroots and provide a resource to party members, sympathisers, or those who care about green politics.
Green Home is open to all party members with a blog, or party branches which use group blogging as part of their media.
Greens are looking to mobilise their best ever turn out at this year's National Climate March on 6th December, for a campaign in which Greens are very visible and in which they take a leading role.
Part of the Global Day of Action on climate, the National Climate March marks the UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, where the chances of getting a strong post-Kyoto agreement are rapidly running out. This year's UN climate talks are the last chance to influence the outcome of the talks because, although the agreement will be finalised next year at the Copenhagen talks, most delegates will have chosen their position by then.
The Global Climate Campaign is urging as many countries as possible to join in calling for a strong agreement on the Global Day of Action. Last year 70 countries were involved on the Global Day of Action and many Green Parties around the world were closely involved and often led on mobilising for this.
It is hoped that the UK's National Climate March is bigger than ever. The march will be focussing on 4 key themes: No New Coal, Aviation, No to Agrofuels and a resounding YES to Renewables and Green Jobs. The Green Party has chosen Renewables and Green Jobs as its key themes.
Green Party members are being encouraged to help build the movement and the march in a number of ways:
* Running a local stall and putting up posters in your local area
* Organising public meetings before 6 December to build local support
* Most importantly, organising buses to attend the march - this is vital as it heavily influences numbers
* All of these activities could be run as part of a membership recruitment strategy and help get existing members active
Please get in touch with your local Campaigns Co-ordinators to see what is happening in your area or via:
Sarah Mitchell, national GP Campaigns Co-ordinator, 07950 118 998, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate Tansley Green Party and Global Climate Campaign liaison email@example.com
A company selling new panels designed for use in construction has been set up by a Green Party member. The Totally Eco 8 panel, designed by Julie Lowe, is truly sustainable throughout all stages of its manufacture, employing recycled materials and paying those involved in its construction a fair wage.