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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

 


WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER CLIMATIC

SchNEWS

Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

ISSUE 263, FRIDAY 16th JUNE, 2000


WEATHERCOCK -UP

"The oil companies have already found enough oil to cause dangerous climate change. Yet they continue to look for more. The effects on the climate could be catastrophic."
Greenpeace

When we hear the words 'climate change' there's a tendency for all of us to find a large hole and stick our heads in it, or to rave on about how we could do with a bit more sunshine anyway, so what's the big deal. Which is understandable really when faced with the world's biggest threat.

Big business' answer, on the other hand, is to either put a few solar panels on the odd petrol station or set up dodgy front organisations (let's call them the Global Climate Coalition) that pay scientists to tell us climate change is a load of old cobblers and we should carry on regardless.

Which is what big business has been doing this week at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Canada. This is a gathering for the oil industry to get together and discuss new business ventures and share ideas. In other words, to decide what country they can mess up next.

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Still, no meeting of big business goes without a hitch these days, and unfortunately, those enjoying the conference found that their little party was somewhat disrupted by a few uninvited guests. A solar and wind energy system was installed in front of the conference with a large banner proclaiming "Sunshine's Free. What's Oil costing us?" A major speech by oil giants BP Amoco was disrupted and some 25,000 people took part in a rally that wound its way through the city. Around Calgary the consensus appeared to be that enough was enough, as one resident commented, " It's time for Big Oil to get out of its business of global warming, human rights violations and environmental degradation."

So what's the big deal?

Severe storms, floods, droughts, dust storms, crumbling coastlines, salt water intrusion, failing crops, dying forests, the flooding of low-lying islands, and the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are a few of the things we can look forward to if the consumption of fossil fuels is not phased out. But is this just the deranged rantings of men and women with beards who eat too many lentils?

Well, at the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the world's top chief executives and heads of government were asked to vote on what issue they considered the biggest threat to business over the next century. The result? Global climate change.

No, the real problem is how to try and stop it happening. As Mark Lynas of Corporate Watch points out: "The only realistic way to confront both climate change and the inequalities which create it is for ordinary people to organise globally and create a new approach. If this seems initially like a mammoth task, consider the successes already achieved by the movements against genetic engineering and the World Trade Organisation. Such a movement should focus on the collective, not the individual - rather than asking for personal lifestyle sacrifices ('give up your car' or 'switch off the heating') it should focus on the positive change a collective decision can make."

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WORLD BANKERS

"The Bank is working with developing countries to pilot a more inclusive and more integrated approach to its development mission."
World Bank statement.

Tell that to the nomadic Baka and Bakola people who face losing their homes and land if the World Bank agrees to a $225 million loan so a pipeline can ferry oil from Southern Chad through the rainforests of Cameroon to the sea. On its way it will weave a trail of ecological destruction and social displacement, helping to precipitate climate change and prop up the Chad security forces who have so far killed over 200 people who have dared to object to the scheme. The African Forest Action Network reckon the World Bank should pull out of funding the pipeline on the grounds that it would be in clear violation of two of their stated objectives, those of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

  • Check out the Ecologist magazine's cheery-as-you-like special edition all about climate change. Send 4 quid, cheques to "The Ecologist" PO Box 326, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME9 8FA.
  • For more about the protests against the World Petroleum Congress check out www.nisto.com/activism/project/petrol.html
  • To find out about up-and-coming UK-based grassroots climate change campaigns, email meltingpoint@cupboard.org
  • Resist The UN Climate Summit at The Hague 13-24 Nov. Contact Rising Tide,c/o CRC, 16 Sholebroke Ave., Leeds, LS7 3HB 0113 262 9365 www.squat.net/climate
  • Positive solutions @ Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9AZ Tel 01654 702400 www.cat.org.uk

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A few facts to spoil the festie season

  • Forget the suntan. Recent scientific studies suggest that the Atlantic Gulf Stream could decline or shut down altogether as a result of disruption to the system from melting Arctic ice. This would plunge the UK and Ireland into a near ice-age, with a climate equivalent to that of Labrador in Canada or even Siberia. Brrr.
  • The first climate change casualty? The golden toad is now thought to be extinct after its home in the Costa Rica cloud forests became dry and warm.
  • The early break up of the sea ice in the Arctic is giving polar bears such a short hunting season that they are starving to death.
  • Exxon Mobil is a leading supporter of the Global Climate Coalition, which aims to convince us that global warming doesn't exist. Which isn't surprising really when you find out that the company is the seventh largest carbon producer in the world.
  • The impact of climate change will create millions of new refugees, as whole regions become uninhabitable through food and water shortages, and as towns and cities fall victim to rising seas, increased flooding and violent storms.

CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK

For trying to speak. Two people who went to speak at a teach-in on the human rights and environmental impacts of the oil industry we're arrested, detained, and denied entry by Canadian immigration officials at Calgary International Airport. The officials told the two that they were detained because of their involvement in activities critical of the World Petroleum Congress.

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PROTEST CAMPS

Nine Ladies Set up to defend Stanton Moore hillside in the Peak District National Park from destruction by the reopening of two quarries. 0797 4049369 www.pages.zoom.co.uk/~nineladies
Faslane Peace Camp celebrated eighteen years this year, outside the Royal Navy's base in Scotland that is home to the countries trident submarines 01436 820901
Glen of the Downs Ireland's first road protest site against the extension of the European superhighway has largely disbanded due to the jailing and intimidation of protesters. There is still a camp but those going will need to provide for themselves. 0035 314973773 www.emc23.tp/glen.
Vallee d'Aspe (Aspe Valley), France part of a twelve year campaign to stop the E7 motorway being built through the Pyrenees. The camp is at Bedous near Pau. 00330672634905 www.asperches.org

HOUSING
The various protest camps against housing developments in Essex have now been evicted, but the campaign still continues with ongoing actions. 020 74503599 www.angelfire.com/mt/GBH .
URGENT is an organisation that links together community campaign groups working towards a genuinely sustainable housing policy, they can be contacted 01865 794800 www.urgent.co.uk

ROADS
The campaign against the Birmingham North Relief Road are now holding weekly protests every Thursday outside the offices of the company heading the project. Also picnics every Saturday on the route of the proposed road. Contact ATOM 07818 687742
Brickhurst Farm, Near Tunbridge Wells recently won a court case that will allow them to stay on the previously squatted farm, it will now be farmed using permaculture principles. Donations desperately needed to financially secure the land. Brickhurst Trust 181, London, SE22 0HB 020 74503599, info@teo.saltire.org
Plas Dulas Project A huge house with 64 rooms has been occupied in Llanddulas, North Wales to stop its demolition for commercial development. The house has land with acres of natural woodland, and the occupiers hope to return the house to its former glory and develop it as a communal living project and community centre. Visits from like minded people are welcomed www.north-wales.net/plasdulas Tel: 07957 917130

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TAKEN FOR SAPs

"In Nigeria, it is cheaper to bury the environmentalists and democrats than the oil pipelines."
Ledum Mitee, Nigerian campaigner

A five-day general strike that paralysed large parts of Nigeria has ended after trade union leaders reached an agreement with the government. The general strike sparked off after the government doubled the price of oil, diesel and kerosene, the main cooking fuel. This caused large increases in public transport fares with increased food prices expected to follow. All across the country banks, hospitals, transport including all domestic and international flights and all branches of government were at a standstill, while students and workers barricaded major access roads across the country.

The fuel price increases are seen in part as being inspired by the International Monetary Fund (See SchNEWS 248 & 256) and central to the Fund's Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). One observer commented "In a country where, after several doses of Monetary Fund medicine, the average income is somewhere between one quarter and one tenth of what it was in 1980, SAP is practically a swear word."The 50% increase has now been scaled back to 10%


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SchNEWS in brief
  • If the message don't fit:.... The British author of the World Bank's forthcoming report on poverty has resigned in protest at attempts by senior members of staff to water down his message. Professor Kanbur is believed to have wanted to emphasise that economic growth alone will not be enough to reduce poverty and that it will also require.god forbid, the redistribution of wealth.
  • *If the message don't fit II : A devastating report about the destruction of tropical forests by multinational companies has been suppressed for the last three years. The report blames companies prepared to bribe and bully their way to lucrative logging concessions. It also blames the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for inducing countries to sell their forests for a quick cash return to pay off debts to western countries. The European Commission which paid researchers to write the report, was fearful of the repercussions if they named names and asked for a second version with the names taken out - but even this version was watered down.
  • It's official - lobbying MP's is pointless. Who says? Er.a Labour MP. Austin Mitchell the MP for Grimsby said companies that spend thousands of pounds each year lobbying MP's are wasting their time and money because backbencher MP's have so little influence "We have very little power now beyond the ability to make noise"

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POSITIVE SchNEWS

Does your local community have an open space that for the last 20 years has been used for recreational activity? If so, you may be able to register it as a village green which may protect it from development. Under the Commons Registration Act 1965, any area that has been used continuously for informal recreation over the last 20 years can be registered as common land, as long as you can prove that the land is used predominately by local people, and that they have been doing this without permission, without being stopped, or seeing notices that stop them, and without being secretive about it. The Castleton Residents' Association, Greater Manchester has recently had success in registering Cowm Top at Castleton as a green. The application was submitted after planning permission was granted for the site to be used as industrial land. The land is now common land and will be protected from development. You need to register village greens with the local regulatory authority (council or unitary authority) who may hold an independent hearing to consider your proposal. The Open Spaces Society have published a book 'Getting Greens Registered' 6.50, and can provide help in making applications contact them at 25a Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2BA 01491 573535 www.oss.org.uk

*For the past three years the Leys Farm and Allotments action group in Blackpool have been fighting a proposal by Barratt Homes to build homes on a 17 acre site in the north of the town. The group have put in an application for the land to be declared as a Town Green. Despite this the developers are still moving ahead and bulldozers have destroying most of the wooded areas. Last Friday campaigners who had been occupying the site received an eviction order, campaigners are however planning to set up a new camp in the area. They are in desperate need of more bodies to help them maintain their occupation until a decision is made on the Town Green Application. Call 01253 351765/ 01253 313777.


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Inside SchNEWS

Want to support prisoners but don't know where to start? How about a letter? Those inside really appreciate contact from the outside world. Don't know what to say? Talk about yourself, what you've been up to, but remember...

  • all letters are opened and read by the prison. So don't write anything that could get the prisoner or anybody else in trouble or could cause problems for future actions.
  • Make sure that you put your address on the back of the envelope - most prisons will not allow mail to be received that does not have the sender's name and address with it (sending letters recorded delivery should make sure your letter gets to the prisoner)
  • If you can't think of anything to write, a card of postcard will be appreciated just as much. All the prisoners below have been locked up for their part in last year's Carnival Against Capitalism (see SchnEWS 217/8)
  • Jeff Booker, DN7071, HMP Elmley, Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 4OZ *Stuart Tokam, DN7072, HMP Standford Hill, Church Road, Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 4AA
  • Kuldip Bajwa, DN7230, HMP Highpoint, Stradishall, Newmarket, Suffolk,CB8 9YG
  • Thomas Wall, FF4431, HMP The Verne, Portland , Dorset, DT5 1EQ
  • Roberto Francesconi, FR4039, HMP The Verne, Portland , Dorset, DT5 1EQ
  • Angel Makoly, FB4689, HMYOI, Onley, Rugby, CV23 8AP
  • Owain Shepherd, FB6019, HMYOI, Easton Portland, Dorset, DT5 1DL
  • Did you witness any arrests at the Mayday event in London? Then contact Legal Defence Monitoring Group c/o BM Haven, London WC1N 3XX Tel 020 8245 2930

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Stop Press...

The National Front plan to march in Margate on Saturday (17th). Let's help stop them!


 

SchQUALL Book

SchNEWS and Squall are getting married and having a baby book. So... the imminent patter of tiny words. The book will feature issues 201-250 of SchNEWS together with in-depth stuff from Squall, cartoons and photos, a massive contacts database and more.

Buying your copies now will help us pay the printers. So send us cheques/postal orders (and an A4 envelope would make our lives a lot easier) to Justice? for 8 inc. p & p, don't grumble there'll be 280 pages!



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...and finally...

The Countryside Alliance are threatening a "summer of discontent" if their fave sport - you know the one where you charge around the countryside on horseback with a pack of dogs looking for foxes to rip apart - gets banned.

Meanwhile Foresight, a pro-shooting campaign has rightly pointed out that shooting it's not half as dangerous as some activities people get up too. Figures produced by the Home Accident Surveillance System for '98 show that there we're only a mere 1,699 accidents due to shooting sports. Compare that to 1,543 accidents involving tissues (no we don't know how you can have an accident with a tissue either) and the issue of shooting pales into insignificance.

As David Bredin, director of Foresight so rightly points out "Perhaps their (the government's) efforts would be better directed at tightening up the safety record of users of goal posts, gym mats or even wearers of high heeled shoes!" High heeled shoes caused 11,210 accidents, while accidents with trainers peaked at 99,193! Goalposts we're to blame for 6,093 accidents, while cotton wool buds we're the cause of 7,265 casualties and ...we could go on. The only slight problem with Foresights claims, is that while quite a lot of people might stick the odd stilleto in their ear, put on a pair of trainers or play a game of footie, the majority of the country doesn't use a shotgun all that often. Or maybe we're just bloody townies who don't understand the ways of the countryside. Oh arr.


disclaimer
SchNEWS warns all meteorologists to stop playing with their weathercocks or you might have an accident with a tissue. Honest!


Cor-blimley-they’re-practically-giving-them-away book offer SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 5 inc SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 5 inc. SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more 6 + 1.20 postage (US Postage 4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four). In the UK you can get the fist three for 15 inc. postage. And finally.... The Schquall book at only £8.00 inc postage. In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc. All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre, saving postage yer tight gits.



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Last updated 16th June 2000
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