Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER CLIMATIC
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 263, FRIDAY
16th JUNE, 2000
"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."
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.
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."
"The Bank is working with developing countries to pilot a more inclusive
and more integrated approach to its development mission."
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.
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.
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
"In Nigeria, it is cheaper to bury the environmentalists and democrats
than the oil pipelines."
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%
SchNEWS in brief
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.
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...
The National Front plan to march in Margate on Saturday (17th). Let's help stop them!
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.
Cor-blimley-theyre-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