It doesn’t really surprise me, but it’s good to spot where RBS is choosing to lie today. Their little web of deceit keeps turning, even while we set up our action camp opposite their shiny fortress.
The first and biggest whopper, is how great they are at funding renewable energy, and that this means we haven’t done our homework and should go camp in someone else’s back garden. But as the Rainforest Action Nework points out:
“According to financial market data compiled by Bloomberg, RBS ranked third as financier for alternative energy companies in 2006. In the period since the taxpayer bailout, RBS’ ranks a distant 19th!”
So far from being a leader in green energy, RBS are frankly way, way down there. Plus, their investment in renewables has got worse since they became majority owned by the state.
Of course, they just fed the little line to the press, and it got reprinted, even though there’s no truth in it. Another one like that was the great one that ‘RBS wanted to talk with the camp’s leaders, but we refused.’ Well, the first anyone heard about this offer was through the press, so we’re all a bit amazed that RBS already know the probably response.
That said, the time for talking is over. Activists from the First Nations in Canada, along with NGOs around the world, have spent years trying to convince to stop investing in the Tar Sands, as well as all other fossil fuels, even by turning up at RBS shareholders’ meetings here in Edinburgh. The Chairman responded: “…our investments in the Tar Sands are so minimal that I don’t even know what they are.” Wow. If I were a shareholder, I’d be worried about his inability to keep track of $18 billion.
The next lie is them taking credit for our lovely camp site, claiming that they showed us where to camp after we naughtily found our way onto their property. My recollection is closer to them calling security and the police, who decided not to enter the site when they saw how many people had managed to take the space without their knowing anything about what-so-ever. We’re stretching right across their land, and are setting up camp according to how we best see fit: in a way that’s most accomodating to our environment as well as ourselves.
On a final note, that evironment includes quite a few small frogs, which we’re taking care not to step on, and are returning to the clumps of trees where they belong.
Coal Action Scotland are expecting a large number of protesters to march this Saturday (21st August) against a bid by Scottish Coal to extract two million tonnes of coal from a 154-hectare open cast mine at Airfield Farm, Midlothian, just west of the popular East Lothian village of Ormiston. Activists will be cycling from Climate Camp to Cousland to take part in the event.
Local families, businesses and other supporters of the rural economy and environment are expected to join protesters from the Climate Camp in Edinburgh in a march from the village hall in Cousland, a village in the shadow of the proposed mine, to the site of the proposed development. In true rural style participants on the march have been invited to walk, cycle, horse ride or dog walk along the route.
Dougie McKenzie, chair of the campaigning group, Communities Against Airfield Open Cast (CAAOC), said, “We are delighted that Coal Action Scotland is supporting our campaign.
Local people have real concerns not only about the impact this mine will have on local businesses, but also on our safety, particularly that of our children – the area surrounding the village of Cousland is riddled with old limestone mine workings, and we have serious concerns about the impact blasting will have on the already unstable ground. Already this year we believe there have been 2 land collapses into old mine workings in the fields around Airfield, and a few years previously a 15-year old boy narrowly escaped death when the ground in the local playing field collapsed beneath him .”
“We hope this rural protest march will raise awareness of our campaign and will encourage more people to object to Scottish Coal’s application. We suspect that there will be many people in Edinburgh unaware of this proposed blot on the beautiful landscape so close to the city.”
Fiona Reed from Coal Action Scotland said: “We’re really looking forward to supporting CAAOC in their efforts against Scottish Coal and in persuading Midlothian Council to reject this mine. Communities across Scotland are blighted by open cast and the current push to dig ever increasing amounts of coal from the central belt is hurting communities and making a mockery of efforts to reduce carbon emissions. We will not allow people’s health and the environment to be sacrificed for the quick profits of mining companies.”
Event schedule for Saturday 21st August
- 2.00pm to 2.30pm cycle caravan leaves Climate Camp
- 3.00pm to 4.00pm cyclists/walkers meet at Cousland Village Hall
- 4.00pm – presentation by Dougie McKenzie, Chair CAAOC
- 4.10pm – walk commences from Hall through village to Airfield and proposed site of mine
- 4.30pm – group photo opportunity (at a point on the hill overlooking Airfield Farm (4.30pm). (this will be along a farm track)
Activists from Climate Camp Cymru invaded Nant Helen open cast coalmine in south Wales earlier today. Despite disproportionate policing at the 2010 camp, groups of activists persisted in their objectives to witness the destructive operations at Nant Helen open cast mine, owned by Celtic Energy.
The activists entered the coal hole at Nant Helen, where 450,000tonnes of coal per year are dug out of a hole approximately 150m deepand 1.5 x 1 km wide. Celtic Energy have applied for planning permissionfor the mine to expand. This coal is mostly destined for Aberthaw Power Station, to be burntfor electricity, which is one of the dirtiest and most carbonintensive industrial processes.
Activist Ffion Dafys said “ripping up mountains to dig holes hundredsof meters deep destroys the landscape and the localenvironment. The coal removed and burnt will generate millions oftonnes of CO2 over the next four years.
“Coal seams in Glynn Neath will continue to be exploited and extended byopen cast mining corporations like Celtic Energy, causing environmentaldestruction until these operations cease. Observing from the bottom of thecoal hole really brought home the enormity of the destruction.”
As well holding up mining work the camp has also been undertaking vital outreach work with the local communities and last week they took to their ‘No New Coal’ message to the River Severn.
In a hand-built raft (what else?) activists set-off down the River Severn and past E.on’s Buildwas B coal-fired power station (where the coal from Huntington Lane will end up).
According to the West Midland’s Climate Action blog the raft “then sailed further downstream and under the famous Iron Bridge where it was meet with cheers from a crowd of locals and tourists who had gathered on the bridge.”
The Defend Huntingdon Lane Camp has been doing a fantastic job at holding up what was almost imminent UK Coal excavations on the Wrekin and as always extra help and support is always required. Take a look at their current wish list.
The big round-up news this week is the special call out for help needed ahead of this year’s camp. It’s a bit of a long post but to get you in the mood we’ve embedded an inspiring film below so watch and read on for how to get involved.
Most of the work for the Camp for Climate Action takes place in small working groups. These working groups cover a wide-range of areas and activities including Welcome & Tranquility, Media, Kids Space, Plumbing, Entertainment and more.
In the run up to each Camp working groups issue a call-out for final help to ensure that everything turns out a success. Below is a list of all the things you can get involved with – some quick and easy, others require more effort, but all vital for the smooth running and success of the Camp.
So if you’ve been wondering how you can get more involved in the Camp, then here’s how you can…
Welcome & Tranquility Group
Welcome & Tranquility Group request anyone interested in bottom lining Tranquility and Welcome activities and anyone to carry out a skill-share in mediation skills before the camp too. To help out contact process [@] climatecamp .org.uk
- Blackboards – The Site Group is currently looking for someone who could construct two large, freestanding blackboards? Unless anyone knows what happened to the beautiful one with the roof from Heathrow pictured below:
If anyone can help produce ones as durable and gorgeous as this, it would be great!
- Toilets, gate-duty and greywater: Individual neighbourhoods are reminded that they will be responsible for contributing to the running of the camp by taking their turn on toilet and gate duty and helping out with greywater. Also, if anyone would like to learn about or help out with greywater then please get in touch with the Site Group. And there is also a need to source sawdust for the loos, and it would make most sense to do this in Scotland
- Fire lanes: Two people are needed to help with setting out fire lanes on the swoop. This important work taking the site will only take a few hours, and tools materials etc will be on site. Anyone interested should contact Kevin at kevin.eddy100 [at] btinternet.com
- Plumbing: The Site Group’s plumbing team need people with *any* sort of plumbing experience – field plumbing, house plumbing, any encounters with water & pipes counts! We’re also after people who are enthusiastic
but without experience — on-the-job training available!
- Visuals: The visuals sub group could do with a few extra pairs of hands in the run up the camp. The best ways to help would be to either come to the
Creation Lab event on the 14th – 15th August at Pop Up Studios in Lewes
or email Sophie Lewis and she can let people know what still
If anyone is able to help out or take on any of these activities then please get in touch with the Site Group by contacting site [at] climatecamp.org.uk
Climate Camp’s Entertainment Group needs the following:
- someone to bottom a line curating a small impromptu stage stage at camp
- for fringe acts and people from camp who want to play
- someone to bottom line building a tripod for a small impromptu stage at camp
- overall bottom liner for entertainments at camp
- musicians, poets, dancers and general performers
- people to talk to comedians and fringe acts and persuade them to play at camp
- outreach people to get people to come to the ents at camp
- More people to join the group!
To help out and for more info contact entertainments [at] climatecamp.org.uk
The Media Team would love people to get involved right now! Previous media experience is not necessary, although obviously a bonus! They use a ‘buddying-up’ technique for anyone who does not feel confident in any particular task to enable fast learning on the job!
Scottish activists would be great as most of the media will be Scotland
Specific Media Team requirements include:
- people who want to contact journalists by phoning and meeting up with key journalists and publications, getting them interested in Climate Camp and our the issues being covered by the Camp, offering articles, etc….
- people to give media skillshare’s throughout August (media experience is necessary for this one)
- people to help write at least a couple of press releases during August and deal with resulting conversations with journalists
- people who want to do print, tv or radio interviews with journalists
- people who will be attending the camp and want to join the media team in all its work: specifically on the day of the ‘swoop’, the ‘set-up day’ and the ‘day of action’!
To get involved contact press [at] climatecamp.org.uk
The Kids Space group generally needs enthusiastic people who want to plan and who will be at the camp to do workshops, help with workshops or just generally play around. If anyone has any workshop ideas and would like to share them then get in touch contact kids [at] climatecamp.org.uk
The Meetings Group are looking for people who can help out with facilitating meetings at this year’s camp – this could be the camp-wide spokes meetings, helping out neighbourhoods who don’t have enough people or the skills to facilitate meetings or to help out any working groups as needed.
If you are interested please could email meetings [at] climatecamp.org.uk asap (even if you have already signed up to do facilitation!) and tell us your: name, email, phone number, what neighbourhood are you in & what days you plan on being at camp
It would also be good if you could give an idea of your level of experience. Like the MEdia Team, a buddy system will be running where less confident people can be paired up with more experienced facilitators.
So what are you waiting for…?
The French Climate Camp has also been happening! After setting up base camp in Le Havre, next to an almighty mammoth area of industrial wasteland, the French campers took their message to the streets with a ‘Velorution’ (velo meaning bicycle), for climate action and against Total.
As the Rossport activists build up to their wave of civil disobediance against the Bore Holes, news also comes that Niall has now been over 100 days in prison for an alleged assault, despite the fact that video evidence was refused in court, which shows the real story.
Finally, MULE magazine in Manchester have put ut a call for some support. They’ve got a great blog, which you can check out here.
As we prepare to take on RBS in Edinburgh this month, we’re also showing solidarity with community campaigns against fossil fuel industries across Scotland. We’ll be encouraging people to get involved with local campaigns during the camp, and we’ll also be helping organise a day-trip to a proposed open cast coal mine site at Cousland, just outside Edinburgh, to support Communities Against Airfield Open Cast. But in the meantime, there’s also some simple things you can do to stop the march of new coal in Scotland.
Before any new coal power developments can be made, companies have to go through an extensive planning appliation process. Objections to planning applications can substantially delay the planning process and force the companies pushing through these projects to spend money on submitting more information. When decisions are made in favour of the coal companies, there is more possibility for a public inquiry if there have been lots of objections. That means that writing objection letters is a really simple and effective way of supporting campaigns and opposing coal. Here are four actions you can take – and it’s no more work than signing your name and sending a letter.
The Douglas Valley in South Lanarkshire has been blighted by open cast mines for over 20 years. Not content with open casting Mainshill after the eviction of 45 protesters from trees and tunnels in January, Scottish Coal have submitted an application to extend the existing Glentaggart Open Cast coal mine. You can download a pro-forma letter to add your name, address and a date to here.
Even more slyly, Scottish Coal, as part of the Scottish Resources Group, has submitted an application to build an industrial development on part of the site of Poniel Open Cast which has now finished. As well as blatantly flaunting their duty to restore the Poniel site, the Coal Authority has said that the development will require the removal of any coal on the site. Have a look at the Poniel / Happendon Mixed Use Development Application (a.k.a. another new open cast for the Douglas Valley) and download a letter of objection to add your name, address and a date to here.
And finally, that new 2 million tonne open cast coal mine is proposed for Airfield Farm, Cousland. A strong local community campaign against this plan, Communities Against Airfield Open Cast have asked for people to object to the plans.
So get signing those letters, and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks for more action!
The big news of the past week has been the announcement by the CPS that no charges will be brought against the officer who struck and pushed to the ground the innocent passer-by, Ian Tomlinson, by a police officer during last year’s London G20 summit demonstrations.
Schnews does a good job at that, as does Kevin Blowe while Antony Painter offers slightly more tongue in cheek coverage.
Right now it’s important to keep on campaigning for justice for Ian and his family and continuing to call the police to account for unlawful actions. You can follow the Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign over at the website and donate to the campaign fund by sending cheques to:
Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign
c/o Newham Monitoring Project
170 Harold Rd
London E13 0SE
Apparently PayPal donations will be up and running this week.
In other climate justice news, the French iteration of Camp for Climate Action, Camp Climat, started last Thursday, 22nd July.
Hopefully we’ll be able to pass on more updates soon but in the meantime here’s a photo gallery of set-up:
We return to the G20 for the second time in one post with the news that last Friday, 23rd July, the European Climate Exchange (as targeted by the Camp for Climate Action during the G20 summit) and the leading marketplace for trading carbon in Europe, had its website targeted by hacktivists from the autonomous tech collective *decocidio* (#ϴ).
In a public act of digital direct action, the ECX website was taken offline and… replaced with this website highlighting the stupidity of carbon trading and demonstrating it to be a false solution.
More power to the Hack Bloc!
We can’t get arrested every day. On some actions carried out covertly or otherwise, you may not want to end up getting nicked, charged and convicted.
Video and camera footage from independent and corporate media can be obtained and analysed by police. Police evidence gatherers and Forward Intelligence Teams regularly snoop on activists and, as happened following the Great Climate Swoop, people can be picked up later and charged over events that happened months before.
For this reason many people choose to conceal their identities on actions by masking up. There’s this misguided idea that masking up is about looking intimidating and is therefore wrong. This isn’t true – it’s about recognising the radical idea that some people might actually want to run at a fence with boltcroppers and stay free to take action again another day.
There is scope for creativity within this – animal masks, pink blocs and ‘greenwash detector’ white forensics masks being possible ideas. However, it is important to consider co-ordination on this – if everyone wears the same coloured clothes and masks, it makes it a lot more difficult for police to target individuals and snatch them out of the crowd. Make sure you do it properly – tattoos, hair and piercings should all be covered.
And lastly, a plea to photographers – ASK before taking photos of people on actions. Even if they’re not masked up, don’t assume that it’s okay. Your footage will be analysed by the police, and activist footage has led to convictions. It is never okay to put somebody else’s freedom at risk. We play into the hands of the police if we do this.