Monday, 23 November 2015

A Good Send-off & Dilemmas in Paris

Blog 3
The Off – and dilemmas.

Minutes after writing the last blog on Friday, I got the message that Tearfund had cancelled the ‘Cycle Pilgrimage’.  TF felt that they it would be more responsible not to take additional people into Paris at this time given the security situation and the cancelled big march.  In brief, after a flurry of emails, 9 of the 11 participants are still going but unofficially, without the back up van.  The leader Chris said that he would do it voluntarily because it was so important. Fantastic. So, with slight worries about what else will be prevented by security measures, with a stronger sense of purpose we are still going!

One can sympathise with TF trying to work out where their responsibilities lay (their own TF staff not going, by the way).  But Naomi Klein’s article in Saturday’s Guardian, argues that Hollande has no right to decide to let football matches, Christmas markets and meetings between powerful leaders carry on but civil protest to be stopped for the UN Climate Summit. The voices of small nations and ordinary people as well as governments and well-funded NGO’s need to be heard, are rarely heard but these summits are such an occasion, and integral to the process.  If France cannot do now it properly including civil society, it should be delayed.  Terrorism is a big problem but also ‘Climate Change is violence’ , slow violence. 

In September I met a man from Tuvalu, a low-lying Pacific island state.  Already all their ground-water supplies are saline from rising sea-level, so crops cannot be grown and they are reliant on rain water and food imports.  40% of the population has already permanently emigrated (to New Zealand).  Leaders of main polluting nations need to hear that, feel the force of it.

More cheerily we had a great send off at the prize-giving for the children's climate postcards at theWestSolarCoop.  9000 panels provide the electrical needs of 650 homes locally.  Solar power emits about a tenth of the Greenhouse Gases per unit of electricity (kWh) of natural gas, wind one fortieth emissions of gas which why we need renewables!

The 11 prizewinners, the mayor and  myself glowing like an alien

Three of the prizewinning cards below.

On the ferry to France tomorrow!

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