Jobs and action on climate change

We are co-signatories of a letter in this week’s Camden New Journal, we’re supporting SHIFT in Camden and joining a broad coalition of local groups campaigning for jobs and action on climate change.

WE would like to invite readers to take part in setting up a new campaign for jobs and action against climate change, and to take part in a new Camden wing of the SHIFT movement.

SHIFT held its first event last Saturday in Camden Town Hall.

As many of your readers will know, the accepted view among climate scientists is that the world is heading towards a climate catastrophe.

If we don’t act soon to change our course we can expect hunger on a huge scale, flooding of cities, and destruction of low-lying agricultural land close to the sea, as well as inevitable mass migration and conflict. We are already beginning to see the impacts whether through high food prices or increasingly extreme weather patterns.

At the same time we are in the middle of an economic crisis which involves not just a short-term downturn but a longer-term decline in the UK economy.

The banking crisis has shown that the City of London and the wider financial services sector is not the solution to this. Meanwhile the government continues with its counter- productive policy of slash and burn.

At the moment, all eyes are focused on getting us out of this crisis and opposing austerity.

The large political parties – left and right – don’t see any votes in addressing climate change, and no reason to shake us out of our complacency in that respect. So we cruise on with our heads down, though now at a slightly slower speed.

The SHIFT movement is about changing course. It’s about developing broad-based, local-level, coalitions that ask for action, and take action themselves, to counter austerity and invest in jobs and renew our economy along different lines. The movement is about creating an economy that is stronger and more resilient; and an economy that works not only for us but for our children and grandchildren, and poorer folks in this country and abroad.

On Saturday social enterprise directors and Transition Groups led discussions about setting up new local industries: from a bigger renewable sector including small scale anaerobic digestion plants and community solar PV schemes, to a new sector focused on repair.

Keith Sonnet, until recently the deputy general secretary of the trade union Unison, and Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of the PCS trade union, both spoke about the need to invest massively in climate-related jobs.

Move your Money and UK Uncut talked about putting pressure on councils and other bodies to invest in a sustainable economy and ethical corporations. George Barda, Occupy, talked about protest and direct action. Crossroads Women’s Centre spoke about action by women across the world. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett explained her vision of an economy that was needed for a fair, just, peaceful, society.

The Campaign against Climate Change trade union group led discussions about their million climate jobs campaign. Charles Secrett, co-founder Green New Deal Group talked about the huge potential of the green economy and tax reform, and building a wide coalition that makes it clear to politicians that just coasting on will win them no votes.

The event last Saturday was an inspiring day showing that through many different groups all working together we can create a different sort of economy and a brighter future for all. This coalition has been inspired by similar events in other parts of the country, led by the Alliance for Jobs and Climate.

This meeting was a beginning and will lead to something more, so if you would like to take part, please email

Sara Ayech, Transition Dartmouth Park
Susan Poupard, Camden Friends of the Earth
Cllr Maya de Souza, Camden Green Party
George Barda, Occupy
Peter Robinson, SHIFT
Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, founder of Earth Charter UK
Keith Sonnet, ex-Unison deputy general secretary
Charles Secrett, co-founder Green New Deal Group

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Green is working!

Some photos from our Clean British Energy day of action at the Brunswick Centre in October:

Our “green is working” photo stunt attracted a lot of attention (including from the Brunswick Centre security guards!) and we got a fair few postcards signed.  Thanks to everyone who took part and to our photographer Julia O’Dell!

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Jobs and climate – An Economy for the 99%

Camden Friends of the Earth is part of a coalition of local organisations supporting “An Economy for the 99%” – a day of talks and workshops designed to share ideas and make it happen, to be held on Saturday 24 November at Camden Town Hall in Kings Cross.

There are two central themes: developing an alternative to austerity and the need to combat climate change.  The two are intrinsically linked – massive investment in green measures such as energy efficiency, sustainable transport systems, and renewable energy will address climate change and create jobs.

We have a inspiring line up of keynote speakers and workshop sessions.  Speakers include Charles Secrett, ex- Executive Director of Friends of the Earth; Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of PCS trade union; Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party; George Barda, the Occupy Movement; Danielle Paffard of Move Your Money, and Cllr Phil Jones, London Borough of Camden Cabinet Member for Sustainability.

Tickets cost £6 (£3 concessions) – book your tickets online
Tickets are also available from Housmans bookshop, Kings Cross.

You can also join and share the Facebook page for the event.

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Join a bee walk in Belsize Park

This Saturday Camden Friends of the Earth will be buzzing about bees at the Belsize Green Fair in Belsize Park!

Come along and join a bee walk – at 12 and 2pm we’ll be taking a stroll around Belsize looking at three bee-friendly sites: St Peter’s Church ‘Fruitery’ in Belsize Park (features an insect hotel), Premier Inn in Belsize Park, and the Royal Free Hospital Heath Strange Garden.  Hear from Transition Belsize on how they have made these sites bee-friendly.  Meet at the Transition Belsize stall (next to the Camden Friends of the Earth stall!) at 12 or 2pm.

Check out our bee cause stall from 10-4pm, and find info on how to be bee-friendly, bee-friendly plants, and sign our petition asking the government for a national bee action plan.

Enter our bee hotel competition on our stall – bring along a design for a bee hotel (either one you’ve made, or on paper), and you could win a copy of Bees in the City and some bee-friendly flower seeds.

See photos below from our Bee walks around Primrose Hill/Camden Town at the London Permaculture Festival in July –

Bee walk visits the beautiful bee-friendly garden at St Mark’s Church, Primrose Hill

Bee walk visits St Mark's church, Primrose Hill

Bees on buddleia flowers

bees on buddleia flowers

Bee-spotting in the lovely churchyard of St Mark’s church:

St Mark's church, Primrose Hill

Natasha pointing out bee-friendly places in Regents Park, including the the Community Wildlife garden:

Regents Park map

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Bee our guest

Bee hotels – have you seen any around Camden?
Sergio from our group spotted this one at Kentish Town City Farm last week.

Bee hotel at Kentish Town City Farm

Get creative and make a bee hotel

You can make your own bee hotel – they’re a great way to attract solitary bees. Just follow the instructions on How to make a bee hotel (PDF).

Bee hotel competition

We’re running a Bee Hotel Competition with a prize for the best bee hotel! All you have to do is make your own bee hotel – or be a bee hotel architect and design one on paper – and bring it along to our Camden Friends of the Earth stall at the Belsize Green Fair on Sat 29th September to enter the competition.
Look out for our Bee Walks happening at the fair too!

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Saving the world with a song

Thanks to all who made it to last Friday’s Animated Earth Concert and who helped organise the event – it was a lovely evening of music and animation with lots of laughs and we hope you enjoyed it!

Many thanks also to Camden Council for their help in promoting the show.

Susan’s short review of the evening is below:

Ingredients: Camden Friends of the Earth, a cartoonist, drinks, “A Green Victoria Wood”, Anna Ware from Camden Council sustainability team, Luke Concannon, the Clean British Energy campaign, and a big beautiful church…A recipe for: a fun night of singing songs about making the world a better place!

Last Friday Camden Friends of the Earth hosted the second show on Jess Gold’s Animated Earth Concert Tour, which is touring around England this Autumn. Friday’s concert, in support of the Clean British Energy campaign, included songs on fossil fuels as well as eating less meat, water and how we suffer from an addiction to cars!

You might assume that the show would be a little bit depressing, but cheeky and fun is probably the best way to describe it. Jess got the crowd singing with her argumentative song about flying (“You don’t have to fly…Yes we do!…No you don’t!”) and then lulled us all with a beautiful song about water. “Car Addiction” entertained us with Jess and Haruna Komatsu’s double act on whether a sexy body or a sexy car is preferred! Amongst many other highlights was the live animation accompanying songs, inspired by audience suggestions (which ranged from roast chicken to taxis!).

There are three more London shows that you can catch, and I recommend that you do – in St John’s Wood, West Kilburn and Waterloo on the 18th, 19th and 23rd September, see the tour website for details,

Find out more about the Clean British Energy campaign at

See the video below of Jess and Haruna singing “Car Addiction” at Friday’s show:

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Animated Earth comes to Camden this Friday!

If it’s not in your diary, add it in now! — Our Animated Earth Concert kicks off at 7.30pm this Friday at St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, and all are welcome to join in with what promises to be a fantastic evening of music, fun and animation!

The evening will feature music from Jess Gold and her band, support from chart-topping singer-songwriter Luke Concannon and live cartooning and animation by cartoonist Danny Fenster – whose cartoons will be shaped by suggestions from the audience!  See a mini-animation below for a very brief taster of that element of the show:

The Animated Earth Tour has received great reviews, with audience members of the previous show describing Jess as a “green Victoria Wood”!  We’re sure the evening will be a lot of fun and we hope you can join us on the night.

Proceeds from the show go to Friends of the Earth, advance tickets are £10 from or tickets can be purchased on the door, priced £12.

See you on Friday!

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Animated Earth Concert, 7 September 2012

Join us for an entertaining evening of eco-music and animation on Friday 7 September!

Animated Earth Concert, St Pancras churchCamden Friends of the Earth is excited to present Jess Gold and Luke Concannon in the Animated Earth Concert Tour, Friday 7 September 2012, 7pm, at the beautiful St Pancras church, Euston Road.

Jess is launching her new album “Project Earth Rock” by playing the first ever UK concert tour of unashamedly eco-focused songs performed with the specific intention of making people feel good. Support will be provided by Luke Concannon, the chart-topping songwriter of JCB song/Nizlopi fame, who will be playing music from his hot-off-the-press new solo album. During the show cartoonist Danny Fenster will bring to life audience offerings in the creation of a unique satirical cartoon.

Tickets for the concert are £10 in advance or £12 on the door, and can be purchased online at

Proceeds from the concert will go towards the Friends of the Earth Clean British Energy campaign.

Read more on the Animated Earth Tour website, and check out the Facebook event.

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Bee walk: discovering what’s good and bad for bees

On Sunday 8 July we joined a bee walk in Hackney organised by Hackney & Tower Hamlets Friends of the Earth. It was an enlightening walk taking in lots of different areas – a cemetery, residential areas, busy roads, parks, and the canal towpath. We looked at how these different areas are managed, what’s good and not so good for bees, and of course did some bee-spotting along the way too!

If you’re interested in joining bee walks in Camden we’re running them this Saturday 21 July (more info).

Some highlights of the Hackney bee walk…

First bee sighting of the day! In the wildflowers at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (can you spot any bees in this photo?)

We saw the newly-installed beehives at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park – which has a big fence around it to keep the bees (and people!) safe:

Beautiful wildflower meadows to encourage bees and other wildlife at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park:

An amazing display of pot plants on a fence in a front garden… unfortunately most of these flowers are just “showy” and look good, but are no good for bees.

Bare allotment area outside Grafton House, E3. This could be a great spot for some bee-friendly planting – and food growing.

Good to see some houses on the very busy Bow Road still have front gardens that aren’t paved over:

Buddelia growing over a fence next to Bow Church station. This isn’t a native species but does attract bees.

Window boxes on Tower Hamlets Registry Office; they look colourful but are a bit lacking in bee-friendly flowers:

Bow Church churchyard. Not as bee-friendly as it could be: where are all the flowering plants, ivy or bee hotels?

An Astroturf front garden on Bow Road. Definitely not bee-friendly.

Plants outside McDonalds at the Bow Rd/A12 junction. Great to see some planting here, but more native species would be better for wildlife…

A plot on Fairfield Rd, next to the railway and managed by Network Rail… this would be a great spot for some bee-friendly plants:

A fantastic example of colourful, wildlife-friendly planting outside Tufnell Court, E3 (Old Ford Housing Association). Looks beautiful and the bees were enjoying the lavender plants!

Ivy-covered house by the canal. Ivy is great for bees as it flowers later in the year.

The canal towpath – wildflowers on the towpath grow where the verges aren’t mown:

Roundabout by Victoria Park, planted with flowers:

As you can see, we saw habitats that are both good and bad for bees, and we used some of the good and bad examples that we saw to suggest ideas for a local ‘bee action plan’.

Join a Bee Safari Walk in Camden this weekend!

This weekend we’re tracking bees and bee-friendly habitats in Camden! Join us on a Bee Safari walk this Saturday 21 July at the London Permaculture Festival.

On a short walk we’ll discover how we can help bees, track discoveries on camera/phones, do some bee-spotting and help input into an important Bee Action plan for the area. The Bee walks will run at 12.00, 14.00 and 16.00 for about half an hour (look out for our volunteers dressed in bee costumes). Also visit our bee stall at the festival to take part in a bee quiz!

For more info email

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Film screening: Vanishing of the Bees

Join us for a free screening of ‘Vanishing of the Bees‘ at Camley St Natural Park (behind Kings Cross) on Tuesday 10 July and learn more about the disappearance of honeybees, what this means, and what we can do about it.

When? Tuesday 10 July, 6.30pm
Where? Camley St Natural Park, Camley Street, Kings Cross, N1C 4PW

Free entry, donations encouraged
All welcome!

Doors will open at 6.30pm with introduction at 6.45pm, refreshments will be available. Following the film we’ll have a couple of guest speakers sharing what we can do to help bees.

Join the Facebook event for the screening. If you need any further details email

Vanishing of the Bees trailer:

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