Photography competition: Create Energy in Camden

Calling all photographers in and around Camden….Enter our photo competition and your work could be exhibited in a gallery in Camden Town!

Submit your photos on the theme of “energy“: there are two categories, for under-18s and over-18s.  Winning photos will be exhibited in our clean energy photo exhibition in Camden Town.  Please feel free to be creative with the theme!

Send your photos to Camden Friends of the Earth: camdenfoe@gmail.com by midnight Monday 27 May 2013 (please note the closing date has been extended!).

Important details:

All photos should be taken in the London Borough of Camden;

Photo should be a good enough quality to be able to be printed A4 size;

Please include a brief caption or title for your photo, where the photo was taken, your name, email and age category (under 18 or over 18 – please include date of birth if under 18);

All participants will be invited to the launch and private view of the photo exhibition in Camden Town;

All photos should be your own original work and you will retain copyright.

By sending in your photos you agree to Camden Friends of the Earth publishing your photo online and in our clean energy photo exhibition (with full credit).

Closing date midnight 27 May 2013.

Download the photo competition flyer and exhibition invite (PDF)

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Can Camden go fossil-free?

Have you signed the Fossil Free Camden petition yet?

We believe our local government has a responsibility to divest from an industry that’s destroying our future. By continuing to invest in fossil fuels (for example in pension investments), Camden Council is supporting the power, influence and activities of the fossil fuel industry.

Why are Camden investing public money in fossil fuels, while at the same time they are spending money on sustainability initiatives to combat climate change?

We would like to see Camden Council lead the way on sustainability and ensure their investments act for the public good by not investing in activities that are damaging for people and planet.

Leading cities around the world are already divesting from fossil fuels, including Seattle and San Francisco… wouldn’t it be great if Camden could lead the way in London?  Sign up to support Fossil Free Camden now and please share!

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Busy bees

Bee Cause campaigning in Covent Garden

After a spot of hibernation over winter, our Bee Cause campaign was back out in the springtime sunshine, with a campaigning day at the Melvita store in Covent Garden on Sunday 21 April.

Melvita, an organic beauty brand founded by beekeeper Bernard Chevilliat, is supporting the campaign, and their Covent Garden shop is hosting a number of Bee Cause campaign days – featuring honey-tasting and bee face painting, and asking shoppers to sign the Bee Cause petition postcards.  Our bee suits (see photo below) got a lot of interest from passers-by, and we had a lot of support for a national bee action plan – lots of postcards were signed for us to send on to David Cameron!

Busy bees campaigning in Covent Garden


Supporting a bee-friendly flower meadow in Highgate

We are also mentioned in this week’s Ham & High newspaper (18 April 2013), supporting a proposal to create a bee-friendly space in Highgate Reservoir, land owned by Thames Water.  Full text of the article is below.

Ham and High 'Haven plan to stop flight of the bumblebee'


Bee Saver Kits now available

You can now order your own bee saver kit, which includes wildflower seeds, a garden planner, a step-by-step guide on how you can save bees, and a bee identification poster.

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Volunteer vacancy: group co-ordinator

We are currently advertising the below vacancy for volunteer co-ordinator(s) of Camden Friends of the Earth.  Please get in touch if you’re interested, or come along to our next monthly meeting (Thursday 4 April).

Do you live in the borough of Camden? Are you passionate about environmental issues and do you like to work closely with a team of like-minded people? Are you looking for a challenging, interesting and fun voluntary role and do you have some spare time each week? Then you’re just what we’re looking for!

Who are we looking for?

To support our activity we are looking for a co-ordinator (or two joint co-ordinators) to keep our group and our campaigns running smoothly. We have a treasurer, outreach and local groups liaison officer, communications and social media officer, and a creative consultant but we need a Co-ordinator to help keep us on track with our regular meetings and annual goals. You would also receive ongoing advice, training and support from a member of staff at national Friends of the Earth. Please note that you will need to live in or near the borough of Camden.

Key responsibilities:

  • Organising and attending monthly meetings
  • Promoting communication and planning, and helping to create a group environment that is inclusive and rewarding.
  • Welcoming new members to the group and making sure the group’s interests are reflected in campaigning activities
  • Keeping the group updated with key activities and actions.
  • Acting as a contact for the group with Friends of the Earth HQ.
  • Ensuring the group has goals and stays focused on them.
  • Supporting other members of the group in their roles.
  • Assisting the group in developing campaigns – both national and local.

Key skills or requirements:

  • Organised
  • Reliable
  • Motivated and enthusiastic
  • Good at delegating
  • Friendly, open and approachable
  • Good at communicating (phone, in person, by letter or email)
  • IT literate to a basic level – using internet, email, word processing
  • Supportive of the Friends of the Earth agenda, and generally aware and concerned about environmental issues
  • An ability to dedicate time on some evenings and weekends

It is an unpaid post, but agreed expenses relating to work for the group will be refunded.

If you’re interested in applying, please email camdenfoe@gmail.com and come along to our next monthly meeting (details on the contact us page).

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Cycling and the canal

You may have read our letter on cycling and the canal that was published in the Camden New Journal (10 January 2013).  This is something we’re currently working with other Friends of the Earth groups in north London as well as other local groups, including the Canal and River Trust.  The text of our letter as published is below.  Interested? Please do get in touch.

Following a recent report on the Canal & River Trust’s campaign encouraging commuting cyclists to move off the canal, we at Camden Friends of the Earth would strongly encourage residents of Camden to get behind the campaign and ask the council to make improvements to the cycling infrastructure to support this.

Many cyclists use the canal as part of an east-west commute because the alternative routes are much more difficult to navigate.

They involve crossing major junctions, cycling along busy roads full of traffic fumes and reaching the end of apparently useful cycle lanes without any indication of where to go next.

Relatively simple improvements to the cycling infrastructure will dramatically improve the ability to commute through Camden without travelling along the canal, leaving the towpath to pedestrians and more leisurely travel.

As Camden Friends of the Earth we are working on a full list of improvements – do get in touch with us on camdenfoe@gmail.com if you want to get involved.

Natasha Clayton

Camden Friends of the Earth

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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 alliance@jobsandclimate.org.uk.

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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