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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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