There is no better time to be thinking about how we can make Norwich a place that doesn’t suffer from the depletion of oil
The ‘Transition Norwich’ group will be holding its ‘Great Unleashing’ (launch event) at St Andrew’s Hall at 7.30 pm this Wednesday evening (Oct. 1st). [See for details.]

Speakers at the Unleashing will include Rob Hopkins (who founded Transition Totnes and thus the whole Transition movement, and who I debated on this blog and on his, last year) and local MPs and Councillors.

The central part of the Unleashing will be small-group discussions on particular aspects of creating a resilient Norwich. These will include food, transport, buildings, the economy, waste, government, and Heart and Soul. These groups will begin work on developing an ‘Energy Descent Plan’ for Norwich: working out how Norwich will practically cope with having less fossil fuel energy in the future. I will be attending the ‘Transport’ group.

The Norwich Green Party Councillors, naturally, fully back the ‘Transition Norwich’ initiative. Many Norwich Greens will be attending on Wednesday evening, and Green Party County Councillor Chris Hull has been asked to chair the event.
I am looking forward immensely to this event. With oil prices once again rocketing upwards, there is no better time to be thinking about how we can make Norwich a place that doesn’t suffer from the ‘peaking’ and inevitable decline in our oil supplies. A green approach to dealing with this inevitability is 100% in line with what the excellent Transition movement is actively working towards.


Norwich councillor Rupert Read, prospective Green Party MEP for East Anglia, today expressed sorrow and sadness at the late night murder of Frank McGarahan in Norwich City centre (1).  But Dr. Read, a local resident of Norwich, also called for the self-examination of a society in which this vicious act could occur. 
He said
“Our thoughts today are with the family, friends and workmates of the Mr. McGarahan.  The men who perpetrated this violent act are to be condemned thoroughly and brought to justice.
His murder is symptomatic of a society which has in some cases grown selfish and materialistic in its prosperity.  The greatest honour we could pay the courageous Mr. McGarahan is to prevent similar tragedies ever happening again. 
“To prevent incidents like this re-occurring we also need to examine just why a group of adults in a reasonably wealthy society should feel the need to beat another man to death.  This awful event makes plain how strong is the need for a change from a selfish, materialistic, Thatcherite society to one that is more caring, compassionate and peaceful, and where we treat each other as neighbours and not as a competitive threat. We surely need to look at how to change our society itself so that events like this no longer blight the towns and streets of East Anglia.”
Notes to editor

 10% of the Eastern regional vote would elect Norwich Councillor Rupert Read to the European Parliament to join Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas (MEP for neighbouring SouthEast Region)

Now is not the time for timidity

Amidst the vast turmoil of today’s financial markets, it is funny to see how small are the proposed solutions being put forward by any of the ‘main 3’ Parties. See,%20and%20beyond.doc for my history in one of those Parties; I left the Liberal Democrat Party when Charlie K. took over; and since then, the general thrust of LibDem policy has only been yet further to the ‘Right.’ The gaping hole in the political spectrum is occupied: by the Green Party.
The fundamental problem with the LibDems is that they stand for so little. Clegg is trying to get them to stand for ‘liberty’. But this, unadorned, is fundamentally a right-wing idea.
The crisis convulsing our planet should make clear to us that it is time for a return to ideology. We need a bold new analysis – a Green New Deal [ ] to tackle peak oil, manmade climate change, and financial crisis. The old ideologies have failed; and the LibDems hardly have any ideology at all. The ideology for our time is ecologism. See Andrew Dobson’s book, GREEN POLITICAL THOUGHT.
Now is not the time for timidity. … Vote Green, to go green…

New Dredging Threat to our Coastline: Green Party fights back!

Newly formed  AODA, the Anglian Offshore Dredging Association consisting of CEMEX UK Marine, Hanson Aggregates Marine, United Marine Dredging, Volker Dredging Ltd. and Sea Aggregates Ltd are considering a new set of dredging areas off our East Anglian coast.

A further large extension (Area 495B) is being sought offshore between Gt. Yarmouth and Lowestoft, to the east of the existing dredging area, and also another new area (Area 496) some ten times that area already being dredged at the existing site off Southwold. The near edge of this Area 496 is to the west of the existing dredging ground, less than half the distance from the shoreline as the existing dredge site.

AODA is holding a ‘Public Information Day’ on this issue at the Vice Admiral Bar at Great Yarmouth Racecourse THIS FRIDAY, open from 2.00 pm with three 15 to 20 minute presentation sessions to commence at 3 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm. I will be there from 3pm onwards, to ask tough questions of the dredgers. So will Pat Gowen of the independent coastal research and protection group, MARINET, and probably (as happened last time) a large number of ordinary citizens and coastal campaigners.

In Holland, the world experts on coastline protection have a ban on dredging for aggregates closer than 25km to the shore. Yet here in England, we allow dredging to take place way closer than that. If this application is granted, it will be criminally irresponsible, at a time when manmade climate change is threatening in any case to raise sea levels and is already worsening winter storms.
I intend on Friday to ask a set of awkward questions of the dredgers; if they cannot adequately reply, then they owe it to the people of East Anglia to withdraw their application and take a more sensible, precautionary approach, rather than wading in and ruining our fragile coastline forever.
n.b. There is a useful briefing at 

I am going to Liftshare’s national 10th Anniversary Conference, in Attleborough, this Friday

Liftshare is a website where conscientious commuters can easily find like-minded individuals from their local area with whom they can share lifts to and from work each day — and save lots of money in the process!  It provides the forum in which people can build up social networks, so for those who don’t know someone in their immediate social environment who wants to car share, then Liftshare is the answer.  And if for those who already car share, Liftshare can be used to find more people to share with so the costs can be split further still, and CO2 emissions further reduced.
Liftshare has proved to be a successful innovation over the past decade.  They currently have over a quarter of a million members (including me) and over a million trips are registered.  The Green Party has been encouraging more car-sharing to help counter man-made climate change caused by excessive CO2 emissions, and Liftshare provides an easy-to-use tool that helps people to do just that, as well as saving commuters money at the same time.  Liftshare encourages social networking in a practical way that will help with the problems facing our eco-system, and this is an activity that the Green Party supports unreservedly. I am delighted to be going to this event, on Friday… [by train, by the way!  ūüôā ].

Lib Dem Conference backed PFI – and was sponsored by Tesco

I have been asked to give more evidence of the LibDem lurch to the Right.
Well, here is a powerful piece of such evidence:
Isn't PFI by definition "cooking the books"?…
This is a LibDem sop to the interests of big finance. Isn't this an
incredibly ironic moment to choose, to trust the very people who have at the
present time brought the world's economy to its knees?!!
p.s. And how about this:
And check Scott Redding's apposite _comment_, here:
Hard to see a Party happy to have Conference sponsorship from Tesco as
anything other than sold out.

Mark Lynas defeats himself

Mark Lynas, is getting a lot of page-time and air-time at the moment with his ‘iconoclastic’ embrace of nuclear power. The funny thing is, Mark Lynas’s  own work already shows why he is wrong to back nuclear power, yet he has somehow missed this…
Mark shot to prominence with his wonderful book ‘High tide’, about how incipient climate chaos is already rendering many coastlines and even entire islands less- or un- inhabitable. Where are virtually all the world’s nuclear power stations? At sea level, because of their need for huge amounts of water for cooling…
It would be a vast crime, if this generation were to build yet more nuclear power capacity, in places that are in many instances likely to be inundated by rising sea levels, even if we manage to get manmade climate change under control at about 2.5 degrees of over-heat (let alone if we don’t…).
Mark also fails to mention a huge part of the real solution, that lies in those same waters: Let’s harvest the energy that we need from those rising and falling tides — rather than seeing them create the mother of all eco-catastrophes, if we put our eggs into the deadly energy basket-case of nuclear…

FoE drops FSC

This is a very interesting release from the impressive new organisation, ECOLOGICAL INTERNET:
_Friends of the Earth Rejects Forest Stewardship Council_

– Major victory for Ecological Internet’s campaign to end
ancient forest logging as key response to climate and
biodiversity crises

September 23, 2008
By Earth’s Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet
Dr. Glen Barry, +1 (920) 664-1965,

(Earth) — Friends of the Earth (FoE) is the first major
international NGO to confirm they no longer support Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which falsely
suggests primary and old-growth forest logging is desirable
and even sustainable. This is a major victory for those
including Ecological Internet (EI) and FSC-Watch[1] who have
courageously taken on large environmental interests using FSC
to greenwash ancient forest destruction.

FoE pioneered timber certification during the 1980s and was
one of FSC’s founders, but FoE International in Amsterdam has
confirmed that it is now “reviewing” its membership of the
organization. FoE UK announced on their website[2] they are
“deeply concerned by the number of FSC certifications that are
now sparking controversy and threatening the credibility of
the scheme. We cannot support a scheme that fails to guarantee
high environmental and social standards. As a result we can no
longer recommend the FSC standard.”

“FoE is to be commended for their courage in admitting all
forest certification schemes including FSC are failing
forests, climate and peoples globally. FSC plantation and
ancient forest logging standards have been shown to be a fraud
— business as usual forest destruction. We welcome reports
that other European NGOs may follow FoE’s lead, and demand
that Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and WWF stop their
stonewalling and follow suit, or face escalating disruptive
protests” warns Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet’s

EI has long sought protection for all the Earth’s remaining
primary and old-growth forests. These efforts were stymied by
large environmental bureaucracies falsely suggesting cutting
carbon and species rich, centuries old trees is an
environmental good. It became obvious the world’s forests
could only be protected, and global ecological sustainability
achieved, if groups supporting FSC were confronted. Our
protest campaign launched last year, assisted by recent
overwhelming ecological science showing old-growth forests
continue to store and remove carbon and are essential to
fighting climate change[3].
More Information:
[1] For more information see
[2] See their statement at:
[3] See earlier EI release at:


Dr. Glen Barry is a global spokesperson on behalf of global
environmental sustainability policy. Ecological Internet
provides the world’s leading climate and environment portals
at and 
Dr. Barry frequently conducts interviews on the latest
climate, forest and water policy developments and can be
reached at:, +1 (920) 664-


PRESS RELEASE: Green Euro Candidate says, ‘Keep Hinchingbrooke public!’

Photo call:

Rupert Read, prospective Green Party MEP for Eastern Region, will be outside Hinchingbrooke Hospital with members of the Hunts Green Party between 4pm and 4.30pm on Sunday, September 28 and will be happy to speak to journalists.




The Green Party’s prospective MEP for this region has backed calls to stop Hinchingbrooke Hospital being made into a ‘Foundation Trust’.


Rupert Read offered his support to the campaign ahead of a visit to Huntingdon on Sunday (28.9.08) when he will join local party members canvassing homes in Huntingdon.


He said: “Foundation Trusts are simply privatisation¬†under a prettier name. ‘New Labour’ has continued and accelerated the Conservative betrayal of our National Health Service, privatising it bit by bit while pretending to support it.


“Only the Green Party can be trusted to stop this. If I am elected to the European Parliament next June, to represent this area, you can be confident that I will do all in my powers to keep our hospitals in public hands, free and open to all.


“The Greens say: Keep public services public!”


Members of the Hunts Green Party will also be joining a Keep Our NHS Public, rally and march on October 4th, called to protest against the possible privatisation of Hinchingbrooke Hospital.