Tag Archives: change

Prosperity without growth, in a tent on Blackheath

Talk at the Blackheath Climate Camp
I attended David Fleming’s talk at the Climate Camp Is economics without growth possible?. The place was packed. It was really interesting to hear someone playing with big ideas, and asking difficult questions.

I’m the first to admit that I was out of my depth at this talk. The Wind Turbines talk was much more understandable to me. Nonetheless, here are my notes:
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Things to do at Climate Camp on Monday

Tripods at the climate camp, Blackheath by flickr user Bagelmouse

Here are my suggestions if you fancy attending a workshop at the climate camp today.  More ideas here.

Future Scenarios: Science, Permaculture and Economics
London, 10:30-11:30
Exploring future scenarios in the context of climate change. Various futures as predicted through three lenses: science, permaculture and economics. Based on the work of Six Degrees author Mark Lynas, permaculturalist David Holmgren, eco-economist Herman Daly as illustrated by artists for the travelling exhibition: Futures Scenarios.

David Fleming: is economics without growth possible?
Space 9, 14:30-16:00
It is widely agreed that our economy cannot continue to grow indefinitely. Environmental damage and resource depletion will see to that. And yet, if growth were to be halted, then the economy would be destroyed in another way: it is a dynamic system which (like a bicycle) depends on forward movement to maintain its stability. This is the growth curse. The market economy is damned if it grows, and damned if it doesn’t. There are solutions to this, but they are very difficult ones, extending far beyond a reform of the financial system. The workshop will explore them. David Fleming is an economist, inventor of Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs), and author of Lean Logic: The Empowerment Dictionary (forthcoming).

Bike Maintenance for kids
Kids’ Space, 14:30-16:00
Learn some basic bike maintenance skills.

Training: How to use tripods
Field, 16:30-18:30
Learn how to climb a tripod – an iconic symbol of the camp for climate action, and handy for securing occupations and blockades.

The “Economics without Growth” one looks particularly interesting, and isn’t just some angry protester shouting about injustices in the world, but is a respected academic talking about his suggestions as to how to fix things.


Photo by Flickr user Bagelmouse

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Less of a Cornish Rebellion than a Welsh Outsourcing

Dafauxdils photo by flickr user Zimpenfish
From WalesOnline news:

Welsh cops have been drafted into London to deal with up to 3,000 environmental protesters.
Nearly 30 officers from North Wales Police were sent to the Climate Camp at Blackheath in east London, overlooking the capital’s Docklands and Canary Wharf, earlier this week.

Dafauxdils photo by flickr user Zimpenfish

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The optimists

A couple of much more upbeat pieces in The Times:

Giles Hattersley: Why we are all climate camp followers now
(which wins the Bugle award for least imaginative headline).

As I walked up there, I did hear a load of people shouting “get a job” from the safety of their cars as they drove past the camp… Didn’t hear anyone reply “get a bike” though. The article also mentions the number of planes over Blackheath.

Jonathan Leake: From margin to mainstream
Claiming that the protest gives the government the “political space” that they require to get tough on climate change.

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A Better Class of Nutter

Well written analysis of the Climate Camp in the Torygraph, obsessing over class again.

It might appear typically British to obsess about class while the earth burns..

Yes, it does, now you come to mention it actually…

…but what seems to distinguish the colourfully attired protesters at the Climate Camp set up in south-east London from previous revolutionaries is the overwhelming dominance of posh, upper-middle-class white people.

And on on Mayor Bullock:

Bullock, a former van driver, neatly represents the class conflict between green campaigners and the working class, who tend to be apathetic about political protest of any sort, and especially the tree-hugging variety.

Interesting description on the tensions between the “Spikys” and the “Fluffys”. I definitely saw a few “Spikys” on the first day, but fewer today.

Already, however, the coalition had splintered. After Drax, the “spikys”, the more anarchic wing of the anti-capitalist movement, left in disillusionment at the pacifism of the “fluffys”. Last week, a “spiky” outfit known as the Whitechapel Anarchist Group – “the Wags” – objected to the Camp’s “fluffy” leaders meeting “the pigs”, as anarchists still call the police.

And then back to class again:

Yet the children of the privileged have often formed the nucleus of radical protest movements, from the student demos of 1968 back through the Suffragettes and the Chartists. Even the Peasants’ Revolt was not called that at the time (rather, “The Mad Multitude”), and its leaders were “middle-class” by today’s standards.

There does seem to be a competition running between the Mail and The Telegraph to see who can attract the most mental comments at the bottom of their articles…. Not like the Buglers of course…

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Help out the Climate Change Camp – free your wifi this weekend!


If you live near the Climate Change camp, and have wifi, you can help the Climate Change protestors out by switching off your wifi password. It’s not that risky if you have decent security software on your PC, and its firewall is enabled – see this explanation.

Amelia Gregory, one of the organisers sent a message out, saying:

Well that was good. Have been totally unable to get online all morning til I discovered we have wi-Fi. Are police blocking me?!

Doubt they are being blocked, probably just a zillion wifi users all trying to connect to one router!

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Blackheath – The Daily Mail lifestyle choice

The Daily Mail comes to the Blackheath climate camp protest, bringing a whiff of lifestyle, despair and misery.

Apparently it’s not a protest, it’s a load of middle class children, who will never be political and are a bunch of hypocrites for even attempting such a protest. Every time I read one of these Mail articles (and feel guilty for clicking on their links) it reminds me how much they seem to hate their own readers. It is as though they are saying “You can’t change anything, so don’t even try. You’ve lost already so go home and do as we tell you”. It delights in asking “Where are all the battle-hardened anarchists with smelly dreadlocks, boasting tales of police brutality?”

Have a little read of this, if you haven’t read about how the Mail behaved in the 30′s. It is fascinating. Yes it was a long time ago, but there’s still a strange odour lingering over articles like this one, even now – it’s just that these days the language has softened slightly, and been replaced with talk of brands and lifestyle choices.

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Build a wind farm on Blackheath!

Blackheath with wind turbines

The montage above was created by me back in January, as a way of playing with the idea of how a wind farm might look on the heath. So imagine how incredible it felt to be walking around seeing the real thing up on the heath today:

Wind Farm on Blackheath

I spoke to a couple of the people who built the wind turbines. Their organisation is called V3 Power, and they specialise in building renewable energy devices. They told me that the gospel book on how to build them is A Wind Turbine Recipe Book by Hugh Piggott which you can buy for £12. He highly recommended the website http://www.scoraigwind.com/

They currently have two turbines up in the air, whizzing away (he said that this spot is renowned for its wind, a point the Bugle can confirm from his kite adventures). They are hoping to put up two more tomorrow, and are currently charging four 12 volt car batteries at a time, which are then distributed around the camp when they are full, for music, computer use etc. They also have an inverter which allows them to create AC power, so that mains devices such as mobile phone chargers can be powered in the van – see below:

Wind Farm batteries on Blackheath

Wind Farm batteries on Blackheath

If you’re interested in finding out more, they are holding a workshop on Saturday at 4.30pm in the camp on Blackheath. See the map for the location. There are also loads of other events going on.

The montage at the top is based on a couple of images. The heath image is by Nicobobinus and the turbines are by jespis. Both are creative commons licensed, as is my montage.

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Blackheath Climate Change Camp Google Map

Blackheath Climate Change Camp Map


Here’s a very vague map of the Climate Change Camp, complete with markers for toilets. I think the Blackboard mentioned in the previous post might be more use (or just ask anyone once you get inside).

I tried to create a proper Google Map, but it isn’t appearing on my computer for some reason. Maybe you can see it above?

I’ve also added my traces to OpenStreetMap (the Wikipedia of maps) using this very nice app. But they haven’t appeared yet, and I might have done it wrong… But the wonderful thing about these maps is that anyone can fix them – so please tidy them up!

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Things to do at the Blackheath Climate Camp

Climate Change Blackheath Blackboard Map
How exciting… Just been up to the camp to see what was going on. Such a nice atmosphere.
Below is a list of all their activities for the coming few days.  Some of them look really interesting (“How to climb a tripod” sounds like fun, the “home compost and wormery demo” sounds educational – as the former owner of a disastrous wormery perhaps I should attend…  And “DIY Wind Power: Building our own generators” sounds fascinating.

But some of them sounds really awful – “Singing to Mourn, to Celebrate and to Resist”, “Interactive Theatre on Climate Justice”, “Wooden Pencil Meditation” sound like something Edwina and Patsy might have dreamt up…

Anyway, judge for yourself – it’s all yours to go and investigate Blackheath!  See below for all the info

(The cryptic codes (such as MM = Main Marquee) correspond to various tents – see the photo above).
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