Tag Archives: climate camp

Reflections on Climate Camp… oh, and capitalism.

7 Sep

I have been meaning to write this post for ages, as it’s been a couple of weeks now since Climate Camp. But somehow life got in the way, and I didn’t know exactly what I would write. My mind has been turning over the experience, over and over, and I think it is starting a thought process that may take a while to unravel.

It was my first Climate Camp and it fit quite neatly into my preconceptions and expectations – decisions made by consensus, workshops on various issues, ceilidh nights and police. All present and correct. But there were some unexpected bits as well.

I am not sure I heard the words “climate change” more than once during the time I was there. This wasn’t because of any scary “he-who-must-not-be-named” Harry Potter thing, but because I think for many of the activists there, it truly wasn’t at the forefront of their minds. What they were thinking about and talking about, was anti-capitalism. System change, not climate change.

A couple of years ago I would never have identified with an anti-capitalist or anarchist label. I remember going on a march at the European Social Forum back in 2008 and I was truly intimidated by the anarchist “Black Bloc”, all wearing balaclavas with their fists in the air. I still would be. The aggression and the general feeling of being “anti” anything without proposing an alternative turned me off. Plus, capitalism is the only social structure I have ever known, I didn’t really understand so much what it was possible to change, and why. I knew I wanted a kinder, fairer version of capitalism than the one we have now (I had read Jonathan Porrit’s Capitalism as if the Earth Matters) and felt pretty satisfied in my vision of the future.

However a few months back, I was invited to a lecture given by the social theorist and geographer Professor David Harvey at LSE. IT WAS AMAZING. I sat enthralled for an hour, listening to an incredibly well-reasoned argument drawn from his book, The Enigma of Capital, about why capitalism can never work. Please watch the very accessible animated video of one of his talks at the RSA below to hear it from the man himself!

I announced to everyone the next day that I was anti-capitalist. I talked to anyone who was moderately interested about it. I made it an ambition to learn more about it, and about capitalism too, pre-Thatcher to see what the deal was.

So, as you can see, I ended up coming to Climate Camp on a fairly similar political page as everyone else. Except for the whole climate change thing. Right now, I agree with David Harvey and I hope that we can work towards a system that is fairer for everyone. I felt that most at Climate Camp were fixed on that goal and were prepared for a struggle that would take their whole lives, and beyond, to achieve. But in terms of climate change, we just don’t have that time.

So the dilemma I feel that we’re faced with is this – my gut feeling is that, given the short time frame, we need to work with the current system and do everything we can to mitigate the effects of climate change in the next 5-10 years.

But. What if that sets us on a trajectory that we can’t pull back from? What if working with the system, and allocating everything a price – our air, our trees, our water, our land – is just about the worst idea we could ever have had, and legitimising it now means that we’re forever stuck with it?

It feels like we have to choose between two evils – a society that is less impacted by climate change but deeply unequal, or one that is more equal in the long-term but has had to see a great deal of suffering to get there.

Am I wrong? I hope so.

I would love to hear your thoughts!


Super Sunday

5 Sep

I made it! I am alive, in Brighton and successfully finding wifi access in my new, absolutely wicked local, The Open House. Hoorah. So here is my sweet selection of favourite things from this week.

1. A homage to my home for the last 8 months, Flat Irresistible, that I’ve been sharing with Anna Collins. It’s been grand. The late night chats, broken windows, listening to Miike Snow on repeat, the too-many-bikes in the hallway, the smell of spray paint, even the horrible boys upstairs – I will miss you!

2. And onwards to my new home – Brighton! Yay. I don’t think it’s going to sink in that I’m not just on holiday for a long while yet. I’ve been wandering around the North Laines today with my family and it’s all just rather… AMAZING.

3. General bike lovin’. Check out this beauty I saw when popping out for lunch earlier this week.

4. My mum is a big Michael Ball fan (and if I’m honest so am I, hello, he was in the original cast of Les Mis). So when my friend Cress said she was working on his new chat show and could get us tickets we jumped! We sat right in the front row and saw Richard & Judy, Dom Joly, McFly, one of the Corr sisters (just one), Simon Callow to name but a few and it was hilarious. Clapping and whooping nonstop for 3 hours was a bit less hilarious, but we threw ourselves into it as you can see (that’s my mum, brother Jamie and sister Lauren).

5. I already blogged about the video I made with Josie Long but I didn’t tell you how much I loved doing it! She is ridiculously nice and game for anything, even filming in the pitch black at the very top of a possibly-structurally-unsound-rhino-siege-tower with a police cordon round it and a bike light flashing in her face. So thank you Josie!

6. My friend Lewis (the one that isn’t Tom Hanks) was my saviour yesterday. As one of only two Brighton based friends, he picked up my house keys yesterday, helped me unload the van when I arrived, and then took me out to an amazing 80s night. It had some choice tunes, Big, Back to the Future and The Breakfast Club playing on a projector and vintage clothing stalls. Note to self: do not go vintage clothes shopping again when drunk.

7. How weird is that?

Picture from weheartit

Josie Long & Otesha meet Climate Camp

2 Sep

This is cross-posted from The Otesha Project UK blog

Ta da!! Here is our first foray into film with our patron, comedian Josie Long! Over the next few months, we will be showcasing some of the coolest and best aspects of the social and environmental justice movement here in the UK and relating it back to our daily lives.

This month, we went to Climate Camp in Edinburgh. A thousand activists camping outside RBS headquarters and protesting against their investment in fossil fuels and destructive projects like the tar sands may not seem relevant to a lot of us, but when you think that the bank is 84% owned by the UK taxpayer, it makes you wonder where your money is going.

So this month, we’re not necessarily asking you to siege your local bank branch (although, that of course, is your individual choice). We are asking you to put your money where your ethics arepester your parents about their pension and above all, be honourable. That’s the title of Josie’s current show (nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award!), which is about trying to act in line with your beliefs, saying goodbye to complacency and just being aware that there are people out there fighting for a cleaner, greener, fairer world. Sounds pretty good to us.

You’ll have to excuse some of the poor sound and light quality in the video – it was me, Josie, a flip cam and a bike light running around in the dark! The next one will be more fancy.

Marcel the shell with shoes on

25 Aug

Here is a slice of wonderful weirdness for your Wednesday. Ridiculously cute. I want one.

Right now I am sitting in the Forest Cafe in Edinburgh, decompressing from Climate Camp and getting ready to go up to John O’Groats to meet the end of the Otesha cycle tour there. It’s so nice being in Edinburgh – I spent such a brilliant summer here 5 years ago and wandering around the streets brings it all back. The architecture is so beautiful and the atmosphere is amazing – there are two women practising flamenco about 3 feet away from me as I write! The table is shaking!

I didn’t manage a Super Sunday last weekend because of the camp, but will be back on it with Edinburgh highlights this weekend and some reflections on my time at Climate Camp.

hanna ♥

Climate Camp photos

23 Aug

quick note – the person injured here was a member of climate camp and he just hurt his leg, but it was really difficult to get him medical attention with all the police there.


20 Aug

Just quickly, before I make a mad dash to Climate Camp, I wanted to share some flatspiration with you all. Been thinking about creating my nice new nest down in Brighton in a couple of weeks and I would love it to feel a bit like these two pictures. Cute, cosy and messy in a good way (as opposed to the horribly bad way I have left my room right now… sigh).

Pictures from fffound

Pants to Poverty

19 Aug

This evening I was invited to a blogger’s event (I’m an official blogger now!) at Pants to Poverty, organised by Hannah Perse-Clarke at His & Hers Daily Styling. It was really fun – there were homemade cakes, new bloggy friends and free fairtrade and organic pants! I couldn’t beliieeeeve it. Nor could I believe their future plans to make pants out of banana fibre – you heard it here first.

Hannah featured me again on her blog too – I could get quite used to this. Shirt and belt are vintage, trousers are *cough* Topshop *cough*.

I’m now up getting ready to go to Edinburgh and Climate Camp tomorrow! I am so ridiculously excited and so woefully underprepared. Hopefully I’ll make that train tomorrow, watch this space for camp updates!

hanna ♥