Tag Archives: climate rendezvous

Super Sunday

17 Oct

1. My sister Lauren came to visit this weekend! Oh it was so nice. I love her. That is all.

2. Sesame Street have done the best spoof of the Old Spice “I’m on a horse” ad – check it out. No one will ever convince me that there is a more intelligent show than Sesame Street. Apart from maybe Buffy.

3. Diane Atkinson is a suffragette historian who spoke at the Climate Rendezvous this week, and she is basically a complete legend. She had all sorts of incredibly interesting anecdotes I had never heard before. Did you know that the suffragettes blew up the refreshment kiosk at Kew for example? They took acid to golf courses and spelt out “No Votes, No Golf” on the grass. They damaged art works, with the result that in the summer of 1914 all women were banned from visiting museums, unless they had a letter of recommendation from a man. They smashed windows indiscriminately. Most interestingly, she said that although they are now largely described as a white, middle class movement, they weren’t. The papers took pictures of those who were richer (and therefore better dressed) because it was more scandalous, but there were plenty of working class women involved and lots of Indian women too. It was all just fascinating.

4. I saw the film Heartbreaker this week and it was amazing. It’s french AND they recreate THE dance from Dirty Dancing. I just don’t know what more you could want.

5. Talking of films, I can’t wait for Blue Valentine to get a release date over here. It stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, who are two of the most talented actors around in my book, I love them.

6. Having guests is good because it makes you cook, rather than just survive on cereal and oatcakes. And I’ve really enjoyed enjoyed cooking this week and am determined to keep it up! This is a pea and prawn risotto we made last night. Yum.

7. In honour of my favourite X Factor contestant*, Storm, here is Tim Minchin’s 9 minute beat poem of the same moniker.

*He’s not my favourite. I’m rooting for John, Mary, Rebecca and Cher.

hanna ♥


Adopt an MP – a Caroline Lucas update

16 Oct

If you are a new reader, you should know that I have officially adopted Caroline Lucas MP, as part of the UK Youth Climate Coalition’s Adopt an MP campaign. And the adoption is taking very well! I have stalked seen Caroline twice this week – on Monday at the TUC Alliances for Green Growth conference and at the Climate Rendezvous, hosted by Climate Rush. I almost went to see her again last night host an evening with Peruvian activist Hugo Blanco on Latin America and the Ecosocialist Alternative, but I went to the pub instead. I have to say, Caroline is so hard-working. She seems to always be dashing in and dashing out again, but always completely on the ball and so enthusiastic. She isn’t just any MP, she is the only Green Party MP and that means she is the face of the UK Green Party movement. That’s a lot of responsibility, but I think she does it fantastically.

Here is the transcript of her speech to the TUC conference. Some of the points I got from it were:

  • We can not continue to measure a society’s success by GDP, we need to acknowledge that increasing levels of wealth are not making us happier and start looking at different measurements (check out NEF’s Happy Planet Index).
  • A less consumption-obsessed society is crucial if we are to meet the requisite cuts in emissions, as no amount of energy efficiency initiatives or technology will compensate for a world that is growing ever larger and making more and more energy demands.
  • We need to really start pushing for government regulation and back off the individual behaviour change. We can only achieve so much without proper regulation.
  • We need a shared vision – not one about shivering in a hair shirt in a cave, but one that stresses warmer homes, better public transport, cleaner air (all things that can only be achieved with regulation).

The Climate Rendezvous speech was similar, but peppered with fun anecdotes and infected with the enthusiasm in the room (she was wearing a red sash too – photos to come soon). She said:

  • Westminster looks like Hogwarts.
  • That our political system is completely archaic compared to the European parliament (she used to be a MEP). We have all kinds of weird traditions like having to vote at midnight, and having to vote for and against something if you want to abstain, which just makes you look like an idiot.
  • That a suffragette once hid in a broom cupboard under the stairs all night on census night, so she could write on the census that her address was at Westminster. This would have gone unremembered but Tony Benn took his own hammer and nails and put a plaque on the cupboard to commemorate it!
  • That sometimes she walks the long way round from her office to the chamber, because it takes her through a corridor full of photos of suffragettes and memorabilia, which makes her feel fired up by the time she gets there.
  • That when she thinks about how urgent taking action on climate change is (we have the next 5-8 years), the bristles stand up on the back of her neck.

It really struck me that she is not at all in it for the power (of course, I’m not sure if you could be, being a part of the Green Party). The fact that she has to fire herself up as she walks along the corridor I think is symptomatic of how much she has taken on – the entrenched, old-fashioned, archaic traditions of Westminster – as a progressive, passionate woman. She simply cares about it A LOT. It is so nice to see a politician be like that.

Gosh, I have really just swooned over her, haven’t I? What if she’s secretly married to Jeremy Clarkson? That would take the shine off a bit!

Guest post – Tamsin Omond – It’s much harder than it used to be

5 Oct

On 14th December 2008 it felt like we were winning. Sunday Times Style magazine had given me my very own article – blonde-locked and energetically leaping over a bollard. The headline? Eco-starlet.

And it wasn’t just fashuned-up Tamsin banging the drum of environmental activism that made that edition of the Sunday Times. The expansion of Heathrow Airport was major news (2 articles) and Plane Stupid had just shut down Stansted Airport. For one Sunday, in mid-December, familiar faces (even my flat-mate’s) filled the news section, the News Review and Style.

Two years ago and grabbing media for climate change was easy. It was on the news agenda and journalists strove to be our friends and confidants.

Things are different now. It’s much harder than it used to be and if you believe ex-BBC journalist Mark Brayne, then climate change will never be ‘news’ again. They covered it in 2009.

I’ve experienced what this means in practice: stunts that would have reached front page are now covered by online activist forums and no-one else. Commentators who can still clasp onto column inches with their fingernails bemoan the end of the environmental enlightenment.

Last week I stood outside the National Theatre with my red Climate Rush sash and a handful of fliers for the audience of Earthquakes in London.  By the time the theatre had emptied every flier had been taken.  People do care about climate change even though the media has moved on. But it’s a minority of people and the majority will not be convinced until the facts of climate change are the frame through which every news outlet reports all natural disasters and all public policy.

The Climate Rush campaign is inspired by the example of the Suffragettes.  They built a national movement which included people at every level and allowed them to know that hope against hope, there was something they could do. If climate change is to be news without millions having to first die or be displaced then we must remember Emmeline Pankhurst’s words:

“You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact you have to be there all the time and see that they do not snow you under, if you are really going to get your reform realised.”

On 13th October at 7pm Climate Rush will meet in Toynbee Hall. There will be big names whose speeches you will not want to miss.  There will be stories of the successes of women-led campaigns.

Political activity, with a passion that is difficult to imagine today, has been inspired when a fight for future justice has seemed worth joining. Actions and ideas have captivated newspaper editors and persuaded entire populations that there is a better way to live life.

Come along on 13th October. Please come along. Because without you stickers will not appear across London. Without you stunts and events and protests and rushes and subvertising and street theatre will not happen. Without you there is no movement worth joining, no public to persuade and no Rush to experience in action.

Cross-posted from Tamsin’s blog

Girl Swoon #7

29 Sep

I first met Cordelia a couple of months ago, after I saw her work featured in an Amelia’s Magazine article and actually screamed because I had done my undergrad dissertation on this very statue of Boadicea, and lo and behold someone was actually using it for a climate action message! It was like all my dreams had come true (I have strange dreams). I then interviewed Cordelia for my own article (to be published soon!) and discovered she was super cool and definitely swoon-worthy.

Name: Cordelia Cembrowicz

Age: 27

Website: www.cembrowicz.co.uk

1) What do you do and why?

I am an artist, activist and now the Vice President of the Royal College of Art Students Union.

I make art because I love creative freedom. I find modern living fascinating, art gives me the chance to explore and interpret ways of thinking and being. This interest in the long term led me to become increasingly curious about climate change, the effects of our bizarre modern living on the climate and likewise the effects of the changing climate on civilisation.  My response is to look at possible solutions to the possible long-term catastrophe we are facing, and to protest against it happening.

I built up my artistic practice making miniature fairies out of human teeth, and drawings and etchings of social and hormonal structures. The recent work I made on my MA is a result of investigating environmental activism, and in particular the group Climate Rush. It’s a kind of celebration of defiance through combining images of the female environmentalist protestors I met protesting, with depictions of environmental threats and places already affected by climate change. And also a print made from a portrait of me protesting on Boadicea’s horse.

Climate Rush is a really interesting direct action group. They take inspiration from the Suffragettes, and the movement one hundred years ago which successfully led to the right to vote being given to women. I’ve been making costumes, banners, stickers and postcards as propaganda for the group, and am speaking about this at the Climate Rendezvous on 13th October at Toynbee Hall.

Working for the RCA Students Union is exciting, as an opportunity to work with all these amazing creative people in so many different ways. I was drawn to the job by the opportunity to feed sustainability into the framework of the college (I really noticed the lack of environmental provision both academically and structurally throughout my time as a student, so formed the student Green RCA group, went and complained at meetings, make stickers for the recycling bins, screened The Age of Stupid etc). I’m organising events, discussions, parties, campaigns, choosing wallpaper for the bar and importantly vocally opposing increases in fees and the like at managerial meetings. Everyone is feeling the financial pinch at the RCA, fees are going up, studio spaces are shrinking so it is really important to provide light relief from all of that in the Student Union.

2) Does being a woman affect your work in any way?

I’d say so, you can never really act outside yourself, your experiences and relationships with the world inform your position in it.

3) Are you a feminist?

Yes, for me it is about equal rights for men and women.

4) What are your future plans?

To structure my life so I can continue making art as independently as possible. Walking on fire for the Nepali Children’s Trust, dance classes and a possible cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

5) Tell us one cool thing we don’t know already:

David Shrigley, Jeremy Deller and Mark Wallinger have set up a campaign to stop the 25% cuts to the arts, and David Shrigley‘s animation is great: