Green Blackheath? Climate Camp protestors set up base on the common

So the latest Climate Camp has just been set up in Blackheath, down the road from SE4.

Will BC readers be heading down to get stuck in, or is it a big waste of time?

Edit: Lewisham mayor Steve Bullock used Twitter to comment: 'Climate change huge concern to me but do not believe irresponsible approach of the CC campers will win public support and make change happen.'

Edit: The Climate Camp twitter feed has explained that Blackheath was chosen because: "This has been a common that has witnessed many struggles. We need to protect our commons." And also "Local lib dem councilors have condemned us. What's that about?!" Was it Lewisham or Greenwich Councillors doing the condemning?

69 comments:

Tressillian James said...

Bugger

Brockley Kate said...

The Times reporting FAIL:

'The site lay within the floodplain of the River Thames which activists warned was at risk of bursting its banks as climate change escalated.'

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6810923.ece

Erm, on top of a massive hill? Yes, Times, it's a real worry Blackheath being flooded by the Thames. Doh.

Brockley Kate said...

Oh and Blackheath is 'the hub of climate business and a symbol of the failed political and economic systems that are causing climate catastrophe' according to someone quoted in that story.

I should think local residents would disagree with that interpretation.

Brockley Nick said...

Doh!

Oh well, at least the protestors give SE London credit for being somewhere near the centre of town, which is more than can be said of most of the media.

Pretty spurious rationale for choosing Blackheath though. I think this passage gives a more convincing explanation...

"This is a brilliant place to be," said Kirsty Schneeberger, 24, a law student, who cycled from her home in Camden, north London.

--

I wonder what NOGOE have to say about all this?

Brockley Kate said...

Wonder how much the clear-up is going to cost Lewisham Council?

Anonymous said...

I think they meant blackheath village will flooded - not the top of the heath.

Tressillian James said...

I have just been texted by couple I know who are attending it asking if they can come for hot showers (!) - she uses planes to fly around world with her job, he is lawyer for multinational corporate law firm.

Is it just me, or is any one else sick at being preached at by people who see the green cause as nothing more than a lifestyle issue?

Climate camp? Oh really....

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Surely everthing they bring to the camp will be recycled and the Heath will be cleaner than when they arrived............or not

max said...

Kate you misquoted, that quote is about London, not Blackheath, so it is in fact quite correct if you consider the current goings as a "failed political and economical system".

I would be more discriminating actually, some things need change, some others need sharpening, some are worth keeping but, apart from this consideration, the choice of Blackheath is pretty inspired.
I think that in fact Blackheath developed as is because it was a great location for rich maritime traders to live, close enough and in sight of their business on the river but far enough from the smelly poor.

And it's great for kites.

TJ, I'm sure you're not alone, but they have some points, the conflation of western style overconsumpion and booming world population is a big issue, some people feel passionate about that, let them be.

Tressillian James said...

Max - don't you see the irony of it though? Sitting at a camp telling people how to live - whilst earning hoardes of money by use of business flights and corporate firms, and asking an acquaintance to supply hot showers and food inc ae they feel icky...

I can't help but feel that the couple I know are there for the occassion rather than the sentiment

Tressillian James said...

..and I'm not sure that they aren't in the majority..

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of bellends.

Brockley Kate said...

Max - Fair point, although the rationale for setting up in Blackheath is along much the same lines. 'Doorstep of the root causes of climate change' according to a quote in that article.

Also, I'm not going to bother writing my own rant, I'm just going to agree with everything TJ has posted.

max said...

Yes TJ, I agree that on that specific couple you have a point, and who knows how many other like them.

And I hope you won't let them have a hot shower, that would just raise their carbon footprint! Cold water, it's summer.

Brockley Kate said...

Hose them down in the garden ...

Brockley Kate said...

Pics:

http://twitpic.com/fbruq

Some of the comments are, um, amusing.

veggiegirl said...

I'll be interested to see what our Green councillors think of this...

Tom said...

I find political extremism either boring or worrying. This lot are in the boring camp.

Anti-capitalism - which is this lot are really about - is a over-arching umbrella for a lot of antis, the environment is just this decade's excuse.

It means everything and nothing. And yes many of the people I know who used to be involved in protests have now "retired" to the west country and live in homes bought for them by their wealthy parents.

I struggle to sympathise with their younger replacements.

Anonymous said...

We are just a blot on the landscape,Its country's like India and China we have to worry about, They dont give a damn about climate change

Gas Guzzler said...

I bet they trash the place.

And we'll have to pay to disinfect the previously lovely Blackheath after these stuck up twats have buggered off back to mummy and daddy's townhouse in Chelsea.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - given that China and India will suffer greatly from the effects of climate change, it's simply not true to say they don't give a damn - but they point to western per-capita carbon emissions far greater than theirs and say "why can't we have your lifestyles too?"

drakefell debaser said...

I think there is definitely a need to raise awareness about climate change but I don’t think stunts like this add much value to the debate because they lack a rational message and are widely ignored by those that should be listening i.e. government. I see they have already erected a massive sign stating Capitalism is Crisis which to me detracts from the issue of climate change.

Is it a lack of trees or bankers bonuses that has ruffled their feathers?

And if we remove capitalism then what is proposed to take its place? I don’t see any answers on their website.

Anyway Blackheath has some lovely views of the Wharf and there are lots of nice pubs to drink at so I am sure the sons and daughters of big business will enjoy their stay.

Anonymous said...

Hi As a local resident I have just walked up to climate camp to visit and see for myself. I have to say that I was favourably impressed. When I said I lived locally, I was directed to a group who explained to me what they were doing to limit impact on the site - they assured me all toilet waste would be taken away and made into compost! There were also an impressive number of wheelie bins stacked up waiting for action. The site was clearly marked out and the fence they have put up round it should mean that it doesn't spread. I spotted two of the local Green councillors visiting to see for themselves. One commented she had been at Kingsnorth and the campers really had left the place in good order there. One interesting question will be whether the camp makes any more mess of the heath than the regular fair does which is also taking place at the same time. The campers are handing out leaflets to reassure local residents and inviting us to a public meeting on Sunday. They say there are tours of the camp every evening at 6pm from the welcome tent. The atmosphere when I went was very peaceful. There were virtually no police - apart from a police car I spotted taking a short cut over the grass!

Emily - Belmont Hill

Sue said...

@veggiegirl: Lewisham Green Party welcomes climate campers!.

Just been up there - all very calm, and policing wonderfully low key so far. Lots of local residents milling around bemused, rather than angry.

Apparently the police arrived at the scene after the ice cream vans :)

I'd been pondering whether to go to climate camp at all over bank holiday and now it's on our doorstep I've no excuse! You can find the full workshop programme and more info about it here.

Tressillian James: I think your jetsetting friends might be the exception rather than the as climate campers go.

fred vest said...

"she uses planes to fly around world with her job, he is lawyer for multinational corporate law firm. "

rather than being the exception as sue says i'd say this kind of thing is a lot more widespread than that and agree with TJ as well - for a lot of the climate camp mob/middle class green liberalism there seems to be a definite glee in their having a 'valid' case to finger wag normal working class families and their once a year easy jet trip for a week or two in the sun - they hate the fact that unlike in the past, travel and seeing the world is not the sole preserve of a select elite bunch - i'm not arguing against the case for the problem of climate change, but the hypocrisy within this movement (made up largely of privileged people) is at times repulsive, (and that's before we get onto things like the Optimum Population Trust and the likes)

Sue said...

Are your comments based on having visited climate camp and spoken to participants Fred, or just deep-rooted class hatred and far left stereotyping of the green movement?!

I think you'll find an awful lot of people at climate camp either practising what they preach, or making a damn good effort to do so.

Personally I'm less interested in slating individuals for not doing 'their bit'and more interested in pushing the government to do its bit to make being green the easy, affordable choice for all.

Tom said...

They remind me of nuns this climate camper lot.

Unable to grapple with reality, they prefer being married to an ideal and pontificating from on high.

If they want to help the poor, or the disenfranchised, they really should have gone down the A2 a bit and camped up in Eltham. Amongst some real working class people.

And yes, it's all about anti-"capitalism", which is a kind of secularised satan. TBH, I've known nicer cults.

Anonymous said...

I might go up there tomorrow and see if I can start a debate on controlled parking zones.

Vikki said...

TJ's friends have been joined by Ellie who, according to BBC News at Ten, is the daughter of two doctors, lives in Finchley and could have gone to Thailand this summer but didn't as this looked like more fun...

Am glad that Blackheath residents are interested rather than angry but it's the likes of them and others, like those in Eltham, as part of a much wider coalition of people, that are needed to join the green movement if we are to truly convince governments that we need action on climate change.

Am just a bit dubious about comfortably-off kids having a jolly time on Blackheath, rather than engaging with and trying to influence decision-makers will shift the political debate on climate change.

fred vest said...

"Are your comments based on having visited climate camp and spoken to participants Fred,"

my experience of climate campers in the past has shown them to be a mixed bunch, and i said 'a lot of' them so not saying they are the exception or the rule

take george monbiot for example - climate camp celebrity, it's ok for him to fly around the world promoting his cause (and his lucrative book deals) but he's always finger wagging lowly people for going on a week's holiday once a year

and Caroline lucas also, drawing a parallel between someone going on holiday to spain and stabbing someone in the street

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile... Fred cannot EVER escape his lung machine.

Prolier than thou said...

"If they want to help the poor, or the disenfranchised, they really should have gone down the A2 a bit and camped up in Eltham. Amongst some real working class people."

Hey, I come from Eltham

Recognition at last

Anonymous said...

Would we have ever existed without climate change?

Mike Harris said...

I had a walk down to the camp and they do seem to be making a big effort not to mess up the heath.

Though I do wonder what all this achieves? Fine it gets some press coverage, but the media will always hone in on some drone who will repeat ad naseum "capitalism is evils!!!1! lol", "bush = hitlers!!!!", etc. etc.

If all these people spent a day going door to door explaining to people how they can save energy (turn down the heating, a bit) it would be a lot more effective. But that wouldn't be "fun" would it?

Anonymous said...

At least they can go to the funfair if they get bored

Tom said...

"Though I do wonder what all this achieves? Fine it gets some press coverage, but the media will always hone in on some drone who will repeat ad naseum "capitalism is evils!!!1! lol", "bush = hitlers!!!!", etc. etc."

If they wanted to avoid such headlines, maybe they shouldn't have fenced off a large part of the heath and put up a big banner saying "this land is not for sale".

It's not really green politics at all, it's red politics under the cover of environmentalism. Which is why they campaign most vociferously against moderate measures and reformism.

Until a vote for Green isn't a vote for Monbiot's socialist world parliament (I jest not), I'm steering clear.

fred vest said...

"It's not really green politics at all, it's red politics under the cover of environmentalism"

it's not red politics at all, in fact there's very little politics, of any 'colour' - it's a mixture of priviliged elitist adventurism, middle class careerism mixed with a repulsion of the 'vulgar' indigneous working class who they at last have a 'valid' stick to beat them with - and all out the mould of post-1979 individualism wrapped up under the cover of collective environmentalism

there are of course many who don't fit into this categorisation, but those who do are far from the exception and also tend to dominate the movement (despite it's outward veneer of non-hierarchial organisation - the tyranny of structurelness at it's most vivid)

but to be honest i don't really have an opinion on them either way

Brockley Kate said...

Oh god, I agree with Fred Vest. Someone shoot me now.

fred vest said...

cover your eyes then

Mark Taylor said...

"take george monbiot for example - climate camp celebrity, it's ok for him to fly around the world promoting his cause (and his lucrative book deals) but he's always finger wagging lowly people for going on a week's holiday once a year"

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/01/13/flying-over-the-cuckoos-nest/

"the rationale for setting up in Blackheath is along much the same lines. 'Doorstep of the root causes of climate change' according to a quote in that article."

I think that's referring to the lovely view of Canary Wharf. Which would be obvious if more people here bothered to visit the site instead of just making up whatever best suited their own prejudices. I'm just glad nobody's followed up their fiction with "You couldn't make it up!!!!" yet.

It also seems a bit silly to complain that climate campers should be doing something else, when a large part of the camp is a number of workshops which train and inform people precisely so that they can take further action, and the camp itself acts as a hub for people to meet up and do so. Posting reactionary comments on a blog (even one as fine as BC) is, I fear, rather more pointless. Besides which, there are of course 51 other weeks in the year.

Brockley Kate said...

I'm sure it is very jolly for those involved, but let's not pretend it will achieve anything of substance.

Brockley Nick said...

I don't think wanting a hot shower is hypocritical (unless they are demanding an end to hot showers, which they're not) and I believe that they will leave Blackheath in good condition when they depart. I don't think there's anything wrong with the fact that climate campers live the rest of the year in East Finchley.

However, Tom is right that they conflate all kinds of political messages so that the message gets confused - for all the coverage so far (and in their own video on their home page) - have you any idea what their solutions are? I've spent quite a lot of time on their website and can't actually see their action plan to build a sustainable economy.

GM crops that reduce the need for fertilizers, ground and air source heat pumps and home insulation, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, smart grids, high speed rail to replace air travel, increasing urban density whilst improving quality of life in cities, education in the developing world - these are among the big issues that need sensible consideration - somehow, I don't think these guys are necessarily the right people to ask.

fred vest said...

George Monbiot Says: people who have cars are anti-social bastards and are responsible for ruining childrens lives

George Monbiot Does: Drives a Renault Clio, whose carbon emissions substantially higher than the green's beloved toyata prius hybrid - and says the only way to get by was to have a car

George Monbiot Says: Buses are the greenest form of travel

George Monbiot Does: I will be damned if I’m going round the country in the current system, If you’ve got loads of time and very little money -- if you’re unemployed, say -- the coach is the way to go. But if you need to get anywhere that day, it’s unusable

George Monbiot Says: air travel is unacceptable. "Global warming means that flying across the Atlantic is now as unacceptable as child abuse

George Monbiot Does: traveled an undisclosed amount of transatlantic air miles to promote his book "Heat - How to stop the planet burning," a book which highlights the unacceptability of transatlantic travel.

George Monbiot Says: development like energy saving lightbulbs are good

George Monbiot does: Why bother installing an energy-efficient lightbulb when a man in Lanarkshire boasts of attaching 1.2 million Christmas lights to his house (actually agree with him on this one)

George Monbiot expects the rest of us to do as he says and finger wags and accuses us of activities on a scale of premeditated child abuse (or in the case of carlone lucas stabbing someone in the street) while he does what he wants

Brockley Nick said...

@kate - I'd go further than that - it's counter-productive. It makes it easier for deniers to characterise people who are talking seriously about sustainable development as loony lefties.

Tom said...

Mark - you seem to have confused a rejection of political extremism with "reactionary".

max said...

I agree about the very confused message, I checked the workshops calendar and every single one that sounds interesting is sandwiched between two that I'd avoid like the plague.

Brockley Kate said...

And it's so bloody patronising for a bunch of people to fence off part of the heath and then go round 'inviting' locals to 'visit' it. It's their heath in the first place!

Mark Taylor said...

"Reactionary" might not really be what I meant, but I wasn't objecting to "rejection of political extremism". I was objecting to people making stuff up and rejecting that rather than either bothering to inform themselves or just keeping quiet. It's especially frustrating given that the whole reason this discussion is happening is that the camp's near enough for everyone here to pay a visit to.

It's like my mother always told me*: "If you can't say something that has some grounding in reality, don't say anything at all."

*not really

elephant said...

Seems, like all of the summer festivals, anti Iraq war/G20 marches etc, it's a nice, white persons event too. where are all the black people?

The Cat Man said...

Isn't it Notting Hill Carnival this weekend?

patrick1971 said...

Fred, completely agree with you re George Monbiot. Margaret Atwood is currently doing a European tour to promote her book, but is doing it by boat and train.

But completely disagree with you about Optimum Population Trust. They have got the right idea; we need to make it completely socially unacceptable to have more than one child so that our population goes down to no more than 2bn.

If our population decreases, the whole planet can enjoy a First World lifestyle without killing the earth. You're not going to have any luck persuading people to reduce living standards; population control, whilst not the full answer, is about 90% of it.

Anonymous said...

hmm - but won't this be counteracted by China reversing it's one child policy (a policy that although rational bought untold misery to families throughout China through its application)?

Brockley Nick said...

@Patrick - a population crunch brought about by impossible to enforce (unless you want to live in the Chinese system) child restrictions wouldn't lead to us all suddenly enjoying first-world lifestyles, for at least 50 years it would saddle us with a rapidly ageing population and a pensions crisis. Read about what is about to happen in China.

My understanding is that the global population will peak and then gradually decline, according to the best estimates of population scientists. Admittedly, I haven't got the link to back that up though.

fred vest said...

for a taste of the OPT's thinking - there was an eco-spoof article written a year or so ago which was posted on the spiked-online website, it contained the following nugget

the human population must be reduced by five billion ASAP, preferably through the emergence of a ‘speedily contagious disease that might finally reduce the human population to sustainable levels’ or else through ‘mass eco-euthanasia’ and ‘the eventual glorious voluntary (perhaps semi-voluntary) evacuation of the planet by the plague that is mankind’

to which Valerie Stevens, who was at the time co-chair of the Optimum Population Trust, responded - "What a marvellous piece of writing… I feel exactly the same as you!’

while there is obviously an issue and a debate to be had in terms of population growth and sustainability - the kind of elitist approach to it that the OPT take is astonishing at times - people have concerned themselves with population explosion and it's effects on the world for hundreds of years, in the early/mid 19th century it was a massive topic yet malthus has been proved wrong time and time again, if the OPT had been around in 1830 and had any ability to implement their theory (which would have been the same then as it is now) I shudder to think what the world would look like now

In my opinion they should spend more time focussing on, and publicising, the need to reduce infant mortality (which requires solutions to poverty/inequality within and between states), increasing education and opportunities for females in developing countries that traditionally deny them and combatting the evil influence of organised religion's approach to contraception these are the main reasons for having large families and high fertility rates - the need to have loads of kids to ensure you have at least one male who survives childhood and can look after you in later life, if focus is put on this kind of thing then as nick says population is likely to peak at about 9billion odd in 2050 and then stabilise - the beneficial 'byproducts' of doing it in this way would be incredible and mindblowing, which perhaps is why it will never happen

Brockley Kate said...

Stop it Fred, this is becoming seriously disturbing now.

Can you go back to complaining about gentrification in Catford please?

Tom said...

The first action of the campers is to complain about carbon trading.

In other words, they believe the most important thing to do is to stop gradualist, non-revolutionary environmental reforms.

Details: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/aug/27/climate-camp-casino-exchange

Next, I suspect, will be something against banks.

In other words, this is anti-capitalist silliness by the politically naive.

Brockley Nick said...

Oh dear, they just put themselves in the same camp as the US republican party, who rail against "Cap and Trade".

Carbon trading is about putting a price on pollution and using simple market mechanisms to incentivise reductions. Very smart solution, though of course you can argue the toss over how many carbon permits should have been issued, etc.

Anonymous said...

Can we have a moratorium on anyone opining on the climate camp until after they've bothered to go and visit it and talk to the campers?

patrick1971 said...

Nick 12:07 - the current pensions system is one huge pyramid scheme that is completely unsustainable. It needs to be properly challenged and restructured, not propped up by encouraging endless reproduction.

Fred 12:44 - I find myself in complete agreement with your post. Certainly not advocating a huge disease to wipe out large sections of the population (although this is what will happen if it does reach an unsustainable level). Take your point about dire Malthusian predictions, but the reason they've not been proven correct is because technological innovation has "saved" us. It may do again...but do we want to be eating GM food on a planet of 12bn?

Brockley Nick said...

@Patrick - who said anything about endless population growth? I am saying your suggestion to radically shrink the population would be disastrous and unnecessary, since the long term trend will be a declining population, without compulsory sterilization or whatever other means you imagine could enforce it.

You say that we cannot possibly curtail our avarice and rein in our materialistic demands, therefore the only solution is to limit how many children we can have.

I would suggest that you have it entirely the wrong way around. The urge to have children cannot possibly be curtailed by anything other than draconian and barbaric state policies and therefore the only solution is to limit our material demands.

In fact, you pose a false-dichotomy, since technology and innovation will allow us to have some of both.

Brockley Kate said...

The programme for events on the site is here, if anyone wants to take their debating skills down there and get stuck in:

http://climatecamp.org.uk/actions/london-2009/programme

Tom said...

After spending the best part of a decade watching friends succumb to political extremism (before, alienated from much, abandoning political engagement altogether), I have absolutely no intention to watching others go through the same sorry process.

I agree with Nick, these people exclude and attack the middle with their extreme positions - to them, if you are not willing to change every aspect of your life, you are "meat" (I quote) and "complicit" with criminals.

Intriguingly (and continuing the quasi-religious nature of their campaign) advocating exile from one's own community is the same form of approach as used by early Christianity.

drakefell debaser said...

The programme looks fascinating particularly the events at the DIY or Die stand.

And kids can have Wooden Pencil Meditation?

Sorry but that all looks like the biggest bag of shit ever.

Brockley Kate said...

Some interesting dichotomies beginning to emerge in terms of the Climate Campers' understanding of the concept of 'public land':

http://jwarren.co.uk/blog/climate-camp-code-of-conduct/

patrick1971 said...

@Nick: "The urge to have children cannot possibly be curtailed by anything other than draconian and barbaric state policies"

Not true. As fred says, the birthrate goes down when people are better off and better educated, so, interestingly, it is our "material demands" which will limit population growth.

No one's suggesting draconian policies, just the "nudge" of social unaccepatability, backed up by policies which don't encourage large families (e.g. tax rebates for one- and no-child families, etc.).

"Technology and innovation" may indeed allow us to have both, as they have in the past. But the question is, will the technology & innovation be desirable? GM food may allow us to have a 12bn+ population. But would we be happy to eat it?

max said...

"tax rebates for one- and no-child families"

Sorry Patrick, this is complete nonense, you can't be serious.

Anonymous said...

Why not? People take maternity pay and child benefits all the time. It's time to give something back.

max said...

Yes, then children grow, get a job and pay for your pension.

max said...

Climate Camp - population control workshop:

Monday 11:30am
- Weave your own organic hemp condom.

http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/actions
/london-2009/programme

Brockley Central Label Cloud