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Greengage jan09 web version


Greengage jan09 web version

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The Newsletter of the Herefordshire Green Party January 2009

Branch Updates
Hereford City and South Herefordshire Branch
For any further information please contact Carole Protherough (chair) by a low loss high voltage direct current super grid to global population centres, could be a significant part of our energy mix within a decade or so. UK electricity production should focus on wave, tidal stream, tidal lagoon and wind power. While individuals and communities could and should make choices to reduce “carbon footprints”, government and global agreements and action are crucial. Leadership is required and is sorely missing. Richard outlined his vision for an ecologically sustainable and socially just world.In contrast to the customary gloom and doom, his optimism that global solutions were possible was inspirational. The event was organised by Hereford City and South Green Party. Richard is giving talks around Herefordshire and the UK. In the New Year he is planning a series of evening classes on this topic - he would be pleased to hear from anyone interested.

Bye election
Carole Protherough There will be a bye election in Aylestone ward for Hereford City Council on February th 19 , caused by the resignation of the Conservative councilor who had let his electorate down by failing to attend meetings. Hereford City and South branch considered fielding a candidate but decided a ‘target to win’ action plan was needed. In early February we will be holding a special meeting to decide on wards to target. Conservatives and Liberals on the City Council tried to circumvent the democratic process by proposing cooption for the vacant seat. This was defeated by a collection of signatures from the ward by the prospective Labour candidate, Bob Clay.

Global Problems: Global solutions
“Global Problems: Global Solutions, what we could and should be doing to combat climate change”: the subject of a talk by Richard Priestley to an audience of around 50 in th Hereford on 26 November. Richard showed that a shift from a global economy based on fossil fuels to one based 100% on renewable sources of energy was necessary, possible and desirable. Given the will, Solar Power generated in the hot arid parts of the world, and transported

Report from Jacqui Tonge
Prospective parliamentary candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire
It’s been an interesting few months on the Lower Bullinghope Parish Council, and I’m still finding my feet. I have been campaigning against shops selling real fur. The cruel and unnecessary production of fur has been banned in the UK. Three shops in Malvern have withdrawn fur products after meetings and peaceful protest. A further shop selling it labelled as ‘faux fur’, has now taken it out of all its


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stores after intervention by Worcester Trading Standards. Since then we have had success at one shop in Monmouth, and two in Abergavenny; all have withdrawn fur. Fifteen hedgehogs have been through my care, two of which are still with me. One had been attacked by a dog and the other

was underweight; both will have to stay with me until the spring. I have also rescued, treated and re-housed one cat. I have been asked to campaign against a huge open cast coal mine in North Yorkshire, which I am doing with members of the Green Party in that area.

Leominster and North Herefordshire Branch
For further information about the Leominster branch, please contact Ann Ashley on 01885 410473. Bye election – Thanks to all who gave their time and effort to get Joan Thwaites successfully elected to the District Council. The Green Party vote increased to 16% of the total and was third behind the Tory candidate and mayor of Leominster. He stood as an Independent but had the support of the Labour Party. There was a good deal of encouragement for Green ideas on the ‘doorstep’. It was felt in future, more effort should go into getting people out to vote. Thanks to Joan’s assiduous attention to her constituents’ concerns, she has won much support which bodes well for the future. Pete Blench, who coordinated the campaign so energetically, has regained his enthusiasm for electioneering, so watch this space! The Apple Fair –thanks to all who worked hard to make this event a success – particularly Felicity for the organisation, and the skilful cooks for the refreshments. Their plentiful good food helped to swell the sum raised for the Euro elections to £500 Euro elections –now only six months away and beginning to dominate our attention. Herefordshire and South Shropshire apparently record the highest Green vote in the West Midlands, so we are determined to maintain this tradition and make inroads in the more industrial and urban areas of the constituency. Target to Win, a meeting with Chris Williams, West Midlands Campaign Coordinator – Success in electing a Green Councillor in Solihull has produced specific methods and ideas for future local, national and European elections. Chris demonstrated these and stressed that all election activity serves to reinforce the Green Party’s profile. Members from Hereford, Leominster and South Shropshire were enthused by Chris’s energy and optimism. His watchwords were: Belief, Determination and Perseverance. Can we, with his help, rally to the cause of electing Felicity Norman as MEP for the West Midlands? He believes so, he is pretty determined and by golly he perseveres!


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Editorial Food Security
Mike Townsend
“…Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second” - Thomas Malthus An Essay on the Principle of Population 1798

In recent decades the UK’s self-sufficiency ratio has fallen, mainly as a result in the globalisation of world food trade. Half of all vegetables and 95% of all the fruit we consume is imported, with half of all imports being indigenous foods. But food security is not simply a matter of increasing national food self sufficiency. Measures of self-sufficiency are based on market values of products, rather than their nutritional value. The ability to switch to more calorie efficient (and carbon efficient) foods is not taken into account. For instance a switch from high meat and dairy diets might have positive impacts on food security, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and have health benefits. We currently wastes a third of all food bought for home consumption in the UK. Reducing waste could also increase food self-reliance and reduce GHG emissions.

According to the United Nations food security is when people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. World-wide up to 2 billion people lack food security due to varying degrees of poverty. With world population expected to grow from the 6.6 billion to over 9 billion, global food demand is expected to double by 2030.

A warming climate and unstable weather
Against this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast a decline in global food production due to changing rainfall patterns, heat stress, and increased pest outbreaks. Extreme weather events are likely to increase uncertainty, and lead to years in which there is serious undersupply of food. Switch to biofuels could compound the problem, reducing the area for agriculture or increasing habitat loss as land is converted for biofuel crops. Overall, it seems likely that climate will have a serious impact on food security.

Was Malthus right?
For over 200 years Malthus’s prediction has been proved wrong; has his time come? It seems likely that as a result of changing climate and a growing population there will be increased pressure on land to provide resources, including food, for human needs. The dangers seem obvious. If we further erode the fabric of the natural environment in the single minded pursuit of growing more food we will fatally wound the system that supports it. The decline in the world’s bee population should provide a salutary lesson. Pollination by bees is valued at between £20 and £50 billion a year worldwide. More important is the lost food production a collapse represents.

Peak oil
Of the 65 largest oil producing countries in the world, 54 have passed peak production and are now in decline. Modern agriculture is dependent on oil, not just a fuel but as feedstock in the production of pesticides and fertilisers, and in food processing, packaging and distribution; it is estimated that 95% of all our food products require the use of oil.

More than bread alone
Food, whilst clearly immediately critical to life, is not the only element necessary to support human society. Adapting to climate change will require environmental systems


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able to support a human population; sufficient clean water, timber and other forest products, cities with adequate shade, shelter and resilience to flooding, as well as cultural values associated with the natural world. Productive agriculture also relies on a stable and thriving ecosystem to provide the services for planned production - clean and plentiful water, pollinating insects and a balance between crop pests and their predators, healthy soils, etc - and to provide the genetic resources for the future. It would be wrong to believe that the only way we can secure our future food supplies is through extracting more production from more land in which greater inputs and GMO crops are seen as the only option for increasing yields. The world has enough food to feed its human population. That people starve is a reflection of the iniquity of humankind. Faced with the challenge of a growing

population, the threat of peak oil and an unstable climate, blind pursuit of more-ofthe-same will not provide the answer. If we are to continue to feed people and secure the natural environment, we must find a new relationship with the land and food. Food security will require robust systems for production and distribution. Such systems can only develop if the natural environment is also thriving and resilient. The way we produce our food should reflect the need to conserve essential ecological functions. We need a more human scale, localised, seasonal food system. Like animals heading for shelter from an impending but as yet invisible storm, a visceral unease tells us we need to adopt a new approach. The explosion of interest in allotment gardening, the growth of Community Supported Agriculture, the Transition Town movement, and the ‘Slow Food’, are all signs that an alternative is not only sought, but possible.

European Election Campaign Update
Chris Williams
The Green Party’s European Election Campaign in the West Midlands has had a flying start. I am employed on a temporary basis to coordinate the campaign and support local parties. I work on anything that shows the Green Party in a good light, whether local press coverage or with local election campaigns; all will support the Euro campaign. Our number one candidate Felicity Norman, and I visited Brussels on a Green Party trip to the European Parliament where we met Caroline Lucas, Jean Lambert, and other Green MEPs from across Europe. This was an incredibly motivating visit that boosted all the candidates on the trip. In the same week, we launched the campaign nationally at a solar company in London, and in the West Midlands at a supplier to the solar industry. The launch has given Felicity two appearances in three weeks on the BBC Politics Show and shown us to be a serious

party in the eyes of the regional press; our media coverage across the region has been strong. Media is a key strand of the campaign. I would urge local parties to ensure someone is in place to do press work– sending out letters and press releases. If you can feed stories to me, I may be able to do some local media coverage. If there is coverage in your area, let me know so that I can add to our media coverage list. Any day now our new campaign base will be ready for action. I have secured an office in central Birmingham. This will be where Green Party members from the region can come to work or pop in to chat about the campaign. Get in touch if you can help – perhaps with press releases or assisting with events, even on an occasional basis – either in the office or from home. The campaign team is also looking for members to help with our regional action days in the run up to the June 2009 elections. We need people willing to help at street stalls and events. Ideas for specific actions would be welcome; and of course,


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running stalls in your own area is encouraged. For local elections, an active and properly run ‘target to win’ campaign in your area is a welcome element of the campaign effort. In Caroline Lucas’s election campaigns in 1999 and 2004, the local target areas have delivered very impressive results at the European Election. The same was seen this year at the London Assembly elections. Those areas active at local level deliver the goods at the London-wide elections.

Finally, I should mention funding – cash is in short supply and we need funds for this campaign, as we have to plan very early on what literature we will publish. Do visit our new website to donate whatever you can and let’s look forward to a continuing strong campaign. Chris Williams tel. 07811 428 682

Diary Dates
All walks, bike rides and teas are fundraisers for the Green Party - minimum contribution of £3.00 please. Children free. Non-members very welcome. Please try to share transport where possible. Many thanks to those who kindly host these events. We are always interested in new areas to walk - please contact us on 01568 780886 if you would like to hold a walk and tea or any other fundraising event. Also for further details on any of the events. January Wed 7th Hereford City and South Branch meeting Canal Road Day Centre th Sat 10 Annual Green Feast - bring and share celebration from 7pm at Leominster Community Centre. (Access off Bridge Street car park) Tel. 01568 780886 for information. Wed 14th Leominster branch meeting 7.30pm, The Talbot Hotel, Leominster st Wed 21 Herefordshire Green Party quarterly meeting, 7.30pm at Canal Road Day Centre, Hereford (Other also meet here and food is usually available from 6.30pm) Sun 25th Walk and tea - Mary and Martin Kibblewhite, 12 Park Street, Hereford February th Wed 4 Hereford city and South branch meeting at Jonathan Hines office for discussion on Sustainable Design and Architecture. Details to be circulated th Wed 11 Leominster branch meeting 7.30pm at The Talbot Hotel, Leominster. th Sun 15 Walk and Tea with Jennie Maxwell, Court Cottage, Walford, near Leintwardine. March th Wed 4 Hereford and city branch meeting Canal road day Centre Wed 11th Leominster branch meeting 7.30pm at the Talbot Hotel, Leominster. Sat 14th Hereford Green Party are having a stall in Butter Market selling good quality books and second-hand goods - re use, recycling and fund raising. Sun 15th Walk and tea near the Malverns with Sue and Chris Moreton, Rosemead, Evandine Lane, Colwall, at 2.30pm. (OS 758415) th Fri 20 – Green Party Spring Conference at Blackpool Winter Gardens. To book contact John Street on 020 8460 1078 or April st Wednesday 1 . Hereford city and South Branch meeting. Discussion on population growth led by Chris Sargeant Newsletter articles: Please send any copy for the next Greengage to Mike Townsend by th 13 March 2009:


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