Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Back to Normal ?

I haven’t posted on this blog for a good while – partly due to my focus on my election blog for the campaign period; my excuse since polling day is that I’m in a recovery period. However enough things have happened in my area of Manchester in the last few days for me to put finger to keyboard again.

Last Friday I got an invitation to a mass lobby of John Leech MP, following Israel’s outrageous act of piracy against the Gaza Flotilla. Mass lobby was something of an exaggeration, it was a group of about 10 students from Manchester University Action Palestine. Enough to fill Mr Leech's Office though.
The Lobby called for:

. End the Siege of Gaza

· No to an Israeli enquiry, yes to an International enquiry

· Sanctions on Israel – End the EU-Israel Association Agreement

John Leech was generally supportive and agreed to take various things forward with the relevant authorities/people but could only display limited optimism at achieving the changes being demanded particularly in the relationships between Britain /EU, and Israel. I'm pleased to see he's signed the Early Day Motionon the subject.

Eat Your Streets

Saturday was World Environment Day, and a local event in nearby Manley Park (Whalley Range) was organised by Manchester Friends of the Earth and ''Eat Your Streets'. In perfect weather, guests were served up food by a Chorlton-based group called 'Cracking Good Food', whilst the more dedicated dug a small plot on the park and planted soft fruit plants and vegetables. This planting is one of several which the group are doing in different parts of Whalley Range - watch this space (something might grow in it!).

On Sunday, St. Clements Parish Church in Chorlton put on a talk by Professor Michael Northcott St Clements of Edinburgh University, a leading expert in the field of environmental ethics (and also described as the 'thinking man's Michael Moore)'. The talk was primarily on the ethics of climate change, particularly internationally; unfortunately I missed a significant part of it, but it was a salutary reminder of both the truth and the importance of this topic, in the wake of the recent publicity given to climate change deniers in the media.

As an example Professor Northcott pointed out that whilst Britain is usually quoted as being responsible for 4% of world emissions, when all of our exploitation of resources in other countries is included it's more like 10-15%, and if the effect of all British companies is included as well it's more like 30%.

At the end of the talk there was a chance to look at a range of designs for the rebuilding of the scout hut adjacent to the church; the Centre for Alternative Technology have been brought in to advise on the most ecologically sound designs. All credit to the Church for the way they are going about this, and for arranging the talk by Professor Northcott.

Back to normal? - well, the above events are the sort of things I would like to consider normal for a weekend.

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