Holyrood 350 — H35O

4 Action Points For Holyrood To Avert Climate Chaos

Morn­ing of Sep­tem­ber 19th, Scot­land

 heron at Cae Mabonsand prints bird and human

If Yes wins:

Yes vot­ers wak­ing think­ing the work is over and the world is going to be trans­formed will be disappointed.

Noth­ing, apart from one thing, will have changed and, for any chance of any trans­for­ma­tion, the work will have only just begun.

If No wins: 

No vot­ers wak­ing think­ing the work is over and the world is going to stay the same will be disappointed.

Noth­ing, apart from one thing, will have not changed, every­thing else is chang­ing fast, and for any chance of stop­ping those huge changes, the work will have only just begun.

The only thing that will def­i­nitely have changed on Sep­tem­ber 19th will be that now peo­ple in Scot­land will have been the ones to make the deci­sion that our sov­er­eign par­lia­ment is at Holy­rood or will be at West­min­ster. Whichever way it goes is less momen­tous than the fact that this time we are the ones who decide. And as for the ques­tion we’re being asked?

There is only one question:

Do we have a greater chance of shap­ing the world we need if sov­er­eignty is at West­min­ster or Holyrood?

Every­thing else is irrelevant.

All the fear mon­ger­ing and hope mon­ger­ing, all the num­bers pre­tend­ing to price this or price that, all the talk that we won’t be wel­come into some club, or that peo­ple will be des­per­ate to have us – who knows?

The peo­ple telling us are just back­ing up their side of the argu­ment; they’ve already made up their minds.

So all of that is irrel­e­vant to the deci­sion we need to make.

There is only one deci­sion to make, and once you make it you’ll have to live with it.

If you decide Yes then it will be a Yes.
If you decide No then it will be a No.

That is the magic of democ­racy they don’t want you to know.

Why do you think the same gov­ern­ments that com­plain about voter apa­thy and low turnouts do noth­ing to change the sys­tem? It’s because democ­racy hap­pens when peo­ple believe their vote will make a dif­fer­ence, and if enough peo­ple believe that they can make a dif­fer­ence then they are the ones in charge of the sys­tem, they are in power – what­ever their decision.

When they believe their vote makes a dif­fer­ence, then those who hate the whole polit­i­cal game get out to vote – rather than just those des­per­ate to believe it will work ‘this time’ or those fooled into think­ing it works every time.

Look at the 1945 vote and Labour’s total, if tem­po­rary, trans­for­ma­tion of the UK. Then in 1950 they went on to win the elec­tion by 1 and a half mil­lion votes, but it only gave them a major­ity of 5 seats. So they called the 1951 elec­tion, win­ning by a quar­ter of a mil­lion votes, get­ting more votes than any party has ever got in the UK until 1992, yet lost by 16 seats.

The belief we can make a dif­fer­ence, and the result­ing huge num­bers that turn out to vote, make democ­racy and demo­c­ra­tic change happen.

Huge num­bers voted in 1951 and 1952 but in a vot­ing sys­tem that seems designed to frus­trate and dis­il­lu­sion peo­ple, to grad­u­ally turn them apa­thetic, to make them grad­u­ally hand over their power.


How­ever, a ref­er­en­dum (or at least one where 50% +1 vote wins) is very dif­fer­ent. It is one where we know we can make a dif­fer­ence so we turn up and make a dif­fer­ence and democ­racy hap­pens. It’s our deci­sion, we have the power: over this one small but cru­cial thing.
Each of us decid­ing is part of a col­lec­tive weigh­ing up of the options, a col­lec­tive plump­ing for one path­way or another. We are free to decide. How­ever much one side or the other may think it owns the debate, it is up to us.
But it is also up to us on Sep­tem­ber the 19th and every day there­after … and maybe that is how to decide which way to vote.

If you decide to vote Yes in the hope of mak­ing change hap­pen, we will have only changed one thing. And it will be up to us to then work to try to make all the changes we hoped for hap­pen. If we sit back on Sep­tem­ber 19th then every­thing that brought you to a Yes will be taken from you.

If you decide to vote No in the hope of stop­ping change hap­pen­ing, we will have only stopped one thing, and it will be up to us to then work to try to stop all the changes we fear hap­pen­ing from hap­pen­ing. If we sit back then every­thing that brought you to a No will be taken from you.

In the strange game of how we organ­ise our­selves, the only level at which we the peo­ple seem to have any real say over how our world is run is by decid­ing the Gov­ern­ment of our sov­er­eign coun­try – but what country?

We will wake up on Sep­tem­ber the 19th to find out whether we’ve cho­sen to be gov­erned by Westminster’s sys­tem or Holyrood’s. The ques­tion is sim­ply: which do we trust more …

-       In terms of those things about our soci­ety that we love and that we have, (or loved and lost) – which do we trust will help keep or regain them?

-       In terms of the things we find wrong and painful in our soci­ety – which do we trust will help resist those wrongs and heal those hurts?

In the end, or maybe in the begin­ning, on Sep­tem­ber 18th we the peo­ple will make a decision.

All the accu­sa­tions and rev­e­la­tions, promises and threats, poli­cies and iden­ti­ties, will count for noth­ing com­pared to the ques­tion of trust.

And it may not even be a ques­tion of “who do we trust more to run the place for us?” Maybe all those run­ning West­min­ster and those run­ning Holy­rood believe that they know best, while we watch them hardly lift their eyes to the not-so-far-away hori­zon where species and soci­eties and our children’s future is crum­bling beneath their feet, and plung­ing into cli­mate chaos.

staying below 2 degrees

Maybe it is not a ques­tion of trust­ing them, but of trust­ing our­selves. They may well not yet under­stand what we need to hold onto, and what we need to let go of. Few of us, or none of us, may under­stand that yet.

But which do we trust we can change when we need to? Mak­ing which choice is most likely to help us realise that it is up to us not up to them?

Para­dox­i­cally, and prob­a­bly, it is not the threats and accu­sa­tions, the poli­cies and promises, the per­son­al­i­ties and iden­ti­ties, that will res­onate and decide this for us, but it is how politi­cians and peo­ple on either side of the argu­ment behave.

And since this is an exis­ten­tial moment – a moment of deci­sion on where power is to be decided from here on in, not a deci­sion on which per­son or party is in power for a few years – it will not be how the media and pow­er­ful forces seek to por­tray how the politi­cians and peo­ple on one side or the other behave that will decide this, but how they actu­ally behave. Where, really, is the integrity?

This does not need a TV debate nor celebrity endorse­ments. It does not need a knock out round or a Gor­dian knot of com­pli­ca­tions. It is being decided over time in the hearts and minds and guts of us all.

This is too impor­tant to be left to politi­cians or the ‘experts’. There are innu­mer­able answers to any ques­tion we may like to put, and none is with­out its spin, none is to be trusted.

Yet trust is at the heart of this.

And trust is what peo­ple are return­ing to them­selves through this process. How­ever hard those with power moan about this being an inter­minable process, how­ever much they’re des­per­ate it is over and done with.

The process shows where real power lies, and it is not in lies.

Power does not lie in cor­po­ra­tions, celebri­ties, econ­o­mists or politi­cians. The power lies with us, whichever way we choose.

And it is worse than that for those who are in power (in power for as long as we don’t realise we are the ones who day after day give them our power).

What­ever way the vote goes, if we choose then we’ve won.

There may be bad depres­sion on the los­ing side; there may be a tumult of tri­umphal­ism on the win­ning side.

But hav­ing tasted this process once, we will know full well that all it takes is act­ing on our power, and that act­ing on our power inevitably brings a tor­rent of twisted denial and decep­tion by those wed­ded to con­trol­ling us. Whichever par­lia­ment we decide is sov­er­eign, the peo­ple will have decided. So hereon in it is the peo­ple, not whichever par­lia­ment, that is sovereign.

Do we have a greater chance of shap­ing the world we need if sov­er­eignty is at West­min­ster or Holyrood?

-       Which do we trust we can bet­ter hold to account?

-       Which can we more eas­ily change when we lose trust in them?

-       Vot­ing which way is a greater expres­sion of trust in ourselves?

The ques­tion is not really about them; it’s about us.

We’re told we to decide with our heads or hearts, but neu­ro­science tells us deci­sions are made in the whole body, in the com­mon sense of our bodies.

Despite the wishes and the curses of those who are so entrapped in power they think they can entrap us all through their press and their accu­sa­tions, their threats and their promises; this is a deci­sion we don’t have to think our way into, or feel our way into – whichever way we decide it will in the end be decided in our com­mon sense and through our com­mon power.


Fos­sil fuel divest­ment cam­paign Gath­ers momentum

Climate Change The future


From uni­ver­sity stu­dents to church groups, a united global effort will polit­i­cally bank­rupt the fos­sil fuel indus­try. (Bill McK­ibben writes in The Guardian, Tues­day 29th Oct 2013)

The world has a choice when deal­ing with cli­mate change. One is to decide it’s a prob­lem like any other, which can be dealt with slowly and over time. The other is to recog­nise it as a cri­sis, per­haps the unique cri­sis in human his­tory, which will take rapid, urgent action to overcome.

Sci­ence is in the sec­ond, scared camp – that’s the mean­ing of the IPCC report issued last month, which showed that our planet is already under­go­ing cli­matic shifts far greater than any expe­ri­enced in human civil­i­sa­tion, with far worse to come.

And those of us urg­ing divest­ment from fos­sil fuel stocks are in the sec­ond camp too – we recog­nise that busi­ness as usual is quite sim­ply impossible.

In fact, the most impor­tant fea­ture of the IPCC report is prob­a­bly that it adopted the analy­sis put for­ward by Car­bon Tracker ana­lysts in the UK and divest­ment activists who started their cam­paign a year ago in the US. The sci­en­tists’ report quite explic­itly said that most of the coal and oil and gas that the fos­sil fuel indus­try has iden­ti­fied and plans to mine or drill must remain in the ground to avoid cli­mate catastrophe.

That in turn is why the fos­sil fuel indus­try, when it isn’t in out­right denial about cli­mate change, falls into the first camp: slow, mea­sured change would be nice. Because then we could pump up all the car­bon we’ve told our share­hold­ers and our banks about. Because then our stock prices will stay nice and high. Because then we won’t have to con­front real­ity – oth­er­wise known as physics – for a while longer.

The gulf between these two camps poses a huge ques­tion for those who might think of them­selves on the side­lines. Those, say, who own shares in the fos­sil fuel indus­try. In the US, a num­ber of col­leges, churches, and uni­ver­si­ties have begun to divest those stocks, argu­ing that they can’t both simul­ta­ne­ously decry the wreck­age of the cli­mate and try to profit from it for a few more years.

The mayor of Seat­tle explained that his city was already spend­ing mil­lions build­ing sea­walls – what sense did it make to invest in the com­pa­nies mak­ing that work nec­es­sary? The trustees of San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity recog­nised that it made no sense to have, on the one hand, a physics depart­ment under­stand­ing cli­mate change and on the other hand, an endow­ment full of oil and gas stocks. The United Church of Christ, which traces its roots back to the Pil­grims, decided it couldn’t pay the pas­tor by invest­ing in com­pa­nies that are run­ning Gen­e­sis backwards.

This same oppor­tu­nity is becom­ing part of a world­wide debate. From Africa come some of the loud­est voices demand­ing divest­ment: Desmond Tutu, who watched the effec­tive­ness of the move­ment a gen­er­a­tion ago when it was stock in apartheid-tainted com­pa­nies that was at issue, has asked us to take up the same tool. “If you could see the drought and famine in Africa, you would under­stand why,” he says.

And it’s not just North Amer­ica respond­ing. The Unit­ing Church in Aus­tralia, Angli­can dio­ce­ses in New Zealand, and now the UK’s Oper­a­tion Noah have launched Bright Now – a church divest­ment cam­paign whose first suc­cess came ear­lier this month with the Quak­ers in Britain announc­ing they will dis­in­vest from com­pa­nies engaged in extract­ing fos­sil fuels mak­ing them the first UK Chris­t­ian denom­i­na­tion to do so.

In addi­tion, UK uni­ver­sity stu­dents are increas­ingly engaged in divest­ment cam­paigns as evi­denced by the work under­taken by Peo­ple & Planet. To date there are 19 active divest­ment cam­paigns across the UK includ­ing uni­ver­si­ties with the largest endow­ments: Cam­bridge, Oxford and Edinburgh.

We’ll be look­ing to grow the cam­paign this month with the Fos­sil Free Europe tour, a divest­ment road show with stops in Berlin, Ams­ter­dam, Edin­burgh, Birm­ing­ham and London.

Every­one involved in this cam­paign under­stands that divest­ment won’t in fact bank­rupt Exxon or BP or Shell, but they also under­stand how impor­tant it is to polit­i­cally bank­rupt them. These are now rogue indus­tries, com­mit­ted to burn­ing more car­bon than any gov­ern­ment on earth thinks would be safe to burn. Their irre­spon­si­bil­ity belongs to their exec­u­tives and boards of direc­tors – but it also belongs to any­one who holds their shares. If you think that cli­mate change is a true cri­sis, then the time has come to sever your ties.

Fos­sil Free Tour — Global 350 Comes to Scot­land — 30th Oct 2013


By Mike Small

In the month that the global 350 Move­ment is com­ing to Scot­land, the IPCC report has been released and gives the stark­est warn­ing pos­si­ble (as if any­one need one) of the cri­sis we’re in

Many of us found inspi­ra­tion from the work of Bill McK­ibben, the move­ments founder, an Amer­i­can writer who was one of the very first peo­ple to really under­stand what was hap­pen­ing with cli­mate change. His sem­i­nal work ‘The End of Nature’ was pub­lished in 1989. Since then there’s been a slew of books from him includ­ing ‘Fight Global Warm­ing Now: The Hand­book for Tak­ing Action in Your Com­mu­nity’ (2007) and ‘Enough: Stay­ing Human in an Engi­neered Age’ (2003) and more recently ‘Eaarth: Mak­ing a Life on a Tough New Planet’ - to name just three.


Now Bill and the 350 Move­ment are com­ing to Scot­land with the message:

“If it’s wrong to wreck the cli­mate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”

This autumn, McK­ibben – will lead the Fos­sil Free Europe Tour. From Berlin to Ams­ter­dam – then to Edin­burgh on the 30th Octo­ber. As with pre­vi­ous sell-out tours in the USA and Aus­tralia, he will make the case for how the core busi­ness model of the fos­sil fuel indus­try is destroy­ing our cli­mate, and poses the great­est threat human­ity has ever faced.

This won’t be a typ­i­cal lec­ture, but a multi-media expe­ri­ence that will help gal­vanise the move­ment. McK­ibben will bring together, on stage and on video, an impres­sive group of social move­ment lead­ers, organ­is­ers, cli­mate sci­en­tists, and opin­ion lead­ers to make the case that divest­ing from fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies is not just morally just, but eco­log­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally smart. He will do so in col­lab­o­ra­tion with local move­ment lead­ers and live musi­cal per­for­mances from the ground-breaking artist Filastine.

Book your tick­ets here.

Here’s Bill’s famous, bril­liant and scarey Rolling Stone arti­cle ‘Global Warming’s Ter­ri­fy­ing New Math’ from 2012 with 6577 com­ments – which shook America.

 Thanks to Mike Small for this take on Bill McK­ibben and the Fos­sil Free Tour, first pub­lished on Fife Diet.


What is Holy­rood 350?


Holy­rood 350 was launched by peo­ple from across Scot­land who are actively work­ing to reduce their com­mu­ni­ties car­bon foot­print com­ing together to ask:

How can com­mu­ni­ties help the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment at Holy­rood to tackle the fun­da­men­tal dri­vers that are threat­en­ing all our futures, and how can we sup­port them to enable com­mu­ni­ties to build their resilience and tackle these causes at the local level too?

We were respond­ing to the mes­sage of top cli­mate sci­en­tists that CO2 in the atmos­phere must be reduced from what was then (when H350 formed in 2009) 390ppm to bring CO2 down to below 350, to avoid a rise of 2 degrees and cat­a­strophic cli­mate chaos.

As peo­ple from cli­mate active com­mu­ni­ties the length and breadth of Scot­land, we fully appre­ci­ated the ground break­ing Cli­mate Change Act brought in by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and passed by our Par­lia­ment. As peo­ple fully aware of the lack of progress in inter­na­tional nego­ti­a­tions -  at Copen­hagen, Can­cun, Dur­ban, etc. — we were clear that the Scot­tish Government’s  Cli­mate Chal­lenge Fund is a glob­ally unique, cutting-edge way of inspir­ing and help­ing local com­mu­ni­ties to demon­strate that reduc­ing car­bon emis­sions can increase com­mu­nity cohe­sion, infra­struc­ture, energy secu­rity and well-being.

We see the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment as being in a unique posi­tion to con­tinue tak­ing the lead in the race out of car­bon, not only through ensur­ing that all our energy needs are met through renew­ables, but by enabling all com­mu­ni­ties to make the tran­si­tion to resilience through adopt­ing a clear frame­work in which com­mu­ni­ties can flour­ish. By doing so Scot­land can demon­strate to the world how ris­ing to the chal­lenge of cli­mate change can enrich rather than impov­er­ish us.

A sketch of the draft Resilience Strat­egy for Scot­land we pro­duced is here.

HOLYROOD 350is cur­rently co-ordinated by Justin Ken­rick of PEDAL Por­to­bello. It was set up by him and by the fol­low­ing peo­ple who were at that time involved in the fol­low­ing com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives (most still are):

Andy Ross Glas­gow CRAG, Mike Small Fife Diet, Lucy Con­way Isle of Eigg, Eva Schon­veld PEDAL Por­to­bello, Rachel Nunn Going Car­bon Neu­tral Stir­ling, Nick Wild­ing Falk­land Tran­si­tion, Jonathan Daw­son Find­horn Ecov­il­lage, Jane Grey Let’s Live Local, Abi Mor­den Urban Roots Glas­gow, Alan Drever Sleat, Isle of Skye, Alan Brown Tran­si­tion Lin­lith­gow

We have spo­ken very clearly through dif­fer­ent media at dif­fer­ent times — e.g. through our excel­lent event in Par­lia­ment — but after a break of a year or two where local activ­i­ties took over from push­ing in this way at the national level, we are asking:

- Is Holyrood350/350 Scot­land a cru­cial ini­tia­tive to revive at this fluid time in Scot­tish pol­i­tics? If not, fine — there’s plenty else to be doing! But if so

- What is the best way for com­mu­ni­ties to speak and effect change at the national level in Scot­land today? and, more specifically,

- Should we redesign and relaunch this old old web­site as 350land, and recon­vene (vir­tu­ally &/or face to face)?

… let us know your thoughts!

justinken­rick (at) yahoo.co.uk



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