Holyrood 350 — H35O

4 Action Points For Holyrood To Avert Climate Chaos

In Scotland, Morning of September the 19th 2014

June 13th, 2014 · No Comments

heron at Cae MabonIf 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 195o and 1951 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.

dotgavin-toavoidcriticism
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.

Justin Ken­rick

 

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

350front

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.

billmck

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?

350tland

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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