Snowpeople vs climate change: the uprising.

So it has been the longest time since I posted. This is because I have been seriously busy having snowball wars on the streets of London with complete strangers and aiding the local snowpeople in their protest against climate change.

Climate Change Rally in Hanover Sq, Mayfair.

Apparently it's is a global mobilisation:

(United States, Source: Earth Space)

(Poznan, Source: Freedom4um)

Also, I will be shifting my blogging committments to the all new and improved, post-global economic collapse, 100% value Match Factory! In collaboration with think site, The Rubicon, the Match Factory will be providing you with ideas for getting involved in social action, How to guides and weekly blogging love.


Tis the season ....

5 reasons for me to be jolly:

  • Today's climate change march... thousands of people joyfully dancing through the streets of London to the sound of drums and chanting.
  • Wednesday's Fair Christmas Fayre. One Lord Mayor. 2 singing beauties. 8 brass bands men. 50 friends. 550 Fair Trade cupcakes. 1000 strangers. 10,000 fair trade gifts. 16,000 free chocolate bars. Brilliant.
  • This article in New Scientist- Happiness spreads through social networks to such an extent that a friend of a friend can effect your happiness by up to 6%!!! It is a social responsibility to smile!
  • Going to NZ on Monday... for 6 weeks.... the sun! The sea! Weddings! Friends! Family! 24 hours sitting down and actually doing nothing!
  • Google tells me that Word Aids Day was the most googled thing this week.... humankind does care.


The Marinade

The Marinade Advent blog is back for 2008. With 3 new contributors on top of the 5 others the Marinade collective will be throwing up some thought provoking advent musings in the lead up to Christmas 08.
Keep in touch at www.marinateme.wordpress.com


More than one bar of fair trade chocolate in the stocking . . .

Free Christmas! is a movement of people who want to do Christmas differently.

We love Christmas and think it should be much more than simply an act of consumption. We want it to be a creative display of love- not just for our friends and family but for people across the globe and for the earth.

At the moment Christmas has some pretty nasty side effects; tonnes of waste, millions of unwanted presents, huge amounts of debt and stress. We believe we can change this! We want our gifts to help poorer people across the globe (see our ethical pressie guide) or to be about time not money or to be made of recycled stuff to bring some healing to the planet.

We think that if enough people promise to celebrate differently in these ways Christmas really will be a joy to the world. (You will have to excuse any cheeseyness or Christmas carol puns along the way… it is far too hard to resist.)

So on Free Christmas! you will find help with presents, resources to inspire others and a whole crowd of people trying to do the same thing as you. Check all this stuff out but most importantly join the movement: pledge- along with your family if possible- to Free Christmas!


Solid as Barack

I am pretty sleepy but want to put this down. Yesterday we celebrated Parihaka with some Kiwi's in London. Parihaka is an amazing and beautiful piece of NZ history, of the worlds first modern movement of peaceful resistance. It occurred long before those we now associate with non-violence came along but last night as we lit our sparklers we couldn't help but follow the thread from this small group of people on the coast of New Zealand in 1881 and the momentous election of the first black President of the US. It is a simple track; Parihaka inspired Ghandi- his family have since visited in recognition of this- and Ghandi greatly inspired Martin Luther King, and of course if it wasn't for MLK and the civil liberties movement the dream of a black president would hardly even be a dream let alone reality. Little did the tribe of Ngati Te Whiti know when they laid down their lives back then, peacefully in the face of their oppressors, that they would lay a part of the foundation for Barack Obama! The ripples...

Amazing really.

It is incredible news. Not so much for the policies he is gonna implement- this is politics; he may be a bit of a radical but I predict nothing too crazy is going to happen. Everyone wants to go for the second term, eh? But for the potent symbolism! And for the fact that this act can single handedly liberate the dreams of a whole generation of young black people. Truly huge.


Power to the People

I went to the Climate Rush on parliament the other week, it was planned on the anniversary of the suffragettes rush on parliament. I was monumentally hit by the absolute urgency of us reducing our emissions. It is literally a case of now or never.

There was a great little article on the BBC website yesterday about the importance of communities in the fight against climate change. Check it out here.

How can we harness this huge potential?

I am sure there is more we can do then giving worms to every household. On that point the worms have stopped migrating and are now happily producing fertiliser. They rock.

Oh and you must check out:

This! A a great little interactive tool to finding out ways of reducing emissions in your house. And you can order Freebies like stickers to help you remeber to only fill the kettle for as many cups as you need. lets hear it for Freebies! Whoop Whoop!


Got Worms

2000 of them, in our laundry room. They are our pets, they all have names beginning with W (but we don't know them all yet.)

It is our latest experiment in urban low carbon living.

It is pretty gross. They are new- they arrived through Royal Mail yesterday- and seem to be in their escaping stage (I had to google it after we arrived downstairs this morning to find one wandering around our candy floss machine.)

They eat our tea bags and other waste. And turn it into goodness for our herbs.

But it is still pretty gross. I couldn't go to sleep last night because my brain was telling me their were worms in my hair, socks and ears.

Will keep you updated on the slimey little carbon heros.


Songs that bring hope

We went to the End Child Poverty: Keep the Promise march and rally through London yesterday. It was massive, at least 10,000 people turned up to hold the government to the promise they made 10 years ago to end child poverty by 2020. Still a third of UK children are living in poverty.

It was awesome. I love a good march, it restores my faith in change for two reasons. As I look about I see that not only do this many people care about an issue but also that this many people believe that turning up with a banner and a shout can make a difference.

Today I was listening to an old Delirious song and as I belted it out I thought of the thousands of different people who came yesterday, representing possibly just as many beliefs, faith positions,
philosophies. Yet I think I felt the darkness tremble and I think that yesterday, altogether, was a song that bought hope.

Did you feel the darkness tremble?
When all the saints join in one song
And all the streams flow as one river
To wash away our brokeness

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring your hope
Songs that bring your joy

Dancers who dance upon injustice


Christmas comes to soon...

BHS on Oxford St has already got it's first Christmas window.... waah.

However, I canny talk. I have been investing a lot of time on Christmas already. See, every year I despair that Christmas is such an extravaganza of materialism, stress and consumerism, it is truly season of worshiping mammon. So this year I am mobilising early to compete with this!

The first thing is Fair Christmas Fayre- an ethical/alternative Christmas fayre held in the church next door. Already we have some awesome people signed up to come. I am going to be investing some blogging energies into www.fairchristmasfayre.wordpress.com from now on. Please list it!
The second, even more exciting, thing is that as a result of Dream Date on Friday night (a dream/discussion/action night on social injustice) we are building a new Christmas movement! (Can you build a movement?) There is a team of us... we are going to produce a web resource for individuals and church groups on how to do Christmas differently- there is lots of good stuff already, hopefully we can add to it- and we are also going to host weekly shopping free zones on Oxford St where people can come and talk, make presents etc. Wanna join us?


peace one day

This Sunday is International Day of Peace. A few weeks ago a young women from my youth group suggested that we should do something - so we have commandeered the Sunday afternoon church service for the sole purpose of promoting peace; personal, local and global peace.
As the UK (see below) ad campaign asks:

"What will you do to make peace?"

Check out these stats from New Internationalist:
In recorded history since 3600 BC, over 14,500 major wars have killed close to four billion people - two-thirds of the current world population.
  • In armed conflicts since 1945, 90 per cent of casualties have been civilians compared to 50 per cent in the second World War and 10 per cent in the first.
  • Around 85 countries have undergone some sort of disarmament since the end of the Cold War in 1989, but 69 nations have been increasing their stock of weapons - mostly low income countries buying from the richer ones.
  • The United States is the world’s biggest arms exporter - supplying around 40 per cent of the developing world’s arms.
  • The U.S military budget is as large as the next ten, top-spending, countries combined.
  • Britain is the world’s second-largest arms exporter with a 25 per cent share of the legal global market.
  • Between 1990 and 1994 Britain supplied 13 per cent of total arms exports to sub-Saharan Africa - while at war from 1987 to 1994, Angola received $7.3 billion worth of British arms.
  • There are at least 250,000 child soldiers fighting in armed conflict.
  • Most countries consider young soldiers ‘volunteers’. But often coercion is involved - in Uganda around 8,000 children have been abducted for use as soldiers or prostitutes.
Here is a video on the idea and origins of Peace One Day. I love it; it paints a picture of a man with a dream to change the world, obsessed by it, making it happen, growing the dream-almost-reality until it is big.. really big....


Lend me some sugar...

On Saturday we ventured to Tearfund's Whose My Neighbour? Conference... it was grand. Archbishop Desmond Tutu amazed with the most simple of messages with regard to global poverty; a reminder that every last person is made in the image of God... is a God bearer and that we must treat them so. He pressed home God's bias toward the weakest and the idea that when we serve people, in particular those who are vulnerable, we must do so as if it was the Creator of the Universe. He is the most fun yet most convincing person I think I have heard speak ever. Go him. (Like he needs my cheer leading!)

This is one of my favourite gems as he speaks to that place we go to when faced with hard calls, safety.
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."


dreams are free

So the thesis is all finished, bound and handed in. Phew. That was a job. If anyone wants to read 9,919 words on the relationship between global citizenship and global inequality, just let me know.

On that note I am currently thiiiiinking about developing the social action calendar into a fully blown web resource for 2009, with the idea of inspiring action and fostering global civil society. (The Rubicon's Match Factory is currently closest to what it would look like- a guide to how to get active on some key dates for social change, the latest low down on September- October is now live.) This is pretty exciting and I am looking for reps who would be interested in maintaining a guide to their national social action scene (email if you fancy more info on this... or look out in your inbox for an email from me- cause for another winks really, eh).

And, lastly, because we don't devote enough time to d r e a m i n g, any locals are invited to Dream Date. Created with the sole purpose of imagining possible responses to local and global injustice. . .


just a spoonful of hope

I have been thinking about hope. It seems in the last week there has been an incident or a story almost everyday that has given me hope and restored my faith in people and God. I reckon it is vital that we make a thing of these things... otherwise the stealthy ink of despondence can just seep on in.
For me, someone that almost makes my heart burst with hope and the potential of the world to be transformed is Foy Vance and songs such as 'Gabriel and the vagabond', from the aptly named album Hope. Props to Mel W who pointed me in this fullas direction- he pretty much provides the soundtrack to the life of our house at the moment! Truly beautiful.
Here is a performance of Gabriel and the Vagabond:


it's a freebie too...

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is talking at a global poverty conference here in London on 6th September, wowzers.... Book your place here.


The Olympics are fun...

I really just got into the mixed badminton doubles, punching the air woot woot, thinking it was the finals. Really it was just a little heat (and Badminton??). But thrilling it was.

So the Olympics are fun and all that, but lest we forget...

You can follow the Gadfly project at this blog- a voice for the persecuted of China.

and you can follow the Darfur Olympics here.


addicted to oil

This is a fab little video from Good mag.

You know, I really dislike glad wrap/ cling film. I really do think our grandchildren one day will look at us in disbelief and say "You used up the oil to wrap up your sandwiches????"

As Good magazine say "if we're addicted to oil, our twelve-step program should begin with admitting that we have a problem."


It's been a while...

Been doing some thinking on holiness... and have found some scrawlings I did when I was in an awesome theological library back in NZ. What about this one from a chap called Barton:
Holiness as separation is displaced by holiness as solidarity...

That is surely what Jesus did eh, turned it from being an inward dilemma of purity to being about full engagement with the world in all its messiness.

So, life is good. I am job hunting at the moment (a pretty arduous thing) but it is giving me time to spend on some more creative stuff. In order to support my jobless state I am currently doing a couple of commissions for people so if you know anyone that is looking for some original art for their home or office, flick me an email and I'll send you the link to my online 'folio. (Sorry, abused my blog for marketing purposes there.)

Keep radical!


I don't normally get party political on this blog...

but I can't help it. This week leader of the opposition locked his bike up while he went to the shop and came out and it had been pinched. Not really that interesting except that he locked it up to a short post, meaning the thief just had to lift the bike up and off.

For over a year the press has hounded Gordon Brown, making his every move looking like a bumbling mistake- turning minor incidences into major "How- is- this- fool- running- our- country" dilemmas. (For what it is worth I think Brown is passionate, stoic and pretty wise, if not an oil painting which I fear is the press's main concern.) Yet when it comes to the shadow PM doing something so ludicrous as bothering to chain his bike up to a small bollard, not a word is mentioned about it. Not even the smallest ribbing. London, the place where 22,0000 bikes are stolen every year and the hopeful next leader of the country can't seem to work out the logistics of how bikes can be lifted clear of a short post. Crazy, I tell you, crazy.

(Obviously, if the press had gone nuts about the stupidity of this I probably would have posted saying "Come, on- its sweet that he had such faith in humankind") (Actually, na, probably wouldnt have. It is just thick.)


a worthy coup

A great article in the Independent today, about a take over of an arms manufacturer. Love it.


Summer read?

Ah, have returned from a splendid tour of the sunny pastures of Swizerland and France where we swam almost everyday, gorged on the fruit we picked, helped at our friends farm, spent 20 hours lost in paris on our bikes, canoed down the Dordogne, snorkeled our heads off on the border of Spain and took in the beauty of the alps and the pyrenees. Fabulous. And now we are back in the fun crazyness of 9 Princes St and I am tangoing with my thesis.

I just wanted to point out This book, produced by Oxfam and written by Duncan Green, From Poverty to Power. It is downloadable for free and is a pretty comprehensive look at current inequality and the solutions (Active citizens: you and me, people.) There is a little bit on the importance of faith in which Oscar Romero even gets props.

Hope you are well and radical as ever...