Thursday, 28 January 2010

Think Tank - Environment: 23rd-24th Jan 2010

Nichole Samuels, the community outreach officer for the Think Tank, contacted BFoE about having a presence at their open weekend as it was based around the concept of 'environment', which fits with our campaigns and they had invited families from less well off backgrounds/ areas in Birmingham.

Joe, being the incredibly busy man that he is, decided that it would be a great outreach opportunity for me, so, with the fact that this would be the first and last of these events I would be doing, I wanted us to have a good end product to show off back at the office. The hand tree was the solution, the idea coming from the catch phrase 'make your mark' from the Friends of the Earth leaflets. I took along the standing wooden tree, made by our Faith and Climate Change volunteers, covered half of it with paper, then had the families who were visiting the event to draw round their hands and write/draw something to do with the environment in them which we cut out and then stuck to the tree. We got everything from penguins and tigers to hybrid cars and deforestation! This has now gone up in reception of the warehouse for all to see.We weren't the only outside organisation there; sharing the space were representatives from the wildlife trust and an organisation promoting Maths and Science in schools. While the children were making their hands we were discussing our campaigns with the parents, I had taken a whole range of reading materials with me from our different campaigns. The Fix the Food Chain campaign attracted a lot of interest, as well as the Faith and Climate Change project, with quite a lot of our newsletters being taken too.

The visitor numbers were in the hundreds over the weekend and quite a number did make it up to us on the 3rd floor. I had a brill but exhausting time over this weekend at the Think Tank. I would like to thank Roxanne and Janet who were invaluable in helping run the stall and keeping me safe from the hoards of children!

I hope that the next Outreach Officer has more opportunities like this to go out and engage with people around environmental issues at such events. If you are looking to put on an event and would like a representative from Birmingham Friends of the Earth to come along, contact us via

Beth Peters
Environmental Outreach Officer

Friday, 22 January 2010

Community groups get together for 20's plenty meeting

Saturday 30th January Birmingham Friends of the Earth are organising a meeting for representatives of community groups to get together and talk about making their roads safer.

After spending last year campaigning on 20s plenty, largely working on getting letters signed by individuals asking the council to implement default speed limits and sign the council petition, this year we are intent on building a coalition of groups to show a wider base of support. The scheme has been incredibly successful in other places where it has been implemented, such as Portsmouth and Oxford, so it is time for the residents of Birmingham to get a safer environment, too.

There has already been great interest in attending from many neighbourhood forums and we expect it to be a really good event, with a short presentation at the beginning outlining a few aims and then a chance for everyone to interact, share ideas and experiences and make some plans for future collaborations and ways of sharing information.

It has already been publicised on other local blogs, such as this one from Birchfield, so please pass the message on yourself to anyone who may be interested in attending.

People don't need to have any experience of campaigning, just a desire to work together with people in their neighbourhood to try to improve things and build some more community feeling.

It will take place at 10.30am on January 30th at the Journey Metropolitan Community Church in Digbeth (opposite the Birmingham Friends of the Earth building on Shaw's passage).

Contact if you want to come or want any more details about the meeting.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Meat Free Mondays: Buy one get one free at Warehouse Cafe

The meat and dairy industry produces more climate-changing emissions than every plane, train and car on the planet - 18% of the global total. This doesn't mean that you have to give up eating meat, but that you should consider reducing the amount of meat you eat, see our other food chain blogs for more information about our Food Chain campaign.

So we can start by having Meat Free Mondays, or any other day of the week. The point of having Meat Free Monday (or just a meat free day or meal) is it will take the pressure off the food chain and get people thinking about caring about what they eat and the impacts it has on the world around us. It is more realistic to get the whole world to alter their diet and reduce their consumption than get a few to convert to vegetarianism or veganism.

To make this easier for us, and to tempt us by having an enjoyable Monday evening out, with excellent food, the Warehouse Cafe at 54-57 Allison Street, Digbeth B5 5TH, has a great offer: buy one meal, get one free until 8th February. Call 0121 633 0261 for details of the Meat Free Mondays offer and reserve up to eight places - four will be free. Mention that you read about it on this blog.