Friday, 21 October 2011

Consultations and campaigning

Sometimes I think that my job consists of taking part in one massive great big never-ending consultation. This week we've submitted over 30 pages of work on the National Planning Policy Framework and the Framework for Sustainable Aviation.
I am very lucky to have some great volunteers to call on within our group who have put together some really excellent in-depth work to help in this, but sometimes you wonder whether it's all worth it and whether anybody actually reads what you've spent all those hours working on.
Wouldn't it be better to join the direct action of occupying some public space to make your points, being part of some exciting revolution?
We recently got a quote in the Daily Mail about the biofuels flight at Birmingham airport, but that was probably because of the Plane Stupid protestors who stripped off to make their point.
It brings me to ask "is our campaigning most effective when we're providing detailed evidence in consultations,

or when we're out making a visual point on the streets?"
I guess that you can't do one without the other. If we didn't have the evidence to back up what we're calling for, we couldn't be confident in dressing up to make the point.
I really enjoyed Just Do It but came out of it thinking, "I still don't feel that is the best way of achieving change and I don't want to spend all that time being arrested". Friends of the Earth don't do direct action that breaks the law in this country, but do recognise the value of fun visual street campaigning.
To keep our volunteers engaged, we have to make sure we do some of the fun stuff as well as the in-depth research and engaging with consultations. We just need to find the gaps to fit it in between them all.

Joe Peacock

No comments: