Tuesday 27 March 2012

Change of blog location

We have now switched the location of our blog to be integrated into our website, so it all feels and looks like our space. There is still the facility to comment on posts there and we hope everyone will find their way to www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/blog

Tuesday 13 March 2012

City of the Future - 1 week to go

One of the most exciting parts of my job is to see a plan come together and an event take place.

Next Tuesday will see our City of the Future public debate on a better economy for Birmingham take place in the Council House, Birmingham. The number of people registered for it has been rising steadily since the web page went live and we are confident of getting to capacity, so please make sure you book your place if you haven't already.
Last year we did a debate on HS2, which went really well and attracted a lot of attention, but that was a very hot, very controversial issue on which passions run very high (and still is). This time, we are hoping to generate some really positive ideas and inspire people on a topic that used to be considered a bit dull and abstract to many, but is now starting to gain more attention - economics.
I've admired the work of the New Economics Foundation for a long time, so am very much looking forward to seeing what three ideas Julia Slay will put forward.
The idea that economic growth is what makes people more prosperous and therefore people's lives better has not been challenged enough in the mainstream media. We are very much looking forward to hearing the argument for a successful economy without growth from Oliver Bettis from the Centre for the Advancement of a Steady State economy.
Dr Helen Borland from Aston Business School has her main research interest in Strategic Business Sustainability, which focuses on how firms can adopt an ecologically sustainable approach to their strategic decision-making, senior management and leadership activities. She will provide the local academic perspective and expertise.

Also, we have David Powell from Friends of the Earth's economics team. His knowledge is integral to how we can campaign on issues such as Feed-in-Tariffs, green investment and the value that is put on the natural environment. He also writes some very readable blog posts on the Friends of the Earth website.

I have also been busy writing articles for local press and blogs on the event. Firstly, was a big piece in the Birmingham Post (whose editor, Alun Thorne is chairing the event for us). Then I wrote a short piece for my local (hyperlocal) blog B31 Voices. I was also asked to contribute a piece for the Chamberlain Files, a new political blog for Birmingham run by former journalists of the Birmingham Post.

Now I have 7 days to wait and see what comes out of this event, but luckily I'm so busy the time should pass very quickly. Bring it on.

Joe Peacock

Monday 12 March 2012

Weekly compilation 09.03.12

Our compilation of stories for this week is a little shorter than usual, but there are still some important stories there to read if you missed any of them:

Our ocean's wealth & how to protect it http://ow.ly/9hfrW #futurewewant#marine #oceans #pollution via @globaldimension @WorldBank
#Wildlife and #Countryside Link's red lines on #planning reform. In short, stop messing with #sustainabledevelopment wcl.org.uk/docs/Link_red_…

Energy & Climate Change
Videos about our #finaldemand campaign on #bigsix from @GiselaStuart and #FITs from Mark Clemson of New World Solar: http://bit.ly/xiKESh
RT @greenbirmingham: “@BCCNewsRoom: Birmingham City Council backs WWF Earth Hour: http://bit.ly/yxzrlb" Could more be turned off, anyway?
RT @wwwfoecouk: After raking in 1.8bn Euros profits, nPower owner under pressure to slash #energy bills http://tinyurl.com/852kj2a #bigsix
RT @northfieldeco: save up to £750/yr on bills & 2 tonnes CO2/yr -get a home energy makeover at no upfront cost. Apply: http://s.coop/81d1
The number of people dying as a result of #fuelpoverty is three times higher than government estimates: http://ind.pn/w1yI0t

Shirley park corporate vandalism http://vimeo.com/38181756
This is a park, in the middle of a densely populated town: http://bit.ly/AF7uus #asda #shirley #trees #vandalism
Places for the Future - let them know what you think: http://bit.ly/zew6LT

New briefing by @20splenty on who's to blame when pedestrians die: http://bit.ly/zWI2x5
Our outdated transport system is running on empty - Richard Dyer of @wwwfoecouk on why we need revolution in transport: http://bit.ly/zH1wuL

Waste & Resource Use
Introduce a tax on waste incineration - what a good idea! - e-petitions http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/2642
Mobile phones have become a seemingly indispensable accessory for modern life, yet behind their success lies... http://bit.ly/zl8JG2

less than 2 weeks until our "city of the future" event and there are still a few free places left. Register now, don't miss out: http://bit.ly/z10Ilu
RT @ChamberlainFile: Time to slay the sacred cow of economic growth – guest post by Joe Peacock: http://bit.ly/xggy1j re City of the Future
RT @theneweconomics: What moments are best for encouraging behaviour change? ... from parenthood to oil prices http://bit.ly/ydSerC
MT @wwwfoecouk: @powellds is quoted in Guardian article on #GIB http://bit.ly/AA0u2E
RT @LocaliseWM: How does economic localisation contribute to inclusion, resilience & redistribution? Sources anyone? http://s.coop/81cz

Thursday 8 March 2012

Video messages about our Final Demand campaign

Last week, we met Gisela Stuart, MP for Edgbaston, at Martineau Gardens to talk about our Final Demand campaign.
There's a press release on our website about it and we also asked her to record a video message, so here it is:

The previous week we were in Summerfield with Shabana Mahmood, MP for Ladywood, and while she wasn't prepared to record a message for us, we did speak to Mark Clemson of New World Solar, who said the following about what MPs can do to support the solar industry:

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Places for the Future - let them know what you think.

Next Monday, we won't be having a meeting here at the Warehouse as usual, but will be at the Council House for the Sustainability Forum meeting looking at the Place for the Future planning document.

 You can respond to it online by following this link, but if you want to help give feedback in a room full of other people who are interested in sustainability, you need to register by emailingsustainabilityteam@birmingham.gov.uk

See you there.

Joe Peacock

Friday 2 March 2012

weekly compilation 02.03.2012

Here's our weekly round up of the stories in the news that are relevant to our campaigns:

RT @dpcarrington: Video: George Osborne's green dream. Friday fun from RSPB @Natures_Voice http://bit.ly/yUHtpM #eg
GM wheat? NO THANKS! http://bit.ly/zo30b5
Oliver Letwin: environmental rules could be 'great deal simpler' http://bit.ly/A7sKkL - so many contradictions in this!
Funding boost to help restore habitats in West Midlands: http://bit.ly/x2ibly - well done Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust!

Energy & Climate Change
What a cheery thing to read at the end of Friday: "Oil prices: 10 reasons to be fearful" - why are we still hooked? http://bit.ly/y8Z3GW
MP @giselastuart to question government over lack of support for community energy: http://bit.ly/xPCEiD
MT @MartynWilliams2: Telegraph don't get #renewable subsidies *should* taper - meant to fall as costs come down http://tgr.ph/AuiCef
RT @Martin_Abrams: Melting Arctic link to cold, snowy UK winters http://bbc.in/yXxdIt #climate #arctic #emissions
RT @the_ecologist: Are the 'Big Six' energy companies blocking renewables in the UK? http://bit.ly/xcIk53 - we'd say yes.
RT @dpcarrington: Exclusive new data reveals folly of betting UK's #energy future on #gas over #wind http://gu.com/p/35zcd/tw
RT @dpcarrington: UK gives five times more public subsidies to #fossil fuels than to #wind power http://gu.com/p/35mmd/tw

RT @digbeth: New DiG blog post, The Future of Localisation and Devolution - http://tinyurl.com/7y6sjs9
Serious questions for the council to answer about how they're allowing @QuintainPLC to demolish #saveislandhouse http://bit.ly/Ad7Ha4
"Cabinet singles out planning system as 'blockage' to growth" Frightening, despite all evidence, they still believe it! http://bit.ly/w5OgDS
RT @KCSharedSpace: Shared space key to the future of urban centres http://bit.ly/wCdzeF
RT @RachelGillies: There is now a website for developing a #BalsallHeath Neighbourhood Plan. http://bit.ly/y3b8JE

RT @AirportWatch: Excellent analysis of airport jobs "Airport jobs false hopes cruel hoax" by Brendon Sewill in 2009: http://bit.ly/A4n57V
Green Light for More Noise and Pollution: http://bit.ly/xDlIt3 Sadly Australian & Canadian pension funds invest in climate change and noise.
RT @AirportWatch: AEF reports that global aviation emissions up by 11% in 5 years despite recession: http://bit.ly/whKBqJ
RT @jrf_uk: Transport poverty is hitting the headlines – it’s time for fair thinking on fuel http://bit.ly/yPNPrb via@leftfootfwd
"Even if people prefer a 3rd runway to Boris Island, doesn’t mean they like either" http://bit.ly/xmUtF5 excellent blog post by John Stewart

Waste & Resource Use
RT @greenbirmingham: “@GuardianSustBiz: ticking time bomb: minerals/metals scarcity in manufacturing http://bit.ly/AChu79
RT @Greenpeace: Oil companies are risking the future of the Arctic for only 3 years worth of oil. #savethearctic http://bit.ly/w3m4oy
Who is profiting at the planet's expense? http://bit.ly/zcApPh

Davey promises steady hand and aggressive growth for green sector: http://bit.ly/x68vWv - some interesting stuff in here & from #Letwin
Joe Peacock: Finding a new economic path to shape our city of the future: http://bit.ly/AzBSet via @birminghampost
Make sure you register here for "City of the Future" public debate. 4 experts will give new hope for a better economy: http://bit.ly/A6EeX3
We've added a blog post about the Sustainability Spring Fair now: http://bit.ly/yr0zZM
Back Fairtrade Fortnight – and fair prices for British food producers: http://bit.ly/Aq84Ms
FoodCycle Birmingham Need Your Help! http://bit.ly/yy2OQn
RT @colebagski: I blogged: Streaming council meetings - what's the point?: http://bit.ly/xs3ny6 #localgov #gov20 - We appreciate it.
"protecting our environment and driving economic prosperity are two sides of the same coin." @CraigBennett3 - we agree: http://bit.ly/wHFNZR
New post on our blog "Positive Money is coming to the City of the Future" http://bit.ly/yonkpa
Here's something to whet your appetite for 20th March: http://bit.ly/w1LJbp via @theneweconomics
This Saturday, Take a Fairtrade step and celebrate Fairmined Gold in the Jewellery Quarter: http://yfrog.com/nx2twp
Maureen has been volunteering with us for 5 years, so here's a blog post to say thanks for all she's done: http://bit.ly/yP1dYl
West Mids comes 2nd lowest in terms of life satisfaction. Well-being data reveals stark differences across the country: http://bit.ly/zITBW2
Full line up of speakers confirmed for our "City of the Future" event: http://bit.ly/AzFNbh - it will be great so sign up while spaces left.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Sustainability Spring Fair

The council are putting on their annual Spring Fair on March 10th and we'll be there supporting the event as always.
We're not sure why they use quotation marks on the literature around things such as "electric cars" and "organic carrots", or why they used such an odd picture at the top of the second page to illustrate it, but I'm sure these minor details shouldn't detract from an excellent event.
We hope to see lots of people there learning about all the excellent things that are going on around Birmingham. The idea being that they will then be inspired to live more sustainably themselves.
You won't be able to miss it if you're around Victoria Square on March 10th, anyway - see you there.

Joe Peacock