The beginning of summer, if it ever did begin, has been eventful. June was packed with so many activities. It shows that month by month, our reach is impressive. In early June, we had the Birmingham Friends of the Earth AGM, which really highlighted the massive amount of work we had done in 12 months. It was enough to motivate Louise Hazan, Friends of the Earth Midlands Network Developer, to nominate Birmingham FoE as the Friends of the Earth Group of the Year for the FoE Earthmovers Awards. Louise spent some considerable time perfecting the nomination form. Whether we win or not, the nomination is an honour.
The Climate Change Bill, announced earlier in the year, was out for consultation up until June. We had a late rally of campaigners to get in individual responses to push for a stronger bill that includes emissions from international aviation and shipping as well as annual targets. We know from recent training events that there is clear evidence that the more that the public push for something, the more likely it is to happen. So all the thousands of postcards we have collected over the years have been worth it.
Kate Nancarrow’s inspiration began a flurry of incredibly successful stalls. We enticed people with bags at the World Environment Day recycling stall; with a raffle at the BBC Springwatch Festival and Jeff secured us a prominent presence at the Birmingham University Vale Festival where the FoE Big Ask was the official campaign the festival chose to support. From those three events in the space of a week, we gained 5 new members, got over 1000 Big Ask postcards signed and engaged countless number of people in a wide range of issues.
Phil Burrows secured the presence of climate change supremo, Mark Lynas, to talk to us about his new book, Six Degrees. And for that, we got front page coverage of the Birmingham Post. In the same week, 87 sterling volunteers set off for Glastonbury to try to earn us a few bob. Thank you to Karen Leach, Sue Elkin and Louise Elkin for making it happen. Yes, it felt like they did enough work to organise the entire festival. We held a showing of “An Inconvenient Truth” at the Electric Cinema with MPs Lynne Jones and John Hemming speaking afterwards.
In late June, Maud Grainger returned, this time in the guise of Multi-Faith Climate Change Project Worker. We participated in the Stop Climate Chaos stall during the Live Earth concert; got 200 petitions forms signed as part of our campaign for a rail station for Kings Heath and welcomed the release of the City Council’s Sustainability and Climate Change report.
Most recently, we held our fundraising barbecue at the Anchor Pub’s Organic Beer Festival and ran a stall in Cotteridge to campaign against the Planning White Paper that threatens to make it far easier to build whatever Big Business fancies.
The end of the school year has seen several opportunities to participate in activity days. Gareth gave a talk to Edgbaston High School for Girls, I ran climate change workshops at Swanshurst Girls’ School and Tamsin has been working with an environmental artist at Yardley Wood Junior and Infant School.
What a testimony to the power of volunteering!