Local rail, climate change and aviation have taken a lead in the past two months. Our campaign to reopen local rail stations in Moseley, Kings Heath and Stirchley has taken a prominent role. Joanne Leach and other volunteers have held several stalls at Moseley and Kings Heath farmers’ markets; the campaign has been a permanent feature at the Kitchen Garden Cafe (in Kings Heath); and some residents have forwarded our campaign by taking the petition out to the community on our behalf. We will be handing over our campaign petition to local councillors and intend to have a publicity stunt to attract attention to the need for speeding up the reopening of the line. Momentum is building in the media.
Late summer has also seen us ramp up our activities on the Big Ask Climate Change Campaign. In order to get a stronger bill, our campaign has taken different turns. We have filmed Lorely Burt MP (Solihull), along with parliamentary candidates Jerry Evans (Hall Green) and Richard Burt (West Worcestershire), for the Big Ask Virtual March. They all backed our three campaign aims. Shahien Khan braved the rain for us at the Birmingham Eid Mela while Janet Browne and Ayman Ahwal went to the Birbery Brickworks in Sparkbrook to get postcards signed to lobby MPs. Many more turned out for the Christian Aid and Islamic Relief Climate Change March, Cycle Relief and Moseley Folk Festival. We were lucky to have Tori Ray as our guest. Tori is Friends of the Earth’s new press officer whose job is to support local groups in gaining local press coverage during the Big Ask Climate Change Campaign. Tori is mainly advising via regional staff but we were lucky to have her all to ourselves for a short time.
Recently, we have had some decent press coverage. The Super Prix debacle brought us a load of headlines in the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail and Birmingham News; on BBC Midlands Today; and on Smooth Radio and Radio WM. Andy Pryke did some filming in Moseley for “Heart of the Country”, and we gained coverage in Birmingham Forward, The Muslim Weekly and the Quaker publication, The Friend (the latter two for the multi-faith climate change project).
August also saw the famous climate camp next to Heathrow Airport. A contingent from the West Midlands went down, made many media waves, got Birmingham Friends of the Earth coverage too and subsequently has led to people getting together from various groups to begin to collaborate more closely on Birmingham Airport’s planned runway extension. With the Airport’s master plan due to be published any moment, we are preparing for a big campaign.
For foodies, we held an organic food speaker event in the popular Warehouse Café with excellent speakers from the Soil Association, Garden Organic and Flights Orchard Organics who run a box scheme in the Birmingham area. To continue the food theme, Maud Grainger is working with Ulfah Arts, UNITY FM and the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences to organise a women’s only organic food iftar (breaking of the fast). Maud is also planning a tree planting event on 28 November in Small Heath Park, to which local councillors, Roger Godsiff MP and the local community will be invited.