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GO GREEN TO GET OUT OF THE RED? I’m sorry if you’ve picked up this newsletter hoping to read about something other than the recession for a change. But at least this article has something positive to propose. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if, in order to create jobs in the short term, we put public money into environmental and social solutions for the long term to avoid future resource ‘crunches’ - rather than perpetuating the absurdly illogical economic model of ever-increasing resource consumption in a finite world?

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3 - Campaigns Digest 5

- Warehouse


- Green Christmas Fair


- Guest Article - Womens Environment Network


- Airport Campaign Roundup

10 - Review of George Marshall’s Climate Detox 12

Cover Article - Go Green to Get Out of the Red


- Victoria Jubilee Allotments

17 - Free Love 18 - Meat as a Treat 20 - Volunteer in the Spotlight 21

- Diary


- Membership Form

23 - Contacts


Campaigns Digest Despite the long Christmas break, campaign work at Birmingham Friends of the Earth has been unrelenting over the last couple of months with some major new developments… Aviation After running for almost 12 months, with a website launch, public meetings, lobbying, press releases and celebrity endorsements, the Flyagra campaign against the expansion of Birmingham International Airport (BIA) reached new heights this December. In the first two weeks of the month we delivered a 1000 name petition to Solihull Council, fought a fierce media battle with BIA in the Birmingham press and had a showdown with the airport at the Council planning meeting on 15th December. Get the full story in James Botham’s article “Flyagra Campaign Reaches Climax”.

organisations, including student groups, churches, charities and trade unions and we’ve only just started. Our plan is to get dozens more organisations signed up to the Energy Revolution to show the range of support for an ambitious Apollostyle renewable energy programme in the UK. To find out more or to sign up your organisation, contact

Energy & Climate Change Phase 1 of our renewable energy campaign “Join the Energy Revolution” was a huge success with hundreds of Birmingham residents signing postcards demanding that the Government stick to its target of generating 15% of the UK’s power from renewable sources by 2020. Now we have moved on to Phase 2 which is focused on building support for renewable energy from local businesses and groups. So far we have signed up more than 25

Photograph by Auntie P

Ben Martin on 0121 632 6909 or Transport The Transport Action Group has launched a brand new campaign calling for a 20mph speed limit on all unclassified roads in Birmingham (that’s all roads that are not A or B roads). “But why is BFoE running a


Campaigns Digest speed limit campaign?”, I hear you cry. It’s simple really - if cars drive more slowly, there’s a much lower chance of accident and serious injury for cyclists and pedestrians, so people will be more inclined to walk and cycle, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. We’re piloting the campaign in Billesley and are looking for supporters in the area. So if you live in Billesley and would like to make your roads safer, please contact Ben Martin on 0121 632 6909 or campaigns@

coverage in the Ecologist, the Daily Mirror and on the BBC and in the New Year we received a free media training workshop courtesy of the BGC. We’re mostly focusing on work around food and local parks at the moment and will be doing more on greening places of worship in the near future. The project may also see a change of name and a new website in the near future, so watch this space. You can find out more by contacting Maud Grainger on 0121 632 6909 or maud@birminghamfoe.

Local Shops & Food

by Ben Martin

The Local Shops & Food Action Group’s first event, the Green Christmas Fair on 20th December, was a big hit, with stall holders from 14 local environmentally friendly businesses and charities and a good public turnout. You can read more about that in Mary Horesh’s article “Santa Goes Green at the Birmingham Green Christmas Fair”. The next focus for the group is the national FoE Food Chain campaign, which calls on the government to revolutionise the way we produce meat and dairy products. To get involved, please come to our meeting on Monday 23rd February at 7:30pm. Multifaith Project Being a finalist in the Big Green Challenge (BGC) continues to work wonders for the Multifaith Project. Over Christmas we received press



Being a finalist in the Big Green Challenge (BGC) continues to work wonders for the Multifaith Project. Over Christmas we received press coverage in the Ecologist, the Daily Mirror and on the BBC

The shops and companies here have all come together because they are dedicated to working towards a healthier, more organic city. So if you want to help make Birmingham a cleaner, greener place to live, or you just want to eat some good vegetarian food, then come to The Warehouse and see what’s going on.


Sales, service, repairs, accessories. Bikes also built to your own specifications.

Established over 15 years ago in the Friends of the Earth Building in Birmingham The Warehouse Café has a reputation as a quality provider of vegetarian and vegan food in Birmingham. “Real people serving real food with local, organic and fair trade leading the way” Guardian Unlimited. To see the delicious menu go to For bookings and enquires Telephone 0121 633 0261 Email

Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am-4pm 0121 633 0730

• 100% vegetarian and vegan • A Large selection of organic and fairtrade products, most supplied and delivered by a workers co-operative • Vegan owners - no meat or dairy products sold Open Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm


Green at the Birmingham Santa goes Green Christmas Fair Did anyone spot a green Santa wandering near the award winning December Moseley Farmers and Craft Market? Because if you did he had escaped from Birmingham Friends of the Earth Green Christmas Fair held at St Columba Church Hall. This event solved my usual dilemma of how to enjoy the Christmas holiday without indulging in the modern over-consumerist festival. I have cut down on the amount of presents I buy, but some friends still have high expectations of a shower of gifts. So I have decided that, if they are so determined to get a gift, it might as well be an ethical and environmentally friendly present. And as our Christmas fair showed, there are some great gift ideas and presents out there. We had stalls selling all sorts of gifts and goodies, including: • Bsustained - • Carrs Lane Traidcraft • Christian Aid • Campbell Crafts - local hand-made crafts • Freecycle - • Globehuggers • Green Finder - • Green Party - birmingham. • Catherine Bowdler - handmade prints, textiles and giftwrap - www.

6 • Interpal - • Send-a-Cow - uk • SusMo - uk/?q=susmo • The Wild Flower Patch - www. • Transition Towns Birmingham We also had tea, coffee, cake and hot punch on sale for people to warm up whilst looking around. We sold books and mistletoe to raise money for our campaigns. There was also a chance to share green Christmas tips and learn green Christmas craft skills, like making decorations and gift wrap. One popular attraction was our freecycle stall, which ran along the same principle as the website: what’s someone else’s rubbish, is someone else’s treasure. We had a lot of books, CDs and other random items, including half a bag of cat litter, which surprisingly disappeared. At the end of the fair, all that was left over was donated to Oxfam. We closed at 2 pm and sadly had to turn people away at the end, so watch this space for next year’s event, or maybe a summer fair as presents and ethical gifts are not just for Christmas! Further Information Mary Horesh

By Genevieve Jordan, Women’s Environmental Network Nappies are not so necessary.....? We have recently welcomed our second child into the world which has brought our focus firmly back to the basics of bodily functions! Disposable nappies, bought to get us through the early survival days, still weigh heavily on my green conscience and hatred of bulging black bags. It was this and a gut feeling that there must be a better way that led me to a fateful discovery of what has been termed ‘Elimination Communication’ or ‘Natural Infant Hygiene’ by Ingrid Bauer (author of Diaper Free). Common thought these days (heavily influenced by the disposable nappy industry) is that you cannot even think of starting ‘potty training’ before 18 months in England (or 22 months for American children for some reason)! However my own experience of having my first child happily out of nappies by 18 months pooh poohs (excuse the pun) this advice. The environmental burden of nappies (alas both disposable and cloth) is widely known in green circles. The sad thing today is that the better nappies seem to be, the longer children seem to stay in them. Three years seems to be the norm for most children conventionally trained that I know of, often followed by weeks and even months of accidents and

frustration by both child and parent. While I’ll have less time than I did with the first one I feel more confident about it this time. Frankly, I relish the prospect of nappy freedom asap. For any parents of little ones out there willing to give it a go, here are a few tips for getting started: Lots of OBSERVATION! Take the nappy off and try and figure out the signs of when they are going. If they go, make a sound to cue them. In time they will go when you make the sound. When happy after feeds and on waking up hold them in a comfortable position over a pot or toilet. It’s like winning the lottery when you catch something. Stay relaxed and be gentle with your baby. It’s very easy to get OBSESSED! Yes, it takes time, effort, thought, observation, and support in the early months but it pays off with all the nappies you don’t have to change and wash later on. I also treasure the fact that I can avoid something of what is believed to be the inevitable environmental nappy burden of raising children. Further Information cs/pottytraining/f/infantpt.htm


Flyagra Campaign Reaches Climax Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s Flyagra campaign against the proposed runway extension at Birmingham International Airport (BIA) reached its climax towards the end of last year. On 1st December Birmingham FoE campaigners, dressed as pilots and airport ground crew, wheeled a trolley stacked with boxes of ‘duty-free Flyagra’ to the doors of Solihull Council House for a photo opportunity with a delegation of supportive Solihull councillors. Liberal Democrat councillors Tim Hodgson (Shirley South), Leela Widger (Silhill) and Glenis Slater (Elmdon) were on hand to receive 1004 Flyagra campaign postcards signed by members of the public opposed to the runway extension. Famous names among the 1004 signatories included comedian and activist Mark Thomas, novelist Will Self, and poet Ian McMillan. The Lib Dems presented the postcards to the Mayor at the next Full Council meeting on 9th December.  The Flyagra campaign and website was launched in January 2008 by Birmingham Airport anti-Noise Group (BANG) and Birmingham Friends of the Earth (to be joined in October by newly formed Solihull Friends of the Earth) to coincide with the airport company’s announcement that it had applied to the Council for planning permission for a 400-metre extension to the airport’s main runway and associated developments, including


a new air-traffic control tower. The campaign focused on drawing attention to the evidence that operating a longer runway from 2012 would increase the airport’s contribution to climate change and the number of people exposed to significant aircraft-noise disturbance in the local area.

....a longer runway from 2012 would increase the airport’s contribution to climate change and the number of people exposed to significant aircraft-noise disturbance.... In October we had what is perhaps as clear a statement as any to date of just what we will be letting ourselves in for if the airport’s growth is allowed to continue unchallenged - a de facto London airport on our doorstep. In an interview with the Solihull News the airport company’s new managing director, Paul Kehoe, said that BIA would be well placed to take advantage should a Conservative government gain power and stick to its pledge to abandon a third

runway at Heathrow airport in favour of new high-speed rail links. ‘With better rail links’, he said, ‘Birmingham would become the third runway, we can serve that market and the capital as well.’

‘With better rail links’, he said, ‘Birmingham would become the third (Heathrow) runway, we can serve that market and the capital as well.’ We know from the studies by independent consultants for the airport company that aircraft noise and carbon dioxide emissions will grow if BIA gets its runway extension. Despite this, ever since it submitted its planning application to extend the runway, the airport’s management has insisted that the scheme would in fact benefit the environment. A longer runway would, so it was claimed, reduce emissions and congestion by ‘clawing back’ Midlands air passengers currently travelling outside the region by car to start their journeys from other airports. This line of argument was always flawed, as the emissions saved

from fewer car journeys would be dwarfed by the extra emissions generated by longer flights. But now, in the light of Mr Kehoe’s not-so-subtle attempt to position BIA as an alternative to expansion at Heathrow, it seems the runway extension is more about increasing Birmingham’s share of the South East air-travel market than clawing back local demand. The Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee was due to decide whether or not to grant planning permission for the runway extension at a special meeting scheduled for 15th December (a motion at the meeting of 9th December by the Lib Dems for the application to be determined by a meeting of Full Council was unfortunately defeated). In the event the Committee, while minded to approve the application, unanimously agreed to defer a decision until an updated Section 106 Agreement and revised planning conditions had been agreed between the Council and the airport operator. We now have an opportunity to try and secure the best deal we can for local people and the environment through the revised Section 106 Agreement and planning conditions. The Council must drive a hard bargain with the airport company and secure tougher controls on noise, night flights and airportrelated road traffic. However, we remain concerned about the potential increase in noise and


Flyagra Campaign Reaches Climax

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an environmental imperative - it’s the law.

cutting carbon emissions is no longer just an environmental imperative - it’s the law.

A big thank you to everyone who supported this campaign. By James Botham

greenhouse-gas emissions from operations at BIA, both with and without a runway extension, especially considering that since the passing of the historic Climate Change Bill in November, cutting carbon emissions is no longer just


George Marshall’s “Carbon Detox”

Sick and tired of hearing about climate change? Fed up with lousy advice to do impossible things? Unsure what you can do to make a real difference? Read “Carbon Detox” by George Marshall. George is well known in the environmental movement, being one of the founders of Rising Tide (who produced that great cartoon booklet you may have picked up from Birmingham Friends of the


Earth reception). He’s now director of the Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN) and the author of Carbon Detox. One of the great things about Carbon Detox (CD from now on) is that you don’t have to read the whole book - it consists of lots of small, self contained chapters with help to pick and choose the ones that really matter to you. It’s the first material I’ve read on climate change which recognises the fact

that there are different types of people out there, with different lives and different attitudes. Maybe you’re someone who likes travelling and gadgets, maybe you’re under time and money pressures - CD lets you understand how changes in climate might affect you personally, how to easily “drop a tonne” of carbon a year, and actually have a better lifestyle afterwards. Personally, I hate the phrase “tonnes of carbon dioxide”. I’d bet good money that 95% of people reading this (and 98% of the population) have no idea how many “tonnes” of CO2 they generate each year. And another thing: CO2 is a gas, so trying to imagine its weight is doubly hard. I suspect George agrees, as he’s come up with a new unit - “carbos” which is short for “kilograms of carbon dioxide”. It simplifies things and is much easier to talk (and write) about. The book includes two “carbo calculators”, a quick and dirty one and a more in-depth one which allows you to take into account details like what type of food you eat or how big your car engine is. As they say in management, “in order to change something, you first have to measure it”. There are also some great comparisons of how effective different actions are - for example, turning your TV off rather than leaving it on standby saves 25 carbos, whereas turning your heating down by 1 degree C saves about ten times as much. Cancelling a trip to New Zealand reduces your impact by around 600 times more than giving up plastic bags for a year. There’s one page of the book which really struck me - it introduces the idea of the “emissions-death

ratio”. At some stage in the future, historians studying our era will be able to compare the rise in CO2 with the number of deaths resulting. It will then be possible to cost actions not in tonnes or carbos, but directly in terms of human lives. Some initial (and “highly speculative”) research has already been done on impacts so far, and has come up with a figure of approximately 100 tonnes of CO2 per person suffering severe impacts (ie death, homelessness, need for urgent medical treatment or facing starvation) - that’s about 1 person for every 10 return flights to Australia.

There’s one page of the book which really struck me - it introduces the idea of the “emissionsdeath ratio”. Overall, the book takes a positive approach - it has lots of ideas for treats to reward yourself and actions which will improve your life rather than make you feel that you’re wearing sackcloth! We’re hoping to get George Marshall to perform his “Carbon Detox One Man Show” in Birmingham soon, so please contact us if you’d like us to email you when this is arranged. We will of course publicise it in all the usual ways too. By Andy Pryke


GO GREEN TO GET OUT OF THE RED? The Green New Deal (GND) approach has been drawn up by a group of respected environmentalists, economists and activists including Localise West Midland’s board member Colin Hines, Jubilee Debt Campaign’s Ann Pettifor, ex Friends of the Earth head Tony Juniper and others, as a way of tackling the ‘triple crunch’ we are facing, of financial crisis, climate change and energy prices. I would add the planet’s other resource limits to the list. The idea is similar to Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal which helped the US recover from the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The idea is similar to Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal which helped the US recover from the Great Depression of the 1930s. It consists of two recessionbusting strands. The first is a series of recommendations for creating stable financing for


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people and businesses that is free from the ‘global financial casino’ – involving de-merging the bigger banks, promoting communitysized financial institutions such as credit unions, cracking down on tax havens, targeting financing at ‘real productive work’ rather than the weird, alarmingly hollow financial creations of past decades. All excellent and essential for wellbeing and stability (and if it’s the sort of thing you’re into, read the excellent blog of GND group member Richard Murphy, an accountant David against taxhaven Goliaths), but not so directly relevant for an environmental newsletter. The other strand of the Green New Deal involves public spending to undertake low carbon infrastructure development on a massive scale to revitalise the economy, and harnessing new models for investment for this, such as local bonds. So, public and investment funding could be used for training and job creation for a massive programme of, for example, insulation retrofitting for the UK’s existing housing. If every house was made energy efficient, this would benefit overstretched budgets, particularly for those living in fuel poverty, generate huge CO2 savings, increase our energy security and help us to avoid future energy crises. It would also help to bypass the apathy of many householders

on tackling the energy efficiency of their homes. A similar approach with businesses would increase their cash efficiency and survival through the recession. Much of the workforce could come from the now somewhat under-employed construction sector, spreading skills and expertise that in any case will be needed when building future housing. This is just one example – the same approach could be used for public transport infrastructure, renewables programmes and any other activities that can generate something economically useful as well as environmental benefits.

Obama in the USA, Brown in the UK and the European Commission have come up with green jobs schemes and investments as parts of their response to the recession The Green New Deal is not just a UK-based approach. Internationally, instead of insisting on privatisation

of public services and access to domestic markets as conditions of financing for developing countries, international development finance could be channelled into helping developing countries to build low carbon infrastructure and energy efficiency activities. Of course this is not an entirely new idea – environmental economists have been using these arguments for decades – but the Green New Deal name and report expresses them clearly, boldly and in perfectly timed juxtaposition to the economic failures of the present. Responses The Stern report concluded that it made very sound economic sense to spend at least 1% of GDP (this was when we actually expected any GDP) on tackling climate change. Although the Government has been slow to take Stern’s advice, perhaps the added incentive of the recession will generate some activity? Since its launch, the idea of using the recession as an opportunity to adjust towards a low carbon economy has appeared everywhere. As regards government action, Obama in the USA, Brown in the UK and the European Commission have come up with green jobs schemes and investments as parts of their response to the recession, although not yet to the scale that


GO GREEN TO GET OUT OF THE RED? the GND group envisage would significantly reduce future energy crunches. Meanwhile many organisations have been supportive. Some major environmental NGOs initially seemed a little too paralysed by their own strategic bureaucracy to capitalise on the opportunity and urgency to put the case for environmental solutions to the recession, but nevertheless have signed up and are mainly now talking the talk. Less predictably, the Environment Agency has voiced its support and a recent United Nations report1 recommended a ‘fundamental restructuring of economies weaning away dependence on oil and towards cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy’. West Midlands Closer to home, in the West Midlands we’re well placed to start rethinking our economy in this way, as our region’s economic strategy contains commitments to a low carbon economy such as supporting low carbon technologies. Various parts of the region including Birmingham, Stafford and South Shropshire are also rich in the sorts of small businesses and social enterprises through which such a scheme could be delivered. The dire state of Birmingham’s council housing would also be given a greatly needed boost. But the public sector reaction


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in the West Midlands has been a little more muted so far. At a Regen West Midlands conference recently, despite a hard-hitting

Less predictably, the Environment Agency has voiced its support speech from Jonathan Porritt, both our regional minister, Ian Austin, and Advantage West Midlands chief, Mick Laverty, spectacularly failed to mention climate change or resources even once. When challenged, the response was that ‘we already have a low carbon regional economic strategy’ but, given the heavy percentage of that strategy that is NOT low carbon, this seems to misunderstand the scale of the problem, the nature of the crunch we face and the opportunities for using sustainability to escape the worst effects of the recession. Hopefully they will be persuaded by the breadth of opinion in favour of taking this seriously. Localise West Midlands has been helping to bring together a group of organisations (including West Midlands Friends of the Earth) to work out how we can support a

Green New Deal approach to job creation in the region. One option would be to conduct a feasibility study into a region- or city-wide comprehensive home insulation programme, looking at the training needs, workforce potential, scale and scope of the retrofitting work, and whether investment concepts like local bonds could help to fund the work in addition to government support. Meanwhile many of us are taking up the Green New Deal’s wider approach and will be using these arguments in policy work and campaigning.

In all our campaigns work at Birmingham Friends of the Earth and elsewhere, we have to take this opportunity to shape our economy around managing rather than assetstripping our natural resources....

In all our campaigns work at Birmingham Friends of the Earth and elsewhere, we have to take this opportunity to shape our economy around managing rather than asset-stripping our natural resources, increasing wellbeing, and producing quality products to meet needs. The profligacy and illogic of the old economic world order is much more widely understood. Environmentalists can no longer ignore the role of the economy, and if we can’t make this change now, then when will we? Karen Leach Coordinator, Localise West Midlands References 1) The Green Economy Initiative from the UN Environment Programme Further Information Green New Deal:

Photo from


Victoria Jubilee Allotments :

Excuse me, we’re still waiting!

Long-term readers of this newsletter will remember the story of the Victoria Jubilee Allotments in Handsworth. Ten years ago, Simon Baddeley and many other supporters of HAIG (Handsworth Allotments Information Group) began a long campaign for the allotments. Various housing proposals came and went, and Birmingham Friends of the Earth gave valued support. Eventually, after successive planning applications and complications, Westbury Homes were granted permission for a development on one part of the site with some of the green space protected, and a ‘Section 106’ planning agreement committing the developer to create new allotments and playing fields next to the land given over to building.

a ‘Section 106’ planning agreement committed the developer to creating new allotments

We thought that was the end of the story. In the way these things happen, Westbury Homes have merged into Charles Church, part of Persimmon Homes. Their new houses


were completed, sold and occupied, and by May 2007 the promised football fields and cricket pitch and 80 allotments should have been laid out and handed over to Birmingham City Council. But there is still no sign of them. The last few months have been hard for developers. But regardless of the recession, the City Council should be pressing Persimmon Homes to get this work done now. They will at least be creating employment for people during hard times. The resulting free facilities will provide relaxation, exercise, and a source of inexpensive food and fulfilment for local people. Urban food growing and greening not only meet recession-related needs and long-term food security but reduce poverty and change people’s lives. In the same way an allotment gardener uses winter to repair tools and order seed before the exuberant chaos of spring growth, the developer should take advantage of the construction lull to complete their Section 106 commitments. It will be a small piece of work and not as expensive and credit-dependent as house-building. By the time you read this, we’ll have attended a local ward committee meeting at which we hope we’ll hear, directly or indirectly, what the developer’s plans are for meeting their commitments. We’ll let you know what happens...      Karen Leach and Simon Baddeley

Best Present in the Free Love the Credit Crunch The Santa parade on Buy Nothing Day has become an annual event in the Birmingham Friends of the Earth calendar and this year was no exception as we celebrated the occasion on 29th November in a very busy Birmingham city centre and promoted a message of “less is more”. There was some debate about whether the message would be as well received this year and whether we should even go ahead with it. In the end the decision was made to do it and take our light-hearted placards, such as “Buy more, be happy” and “Spend, don’t think” to the people. The message was that buying isn’t what makes you happy in these times of credit crunch and economic gloom and that what you buy is more important than how much. The decision was justified, as the Santas and their message were as well received as ever. I don’t remember any negative comments,

but people did say things like “oops!” while carrying large bags of shopping and one girl said “Oh no! Why does it have to be on my birthday?” This is the seventh year that the Santas have paraded in Birmingham and Buy Nothing Day is now a truly global event. It would have been a shame to miss a year and for people not to see the opposing view to the Government’s position of trying to prop up a consumerist boom based on buying more than we need with money we don’t have. Christmas should always be about spending time with and thinking about our loved ones. Big expensive or cheap throwaway presents make far less difference to our happiness. Take Action The issues we are looking at with Buy Nothing Day are about waste and patterns of consumption and also about using local shops and sustainable fair trade. If you want to get involved in these issues, check out the meetings schedule at the back and come along to the next Local Shops and Food Action Group meeting. If you are keen to do something about waste and recycling and have an idea for a campaign, get in touch with us via email and we’ll do all we can to assist. Further Information Joe Peacock


Meat as a Treat? Working in the field of health promotion/public health as I do, it has been refreshing to see the latest resurgence in linking health with sustainable development. This makes sense, considering that the best-established definition of health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. So you could say, ‘If it ain’t sustainable, it ain’t healthy’.


• Reduction in over-nutrition (our present levels of meat consumption contribute significantly to the ‘obesity epidemic’). • Agricultural sustainability/efficiency (resources needed to produce 1kg of animal protein would produce several kgs of plant protein) • Social justice/efficient food distribution (meat is disproportionately consumed in the ‘rich world’, and diverts food away from the majority world) • Climate control (the meat industry significantly contributes to climate change, which represents a major health risk)

Several speakers and many delegates recognised that intensive meat production was unhealthy and unsustainable.

• Animal welfare (enough said)

One recent development arose at the 2008 UK Public Health Association (UKPHA) conference. Several speakers and many delegates recognised that intensive meat production was unhealthy and unsustainable. It was noted that a case could be made on health grounds for a government drive for vegetarianism, as it would bring benefits in terms of:

• Nutrition (in some cases, it might be undesirable for people to eliminate all meat consumption)

So, I proposed that the 2009 conference should be piloted as a meat-free event, and this is currently being considered I also noted, however, that even if a British government were ever minded to promote vegetarianism, there were opposing considerations which would have to be taken into account, such as:

• Cultural sensitivity (it would be more difficult for some cultural groups to give up meat than others) • Politics/pragmatics (not least the pressure from the meat industry!) So, instead of calling for a ‘no meat’ policy for the British population, I will

instead be suggesting a new ‘Meat as a Treat’ campaign. The idea is not to condemn all meat consumption, but instead achieve all the benefits listed above, while taking into account the opposing factors. The quantity of meat could be progressively reduced nationally. Another benefit is that, by buying smaller quantities, people could opt for higher quality meat (local, organic etc), enabling a wary meat

industry to adapt to this more valueadded market, and upholding a food culture which gives more respect to where our food comes from. Is this a compromise too far, or sensible green policy? Take Action Email your MP at: By Aldo Mussi

‘The most intelligent treatment of the politics and economics of climate change I have ever read. Brilliant, clear and unanswerable.’ George Monbiot

Can economists save the planet? A discussion with Oliver Tickell, Author of ‘Kyoto 2, How to Manage the Global Greenhouse’ Introduced by Prof Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University and advisor to the govenment’s climate change committee.

6:30pm Tuesday 17th February 2009 Aston Business School Conference Centre, Aston University


Volunteer Spotlight Ben Martin interviews Melanie Brookes

climate change legislation and keeping up to date with public policy in this area. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to stamp my feet, shout about it and be proactive about getting people involved in doing things to mitigate climate change! What do you do at BFoE? I’m onboard with the renewables campaign and I’m getting more involved with public policy research so I can carry on the research, get more clued up on what’s happening and spread the word!

How long have you been involved with BFoE? About three months

What do you like about the group? The friendly people and the level of expertise in the group. I think I can learn loads by getting involved!

Why did you first get involved? I’ve always been interested in environmental issues. I did work experience at school with Environ (now Groundwork Leicester and Leicestershire). Before I started working as a trainee solicitor, I went to New Zealand and did voluntary work on organic farms and properties where people were trying to live sustainably. I want to learn more about sustainable living. When I started my job I began researching

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? Selfishness - it creates policies that are geared towards allowing people to protect and put their nation’s and their own interests above everyone else’s. I’m talking about attitudes reflected in this kind of statement: “I would recycle but I can’t be bothered to separate the waste - why can’t the Council do that for me?”

ANY OLD LIGHTBULBS? - WE ARE If you or anybody you know is swapping their lightbulbs with energy saving ones, then please could you get them to give us the old ones.


COLLECTING THEM AT BFoE! They will be turned into chandaliers for the lights in reception and put forward as a way of recycling and energy saving. Phil Burrows (General Manager)


Campaign Meetings

Monday Meetings - 7:30pm at the Birmingham FoE Warehouse, Allison St 2 February – General Meeting 9 February – Energy & Climate Change Action Group Meeting 16 February – General Meeting 23 February – Transport Action Group and Local Shops & Food Action Group Meetings 2 March – General Meeting 9 March – Energy & Climate Change and Planning Action Meetings 16 March – Discussion Meeting - Green New Deal 23 March – Campaigns Training 30 March – Transport Action Group and Local Shops & Food Action Group Meetings

Other Events

17 February – Public Talk by Oliver Tickell, author of Kyoto2, at Aston University Business School. 6:30pm 21 February – Remade Fashion Fair, Custard Factory Gallery, Gibb Street 8 March – Eco Chic Wedding & Home Show, 11am-4pm, Botanical Gardens

Farmers’ Market

Bearwood: 3rd Saturday of the month Birmingham University: 4th Wednesday of the month. Harborne: 2nd Saturday of the month 9-2pm King’s Heath: 1st Saturday of the month King’s Norton: 2nd Saturday of the month Moseley: 4th Saturday of the month New St: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month Shirley: 3rd Thursday of the month except Jan and Feb Solihull: 1st Friday of the month Sutton Coldfield: 2nd Friday of the month Visit this site for more info: html#westmidlands


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Either I wish to become a Golden Supporter with payments by standing order of £2 per month or more.

Or I wish to become an Annual Supporter, paying by standing order / cheque (Please delete as appropriate. Note that standing orders are cheaper for us to process). Annual supporter fees are a minimum of: • £16 (waged) • £10 (unwaged) • £20 (joint/family)


return with standing order or cheque to: Secretary, Friends of the Earth, 54-57 Allison Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 5TH.

Contact Details Full name: .......................................... Address: ............................................ ......................................................... Town:................... Postcode: ............... Telephone: ......................................... E-mail: .............................................. Standing Order Form Sort Code (if known): ......................... Your name/ Account name: ................. Your account number: ........................ Bank Name/Address: ......................... ....................................................... Please pay the sum of £ every month/ year (delete as appropriate) starting on ____/____/_________ To: Friends of the Earth Birmingham Ltd., Account no: 50 72 58 30 Sort Code: 08-60-01 Unity Trust Bank, 9 Brindley Place, 4 Oozells square, Birmingham B1 2HE This replaces any previous standing order in favour of Friends of the Earth Birmingham. Signature: ...................... Date: .........

Contact us: Friends of the Earth (Birmingham) The Warehouse 54-57 Allison Street Birmingham B5 5TH Tel: (0121) 632 6909 Fax: (0121) 643 3122 E-mail:

Chair: Benjamin Mabbett Campaigns Co-ordinators: Mary Horesh & Joe Peacock Campaigns Support Worker: Ben Martin General Manager: Phil Burrows Treasurer:


Margaret Lynch

Friends of the Earth is:


- The largest international network of environmental groups in the world, represented in 72 countries.

James Botham Climate Change & Energy: Nigel Baker Multi-faith and Climate Change Project:

- One of the UK’s leading enviromental pressure groups.

Rianne ten Veen & Maud Grainger

- A unique network of campaigning local groups, working in more than 200 communities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Kate Nancarrow & Andy Pryke

- Over 90% of its funds come from its supporters.

John Hall

Birmingham FoE: Campaigns at a local level to effect environmental change (in ways which feed into national and international policy) through: - Direct action - Lobbying - Education

Waste and Resources: Local Shops: Mary Horesh Planning: Transport: Martin Stride Newsletter Editors: Katy Barry Phil Burrows Website Editor: Phil Burrows Talks: Paul Webb and others All enquiries and callers welcome.

- Empowering others to take action

Find us on page 74 of the B’ham

- Participation and representation through public fora

A-Z, grid ref: 4A


Printed on 100% Recycled Paper Using Vegetable Based Inks

Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Birmingham Friends of The Earth newsletter - Feb-Mar 2009  

Birmingham Friends of The Earth newsletter for February-March 2009

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