Monthly Archives: April 2011

Woodcraft Folk and Co-camp

I have become aware of a fabulous organisation, that has actually been around since 1924 in one form or another, called, a bit tweely, the Woodcraft Folk. I wish I had come across it much earlier in my life.

It can be compared to Scouts and Guides in some ways, I suppose, but it is built on thoroughly Green values. It is a movement for children and young people, open to everyone from birth to adult. It offers a place where children will grow in confidence, learn about the world and start to understand how to value our planet and each other. At Woodcraft Folk they believe passionately in equality and co-operation everyone is welcome to join their groups.

Every week thousands of volunteers and young people meet in school halls, community venues and a host of other places to learn about big ideas through fun activities like singing, playing and debating.

The aim is to have great fun, but also to try and develop childrens self-confidence and build their awareness of society around them.

Through the activities, outings and camps they help the members understand important issues like the environment, world debt and global conflict and, in recent years, they have increasingly focused on sustainable development.

By encouraging children to think, they hope they will help build a peaceful, fairer world.

See what I mean about thoroughly Green values? Find out more here: http://www.woodcraft.org.uk/

Currently, the nearest groups are in the Cardiff/Penarth area ( http://www.woodcraft.org.uk/where/district/27376 ), but I would certainly love to see it branch out in our direction. Any takers?

Even the camp concept has strong socialist values and sustainability at its core. Its big camp event is called Co-camp. I believe it is partially sponsored by the Co-operative movement. Find out more here: http://www.woodcraft.org.uk/cocamp-2011 . The video on this page was produced by Phin Harper, a fine young man who has been brought up with the movement and now studies at Cardiff University. Delyth and I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with him at Conference in February. He is an excellent ambassador for the movement.

This posting will disappear down the blog as as time goes by, but to keep details readily to hand I have added their homepage to the Networks list in the column to the right.

Let me know if you have any questions. If I don’t know the answers, I know a young man who does!

The con trick called ‘transitional fuels’.

Eden Energy, the Australian company looking to frack in old South Wales instead of New South Wales, is at the forefront of the movement to create and promote what are misleadingly termed ‘transitional fuels’ – such as hythane.
Hythane is 80% natural gas (shale gas or coal bed methane) and 20% hydrogen. This purports to be 15% more efficient in energy terms and 50% less polluting in terms of emissions. Where do they get the hydrogen from? They extract it from natural gas (shale gas or coal bed methane)!! Normally extracting hydrogen from natural gas produces harmful carbon dioxide emissions – Eden have pioneered a way of extracting some (almost certainly not all) of the carbon as a solid. All this is ‘sold’ as much cleaner than traditional coal/oil/gas burning – hence, they claim, a worthwhile transition away from the old dirty fuels before we eventually get clean renewables.

This is, of course, one big con. Hythane relies 100% on (fracked) gas for its component elements and requires considerable energy and resources to create, and quite complex infrastructure (and energy) to transport, store and dispense. After all that, it remains essentially a fossil fuel that contributes green house gases when it is eventually burnt. Its total carbon footprint, like methane obtained from shale gas and CBM is likely to be significantly greater than sticking coal and oil into adjacent powers stations. This is before we even get on to the implications of fracking!!

So it is not even remotely a transition to a cleaner energy future. It is more a transition from big business making a fortune from one way of fueling internal combustion engines and thermal power stations, to another way of fueling internal combustion engines and thermal power stations. It is a way to a quicker and bigger buck than investing in the more sustainable renewables and associated technologies that have to be the real future – sooner or later. It will certainly be later, if Eden and all the frackers get their way.

Andy.

Appeal to Labour voters for their second votes is bearing fruit

This message appears to be getting through. I have had 4 diehard labour supporters (including two councillors) acknowledge the sense of this and pledging to cast their second votes to the Greens. Perhaps they are still socialists after all! Send it to all the Labour sympathisers you can think of asap.

2nd Thought – Wales Green Party Election Broadcast

I was not sure about this when I first saw it – seemed a little negative, perhaps. On seeing it again though I think it is actually an excellent effort. It is realistic and honest (not words often used to describe election broadcasts) and makes a strong case for people considering us on the second ballot. What do you think?

Letter to Glamorgan Gazette re: Laughable Conservative election leaflet

I cannot be the only person to have found the latest election communication from Bridgend Conservatives laughable, surely! I have met Alex Williams and found him to be a reasonable and intelligent young man, so I struggle to believe he can be happy to be associated with such a ridiculous and shameless piece of propaganda.

I quote from the leaflet that landed on my doormat: “Alex Williams is committed to protecting frontline health services from Labour’s £1 billion cuts”. I had to double-check. Yes, this is a Conservative talking. I am sorry Alex, you cannot expect anyone to take this seriously. This may be an election for the Welsh Assembly, but you cannot be so utterly at odds the actions of Westminster Conservatives in government.

There is of course, very little difference between Conservatives and Labour over the issue of public service cuts. Both are intent on decimating the services that the poor and vulnerable rely on. It is an absolute lie to say that there is no alternative to these cuts. The Green Party offer fully costed alternatives that would fully protect these services. How would we make ends meet? By stopping tax evasion, especially by big business and the super-rich. By reforming the tax system to ensure the tax burden properly reflects people’s ability to pay, and also makes polluters pay for the consequences of their actions. By slashing defence spending so that a relatively small country like the UK does not have the 4th biggest defence budget in the entire world (to fund us meddling in the affairs of other countries). By creating jobs that create tax payers, instead of putting people out of work to become a burden on the nation’s finances.

The readers of this paper have a rare opportunity on the 5th May. They can stick with the different shades of right-of-centre politics offered by Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems on the first constituency ballot paper, but then they can try voting, on the second regional ballot paper, for what they have traditionally always wanted and always known is best for Wales – a left of centre party that will properly look after the interests of the workers, the less well off and the disadvantaged – the Green Party.

The message to all with a genuine concern for protecting the NHS, and other public services, from Conservative and Labour cuts, is vote Green on the second regional ballot. That includes you, Alex, if you would only recognise it.
     
Andy Chyba
Bridgend Green Party