Monthly Archives: February 2013

Petition to stop new NHS Competition Regulations (SI257) being passed

To: Members of Parliament and of the House of Lords

Petition to stop new NHS Competition Regulations (SI257) being passed

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/petition-to-stop-new-nhs-competition-regulations-si257-being-passed

Why is this important?

These regulations - which will only go to a vote if parliament insists - would require virtually all health provision to be carried out in competitive markets, regardless of the wishes of either local people, GPs or local Clinical Commissioning Groups. They contradict assurances that were given by health ministers during the passage of the Act that it did not mean the privatisation of the NHS, and that local people would have the final say in who provided their NHS. For example, Lord Howe said then Clinicians will be free to commission services in the way they consider best. We intend to make it clear that commissioners will have a full range of options and that they will be under no legal obligation to create new markets... This will be made absolutely clear through secondary legislation and supporting guidance as a result of the Bill. Andrew Lansley said (in a letter to the Clinical Commissioning Groups set up to manage most health budgets) that It is a fundamental principle of the Bill that you as commissioners, not the Secretary of State and not regulators should decide when and how competition should be used to serve your patients interests.. We call on parliament to take all necessary steps to ensure these regulations, which would be incredibly damaging to the NHS, do not become law. For more information see this report: http://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/nicola-cutcher-lucy-reynolds/nhs-as-we-know-it-needs-prayer

Update #3: Protect bee populations in the UK by banning neonicotinoid insecticides.

Bee The Change An update from the cause

Bee The Change

Update #3 Protect bee populations in the UK by banning neonicotinoid insecticides.

Posted by Ben EJ Evans (cause leader)

Get others involved
Invite Friends

http://links.causes.com/s/clIYww?r=YHtP

THE GREEN Party will be handing in YOUR petition to the government on Thursday 21st February to outlaw the use and sale of neonicotinoid pesticides in the UK, which have been increasingly implicated in the decline of honeybees and wild bees over the past decade.

* DEFRA, Smith Square, are currently saying ‘leave it at reception’

Pippa Bartollotti, leader of the Wales Green Party, will simultaneously hand in the petition to John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development.

* PETITION will also be handed in simultaneously in Scotland

In France, Italy and other countries these insecticides have already been restricted. In Britain and the USA however, their use continues.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett will be handing in the petition with prominent bee campaigner and Facebook Cause Leader Brigit Strawbridge. It will be the first time in history that a petition gathered via social media will be delivered to the UK government by the leader of a political party.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has served on an Environmental Audit Committee inquiry that has investigated the risks posed by neonicotinoids, and has written repeatedly to the Government to demand a ban on their use after a number of studies showed negative effects on bee populations.

She has also exposed evidence suggesting that European regulators have turned a blind eye to data on the danger that one of the world’s biggest selling pesticides could pose to bees and other pollinators.

Caroline said: “Bees play an essential role in our ecosystem and declining numbers are a huge threat to UK agriculture – the authorities have a duty to act on these risks”.

Malcolm Higginbottom, founder of the petition and Chairman of Good is Planet Earth, said: “This petition is a timely step in the right direction. The hand in will be prior to The European Food Standards Agency meeting on February 25 2013, which follows a Dutch delegation calling upon the European Commission to take action. A number of member states support the proposal, including France, Poland and the Czech Republic.

“Italy has introduced restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, Slovenia has already imposed a full ban, and some national retailers in the UK including B&Q and Home Base have acted to remove neonic related products from their shelves amid growing public concern of pollinator collapse and potential food shortages.

“A study commissioned by Friends of the Earth finds that having to pollinate crops without the help of bees would cost the UK almost £2 billion a year in higher food prices. This huge annual bill amounts to what it would cost to hand-pollinate crops if bees died out in the UK.

“As Lord Jones of Cheltenham said in a debate in the House of Lords (January 10 2013), the “population decline of bees and other pollinators needs to be treated as a National Emergency.”

“A study led by Stirling’s Professor David Goulson showed that growth of bee colonies slowed after the insects were exposed to “field-realistic levels” of imidacloprid, a common neonicotinoid insecticide. The production of queens, essential for colony survival, declined by a massive 85 per cent in comparison with unexposed colonies used as a control.

“BeeTheChange, a Facebook based Social awareness group, run by Goodisplanetearth.org have submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee and other consultations, calling on the UK government to take preventative action to protect pollination species.”

Green Party Spring Conference 2013 to be held in Nottingham

East Midland Conference Centre Nottingham – Friday 22nd-Monday 25th February 2013The Green Party Spring conference 2013 will be held in Nottingham, and also marks the 40th Anniversary of the Party.

Highlights include:

Friday 22nd February

MAIN HALL Leaders Opening Speech Natalie Bennett Training session on Fundraising for Local Parties

PANEL Meeting the Zero Hunger Challenge, Keith Taylor MEP

WORKSHOP – On our Hospital Chaplaincy Motion

Saturday 23rd February

Speech, Deputy Leader, Cllr Will Duckworth

Update from Cllr Jason Kitcat, Leader, Brighton and Hove Council

Campaigning on Air Pollution Jean Lambert, MEP, Keith Taylor MEP

Building the movement against austerity Romayne Phoenix

The Eton mess: the attack on the most vulnerable Shan Oakes

40TH BIRTHDAY GALA DINNER

Sunday 24th February

LGBTIQ Greens Stuart Neyton

The Green story in Brighton and Hove Simon Williams

The Yasuni Project: protecting the rainforest and fighting climate change Derek Wall and the Embassy of Ecuador

PANEL Austerity in Europe, the Eurozone and beyond Jean Lambert MEP

Andy Co-Chairing afternoon plenary

Pippa Bartolotti’s Speech as Leader of Wales Green Party

Monday 25th February

Q and A with Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, and Deputy Leader, Will Duckworth

PANEL Votes at 16 To be or not to be

Training session on dealing with the media

Full programme available here: http://greenparty.org.UK/Conference/Spring%202013/Spring2013_full_timetable_draft_for%20the%20website.PDF

GREENPEACE lobbying of MPs re the new Energy Bill

We need green electricity for the UK

Right now is the best opportunity we’ve had in generations to ensure the electricity we use no longer pollutes our planet. Write to your MP to support the zero-carbon target on the UK’s new Energy Bill.

Take Action

Hi Andy

This doesn’t happen every day. We have a chance to move away from dirty fossil fuels and set our country firmly on the path to a renewable, booming, low-carbon economy. In writing, by law.

Want in? Good. Tell your MP to support clean electricity in the Energy Bill.

A crucial ingredient of the government’s new Energy Bill was supposed to be a legally-binding target for the UK to produce almost zero carbon electricity by 2030.

This would be a huge win for household bills, our planet and common sense. But George Osborne is blocking it in favour of gas; the kind you get from fracking – a process which involves pumping chemicals into the ground to fracture gas-containing rocks.

At this critical point in our history, there’s no way we want the British countryside ‘fracked’ for dirty and expensive gas instead of a clean, renewable energy boom. Write to your MP today and ask them to show support for clean electricity.

This is our country’s chance to finally end our dependence on fossil fuels for electricity. The UK already has a leading edge on renewables: wind power has been growing by 50% year-on-year. [1]

Britain is now in prime position to become a world leader in the offshore wind industry. But instead Osborne and his allies are plotting to blast two-thirds of the English countryside to see their gas-fuelled nightmare come true.[2]

This is not something that might yet happen in the future. This is real, it’s happening now and you can do something about it. Tell your MP to support clean jobs and clean electricity now, and cut our dependence on gas and other polluting fossil fuels.

This is winnable. Industry is with us: major clean energy companies like Siemens and Alstrom are lined up to invest in the UK if we get this commitment which would create thousands of jobs and get the economy going again.

This is bigger than party politics. Influential members of Osborne’s own party agree with us. Tim Yeo, the Conservative MP leading the rebellion against Osborne said ‘[I] will not stand by and watch the wrong decisions being made on energy policy’. Now it’s our turn to show our support.

Let’s make this law do what it’s supposed to do, and change the future for our country.

Thanks,

Pete & the energy team
Greenpeace

PS The Energy Bill will define where our electricity comes from for the next 30 years or more. Let’s make sure it prioritises clean electricity over dirty, expensive gas. Tell your MP to support green jobs and clean energy now.

Notes

[1]“Britain’s supply of green energy soars,” The Independent, 1 July 2012, http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/britains-supply-of-green-energy-soars-7901917.html

[2]”Fracking in the UK” Greenpeace Energydesk 30th November 2012 http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/newsdesk/energy/data/infographic-fracking-backyard

Greenpeace UK

We don’t accept any money from companies or governments so we can be independent and challenge anyone who threatens the planet or peace. To help us keep fighting climate change, defending our oceans and protecting ancient forests, you can make a regular donation by direct debit. Thank you!

The Population Matters controversy hots up

Adam Ramsay has provoked the most interesting blog thread on the issue of the Green World Editorial Board (GWEB) refusing to accept a flier from Population Matters:

http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2013/02/green-world-is-right-not-to-run-adverts-for-population-matters/comment-page-2/#comment-25180

You should be aware that I resigned from GWEB over this matter, not because of my opinion on Population Matters as an orgnisatuion, but as a matter of editorial principle. My contribution to the blog thread is no. 70, but I repeat it here:

This thread demonstrates the reason why I felt I had to resign from GWEB over the refusal to take the flier from PM. There are very many GP members on both sides of the argument, and therefore, it had to be incumbent to GWEB to reflect that spread of opinion, rather than effectively censor one side of the debate.
Let me further clarify my position as it is getting quite a complicated web of issues.

The GWEB that I found myself a part of consisted of three passionate young guys and Miriam Kennett, who I know a bit about, but have not (to this day) ever met. My understanding of the role, perhaps based on naive assumption, was that the magazine should reflect the full range of opinion within the Party, as well hoping that it may perhaps provoke debate and discussion more than it appears to have done in the past.

When one member of GWEB voiced opposition to taking the flier from Population Matters, I thought it was ridiculous. It is not that I have a strong opinion on the organisation, and it would not have been relevant if I had.

The fact of the matter is that there are very many Green Party members that not only sympathise with PM, but are active members and supporters of it. I therefore made the case, within GWEB, that it was preposterous to turn down advertising from an organisation that clearly had support from within the Party, especially as there is a disclaimer in every issue that makes it clear that, and I quote: “views in Green World do not necessarily express the views of the Green Party. Products and services advertised in Green World are not necessarily endorsed by the Green Party”.

I thought this line of argument would put the issue to bed, but it soon emerged that GWEB was split down the middle, with 2 members entrenched on each side of the argument, and the Convenor sitting very uncomfortably on the fence.

I again made it clear to GWEB members that I considered our own ideological positions on this issue irrelevant, as the magazine had to reflect the range of opinion within the party and not effectively censor elements of it. I suggested that if anybody had such strong views about any organisation associated with the Party, the proper means to address this would be through Conference. I considered this situation could set a very dangerous precedent and I was not happy to work with a Board that was not prepared to reflect the whole Party, but seek to impose their own perspectives. Thus, I felt the principles at stake here were such that it had become a resignation issue – so when the Convenor chose to favour the call to refuse the advertising, I duly resigned.

I do not rule out returning to GWEB, indeed I think I would like to do so at some point, but I hope this whole episode might precipitate some useful and beneficial debate on a number of issues related to both Population Matters and Green World at Conference and beyond.

It is, perhaps time I declared a position on the central ideological controversy regarding population growth and its implications.

Being a geography graduate of the early 80’s, I am very familiar with Malthus’ An Essay on the Principle of Population , from way back in 1798. He describes unchecked population growth as exponential (1→2→4→8), while the growth of the food supply he anticipates to be arithmetical (1→2→3→4). Malthus then suggested that were two types of “checks” that could then reduce the population, returning it to a more sustainable levels. He believed there were “preventive” checks, such as moral restraints (e.g. abstinence, delayed marriage on economic grounds), and restricting marriage against persons suffering poverty and/or defects. These ideas have given rise to all manner of objectionable and heinous (indeed fascist) ideas, such as eugenics and genocide, which has led to anything vaguely Malthusian becoming a cause for left wing contempt, as seen in the various blogs on this Population Matters controversy.

However, Malthus also recognised “positive checks” (somewhat ironically named), which lead to ‘premature’ death: disease, starvation, war; resulting in what are sometimes called Malthusian catastrophes. The catastrophes would return population to a lower, more “sustainable”, level. The term has been applied in different ways over the last two hundred years, and has been linked to a variety of other political and social movements, but almost always refers to advocates of population control. This has become the ‘elephant in the room’ that my Green Left colleagues seem reluctant to get to grips with.

There are some stark facts that need to inform the ideological extremes on both sides of the divide. Simple logic dictates that the human population will not, indeed cannot, continue to grow exponentially as it has in the last 200 years. There is evidence that the rate of increase is slowing down, even the most optimistic predictions suggest we will not see the world population stabilise until somewhere between 10 and 12 billion. We are currently at 7.1 billion and counting ( http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ )

The crux of the issue is whether we do anything at all to try and manage population, or whether we leave it to Malthusian catastrophes to control. Surely the only sensible way forward is to try to manage it in some way, but we ecosocialists, at least within Green Left, seem to be floundering to come up with answers. But the answers are in our core beliefs. Decrying (ancient) Malthusian ideas as misogynistic and racist is not enough. Ecosocialist solutions, based on overcoming poverty and empowering women, have to be fought for and, so far as I can see, are values largely shared with Population Matters (http://populationmatters.org/about/values/).

It is a matter of fact that high birth rates generally accompany poverty and lack of education. Most poor women do not actually want to spend their lives in childbirth and child rearing. A central demand of women’s movements across the globe has always been for better access to safe and reliable contraception and abortion. Poor people often have large families as an insurance against poverty in old age. When people become richer, birth rates go down. These are all established patterns that I have been teaching in geography lessons for decades. Collectivisation of housework has also been a demand of feminists and socialists, and we need to take a much closer look at this and the role it should play when considering alternatives to capitalism. Malthusian catastrophes will be associated with increases in domestic violence and violence against women. These things always increase dramatically during any societal breakdown.

A world of environmental catastrophe also opens up the danger of massively increased militarism, repression and war – Malthusian catastrophes compounded. Ecological collapse may be survived by the rich minority, but it will devastate the poor. The fight against it is a vital part of the struggle for ecosocialism. Ignoring the ‘population’ elephant in the room is not an option. The stark choice was posed by Rosa Luxemburg: Ecosocialism or Barbarism!

Hospital Chaplaincies – a Green Christian response

http://greenchristian.co.uk/2013/02/hospital-chaplaincies/

Green Christian is a blog run by Stephen Gray, a self-professed Evangelical Christian and member of Coventry Green Party. I have copied his post from earlier today below, after which I respond to his points.

Posted on February 11, 2013 at 11:18 am, One of the things about having this blog is that I seem to have become the go-to person when anybody is looking for Christians within the Green Party. The most recent example of this is somebody who was curious about a motion on hospital chaplains that is being submitted to the partys Spring Conference later this month. The motion is taken straight from the National Secular Societys position on the issue of hospital chaplains, and reads:

C31. Hospital Chaplaincy Services
Proposed by Andy Chyba (**), Anthony Young, John Evans, Owen Clarke, + 2 others
Synopsis
A National Secular Society survey has shown that over £30m of NHS money was spent on hospital chaplaincy services in 2009/10 in England and Wales; services with no clinical benefit. That such services are publicly funded, ahead of services such as Macmillan Cancer Support and Air Ambulances services, is indefensible.
Motion
Insert into the PSS new section HE 371 For some patients, hospital chaplaincy services offer an important source of comfort and spiritual support. NHS Health boards should facilitate a chaplaincy service. Chaplaincy funding should not come from a fixed health budget. Alternative funding streams should be used.

We will therefore:

I. Divert the expenditure being spent each year on the English and Welsh chaplaincy services into front-line health services.

II. Work with the leaders of all religious denominations in England and Wales to establish charitable trusts to fund hospital chaplaincy services.

The motion will make it Green Party policy that chaplaincy services must be privately funded, and so makes it less likely that they will be available. The last time I was an in-patient, I found the chaplaincy service an immense encouragement, even though I only saw them a couple of times. They may not have made a difference to my clinical condition, but they certainly made a difference to my overall well-being.

Sadly, I cant afford to go to Spring Conference this year. As I cant be there to argue and vote against the motion in person, I feel obliged to argue against it here. The motion should be voted down for the following reasons (listed in no particular order):

  • This motion makes it Green Party policy to privatise a part of our health service.
  • As a party we are opposed to the Governments austerity agenda, where government services are stopped for purely budgetary reasons, and it is left to charities (most often religious groups) to pick up the slack. The Green approach is to work out what government should be doing in principle and then making sure we find the money to pay for it. This motion assumes the austerity principle.
  • It goes against Green Party principles. Our health policy starts by saying Health is the condition in which individuals and communities achieve their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential. This motion sends the message that clinical/physical health is the only part of our health that matters.
  • The supporting evidence is misleading. The call to privatise chaplaincy services is based on one study, which said that chaplaincy services provide no clinical benefit. But they arent there as a clinical service. Their role is to provide pastoral support for hospital patients. Its an important service that no other part of the NHS provides. Healthcare professionals rarely have the time to focus on the patient as a person, whilst chaplains do nothing but that.
  • It paints the Green Party as an anti-religion party. We already have some policies that come across that way (one of our equalities policies would make it illegal to require that vicar be a Christian, though that was probably not the intent of the people who wrote it). We are a party that believes human beings have a spiritual dimension. The last thing we need is policies written by an anti-religion pressure group to advance an anti-religious agenda.

As the main proposer of the motion, my response to these points is as follows:

  • It is a totally spurious point to argue that this amounts to privatising part of the health service. My main line of argument is that there are always competing demands for funding within the NHS budget and I would strongly argue that all NHS money should go to clinical services that have the potential to directly help everybody, rather than something of no clinical value and, at the very least, dubious value to anything but a small minority of NHS users.
  • It is even more absurd to suggest this motion is sympathetic to the Government’s austerity agenda. Stephen does however hit the nail on the head when he says “The Green approach is to work out what government should be doing in principle and then making sure we find the money to pay for it.” In the same way that the Green approach to education is essentially secular and non-denominational (ED176 No publicly-funded school shall be run by a religious organisation.) it is unacceptable for public money to be used to support denominational services in hospitals.
  • There is a world of difference between spirituality and religion. The sentence immediately following the one Stephen quotes from the start of our Health Policy is “Health for individuals is only possible in the context of a healthy environment and society” and one only needs to watch the news everyday to see how destructive religion is to a healthy society in the world today. I am a strong and passionate advocate of the need for greater funding of a more holistic approach to health. Mental health and preventative health care are most obviously seriously underfunded, and will hopefully benefit from the savings made on chaplaincy services.
  • Stephen calls the supporting evidence misleading and then goes on to substantiate the fact it is not a health care service but a ‘pastoral support service for patients’. If some sort of pastoral support could be provided to everyone, there might be some sort of argument. My local hospital has three chaplains – an Anglican, a Catholic and a Baptist (all men in dog collars) – and one Christian Chapel. I would suggest it would be a more equitable (and virtually free) to have a directory of ‘pastoral’/counselling services of all denominations (and none) that could be contacted to arrange a visit. In my experience, good priests visit their regular parishioners when they learn they are in hospital anyway.
  • Stephen says this motion paints the Green Party as an anti-religion party. I have not got a problem with that, although I do not think it is true. This motion is about priorities and equality. This demands the evenhandedness of being essentially secular and non-discriminatory. Our final core value states “The Green Party puts changes in both values and lifestyles at the heart of the radical green agenda”. This will assuredly respect spirituality, but will surely see the continuing marginalisation of organised religion that has been such a drag on societal progress for so long.

CAMP FRACK 2 – call out to South Wales fractivists

Camp Frack 2.

WE NEED A STRONG PRESENCE FROM SOUTH WALES IF AT ALL POSSIBLE – CHECK YOUR DIARIES!!

(I have just checked mine and it is my wife’s 50th birthday weekend – tricky, or what! – Andy)

NO to fracking – YES to One Million Climate Jobs!
https://www.facebook.com/events/124894184355311/?notif_t=plan_user_joined

Mere Brow, Lancashire – 10th, 11th & 12 May
A weekend of activity in opposition to fracking and other forms of extreme energy & in support of the fight for ONE MILLION CLIMATE JOBS.

Including live music, Presentations, Film Showings, Discussions on Campaign Strategy, Poetry, Protest Action, .. And a Beer Tent

Organised by a Coalition of Anti-fracking and Environmental Groups including REAF, RAFF, FFF Merseyside Against fracking, Friends of the Earth & Gtr Manchester Assoc of Trades Unioin Councils.

Supported by a range of other organisations. Further information to follow including details of live entertainment, national speakers and celebrity guests
Camp Frack 2. NO to fracking - YES to One Million Climate Jobs! https://www.facebook.com/events/124894184355311/?notif_t=plan_user_joined Mere Brow, Lancashire - 10th, 11th & 12 May A weekend of activity in opposition to fracking and other forms of extreme energy & in support of the fight for ONE MILLION CLIMATE JOBS. Including live music, Presentations, Film Showings, Discussions on Campaign Strategy, Poetry, Protest Action, .. and a Beer Tent Organised by a Coalition of Anti-fracking and Environmental Groups including REAF, RAFF, FFF Merseyside Against fracking, Friends of the Earth & Gtr Manchester Assoc of Trades Unioin Councils. Supported by a range of other organisations. Further information to follow including details of live entertainment, national speakers and celebrity guests

The original Camp Frack was a big success: http://www.campaigncc.org/campfrack

24 hours to save our fish! (AVAAZ )

Dear Avaazers across Europe,

4145_gross fish in nets (color)_3_200x100.jpg

Industrial fishing fleets are vacuuming up so many fish, they are driving them to extinction! But in 24 hours, the EU could vote for a bold new plan to end overfishing. Big fishing interests are going all out to scupper the deal, so our messages now to key MEPs can make all the difference:

sign the petition

The world’s oceans will soon run out of fish, unless we rein in ruthless fishing fleets! Luckily in 24 hours, the EU Parliament could vote for a bold new plan to save our seas.

Many MEPs support the historic deal that would end overfishing. But a group of countries in bed with powerful fishing interests — led by France and Spain — are bullying ‘undecided’ MEPs to vote no or abstain. If we build a huge wave of public support now, we can convince parliamentarians to ensure science, not greed, determines the fate of our fish.

The vote is in 24 hours — if we win, it’ll set in motion one of the strongest global crackdowns on overfishing! Send an urgent message to the 23 MEPs who can make the difference:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_save_our_fish_a/?bqsmtbb&v=21663

Overfishing has already wiped out 90% of the world’s large predatory fish like tuna, sharks and cod. Europe’s fishing policy has been a colossal failure and has contributed to the collapse — 88% of Europe’s seas are overexploited, so monster boats must venture ever further to plunder the seas from Africa to the Pacific.

The stakes are high. Changing EU’s policy from one based on ministers haggling for national quotas to one based on science and long-term sustainability could start rebuilding healthy oceans everywhere. Yet not only are MEPs from France and Spain scheming to gut this deal, the vote could be buried in a sea of other proposals and some MEPs might abstain simply because they’re unaware of the issue. But experts say our voices count! A tidal wave of public support to key MEPs is exactly what we need to save our fish.

The European Fisheries Committee has already agreed to a progressive plan — all we need to do is get behind it and give it a massive push. Send an urgent message to key European MEPs now — we have 24 hours!

http://www.avaaz.org/en/eu_save_our_fish_a/?bqsmtbb&v=21663

We’ve already fought and won for our oceans. Avaaz members were pivotal in British and Australian government decisions to create the world’s two largest marine protected areas. But we’ve still got a long way to go in our struggle and right now, our fight is here in Europe, one of the world’s biggest catchers and the largest consumer of fish. Let’s make sure we win this!

With hope and determination,

Jamie, Alex, Lisa, Ari, Iain, Ricken, Maria Paz, Luis and the whole Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION

No more seafood by 2050? (New Scientist)
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10433-no-more-seafood-by-2050.html

Davos 2013: Iceland slams Europe over fishing policy (BBC News)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21206881

Q&A: Reform of EU fishing policy (BBC News)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14143606

UK cod collapse due to overfishing and political failure, says fisheries expert (Guardian)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/30/uk-cod-collapse-overfishing

OCEAN2012: A coalition of over 100 organisations, working for a brighter future for our oceans
http://ocean2012.eu/

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Support the Avaaz Community!
We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way. Donate to Avaaz

Population matters …….

There has been some controversy in the Green Party recently over population issues, and especially whether the party should endorse organisations such as Population Matters.

See: http://populationmatters.org/

As there is likely to be significant debate on this issue at the forthcoming Conference, I am interested in hearing people’s views.
I am particularly interested in hearing from people that feel that Population Matters views in any way conflict with Green Party policy ( http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/pp ) as I am struggling to see it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=puvftbEp1wM

Our Hospital Chaplaincy Services motion makes it to the final agenda of the Nottingham Conference (just)

After the prioritisation ballot, our motion just crept through. It will therefore probably be heard on the Monday of Conference – with a smaller audience, but a higher chance of being passed, I suspect.For those not familiar with the issue: check these out:http://www.secularism.org.uk/nhs-chaplaincy-funding.html   and  http://www.secularism.org.uk/charitable-chaplaincy-cymru.html

Our motion appears on the agenda as follows:

C31. Hospital Chaplaincy Services

Proposed by Andy Chyba (**), Anthony Young, John Evans, Owen Clarke, + 2 others

Synopsis

A National Secular Society survey has shown that over £30m of NHS money was spent on hospital chaplaincy services in 2009/10 in England and Wales; services with no clinical benefit. That such services are publicly funded, ahead of services such as Macmillan Cancer Support and Air Ambulances services, is indefensible.

Motion

Insert into the PSS new section HE 371 For some patients, hospital chaplaincy services offer an important source of comfort and spiritual support. NHS Health boards should facilitate a chaplaincy service. Chaplaincy funding should not come from a fixed health budget. Alternative funding streams should be used.

We will therefore:

I. Divert the expenditure being spent each year on the English and Welsh c

haplaincy services into front-line health services.

II. Work with the leaders of all religious denominations in England and Wales to establish charitable trusts to fund hospital chaplaincy services.