Grass roots rising

Here’s my take on why it makes utterly no sense not to be involved in politics – because we can all have an effect, especially locally. Meeting Ferguson yesterday – and listening to the Mayor of Ghent last Friday reminded me of the simple fact that it’s NOT just about the Big Guys (and isn’t it just a sea of male grey suits!) who matter. It’s ordinary people – we have proven that to enough with the Climate Vision report: thousands of cities around the world are taking the lead, thousands of groups and organisations and businesses are picking up the dropped climate change challenge baton, knowing that it makes perfect business, employment, financial, social and moral sense.

So today, a bit of a ‘rest’ day, I cycled down to l’Hotel de Ville by Notre Dame, where the City of Paris has an outdoor public exhibition demonstrating all the city is doing to encourage and support the growth of functioning sustainability in its remit. Excellent stuff – and entirely logical, not just for George to take back to his own city of Bristol, which is one place which is ripe and ready for just the sort of things Paris (and so many other cities) are yearning to embrace – but also for smaller communities.

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Solar on every municipal building; all municipal transport electric/hydrogen; embrace all forms of renewables, including ground-source heat pumps; insulate all homes; healthy food in schools and residential homes, hospitals etc; powerful liaison with local firms and landlords to improve private practice (it goes on). We have to invest in our future and that includes investing in the communal infrastructure, such that our communities can live and thrive sustainably. I reckon the knowledge, the incentive, the potential is all there, lurking in some brilliant minds. Where is the leadership? Well, there’s a whole lot more in our cities than there seems to be in Westminster.

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Un grand succés!

A text from Daniella alerted me to a possible meeting with the Deputy Mayor of Paris at 13.30 at Le Bourget. Euan will be pleased to know, a little like our search for ‘Place 2B, we really should have persevered on Monday, because just around the corner from the impenetrable main conference site is a massive publicly accessible arena, where it’s ALL happening! Why on earth was this not made clear to people like us? I was SO relieved to find this area – where I the spent the rest of the day!

George Ferguson accepts the Climate Vision Report on behalf of Paris Mayor Mme Hidalgo
George Ferguson accepts the Climate Vision Report on behalf of Paris Mayor Mme Hidalgo

Despite arriving on time, the Mayor’s meeting had finished early and Krugman had departed. However, George was more than happy to receive the report – he meets up with Mayor Hidalgo (she could knock spots of that oaf Johnson, who of course, is not here) and has promised to ensure that the report is handed to her.




Jeremy Leggett speaks at the fringe at COP21
Jeremy Leggett speaks at the fringe at COP21

The forum was so exciting, so full of positivity – the divestment campaign is now all but unstoppable and it is hurting the fossil fuel companies exactly where it hurts – in their shareholders’ dividends. McKibben was brief and fled (very busy man), Jeremy Leggett excellent as usual – but for me the most significant contribution came from Stephen Heintz, President of, no less, the Rockefeller Brothers’ Foundation. Talk about a Damascene (sp?) conversion! Conceding that this concern had made its fortune from Oil, they’re now putting all their efforts not the Divest/Invest campaign. I don’t give a fig that they scent the money to be made from renewables but I actually don’t doubt that they really know that any investment into fossil fuels is a sure-fire loser. It’s happening!

Ségolène Royale, French Environment Minister (and France's 'Hilary Clinton Presidential hopeful still) - addresses a Cities' fringe at COP21.
Ségolène Royale, French Environment Minister (and France’s ‘Hilary Clinton Presidential hopeful still) – addresses a Cities’ fringe at COP21.


Luci, I got within 10 metres of Ségolène Royal, but reckon I would’ve been pepper-sprayed if I’d tried to get any closer with the report – sorry!






Absolutely fascinating presentation from ‘Earth Engine Timelapses’ (try this link for a flavour – but it’s nice to have a facilitator: – as if proof were needed of the mess we’re making of our planet – satellite images of the earth over 30 years – astonishing. And a great panel on electric cars – again, it’s happening – we have to believe it. This time, there’s no hiding place.

Un Jour de Congé

A much quieter day today although it zapped by and I hardly stopped ‘catching up’. Sad! Got to Le Bourget early but hit absurd queues – half an hour to get in, then even queues to the computer desks – there are just 1000s of people here and everyone gets hungry – the food queues are just daft and by the time you get to the head of the queue, all the veggie food is invariaby gone (not that that upsets the French much – and the whole thing really is TRÈS français!).

On the way back last night, I sat in the crush of the (free) navette shuttle to the metro next to a charming Malaysian negotiator (Elizabeth, she allowed me to know!), who soon put me sraight on my pathetic superficial reference to palm-olive forests – they’re plantations, silly (and the UK, inter alia, set them up – but the Malaysians have draconian and enforced legislation in place to protect deforestration. Equally pathetic was my attempt to exhibit bravado to the two ‘Men in Black’ opposite me from Saudi Arabia, ostensibly here to represent their Government’s investment into renewables. They somehow were not prepared to talk about the effect of the Saudi oil price ‘fix’ on US fracking and Canadian tar-sands – but I admired my tact …….

But today, it was just an internet troll and catch up, although I did still hear some fascinating presentations on the Big Screen behind me, one particlarly on global water-level rises, courtesy Google 3D projections. I think the link is ‘changes climate sea level rises’ – there’s lots there.

I was also very pleased to meet up with the inspiring Keli Yen, the new co-ordinator of the Global Greens, with whom I was able to talk contructively at last, face to face, about the forthcoming Global Greens and EGP congresses here in the UK in 2017. We really must get some momentm going on this pretty soon – s’gonna be BIG!

However, we need some photos don’t we – random OK?

Two naughty agent provaocateurs scrawl salutations on walls, just before mayhem breaks out at Place de la Republique. No connection.
Two naughty agent provaocateurs scrawl salutations on walls, just before mayhem breaks out at Place de la Republique. No connection.

First taste of Direct Action

Quite a nostagic day for me today – it rained – HARD! Such that my cycle ride round the city turned into a drenching, whilst heading for Sacre Coeur (as you do) reintroduced me to the missing Parisian link – HILLS! On returning to the digs, I am at a loss as to how to dry everything off here – looks like another trip to the lavomatique. Continue reading First taste of Direct Action

Meeting Monsignor

lacmeraWell, it was worth the wait. Thank-you Luci for the initial contact – and, thanks to PA Emanuela, today, outside COP21, Monsignor La Camera emerged and took delivery of the Climate Vision Report. He was absolutely charming – and I was breathlessly hugely gratified (breathless, cos I’ve never run so far so fast in all me life, to get to the rendezvous in time). Hoorah!