Exciting news for Lewisham today as climate camp sets up on Blackheath.
I went to both the Heathrow and Kingsnorth camps and found both to be very well organised, and the sites were left in immaculate condition. The main irritation in both cases was the heavy-handed policing.
Brockley ward councillor Darren Johnson and I popped up to the site earlier on today and were impressed with how things were being set up. Happily, policing was reasonably low key and hands off. In fact, campers told us that the local ice cream vans got there before the police vans did (covert surveillance with your Mr Whippy perhaps?!).
The camp runs from now until 2nd September and there is an emphasis on education, awareness-raising and training at this year's camp, with a whole range of workshops on all sorts of things from composting, DIY and yoga to training for non-violent direct action. You can see the full programme of workshops here, and it's all free.
Lewisham Green Party have put out a supportive press release today. Lewisham Lib Dems and Labour in contrast have condemned the climate campers as irresponsible. Hmm, now let me think about that one . . . supporting the building of more motorways, airports and coal-fired power stations, allowing the only wind turbine factory in the country to close, or a group of people camping in a field and discussing practical steps that they need to take to reduce our carbon emissions and curb climate change. Hmm, I know which one I think is more irresponsible, how about you?
Anyway, I'm looking forward to discussing green stuff with like-minded people and attending some of the workshops at climate camp over the next few days, and hope that the peaceful atmosphere and hands off policing continues.
It's also great to see more micro-renewables in the form of solar panels and wind turbines in Blackheath Conservation Area than have ever been seen before -a dream for a Green councillor who sits on planning and is constantly frustrated by how inadequate our planning policies are to meet the challenges of climate change!
Greenwich Green Darryl also has a nice write-up and photos of the setting up of the camp on his 853 blog.
UPDATE 11pm, 26th August: pleased to see that Lewisham Lib Dems have now released a more positive statement about climate camp following the earlier quotes attributed to Blackheath councillors that appeared on the Guardian website.