Past events

Here are our past events other than our regular monthly meetings with some summaries of presentations given by guest speakers and some very useful links provided before, during and after the events.

Wednesday, July 22nd 2020

Citizens' Assemblies

Thanks to our guest speaker Marijn van de Geer, Ealing Green Party and XR Citizens' Assembly Working Group member

There is a lot of information about Citizens Assemblies available online. Here are links to four videos you might like to watch:

A very short introduction: 
What is a Citizens’ Assembly?’ – XR animation (2020) – 1 minute

A short introduction: 
'Reclaiming Democracy Through Citizens Assemblies’ (2019) – 10 minutes

Ireland’s citizens assembly’s role in breaking the political deadlock on abortion, produced before the referendum: 
When Citizens Assemble’ (2017) – 17 minutes

Extinction Rebellion’s take on citizens assemblies: 
Why XR Demands a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice’ (2019) - 30 minutes

Wednesday, June 24th 2020

Is continuous economic growth sustainable on a finite planet?

This is the question we asked at this event with key speakers:

Oliver Bettis, insurance actuary and CASSE (Centre for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy) member
Martin Farley, Green Party, Convener of its Tax and Fiscal Policy Working Group who spoke on Doughnut Economics at our online Conference

We were asked to watch this CASSE YouTube video before the event:
Steady State Economics, the Trophic Theory of Money, and GDP as an Indicator of Environmental Impact

Thursday, June 11th 2020

Reclaiming London for Active Travel

The Covid crisis has changed the way in which we travel and use roads. More people than ever are cycling and walking, Many of us are seeing the benefits of active travel. How can we reclaim urban space from cars, enabling social distancing while revitalising business and communities?

This online discussion looked at various proposals to give more road space to pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and other active travellers.

With guest speakers:
Caroline Russell, Member of the London Assembly and national transport spokesperson for the Green Party
Hamish Stewart, co-founder of CarFree London

Some reading in advance of the event:
Covid-19, clean air and safe streets
Traffic-free plan for Portobello Road to help market traders

And provided after the event:
Ideas and resources to contact ward councillors and transport leaders in your boroughs with demands for low traffic neighbourhoods, car-free high streets and pop-up cycle lanes.

https://askforit.carfreeday.org.uk/
Hamish mentioned this resource. It is to ask for play and school streets and pedestrianised high streets. This is an initiative of Carfreeday London with Mums for Lungs.

https://betterstreets4kc.org.uk/
This campaign is focused on Kensington and Chelsea with a list of practical demands and contact details of local politicians.
Currently working on creating low traffic neighbourhoods in a number of wards in Kensington and pushing for a car-free Kensington High Street.
https://betterstreets4kc.org.uk/our-team-2/

https://londonlivingstreets.com/low-traffic-liveable-neighbourhoods/
This webpage has very useful information on low traffic neighbourhoods, including a tool kit of how to achieve one in your neighbourhood.

Wednesday May 27th, 2020

Hear the Truth. Learn the Lies.

GROUNDSWELL - THE GRASSROOTS BATTLE FOR THE NHS AND DEMOCRACY is a moving, inspiring David and Goliath documentary about ordinary Britons challenging the free marketeers’ annexation of the NHS and 40-year dominance of our society. A unique, wide-ranging, revelatory personal journey by filmmaker John Furse on the pulse of our times.

Filmed mostly by the director between 2015-19, using cheap domestic cameras, and edited at home with Gus Coral, this independently made documentary features powerful testimony from Professor Stephen Hawking and NHS staff.

We watched the documentary prior to the event.  

The Full Length Film (1hr 24mins)

Further reading:
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n21/john-furse/the-nhs-dismantled
https://johnfurse.wordpress.com/

And, recommended by Larry Sanders, the Green Party Health & Social Care spokesperson:
Covid-19: why we need a national health and social care service by Allyson M Pollock, professor of public health, Luke Clements, Cerebra professor of law and social justice, Louisa Harding-Edgar, academic fellow in general practice

You might also like to watch THE GREAT NHS HEIST LOCKDOWN FREE PLAY (2hrs 5mins)  

Further reading and another film mentioned during the session:

https://www.hsj.co.uk/frail-older-people/what-went-wrong-and-right-in-hospital-discharge-for-older-adults-during-the-pandemic/7027710.article

https://www.england.nhs.uk/hssf/supplier-lists/

https://publicmatters.org.uk/category/health/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/27/privatisation-uk-disatrous-coronavirus-response-ppe-care-homes-corporate-power-public-policy

https://weownit.org.uk/

www.999callfornhs.org.uk

www.healthcampaignstogether.com

John Pilger's The Dirty War on the National Health Service (2019)

Thursday April 16th, 2020 

Bamboo: Miracle Plant? 

We watched and discussed these three short YouTube videos beforehand.  

1. How Bamboo Bikes Are Helping a Community in Ghana (2mins 42secs)

2. Bamboo: the Miracle Plant (7mins 45secs)

3. Should you Bamboo? (20mins 48secs)

A fourth was then added: Bamboo: 21st century steel | David Trujillo | TEDxCoventryUniversity (13mins)

And this sent afterwards: Structural Bamboo Products (SBP) from The Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies - the research arm of the Department of Architecture 

Tuesday April 14th, 2020

A Green's place is in the Lords

Our guest speaker Natalie Bennett, Green Party peer, took questions and spoke about her recently published article: The Government must reduce the growth dependency of our economy

Saturday March 7th, 2020

Siân Berry, the Green Party's Mayoral candidate, joined our Action Day

January 21st, 2020

Burned: Are Trees the New Coal? A film by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton

Thanks again to Alex Horn for organising this and to James Hewitt* for the Q&A
* James' work focuses on governance (sustainability and legality) concerning markets for wood-based products and commodities from deforested land, including some biofuels.  He is also a shareholder in Drax plc – to ask questions during its AGMs.

BURNED tells the little-known story of the accelerating destruction of our forests for fuel, and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant green washing of the burgeoning biomass electric power industry.

BURNED is a feature-length documentary, which takes an unwavering look at the latest electric power industry solution to climate change. The film tells the story of how woody biomass has become the fossil-fuel industry’s renewable, green savior, and of the people and parties who are both fighting against and promoting its adoption and use.

Through interviews with activists, experts, and citizens, along with verité-style footage shot across the U.S. and in the EU and UK, the film interweaves the science of climate change, the escalating energy-policy disputes, the dynamics of forest ecology, the biomass industry practices, the conflict between jobs and trees, and the actions of activists and citizens who are working to protect their own health, their communities, the forest, and the planet’s climate.

Woven together, the various stories present an intimate and visceral account of what is at this moment in time a critical, yet mostly unknown, national and international controversy.

Take action: biofuelwatch

December 2nd 2019: Social gathering and raising funds for the North Paddington Food Bank

Thanks to Alex Horn for organising, everyone for bringing food to share and Angela Georgievska for the decorations and her plea for funds for the food bank. We're working to end the need for them altogether through the introduction of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

November 12th 2019: Film showing of Groundswell

Larry Sanders, the Green Party spokesperson on Health and Social Care, introduced the film and John Furse who made it engaged in the Q&A afterwards.

John's recent article in the LRB The NHS Dismantled has been highly recommended, not only by Larry but also Lord Owen, the former Health Secretary.
Links to his blog, facebook, twitter and website are below.

Thanks again to Alex Horn for organising this

Hear the Truth. Learn the Lies.

GROUNDSWELL - THE GRASSROOTS BATTLE FOR THE NHS AND DEMOCRACY is a moving, inspiring David and Goliath documentary about ordinary Britons challenging the free marketeers’ annexation of the NHS and 40-year dominance of our society. A unique, wide-ranging, revelatory personal journey by filmmaker John Furse on the pulse of our times.

Filmed mostly by the director between 2015-18, using cheap domestic cameras, and edited at home with Gus Coral, this independently-made documentary features powerful testimony from Professor Stephen Hawking and NHS staff, with a moving climax by dying actor Dudley Sutton.

Trailer

John's blog inc film info/reviews etc: www.johnfurse.wordpress.com

Facebook page: http://bit.ly/GroundswellNHSFilm

Twitter address: https://twitter.com/john_furse

Website:  www.johnfurse.co.uk

Those interested in finding their local campaign groups:

www.healthcampaignstogether.com
www.999callfornhs.org.uk

September 24th 2019: Film showing of Do The Math

Thanks to Alex Horn for organising this

The fossil fuel industry is killing us.

They have five times the amount of coal, gas and oil that is safe to burn - and they are planning on burning it all. Left to their own devices, they'll push us past the brink of cataclysmic disaster - life as we know it will be irrevocably altered forever. Unless we rise up and fight back. Do The Math follows the climate crusader Bill McKibben as he works with a rising global movement in a David-vs-Goliath fight to change the terrifying math of the climate crisis. This growing groundswell of climate activists is going after the fossil fuel industry directly, energizing a movement like the ones that overturned the great immoral institutions of the past century, such as Apartheid in South Africa. The film follows people who are putting their bodies on the line the Keystone XL Pipeline and leading universities and institutions to divest in the corporate polluters hellbent on burning fossil fuels no matter the cost.

 

September 15th 2019: Walk from Hampstead to Alexandra Palace

 

July 21st 2019: Walk along the canal from Camden to Mile End Park

A joint event with Camden Green Party. Our thanks to Dee Searle for showing us the pulse of changing London, from its origins supplying local heavy industry to today's hipster hang-outs.

July 1st 2019: Caroline Russell AM on the cycle lanes proposals

Caroline - Assembly Member, Islington councillor and Green Party spokesperson on Transport - addressed the meeting on the Wood Lane to Holland Park proposals. She had written this response in support of the TFL Wood Lane to Notting Hill Gate cycle lane proposals 

June 23rd 2019: Walk along the river from Putney Bridge to Barnes Bridge

The first of our summer walks - thanks to Alex Horn and Erwin Schaefer for organising it.

June 14th 2019: 2nd anniversary of the Grenfell fire catastrophe

We took part in the silent march

March 23rd 2019: Green Bloc on the 'put it to the people' march

We took part in this march where the Green Party's Caroline Lucas MP and Molly Scott Cato MEP spoke.

December 3rd 2018: social gathering

We held a lively and well attended social gathering, with the profit of £40 being donated to the North Paddington Food Bank. (We covered the cost of room hire.)

And took a short break to select the prospective candidate for our London Assembly constituency. Just Zack Polanski was nominated; he made a statement, answered a few questions and was duly selected. Congratulations, Zack!
His biography is here.

November 5th 2018:

We selected candidates for three of our five constituencies in case of a snap General Election: Cities of London & Westminster (Zack Polanski), Kensington (Vivien Lichtenstein), and Westminster North (Holly Robinson). Alex Horn who stood in Hammersmith last year will stand again. 

October 20th 2018

We participated in the People's Vote march

August 19th 2018 - picnic in Ravenscourt Park

Thanks to Alex Horn and Erwin Schaefer for organising this event. 

August 6th 2018 

Sonia Sood who has a background of six years in architecture from India, now a student at Kingston University, is researching the necessity of green spaces in Oxford and Regent Streets. She kindly agreed to run-through her project and get some feedback on its practicalities.
The pedestrianisation of Oxford Street is controversial – what about the transfer of pollution and noise to other, more residential streets, and won’t it make shopping more difficult for the disabled? Oxford Street has become mired in politics. Here are the Mayor's plans (supported by our Assembly members, Siân Berry and Caroline Russell) but Westminster Council has said no and are now coming up with their own ideas.

A lively discussion followed her presentation "Canopy Walk" and we agreed to organise a public debate between those for and those against the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street (details will be posted on our Events page).

July 22nd 2018 - a walk along the Grand Union Canal

Thanks to Erwin Schaefer (WCL) and Dee Searle (Camden) who organised this very enjoyable walk.

June 23rd 2018 - March for a People's Vote

We took part in this march

June 14th and 16th 2018 - Grenfell Fire Anniversary 

We took part in the Grenfell Silent Walk on the 14th and the Justice for Grenfell National March and Demonstration on the 16th.

June 10th 2018 - the first of our walks was through the diverse and contrasting neighbourhoods of Kensington.

Starting at the Union Tavern on the Grand Union Canal, we walked through part of North Kensington onto Notting Hill, headed towards Holland Park and then across to Kensington Gardens, through ‘Albertopolis’ ending in South Kensington. Thanks to our guide, Erwin Schaefer, for a very informative and enjoyable walk.

June 4th 2018 - air pollution

A discussion on air pollution a key issue in our part of the world – and what we can do about it. Minutes will be posted to our members' website, and a link to actions posted here in the not-too-distant future. 

May 14th 2018

We joined the Grenfell Silent Walk before our regular meeting

March 5th 2018

Dave Fuller gave a presentation on Repowering London: creating clean, renewable solar electricity for North Kensington

This is Kensington & Chelsea's first renewable energy co-op which will install solar panels to power schools and community buildings across North Kensington. The panels will be owned by the community, with profits from the sale of the electricity going back into projects in the North Kensington area.

The project will:

  • Generate solar energy on schools and community buildings
  • Provide work experience and training opportunities
  • Raise funds via a community share offer, offering 3-4% return on investment
  • Reduce energy bills for the schools
  • Create a community fund for the benefit of the North Kensington area

There are many ways to get involved in this exciting project and shape the development of clean energy in your local area. If you would like to find out more please visit their website or contact Dave.Fuller@repowering.org.uk / 020 3674 7519

This project is supported by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Mayor of London. Repowering London has established four successful energy co-operatives in Brixton and Homerton.

February 5th 2018

A public meeting on HOUSING to discuss solutions to our housing crisis

How do we provide homes for all and protect our public spaces?

A report on this meeting will be posted here in due course

Speakers: 

SIÂN BERRY, Green Party London Assembly Member and Camden Council councillor who commissioned the Big Renters Survey and campaigned for an independent renters’ organisation

JOE DELANEY,Grenfell Action Group, Grenfell Scrutiny Committee member and Walkways resident

ANNA MINTON, author of Big Capital: Who is London for? and Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First Century City

EVE WEDDERBURN, Housing campaigner and local resident

Chaired by: JENNIFER NADEL

January 8th 2018

Liz Mansfield from North Surrey Green Party introduced Kye Gbangbola, the father of Zane, the young boy who tragically died during the River Thames River flooding in 2014. Campaigners believe Zane's death was caused by hydrogen cyanide gas released from an historic landfill site adjacent to the family's home. The Coroner delivered a verdict of death due to C02 poisoning, but only HCN was recorded and logged by fire services at the time of the incident.

Details of the campaign, allegations of official cover-up and the petition calling for a meaningful independent panel-led inquiry can be found at Truth about Zane.

The presentation ended with a discussion about possible link-ups with Grenfell activists and anti-fracking campaigners.