This is my last digest as Campaigns Support Worker for Birmingham Friends of the Earth. Over my three years here a lot has changed, some of it encouraging, some if it less good (not down to Birmingham Friends of the Earth, but the local, national and international politics of climate change and environmental justice). I think I will be leaving the group at a time of some really exciting campaigning opportunities and in the hands of some great campaigners who are really doing a lot to keep Birmingham Friends of the Earth the most dynamic and relevant environmental campaigning group in the city. Please do get involved in some of the great work we’re doing.
Energy and Climate Change
Our Clean British Energy campaign takes centre stage in this month’s newsletter and rightly so, as we really feel there is a powerful positive message we can send out to the people of Birmingham about the potential for creating jobs, saving money and reducing our environmental impact through changing to an energy system based on renewable energy. If you have not yet done so, please do take a look at switching your own supplier to a greener one; in this campaign we are partnering with Good Energy and Ecotricity and I have spoken to campaigners who can vouch for the excellent customer service and ethics of both those companies.
We are speaking to a lot of companies locally about switching their suppliers, so if you have contacts in large companies who would like to speak to us about their sustainability policies, please pass them on. Also, we are looking for people to help us get more postcards signed and sent off to MPs to ensure that there is a good energy bill going through Parliament. If you can help we’d love to hear from you.
The Bee Cause has provided us with some great opportunities to build new contacts. Our Bee Activity Day at the Martineau Gardens on 28th July fell between the deadline for writing articles for this edition and when you will receive your newsletter, so hopefully you heard about it through other channels and went along. We had children writing poems about bees for this, the best of which we will publish for your enjoyment in the next edition. If you would like a talk about bees at your school, get in touch and we’ll try to arrange it for next year. Also, see the article from Tim about doing local bees events and how to get involved in spreading the word.
We are now working on guidance on the new NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) for community groups. Dalia has started on this following the Masterclass organised by Friends of the Earth, a report of which you can read in this newsletter. We also hope to respond to the Green Infrastructure Strategy for Birmingham which will be released later in the year, as well as the Core Strategy, which Birmingham needs to release under the new planning guidance in order to ensure we don’t just have a presumption that anything goes!
Waste and resource use
We are still waiting to see what changes there will be on waste under the new administration and how the Municipal Waste Review will be adopted later in the year. John Newson has taken it upon himself to show people how little waste can be produced, as you can see in his article.
Will the new administration in Birmingham City Council move the focus away from big, expensive vanity projects and onto the kinds of things that will really make a difference and help Birmingham reduce its environmental impact? What difference will the Local Sustainable Transport Fund money make to Birmingham? These are things we will be watching closely, as well as trying to engage with the Council on producing a new vision of a truly low carbon transport system.