I want to be proud of my environmental credentials, but things change so fast. I went to the inaugural camp for climate action 2006, at the UK's biggest coal-fired power-station in Gigawatt Valley. The one day I was there set a course for a whole year of climate action. I found a political and cultural melting-pot. Those hard-core actions like learning atmospheric chemistry, writing essays on the evidence, and calculating my electricity usage. At the first camp I found the science workshop rather embryonic and I did my best to correct mistakes. Worse still, the campers are largely hostile to GM potatoes, and capitalism, diluting the urgent climate issue.
HOW TO USE THE MEDIA
I am learning by doing.
On my way to the camp, I spoke to the Nottingham Evening Post (thisisnottingham.co.uk) about Nottingham groups going to the camp and the headline he made out of it was. "intense". Reading the insulting comments online was an experience in itself.
Contrary to the Evening Post article, I was not stopped and searched. The legal team was not really concerned with illegal pollution from planes taking off, but they gave me a good briefing on police powers. I took the precaution of leaving my laptop with my parents and have just got it back.
Unfortunately I then had to go back to work with my research group for the duration of the camp, so I missed the Royal Society speaker on Saturday and focused on local presence in Nottingham.
I did watch the media coverage including the Mirror, BAA TV on the Heathrow Express, Independent, and best of all the Indymedia website. My concerned Jewish grandfather gave me hassle yesterday on a Skype phone conversation for allowing a group to blockade an Israeli vegetable importer, for mixed reasons of antisemitism and protest at the wasteful air-freight of cucumbers from such an arid climate.
AMBASSADORS OF THE SCIENCE
The challenge was bridging the gap between the protesters "armed with the science", and my group of polymer chemists. These government scientists are apathetic, and one or two don't believe in climate action as much as they believe in public order.
FLYING IN THE FACE OF SCIENCE
My research group fly too much. They mirror contemporary middle-class society, where a minority think they can get away with binge-flying, while a silent majority stand by politely, mouths gaping at the contradiction. I expected them to be green chemists, not petro-chemical technologists. My thoughts on this are now seeking a solution whereby all scientists (even polymer chemists) can be trained to effectively answer questions the environmental responsibilities of past and future emissions targets the government has signed up to. In other words, I am disappointed that scientists do not read around these sort of responsibilities, because sympathetic reports talk about "consensus". Scientists need to explain what the "consensus" is. So I need an answer on-hand for same question the pesky associated press shoved in my face, "so, what's the consensus?"
ABANDON HOPE FOR ACTION
I act locally. I could have hitched down to Heathrow for the climate camp weekend, but my mate was working Saturday and it is much more effective to act locally. My local car dealer for example, needs to get clued up. He has an electric hybrid Prius model which he keeps right at the back, obscured by a Hyundai Warrior. So I spent the weekend on positive actions of listening and talking to people's thoughts on the problem.
I get questions that if I answered, it would take paragraphs. The best thing I can find is "funny weather" comic books which combine the heavy science with wit, and my plan is to get that published in the student union shop.
for campaign resources,