Rising Tide UK Gathering report

Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 11/09/2004 - 10:10

4-6th October 2002, Manchester

Mark Thomas kickstarted the gathering on the friday night linking climate change, oil, pipelines, corruption, water privatisation and very dodgy politics together in his own unique, punchy style.

The weekend was a chance to look at the spectrum of climate issues, movement building and action planning. Workshops on carbon trading, why the Kyoto protocol fails, the Baku pipeline, local community campaigning, worldwide impacts of climate change, climate justice, inspiration for taking local action, climate change despair and empowerment, networking, videos, music and more.


Rising Tide gathering report
4-6th October 2002, @Bridge 5 Mill,Manchester


This report summarises the main content of the Rising Tide gathering, and serves as a memory jogger for all the workshops and events which took place over the weekend of 4-6th October. In it you’ll find – brief reports of workshops, contacts for further info, contacts of campaigns and groups which were at the gathering. We will be updating our website shortly to include more in depth reports on specific issues. The reports of workshops vary according to how much info was reported back, and if you want further info on any of the subjects the contacts are provided for you to do this, or contact the Rising Tide Oxford office on the email or phone above.

The calendar of info is what is relevant from here-on. As always, if there are climate related events which you would like to publicise send them to george@risingtide.org.uk with the email marked ‘newsheet’ for inclusion in our newssheet and website.

1. Overview of the weekend
2. Workshop reports
3. Open Forum contacts
4. Climate Diary dates
5. Next Rising Tide gathering
6. Resources

1. Overview of the weekend
The Friday evening started with Mark Thomas delivering his own brand of humorous politics to a packed room of Rising Tiders and Manchester campaigners. Mainly talking about the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline (see workshop report for further info), he reminded us of the changes we can and do make as grassroots campaigners.

Saturday morning opened with an introduction to Rising Tide, an update on the international political situation, and the realities of the ‘flexible mechanisms’ of carbon emissions trading and their inadequacy as tools for reducing emissions. This was followed by a talk linking oil and war, with ideas for bringing our dependency on oil into the debates on the UKs involvement in attacking Iraq, and a weather themed overview linking the main issues of the gathering together. From then on it was time for workshops, which are detailed below.

Saturday evening started with an inspiring talk and presentation by six young people from Manchester, who have been taking part in a documentary called ‘In our lifetimes’. The documentary is looking at the impacts of climate change upon people in their lifetimes, and what they can do about it, and serves as a testament to how climate change can be made relevant to local communities, and how once people have the information to hand, will start getting involved and taking action. For further info contact Pauline – plozoya77@hotmail.com
Mark Lynas, who is writing a book about the impacts of climate change, presented a slide show of climate impacts around the world – including low-island states such as Tuvalu, and documenting the retreating glaciers in the Peruvian Andes. Contact him for further info: marklynas@zetnet.co.uk.


Then it was over to Beyondtv to present the Rising Tide and other videos interspersed with music and open mike, to prove that as well as being involved in climate change campaigning we can have a darn good time. Beyondtv is a great way of getting alternative information across to wider audiences – using interactive video screenings with music. For further info contact mickfuzz@rocketmail.com.

Sundays workshops focused on putting the campaigning ideas into action. The feedback at the final plenary showed that people came away inspired to get more involved and take the next step in climate change activities. The weekend had shown the range of people’s involvement in the issues, and how important it was that we met up, shared experiences, inspired each other and that we keep working together.

Thanks to everyone who came along to make it a unique experience, in particular the folk at the Manchester Environmental Resource Centre initiative for the use of the building, the Northern Catering collective for producing such delicious food and cake, and everyone who helped out – it couldn’t have worked without all of our energy and commitment.

Back to top

2. Workshop reports
Road transport
Road schemes and expansions are still continuing, and the roads programme has been resurrected under the new guise – multi-modal studies. Instead of new motorways, they look at increasing existing capacity – widening motorways, junction improvements etc. The website www.roadalert.org.uk will give details of the roads and campaigning around it, or contact Paul on 01986 781 789.

The extract below from Transport 2000 gives a summary of some of the road building which may follow from the Multi- Modal Studies/ Road-Based Studies. See Transport 2000 website for further info: www.transport2000.org.uk

There are now 35 multi modal/roads based studies. The Highways Agency (HA) is working on the figure of 160 new schemes entering the Targeted Programme of Improvements over the next 3 years (on top of current 60 schemes). HA must be assuming that virtually all the road schemes identified by the studies will be approved. If the studies produce an average of 4 road schemes each, we are looking at 140 schemes from the Multi modal / roads based studies.

Transport 2000 recently published a report on multi modal/roads based studies (Bringing Los Angeles to Middle England - see attached above) in February. At that stage, the position on the completed studies was:

1. Hastings - western and eastern bypasses rejected. A21 dualling between Tonbridge and Pembury to be taken forward.

2. SE Manchester - Gov approved 4 road schemes, to be taken forward by local authorities through Local Transport Plans.

3. A3 Hindhead - added to Targeted Programme of Improvements

4. Cambridge - Huntingdon - Gov approved widening of A14 in Cambs to dual 3, with new off-line dual-3 route south of Godmanchester, Huntingdon and Brampton. Proposals are being worked up for entry into TPI.

Carbon emissions trading - Larry Lohmann and Jutta Kill
Larry Lohmann from Cornerstone and Jutta Kill from Fern / Sinkswatch led this workshop looking at how carbon trading was progressing, and what this meant in terms of strategies for campaigning on this issue. Several organisations have been set up to monitor and campaign about carbon trading, carbon sinks and clean development mechanism projects, and actions on these issues have been happening in the past few years. People are invited to learn more about the campaigns and issues, and get more involved in campaigning on it as it evolves.
For further info on the subject, check out the website www.sinkswatch.org (from late November onwards), or check the RT website for some of the material from the workshop. If you haven’t got hold of a copy, read Larry’s excellent Cornerhouse briefing ‘Democracy or carbocracy? Intellectual corruption and the future of the climate debate’. Available to download or order from: http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/briefing/index.htm , or we have copies at the Rising Tide Oxford office. Contacts for Jutta: jutta@fern.org phone +44 1608 652 895 for info on climate change and forests, and carbon sinks.

Baku - Ceyhan Pipeline - James Marriott and Greg Muttitt - PLATFORM
For those of you who weren’t at the gathering or didn’t go to the workshops, the Azerbaijan-Georgia_Turkey pipelines project comprises two pipelines – one oil and one gas, both starting near Baku in Azerbaijan on the Caspian sea, and passing through Tbilisi in Georgia. The oil pipeline would run to Ceyhan in Turkey on the Mediterranean sea, while the gas pipeline would run to Erzurum in eastern Turkey. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline is being promoted by a sponsor group, a consortium of oil companies led by BP.

The climate impact of this project will dwarf the combined impacts of all UK initiatives to combat climate change, and, if they can get away with it, will be supported by UK taxpayers money – which is where we have a chance to stop them. The emissions from the oil and gas coming through the pipelines will be two and a half times more than the emissions saved through the UK's 12.5% reduction under the Kyoto Protocol (73,000 tonnes CO2) and ten times more than the emissions saved through the UK's target of meeting 10% of electricity demand from renewables (wind, sun, water power) by 2010.

This is apart from the pattern of human rights abuses, increased militarisation, and devastating environmental impacts which seem to accompany any new pipeline (let along those running through earthquake zones like this one), and which BP has a particularly bad reputation.

More info is available either from baku@gn.apc.org, including the excellent book ‘Some Common Concerns’ and the accompanying briefing by the Baku-Ceyhan campaign. We’ll keep you updated via the newssheet of new developments in the campaign, and should have climate specific materials ready for distribution for the beginning of 2003.

From the Friday evening throughto the Sunday afternoon, there were many talks, workshops, and planning meetings about the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. Since then there have been numerous actions and events around this subject… including a meeting in the house of Lords, a booklaunch, public meeting in Manchester and some actions around BPs graduate recruitment drives… and this is just the beginning of a campaign which we can win. If you would like to set up a meeting in your local area, or are interested in a speaker and activist training for the Baku-Ceyhan campaign in London in early January contact us for further info.

Airport expansion - John Stewart from Airportwatch
Key actions suggested:
Link up with local communities
Link up with Airportwatch – the body co-ordinating the protests – see www.airportwatch.org.uk
Find imaginative ways of getting across to ‘green’ people how damaging flying is Highlighting the ‘subsidies’ (tax concessions) that aviation receives.
Highlight the weaknesses in the governments consultation process on the Regional Air studies

Climate skeptics and the media - Cindy Baxter
Cindy Baxter cindy@stopesso.com Cindy gave a round up of the key climate skeptics, what they’re saying and how to counter their arguments. For the ‘Countering the Skeptics’ report check out http://archive.greenpeace.org/~climate/industry/reports/sceptics.htm

Renewables - Robert Borruso
This workshop started with an overview of the current energy situation, the legislative framework and where Government policy on energy and renewables stands. It moved on to talking about the various alternatives, and the best applications of certain types of renewables. Recognising that our current consumption framework is larger than our capacity to produce energy from renewables at the moment, it is vital that we are promoting energy reduction measures hand in hand with renewables.
For further info contact Robert: Robertb@dsl.pipex.com

Staying Sane in a tide of information - Jo Hamilton and Alison Crane
This workshop looked at how our feelings can be powerful in motivating or blocking our effectiveness as campaigners.

2 things which get in the way of taking action –

1. not enough information, and

2. feelings which get in the way of taking action. Feelings which can get in the way are powerlessness, feeling hopeless, not important enough etc

Sometimes info spurs people into action – but in the case of climate change more info seems to have the reverse effect, to put action off until people know enough to be certain. Denial comes into play here, and we looked at ways in which we deny our involvement and make excuses. We then looked at what motivates us to campaign, and what demotivates us as campaigners – bearing in mind that if this is true for us then its likely that other people will share some of these feelings, and that we should target campaigns around what motivates people to get involved.

The most crucial part of the broader climate change campaign, as of any campaign, is people who are willing and able to put time into making it work, and there was a recognized need to more of this sort of work! More info about this workshop, or running something similar for a local group from Jo jo@risingtide.org.uk, or 01865 241 097. For further info about Turning the Tide contact www.turning-the-tide.org

This workshop looked at ways of subvertising, brainstorming ideas and preparing a series of mini-subverts of car and plane billboards. For more info and ideas on subvertising and visual propaganda contact the UHC collective mail@uhc-collective.org.uk Website: www.uhc-collective.org.uk

Lower Carbon lifestyles – George Marshall
The workshop defined ‘lifestyle’ as consumption over which people have some sort of choice. It includes domestic heating, lighting, appliances; personal transport; and products- clothes, food, and general household ‘goods’.

The workshop found that lifestyle consumption is the largest producer of emissions in the UK, which houses and personal transport alone accounting for half of all UK emissions. By showing different consumption scenarios the workshop showed that flights can dramatically increase people’s carbon footprint- one intercontinental flight can triple and individual’s annual emissions.

For further info contact george@risingtide.org.uk
A two page fact sheet to accompany the workshop will be available on the website.

Birmingham Motor Show
Workshops on the Birmingham motor show were focussed around planning for the actions which happened there. The Birmingham Motor show protests started on the 23rd October, to coincide with the business day at the motor show. Banners were hung on motorway bridges in the vicinity, a climate change special radio show featured the alternative news and weather reports, whilst visitors to the motor show were greeted to a colourful array of people with leaflets, music, a squashed earth and wet weather gear with tyre tracks. There were more protests throughout the show, and the website contains pictures of the actions, press releases, loads of great info, links and anti-car arguments: www.anticarshow.net

Campaigning strategy Jo Hamilton and Alison Crane
This workshop attempted to use the Movement action plan to assess where the climate campaign was, and where we should focus our efforts. It soon became apparent that it wasn’t that easy to categorise the campaign as such, and that it was more of a crossover of many different movements. For local campaigning on climate there are a number of tools which are useful to use, in terms of ‘social barometers’ to assess who’s help, advice and support to enlist, and who to target to what ends. These are available from the RT Oxford office. Info about the Movement Action Plan can be got from the websites http://www.comlink.apc.org/patchwork/en/map.htm and info about Turning the Tide, who helped facilitate the workshop from: http://www.turning-the-tide.org/

Nigeria and oil – Simon Lewis
Simon gave an update of the situation in Nigeria, the history and political development of resistance, and what has been happening there since the mid 1990s. Solidarity support and actions were talked about, but so far nothing concrete has been decided. For further info contact info@risingtide.org.uk, and we will pass your emails on to Simon.

Media - Andrew Wood
Andrew’s workshop looked at how people come across in media interviews, the importance of preparation and staying on message, and a host of other info. Its also important to use the alternative media to network what we’re doing and share successes – check out www.indymedia.org.uk and if you paste this into your website you should get updated rising tide events http://uk.indymedia.org/search-process.php3?medium=all&keyword=risingtide. We’d like to have video copies of any climate action / event you do to compile into videos – please send them to the office, or contact Undercurrents for video help / advice – www.undercurrents.org or call 01865 203 661. For those who would like further info we have handouts (contact RT oxford) and if people are going to be doing media work and would like some help / advice / training, contact Andrew Wood Media skills advice/training, andrew@gn.apc.org Or tel. 07973 953 446

Local community campaigning
This workshop looked at some of the successes of campaigning locally, and came up with some ideas for taking this further.

Local campaigns work well when they are linked into specific events – political ones such as international meetings; physical ones – severe weather, or specific actions around climate change. – eg days of action for Stop esso etc.

Speaker meetings are a way to reach out to people, can generate a focus and be an event in themselves, particularly when combined with music, video and comedy.

The York rising tide group formed last year to organize some climate related events in York, did a critical mass which coincided with flooding in the city, and have distributed loads of climate chaos comics – something which any group can do anytime. More info about the different events groups have done is on the rising tide website.

Generally people found that themes around ‘climate change’ are too broad, and it needs to be narrowed down to be more relevant to the local community. Positive actions also works well – eg promoting biodiesel instead of ‘get out of your car’, and domestic energy use.. although we need to find ways of jazzing this up!

Support for groups wanting to do something is available – in the form of speaker meetings, workshops to help determine what would be best for your local community, different skills via the Blatant Incitement project website. Overwhelmingly people felt that actions and events sometimes felt a wee bit small considering the enormity of the problem – which is where themed days of action helped to focus.. but don’t let that get in the way of spontaneous actions – subvertising, handing out comics and leaflets.

Back to top

3. Open forum and campaigns contacts
Rising Tide local contact points haven’t been included on this list – to find out who your nearest contact point is, check the website.

  • Renewable energy, wind power versus nuclear power
    Laura Yates Phone / email: 0207 865 8236 laura.yates@uk.greenpeace.org www.greenpeace.org.uk
  • Anti roadbuilding
    For info on anti roadbuilding email info@roadalert.org.uk: www.roadalert.org.uk or contact Paul on 01986 781789
  • Operation Noah
    A campaign being developed by Christian Ecology Link and Southampton Sustainability Forum. For further info contact noah@christian-ecology.org.uk
  • Birmingham Northern Relief Road
    On 22nd October work was stopped for a day at the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. 2 people were arrested and have been fined £250 – if anyone would like to donate some money to support them contact Paul on 01986 781 789. To see a film of the action check out http://www.roadalert.org.uk/index.htm
  • Blatant Incitement Project
    Phone: c/o 0161 226 6814
    email: doinit@nematode.freeserve.co.uk
    The blatant incitement project exists to empower people to organise themselves without hierachy, for radical action towards social change, by sharing skills, knowledge, and inspiration. Operates through website - www.eco-action.org/blinc - where you can see offers and requests for talks, skill shares, etc. or you can call the number above
  • Lifecycles pedal powered outreach collective
    Lifecycles will be touring around the south-west next summer with a climate change theme of video / cinema and talks – to find out more, offer your services or book them to come to your area, contact them on 01803 840 098 or check the website www.lifecycles.info
  • Affinity / Steward Community Woodland
    Sustainable living project 01647 440 233 www.stewardwood.org school visits / alt tech and renewables courses, permaculture Based in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor.
  • National Student Environment Network
    Reinvigorating the grassroots student environmental campaigns. More info from Danny at: sprouting@wildmail.com
  • Campaign Against Climate Change
    info@campaigncc.org Tel 0208 855 3327 Campaigns in the London area, linking US involvement and oil companies – regular events.
  • Peatalert
    For continuing and successful campaigns against Peat extraction, in the UK and abroad, visit www.peatalert.org.uk, email info@peatalert.org.uk
  • Carbon Challenge
    The Carbon challenge is a project run through the Centre for Alternative Technology in which a small number of families and households take up the challenge of reducing their emissions to a sustainable level. Contact George – george@risingtide.org.uk or 01865 241 097
  • Brighton Solar energy
    Richard is setting up a workshop in Brighton that makes solar hot water panels using recycled materials wherever possible. Heating your hot water from the sun significantly reduces your CO2 emissions, and is absolutely free once you've set up the system. Unfortunately, the initial costs for off-the-shelf systems can be very high. Richard is looking at ways of keeping the costs to a minimum, yet producing an efficient and reliable unit, particlularly through using selective-surface coatings on the collectors. For more information, Richard's e-mail is RTtrad@aol.com

Back to top

4. Selected climate diary dates
Nov 15th onwards – Aspire – Leeds – Squatted social centre in Leeds, climate change, Baku pipeline talks.. more info from a-spire.org.uk
23rd Cliffe Action – Airport in Kent
27th – Students Lobby of Parliament – march to Westminster, prob from Esso in Aldwych, then lobby MPs on climate change – more info from matthew.sellwood@new.ac.uk
28th - National no-shop day
30th - Airport consultation ends
7-9 Twford exhibition –10 year retrospective exhibition and reunion in Winchester. More info from www.roadalert.org.uk or info@roadalert.org.uk
Feb – congestion charging starts in London
Mar 29th – Kyoto march, London – more info from Campaign against climate change
July – G8 meeting – preceeded by traveling circus
Aug – Northern Green gathering
Oct – Rising Tide gathering 2003
Nov - COP9 in Italy – the next round of climate negotiations.. and its in Europe

Back to top

5. The next Rising tide gathering…
Most people who came to the gathering this year agreed that it was important to have a similar climate change gathering in the UK next year. Organising this one has been an education in the range of campaigns which are ongoing, and the importance of focusing on some of the topics, and has been great fun (have I sold it enough yet?) The next gathering organising group hasn’t been formed yet, but if you are interested in either hosting the event, doing some organising or having a more regional climate change gathering, please contact us.

Back to top

6. Resources
We have a range of resources at the Oxford office, including climate empowerment videos, comics, info sheets, newspapers and specific information – from the effect of cow farts, to just how much of the antartic ice sheet is breaking off, plus a fantastic colourful set of display banners, and materials for giving talks on climate change. Coming soon will be climate specific information on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

If you need help or support in organising a campaign, need speakers for a meeting or advice on running one, or would like to link up with other people involved in climate campaigning, check our website or contact the Oxford office for further info.

Back to top