Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gordon Brown: talk to the nation on climate change...

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Just signed the petition organised by the Let's Talk Gordon 'the campaign for the Prime Minister to make a televised address to the nation on climate change'. I hope you will sign up too. Its a big concern that Government have just not prioritised climate change and lead the way in engaging councils, businesses, and individual people about urgent, coordinated, coherent, large scale action.

We dont have much time to get real and proper conversation going about what Government at all levels, businesses and individuals need to be (urgently) doing and on what scale:

It would be great if you could complete this online energy survey too. You'd be supplying just the kind of information currently needed. 'Digital Environment Home Energy Management System... DEHEMs is looking to improve domestic energy efficiency and reduce household emissions by developing and testing an energy monitoring and display system for homes. The project partnership includes a mix of European Local Authorities, businesses and Universities. As part of the development process we would like to gain an understanding of what people are currently thinking and doing with regard to energy use.'

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bristol City Council Leadership Crisis

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'Bristol City Council could be left leaderless because of in-fighting between the three main parties...' reports the Bristol Evening Post. It seems to me that there are some pretty big personality clashes to add to the party political differences. These have developed and deepened over some considerable time as the petty and unethical squabbling has gone on. People involved dont seem to be big enough rise above these. The 'advice' given by national party figures/structures may also worsen chances of cooperation as the big parties focus on winning certain parliamentary seats, local wards and also getting MEPs elected. The problem to be solved according to Lab, Lib and Tory parties is how to get elected and stay in office and not transport, education, the local economy and environment....

In my view it would help a great deal if we elected the whole council all in one go. Stalemate seems to me to be more likely if we go on electing just a third of the council at any one time.

'On yer bike' - Ok say growing numbers

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Very interesting report in todays local paper revealing an important and encouraging trend. Investing in stronger local communities, generating local jobs, would make a significant contribution to solving transport, pollution, climate change, health and other problems given the proportion of people that seem to be prepared to change to cycling.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bristol bus fare hike

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Great, just when we need extra incentives to use the buses they bring in yet another price hike! An extra 6% on average, starting this Sunday according to the local press. Add to this the fact that they have also reduced services eg the number 89 in Leinster Ave, Knowle and you see the sorry state of Bristol public transport.

Buses can and should be a key aspect of a sustainable, greener transport system but we need lower prices and more and better quality services. Community ownership and control of local transport is needed. Govt and council should invest, invest, invest here.

Bus campaigning news:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Environment Agency boss bashes barrage

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Powerful opposition to a huge, fixed Severn Barrage from the new man in charge on the Environment Agency (reported here). Lord Smith (Labour's Chris Smith, formerly in the Blair Cabinet as Culture, Media and Sport Secretary) talked of the barrage: destroying fish stocks; wrecking bird habitats; threatening beautiful coastlines; causing many people to be evacuated; having major environmental downsides. Well said Chris! Former Environment Agency boss Baroness Young feels that a barrage across the irreplaceable estuary habitat could set a precedent, leading to similarly protected sites across Europe being at risk. Well said again! What worries me is that none of this is really news - these things were being said twenty or more yrs ago but it has not stopped people in Govt and others of various political persuasions from favouring a barrage!! This is only the environmental aspect; there is a huge and powerful energy strategy, technological and economic case against too.

Mongolian Greens Leader and many others arrested

1 comment:
According to blog reports, on August 5th, Ms. Saruul Agvaandorj, leader of the Mongolian Green Movement, and Mr. Arslan Gombosuren, leader of the Just Society Front, were arrested while participating in a peaceful protest.

They were protesting the detention of hundreds of people who contested the June 29th Mongolian elections. See here for further details.
Please sign the petition asking the Mongolian authorities to release Saruul, Arslan and all other held unjustly:
Full text of letter to the Mongolian Ambassador from the Greens Caroline Lucas calling for people to be freed:
Mr Dalrai Davaasambuu
Embassy of Mongolia
7 Kensington Court
London W8 5DL

18 August 2008

Dear Mr Davaasambuu,

I am writing to you from the Green Party of England and Wales to request the immediate release from detention of our colleagues, Ms Saruul Agvaandorj, leader of the Mongolian Green Movement, and Mr Arslan Gombosuren, leader of the Just Society Front, who were arrested in Mongolia on 5th August while participating in a peaceful protest.

Ms Agvaandorj and Mr Gobosuren were demonstrating peacefully and silently, alongside families of detainees, for the release of the hundreds of other protesters who have been held since June, after protesting about the conduct of national elections. We join our colleagues in also urging you to press for the immediate release of these prisoners.

The right to peaceful protest is a legal cornerstone of any democracy. In contrast, the detention of peaceful protestors is an unacceptable abuse of power, wherever it occurs.

The arrest and detention of peaceful protestors is something every country that claims to uphold human rights should reject. The government of Mongolia should ensure protest and free speech are welcomed not restricted on the streets of your country.

I urge you to act quickly to release all the detainees.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Lucas MEP
Principal Speaker, Green Party of England and Wales

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008, Oct 15, on poverty

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Just visited the Blog Action Day 2008 site to register this blog as a participant. This year the action day is all about poverty. I'm happy to promote the event and hope many other bloggers will join in, as they did for last year's day on the environment.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Imposed mass housebuilding makes no sense

Very striking front page image and story in todays Bristol Evening Post. This centrally imposed mass house building move (36,500 inside Bristol's boundary and tens of thousands more around the city) makes no sense at all from a sustainability point of view. Even if the houses themselves were all zero carbon, the land take, resources used in construction, and all the consequent impacts of population increase (forecast to be 30% higher by 2030 in and around Bristol) will significantly raise the local footprint.

Best science and economics tells us we need to be significantly lowering our social and environmental impacts but massive population increase, massive land take for housing and infrastructure and all the pressures on transport, job availability and so on, make this even more difficult than it already was.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Green Party Leader and Deputy Leader Election

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I've long argued that the Greens have needed a leader. Its a very strong signal that the Green Party intends to be much more focussed on, organised for and oriented towards its primary goals, that it will elect its very first Leader and Deputy Leader this Sept. Winning elections at all levels will be much more likely and will take the Green cause forward more than anything.

I cast my vote for Caroline Lucas MEP for Leader and Councillor Adrian Ramsay for Deputy Leader the other day and hope, as I think is very likely, that other Greens will do likewise. Caroline and Adrian have the skills, experience and broad appeal needed to take the Greens further and faster. Both are in a very strong position to become MPs at the next election, in Brighton and Norwich respectively (, another excellent reason to vote for them as Leader and Deputy.

Find out more about Caroline Lucas here and Adrian Ramsay here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An introduction to green Bristol

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Copy of article just drafted for Suit Yourself magazine, comments welcomed:

Bristol has 450 parks and green spaces totalling over 1300 hectares. Millions visit these each year. Loads of events take place in them. Green spaces are one of the city’s most valued features; one of the most obvious ways you can argue it is, in a relative sense, green. No other city in England has as much green space.

There’s plenty of green space just outside the city boundaries, within easy reach, eg Ashton Court. As in many parts of the country green spaces are threatened by development. Bristol City Council has agreed a strategy to sell off of 2.4% of city green space. The future of green space is a key ongoing issue when there are plans to build many thousands of houses both within and around the city as well as a ring road around South Bristol. Bristol is a very popular place to live. Its population is currently forecast to rise by over 30% by 2031, exerting very significant additional social and environmental pressure at a time we need to cut it.

Bristol is also relatively green as a city as it gained its first Green Councillor, Charlie Bolton, in Southville, a few years ago. About time many would say, given the large number of organisations promoting respect and care for the environment that have for years been Bristol-based (CREATE Centre; City Farms; Transition Bristol; Farmers Market; Slow Food Market; local food advocates like the Better Food Company; Community Recycling Network; City Car Club…). What better example than the BBC Natural History Unit in Clifton, one key organisation behind June’s Festival of Nature and October’s Wildscreen the world's largest and most prestigious international wildlife and environmental film festival. The unit is responsible for world class television like Blue Planet and Planet Earth…playing a huge part in raising green awareness (

Leading sustainable transport charity Sustrans, has, from its central Bristol HQ, been closely involved in some of the most discussed and controversial local issues this year. Bristol City Council had planned to build a bus rapid transit route over the Bristol to Bath Railway Path, the UK’s most popular cycle path, also used by a large variety of local walkers, until a 10,000 signature petition and a motion to the council from Green Councillor Charlie Bolton helped to cause a rethink. Going ahead with the plan might well have messed up the council’s bid to become the UK’s first ‘Cycling City’, which was ultimately successful. The council will have tens of millions to spend, wisely one hopes, on cycling.

Sustrans and other local greens, such as those at the Bristol Cycling Campaign or Bristol Friends of the Earth will continue activity on cycling but also on Bristol’s many transport problems. One of the major ways in which Bristol is very far from being green is the poor quality public transport (bus and train firm Firstbus are hardly fondly regarded locally!). Partly as a result Bristol’s air quality and noise levels can be poor at times and the city contribution to climate change needs to be cut by a factor of ten over the coming decades to approach sustainable levels! One small success of late is the rail service improvement on the ‘Severn Beach’ line – it’s a quick, efficient way to get around certain parts of the city, such as from Montpelier or Stapleton Road to Clifton.

There is ongoing scrutiny of how green Bristol actually is in a relative and absolute sense, eg whether or not it decides to mass incinerate much of its waste . The Bristol Partnership, the council working together with businesses, voluntary and community groups, has ambitions for the city to become a green capital ‘a low carbon city with balanced and sustainable communities enjoying a high quality of life’.

The eleven green objectives are commendable; leading Bristol-based organic food charity the Soil Association a leading light behind the September’s Organic Food Festival, is no doubt pleased to see the objective seven ‘healthier, locally produced food’ but the tension between green objectives and the Bristol Partnership’s other ambitions are great, in particular its economic thinking, which is still based on economic growth and a consumer society when environmental resources are finite. Bristol’s major current development is the huge new shopping area Cabot Circus. Green economics guru EF Schumacher, whose work is celebrated here every October at the Schumacher Lectures is probably turning in his grave.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic-size pool yes - but keep local pools like Jubilee in Knowle too

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Copy of my letter, published in the Bristol Evening Post on Friday 8 Aug:

A new olympic-sized pool at Hengrove Park, would be great, but we should also be retaining local facilities such as Jubilee Pool in Knowle and others. Whilst campaigning as the Green candidate for Knowle in the last local elections I received a letter from local Labour campaigners stating that Jubilee Pool should stay open but now the Labour Cabinet running Bristol are set to close it once Hengrove Park is developed ('Bristol swimming pools axed for new leisure centre', Post, 5 Aug)!!

We need more sources of healthy exercise not less. Local facilities are an important community feature, especially for those who find it most difficult to travel, such as the elderly and families with young children. Its also more polluting if people have to travel further to a more remote pool as its beyond walking distance for many and they will tend to go by car.

I'd also like to see renewable energy systems used in the new leisure centre, especially to heat the water in the new pool (which would otherwise consume a massive amount of polluting and non-renewable fuel). I've written to the council making enquiries about this twice but have not even received an acknowledgement from them.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Oath of allegiance to the Queen: MPs and others should have the option of swearing allegiance to their constituents instead!!

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According to today's Mail Online:

' A group of MPs are campaigning to scrap their traditional oath of allegiance to the Queen, the Mail can reveal. The declaration has been sworn by those joining or returning to Parliament for more than 500 years. But 22 MPs from all three main parties say their 'principal duty' should be to represent the people who voted for them - not the monarch. They want the Commons and the Lords to be allowed to swear allegiance to their 'constituents and the nation' instead...'

Good luck to them! MP's, Lords and anyone else who currently is required to swear this: 'I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.' (unless they are atheists in which case they leave out the God stuff and substitute 'solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm') should be given the option of an oath that does not involve monarchy and does involve the people they represent. We are supposed to be a democracy after all, including those who are republicans.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Charles Darwin: Genius

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Professor Yaffle from Bagpuss he may resemble (according to the Guardian tv guide this week), but Professor Richard Dawkins new tv series 'The Genius of Charles Darwin' is well worth watching. Genius is very apt indeed as the theory of evolution by natural selection continues to explain a very large mountain of facts, including masses of genetics that Darwin would have loved to ponder but of course new nothing about! The clip below features Dawkins attempting to open the minds of some young people to basing their views on the best available evidence.

Knowle West Media Centre Events/News

No comments:
Received from Makala Cheung:
Here’s the latest from Knowle West Media Centre August 2008.

You’re welcome to share any or all of the content with contacts, or to
get in touch if you’d like to know more about any of the items.


Special screening

Special screening of two short films from Moving Image's recent
partnership projects with BBC Face2Face and the Tor Programme, at KWMC
in the Studio on 27th August at 5.30pm

Tabard Crusader is a satirical look at how far one charity worker will
go to help his subjects…whilst making a tidy profit.

Light and Dark is about two filmmakers, Michael Smith and Tom Stubbs
and their friends 'Graham Lightside’ and 'The Dark Fox'.

RSVP: Penny Evans

Eco Detectives

Digital media and eco group for young people 16-20 years old in South
Bristol, Wednesday evenings at the Knowle West Media Centre.

Eco Detectives explore travel and sustainability, visiting people and
places close to Bristol. Using digital media technologies we will
communicate our findings far and wide. We will also create our own eco/
media-conference linked to the Schumacher Conference "Less is More".

Contact: Jim O’Shaughnessy tel/text: 07726 335899
George Rose tel/text: 07810 441470

A partnership project between Knowle West Media Centre and The
Schumacher Society.

Knowle West Arts Trail

Knowle West Media Centre will open its doors for The Knowle West Arts
Trail on Saturday September 13th 10am-4pm. Photography, animation and
moving image from the community will be on display, the environmental
team will also be organising a recycled sculpture.

Arts Trail venues also include St Barnabus church and green including
artist stalls and Angels dance performance, Café Carmel, Restore, and
the convent on Filwood Broadway. There will also be a street
exhibition of photography along Daventry Road and Leinster Avenue. A
horse and cart will transport visitors between St Barnabus Church and

Connaught School pupils have been taking photographs of the Northern
Slopes (an important habitat for mini-beasts and flowers), which will
be exhibited as part of the Arts Trail. Plus, Secret Gardens of Knowle
West will include 16 households along Leinster Avenue and Daventry
Road will have their back gardens photographed, and exhibited on front
gates as part of the arts trail and will also be used to create a
Knowle West calendar for 2009.

The Arts Trail received £500 from Neighbourhood Management to fund the
publicity, being designed by KWMC Design.

KWMC Contact: Nicky Williams 0117 353 2745

‘Back in the Day’ returns to KWMC

The Amazing Archive Exhibition ‘Back in the Day’, returns to the
Knowle West Media Centre on Saturday 13th September for the first
Knowle West Arts Trail. If you are interested in becoming involved as
a volunteer to help with creating a living archive for Knowle West
please contact us.

The exhibition has been well received at the Bristol City Records
Office. The young people involved in the project met the Lord Mayor
at the press review on Monday 14th July where they received
commendations for their excellent work.

Contact: Nicky Williams 0117 353 2745,
Or call KWMC’s main line - 0117 903 044
Funded by the Young Roots Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by Knowle
West Media Centre.

Silverscreen goes to Weston

Silverscreen, the monthly film club for people over 50 based in South
Bristol, will be traveling to The Playhouse in Weston-Super-Mare to
watch the Bucket List, Tuesday 12th August. Tickets cost £7.00, lunch
and coach included in price.

Contact: Katie 0117 903 0444
Or for more info please visit


NLARGE, our young photographers group have just launched their brand
new website at Please check out the site
and have a look at their great new photos. The group has just
finished a commission for White Design Architects, and is completing a
project with the new Merchants Academy School in Withywood. Their
photographs of the new academy will be on display at the official
launch on September 22nd. To commission Nlarge or enquire about
joining please contact us.

Contact: Nicky Williams 0117 353 2745


Graphic Designer

Salary £14,420-£18,282 pro rata
Part time and flexible working negotiable

Thriving media centre is looking for a Graphic Designer to become part
of a growing design department. You will have proven ability and
experience of design project delivery with a comprehensive knowledge
of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator as well as Quark XPress.
Your role will be to work on design projects from conception through
to completion, as well as managing projects of your own.

Closing date 22nd August at 5pm, Interviews 29th August.

Contact: Katie Taylor for an application pack - email:
More info:

Artists Residency

Artist Beth Hamer will be launching the "Bikeshed" on August 11th with
events including a picnic, taking place at community garden sites
around Knowle West. The tool shed on a tricycle was made for Community
Gardener, Mil Lusk during Beth’s residency in July.

Artist Charlie Baker from URBED, in Manchester will be coming in the
first week of September to work with young people and the community
imagining what the future might look like, and building a model of
something that might one day occupy a space in Knowle West. The four-
day residency will involve looking at public spaces for inspiration,
collecting materials for production, reusing scrap and waste
materials, and looking at bike and solar powered objects such as

Digital Neighbourhoods Programme

The Digital Neighbourhoods vision is for South Bristol to become a
state of the art digital city. This is very ambitious and will take
time! The programme will work to get more local people using computers
and taking advantage of the Internet, it will encourage local
businesses to offer their services via the Internet and will work with
Bristol City Council to develop new ways to provide their services.

The programme will work to develop good local support services to help
advise, train and fix problems. In the background we will be trying to
influence development to provide top quality digital infrastructure to
provide fast connections. The key to all of this is getting people
involved so we will be running some interesting projects over the next
few months.

For more information or to get involved contact Makala
Cheung or Dylan Martlew.

Contact: Dylan: 0117 903 0444 (ext.215)
Makala 0117 353 2895 / email

Office Space with Business Support

KWMC and BRAVE are teaming up to offer a Business Support Package for
new and emerging creative businesses. We are able to offer a unique
space in a brand new environmentally friendly media centre with one-to-
one business advice in association with Business Link, networking
opportunities and business mentoring. Services include manned
reception, broadband access, telephone system, lifts, car parking and
access to meeting rooms.

Business Support Package is £110.00 per month.
More info:

Contact: Katie Taylor 0117 903 0444 (ext 201)

KWMC Photography work with Museum of Bristol

Knowle West Media Centre will be working with the Museum of Bristol to
create photography content for the new museum when it opens in Spring
2011. A series of photography workshops with community groups will
take place around the city in late 2008. The aim is to uncover and
explore the places of importance and significance in the city's

To find out more or get involved contact us.
Contact: Nicky Williams 0117 353 2745

South West Screen’s Virtual Voices

Four young people and two media associates were asked to run one of
the workshops 'Voices, Stories and Campaigns; how to develop ideas and
points of view into media' at the Virtual Voices conference, July 10th.
Davina, one of the young people, said: "Myself, Marcus and Chanel
were young facilitators for the workshop. We worked with a group of
professional adults to produce a pod cast about what they thought was
important to young people. The adults said that they had gained
something from our workshop, which was actually knowing what was
important to young people! As a young person I felt the workshop went
really well and that young people may now have the confidence to speak
up and discuss their passion for media without feeling as if they are
being judged by a professional."

More info:
Contact: Penny Evans 0117 377 2828 /

Managed Workspace…only 2 units left!

Rent a managed workspace unit in our classy new purpose built, climate
friendly HQ. With access to meeting rooms, edit suites and fully
equipped training rooms this is an offer not to be missed.
Also as part of the managed workspace package Business Link are
offering FREE 6 & 12 monthly business advice sessions that are
tailored to each individuals need. Managed Workspace is from £310.00
per month. Call now for more information.

Contact: Katie Taylor 0117 903 0444 (ext 201)


K West at KWMC have a wide range of facilities for hire including 2
large meeting rooms, a 70-seater studio, edit suites and 2 high-end
training rooms. We also offer catering packages at very reasonable

Contact: Katie Taylor 0117 903 0444 (ext 201)

KWMC Design offers design services from leaflets, brochures, branding,
and logo design, to web design, and animation. Print work is produced
with high quality recycled paper and vegetable inks.

Contact: Romy Purshouse 0117 353 2746

KWMC Photography delivers a wide range of creative programmes for all
ages. We can offer workshops to schools, community groups and other
organisations in photography and digital media.

Contact: Nicky Williams 0117 353 2745

KWMC Moving Image develops innovative and experimental film making
projects with young people and the wider community. We take on
commissions for clients from both corporate and public sector

Contact: Penny Evans 0117 377 2828 /


Reminders of our new contact details
Main switchboard: 0117 903 0444
New email-style:
New address: Knowle West Media Centre, Leinster Avenue,
Knowle West, Bristol, BS4 1NL

Next bulletins

Our plan is to issue e-bulletins at the start of each month. If you
know of any colleagues who ought to be on our mailing list, please
forward their details, or ask them to get in touch.

Makala Cheung
Digital Neighbourhoods & Communications Coordinator
Direct line: 0117 3532895
Main tel: 0117 9030444
Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue, Knowle West,
Bristol BS4 1 NL
Company No. 4358350,
Charity No. 1092375
Fax: 01179030 445