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Climate Camp on Blackheath 27 August 2009

Posted by Philip in Lewisham Council, Police.

A bit out of our area, I know, but I thought I’d go and take a look at the Climate Camp which has been set up in Blackheath over the past couple of days. (Actually not far from my 90-year-old granny’s flat. She thinks it adds a bit of excitement.)

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Blackheath’s Lib Dem councillors are understandably concerned about any negative impact on local residents and have issued a statement which Andrew Milton has reproduced on his blog. Meanwhile, Labour Mayor Sir Steve Bullock seems to have gone off the deep end, and has been pulled up by local blogger Blackheath Bugle who points out “the heath is a mess every sunny Saturday with people simply boozing, so it won’t make much difference.”

Yes, the camp is unlikely to make much difference as an individual event, but what Bullock misses – while ranting that his method of persuading people is the only one that will work – is that people react differently to different forms of communication. Some people will learn new facts and tools for dealing with climate change from the media reporting about Climate Camp. It will help bring the issue to the front of some other peoples’ minds. And maybe even some who go along to join in for the fun of it will get involved and become an environmental leader of the future.

Anyway, here’s hoping that the week goes off well. It’s looking that the police have learnt lessons from G20 and are taking a far more neighbourhood approach to this one, and it was good to see some very senior council officers there talking constructively to organisers. The atmosphere I got was good-natured and hard-working: the initial phase of setting up is pretty complete – they’ll be moving on to workshops and their own brand of info-tainment soon. Local residents have been invited to visit, and if many other people come from across London, the organisers might be unwittingly helping the capitalist economy of Blackheath Village.



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