Somerset is on the front line of climate change. Climate Change has caused, and is predicted to cause, a much greater risk of flooding and extreme weather. After the devastating floods of the Somerset Levels in 2013, Somerset County Council saw the terrible impact of climate change first hand. The Council recognises the potential impacts of climate change yet its pension fund invests over £120,000,000 in the very fossil fuel companies that are causing climate change!
Since 2015, Greens in Mendip have been leading the call for Somerset County Council to divest from fossil fuel.
Green Party district councillor for Frome Keyford, Shane Collins, who is leading the campaign for the SCC pension fund to divest, said: “Somerset County Council recognises that it must do whatever it can to tackle climate change and it has a responsibility to divest from an industry that jeopardises the future of our planet.”
“Instead of fossil fuel investment, SCC Pension Fund Committee should invest in solutions to climate change; investments that protect pensions and planet, joining The British Medical Association, Bristol City Council, and Oxford City Council – who have all recently agreed to make the commitment to no direct investment in the fossil fuel industry.”
Please sign our petition, and share widely.
Over one thousand people so far have signed the petition urging the council to heed the advice of financial experts and remove its investments from overvalued fossil fuel companies, but so far the council seems unwilling to acknowledge how it contributes to climate change with these unwise investments.
There is a very promising development in the tree planting front here in Glastonbury as I discovered when I met up with Green Town Councillor Ian Mutch recently.
A number of flourishing Crack Willows (Salix fragilis) are to be found on the Sydenhams Timber yard side of the Mill Stream rivulet running alongside Beckery Road.
Cllr. Mutch planted the small seedlings over the past two years and they are growing magnificently in their new homes.
This is what is hoped to be the first of a large number of seedlings which will be planted in the Glastonbury and Street area over the next few years.
Cllr. Brian Outten
“We must never forget – and pledge never again to inflict such mass destruction. That should start with the UK scrapping plans to replace and upgrade Trident, and instead sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Caroline Lucas MP.
On Sunday 9th August, Glastonbury’s Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins and Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Sue Barnet, observed The Silent Minute at 11:02 a.m. to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bomb.
A member of the international movement Mayors For Peace, Cllr. Cousins read a message from Mayor Taue of Nagasaki:
“Exactly 75 years have passed since the day our city was assaulted by a nuclear bomb. Despite the passing of three quarters of a century, we are still living in world where nuclear weapons exist.
I appeal to the leaders of countries around the world. Please aim to break down the growing climate of distrust and instead build trust through dialogue… At this very time, please choose solidarity over division. At the NPT Review Conference, which is scheduled for next year, I ask that you show a workable way towards nuclear disarmament.”
“ ‘Only 100 seconds remain.’ In order to symbolize this state of crisis, the ‘Doomsday Clock’, an indicator of the time left until the earth’s extinction, was set at its shortest time ever this year.”
The observation took place at Glastonbury’s Peace Pole which was planted on 26th January 2013 by the Pilgrim Reception Centre supported by Uma Uchima, from the World Peace Prayer Society and Tatomir Ion-Marius, a Romanian Peace Ambassador and international peace worker.
Glastonbury’s Peace Pole has “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written on it in eight languages and also a Braille plate. Located on the grass verge at the front of St Dunstan’s car park in the centre of the town, it ensures visitors and residents all have the opportunity to see and feel the message.
In light of the significant 75th anniversary in August of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during the Second World War, Glastonbury’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor will observe a Silent Minute at 11:02 a.m. on Sunday, 9th August 2020* – remembering all victims of nuclear weapons.
Glastonbury’s Mayors are members of Mayors For Peace, an international body which came into being on 24th June 1982 at the second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament held in New York, when Takeshi Araki, the then Mayor of Hiroshima, called for cities throughout the world to transcend national borders and work together to press for nuclear abolition.
As Mayors for Peace, Glastonbury’s Mayor Cllr. Jon Cousins and Deputy Mayor Cllr. Sue Barnet call on the UK Government to support the 2017 United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which is working towards the complete prohibition of developing, testing, and using nuclear weapons. At present, the UK Government has refused to sign or ratify the treaty, which has been signed by 81 members of the United Nations…
The observation of the Silent Minute will take place at Glastonbury’s ‘Peace Pole’, which is situated outside Glastonbury Information Centre, St. Dunstan’s House – at the entrance of the Magdalene Street Car Park.
Please note: If you wish to observe the Silent Minute in a public space, please respect social distancing rules.
The Silent Minute:
The Silent Minute was conceived by Glastonbury visionary, Major Wellesley Tudor Pole O.B.E. in 1940, during the Battle of Britain.
Tudor Pole’s vision was for people to unite in meditation, prayer, or focus (each according to their own belief) and consciously will for “peace to prevail”.
The concept of the dedicated Silent Minute received the direct support of King George VI, Sir Winston Churchill and his Parliamentary Cabinet. It was also recognized by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and observed on land and at sea on the battlefields, in air raid shelters, and in hospitals.
With Churchill’s support, the BBC, on Sunday, 10th November 1940, began to play the bells of Big Ben on the radio as a signal for The Silent Minute to begin.
The tradition of The Silent Minute continues to this day, and Glastonbury Council observe The Silent Minute at the beginning of each of our meetings.
Tudor Pole explained it’s meaning thus: “There is no power on earth that can withstand the united cooperation on spiritual levels of men and women of goodwill everywhere.”
* The anniversary of the time and date of the Nagasaki atom bomb, which instantly killed over 60,000 people at 11:02 a.m. on 9th August 1945, resulting in Japan’s unconditional surrender, effectively ending the Second World War.
Denise Michell (née Price) was born on 11th August 1952, and spent her early years in Barkingside, Redbridge.
She came to live in Glastonbury in 1997 and was an Archdruidess of the Glastonbury Order of Druids from 1998 to 2007 – subsequently becoming a founding member, Elder Ovate and Bard of the Gorsedh Ynys Witrin, Glastonbury’s Bardic College.
In April 2007, Denise married the celebrated author John Michell (1933–2009) at a ceremony held in Glastonbury’s St Benedict’s Church. It was a long courtship – they had first met 34 years earlier, when she was 21 and he was 40.
Partly in response to the government’s proposal that Hinkley Point C in Somerset would be one of the eight newly commissioned Nuclear Power Stations, Denise joined Glastonbury’s Green Party branch in 2010, and became an active campaigner encouraging local people to register to vote.
As Archdruidess, her profile helped to build support, and the local branch experienced a ‘Green Surge’ in 2010/11, which resulted in four Greens being elected to Glastonbury Town Council in May 2011 – Denise being one of the ‘Green Four’.
During their first term, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors implemented a Glastonbury ‘Green’ Charter for the Environment, installed solar panels onto the roof of the Town Hall, declared Glastonbury a Frack Free Council, and resolved to oppose the building of Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station.
As Glastonbury’s Green surge continued, reflected by the national surge in membership from late 2014 onwards (turning Greens into the third largest party in England and Wales), Denise was re-elected in 2015 to become the 316th (and first ‘Green’) Worshipful Mayor of Glastonbury. Her first Mayoral resolution was to join the international anti-nuclear movement ‘Mayors For Peace’, a membership that all succeeding Mayors of Glastonbury have maintained.
As a councillor, Denise was a champion of Glastonbury’s ‘Beltane’ May Day festivities and the town’s annual Frost Fayre. Indeed, when she was first elected, she discovered that the 2011 Frost Fayre was in danger of being cancelled – and decided to take on the coordination of the event, helping to turn the Frost Fayre into a huge success, which has gone from strength to strength – so well attended and popular in 2019 that hundreds of would-be visitors were not even able to enter the town.
In their second term, Glastonbury Greens expanded to seven elected councillors, and took minority control of the town council. During this time, they banned the use of glyphosate on all public land – moving to a non-toxic weed control system, became the first council in Somerset to be ‘single-use plastic free’, and the first to declare a Climate Emergency – pledging to make council operations carbon-neutral by 2030.
In 2019, being returned as a town councillor for a third term (as part of nine Green town councillors – a majority!), Denise joined the small company of people who have been twice elected Mayor of Glastonbury.
During her second Mayoralty, she oversaw Glastonbury becoming the second ‘Earth Protector Town’ in the World – calling for an Amendment to The Rome Statute to include a Law against Ecocide.
When asked recently what it was like to be a councillor, Denise replied: “Working within the community I listen closely to what people would like to see happen in our town now and in the future, and – as a councillor – I can help bring change for the benefit of everyone in our community.”
Denise passed away in the early hours of Monday 22nd June 2020. News of her death was announced by her children Zig, Zoe, Rowan and Leah on social media: “It is with broken hearts that we must share with you that our mum has completed her journey here on Earth and is now on her way to join the ancestors in the stars. Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of our mum’s life adventures. We ask that you light a candle, say a prayer and send her on her way with love. Love and light. May there be peace in the sacred grove.”
Personally, I am devastated by the passing of my dear friend. Denny was an incredible person, who loved Glastonbury to the core of her being and did so much for our community. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of Glastonbury Council and the local Green Party, I send my deepest condolences to her family.
It is with great sadness that Glastonbury and Street Green Party announce the passing of Cllr. Denise Michell – Green Mayor of Glastonbury 2015/16/19/20.
The sad news of Denise’s death was posted this morning on Facebook by her children: Zig, Zoe, Rowan, Leah:
It is with broken hearts that we must share with you that our mum has completed her journey here on Earth and is now on her way to join the ancestors in the stars 🌟
Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of our mum’s life adventures ❤️
We ask that you light a candle, say a prayer and send her on her way with love ❤️
Love and light ❤️ May there be peace in the sacred grove ❤️
Glastonbury’s current Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, said: “I am devastated by the passing of my dear friend and fellow councillor Denise Michell. Denny was an incredible person, who loved Glastonbury to the core of her being and did so much for our community. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of Glastonbury Council, I send my deepest condolences to her family.”
Glastonbury Town Council has worked with Mendip District Council, Glastonbury Information Centre, Avon and Somerset Police, Redpath Creative, and Glastonbury Festival to create and promote a VIRTUAL Summer Solstice event on Sunday, 21st June.
Please join us as we go live to stream the Summer Solstice sunrise from Glastonbury.
Streaming will star from 0430 BST (0330 GMT) so we capture the sunrise at 0455 BST (0355 GMT). Following this we will have a multifaith ceremony and family activities, including singing, crafts and music.
0500 BST (0400 GMT): Salutation to the Dawn and A Ceremony of Light
We invite you to light a candle, wherever in the world you are, with the Glastonbury Unity Candle and the Silent Minute for Peace. Filmed and streamed by Kevin Redpath. With the Green Mayor of Glastonbury – Councillor Jon Cousins, Mistress of Ceremonies – Morgana West, Glastonbury Town Crier – David Greenway, and Elder Bard of Avalon – Lisa Goodwin.
Please respect our town and community and do not attempt to travel to Glastonbury over the Beltane weekend – 1st to 4th May 2020.
Sadly, the Glastonbury Beltane (May Day) Celebrations on Friday, 1st May 2020 are cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Town Council and Police respectfully ask people to observe physical distancing, limit close contact with others, and not to gather – to celebrate Beltane, or for any other reason – at the Market Place, White Spring, etc., on Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd, or Monday 4th May.
As a result of COVID-19, the Government has stated that every person in the UK must comply with the following three new measures, which came into effect on Monday, 23rd March 2020.
1) Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
2) Closing certain businesses and venues.
3) Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.