24
Sep 21

Glastonbury Declares Ecological Emergency

Global climate strike photo copyright © Garry Knight CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

Glastonbury and Street Green Party is delighted to report that Glastonbury declared an Ecological Emergency at the September meeting of Glastonbury Town Council.

The Ecological Emergency Declaration Motion – proposed by Green Cllr. Serena Roney-Dougal and seconded by Glastonbury’s Green Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins – received cross-party support and was passed unanimously.  It reads:

This Council resolves to declare an Ecological Emergency – recognising that the planet is experiencing an Ecological as well as a Climate Emergency – and will take this into account in any decisions made.

Glastonbury Councillors vote in favour of the Ecological Emergency Declaration Motion.

Background Information for the Motion:

In addition to:

  1. adopting our ‘Glastonbury Charter for the Environment’ in April 2012,
  2. becoming a ‘Frack Free Council’ in February 2013,
  3. banning the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides on all council owned land and public spaces in August 2015,
  4. committing to be ‘single use plastic free’ in November 2017,
  5. declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ in February 2019 – pledging to make our operation carbon neutral by 2030 – and
  6. becoming the second ‘Earth Protector Town’ in the world in September 2019 – calling for Ecocide to be recognised as an ‘atrocity crime’ at the International Criminal Court.

This Council acknowledges that:

  • Our societies and economies are intimately linked with and depend on biodiversity and nature. The natural world is essential for the provision of nutritious food (with soil and pollinators having a vital role), clean water, clean air, medicines, protection from extreme weather, as well as being our source of energy and raw materials.
  • The recent outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease in the Republic of Guinea and Democratic Republic of the Congo have highlighted the relationship between people and nature. When we destroy and degrade habitats, we increase the risk of disease spill-over from wildlife to people.
  • The State of Nature 2019 report highlighted the critical decline in biodiversity in the UK. Changes in farming practices have had the biggest effect in recent decades and the impact of climate change is now increasing. 15% of UK species are classified as threatened with extinction and 2% are already extinct.
  • The State of the World’s Plants and Fungi 2020 report from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew estimated that 39.4% of plants are now threatened with extinction. This is a jump from one in five plants thought to be at risk in Kew’s 2016 report.
  • The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs’ Environment Bill will require the introduction of a Local Nature Recovery Strategy and Nature Recovery Networks.
  • Actions to restore nature and biodiversity, as well as being vital for their own sake, often have an important co-benefit of storing carbon, so help address climate change.
  • People’s access to ‘green spaces’ to understand and appreciate biodiversity and a rich, natural world, private or public, is unequal.

To support this declaration, this Council will:

  1. Rename the ‘Climate Emergency Advisory Committee’ to the ‘Climate and Ecological Emergencies Advisory Committee’, to support councillors and council officers address these twin emergencies.
  2. Add ecological impact implications alongside those for climate and sustainability in committee and council reports.
  3. Ensure that addressing the climate and ecological emergencies and nature recovery are considered as strategic priorities – identifying appropriate areas for habitat restoration and biodiversity net gain, and ensuring that any potential development limits impact on existing habitats, whilst also working on the principle of increasing equality of access for people to natural, green spaces – for example: i) improving biodiversity by encouraging the rewilding of the natural flood plain areas of the Levels and Moors, ii) supporting the competent determination of planning applications by the Local Planning Authority and encouraging Habitats Regulations Assessments to reduce the high levels of phosphates in the Somerset Levels and Moors (designated as a Special Protection Area under the Habitat Regulations 2017 and listed as a Ramsar Site under the Ramsar Convention).
  4. In keeping with the urgency of this declaration, work with other councils to support the development of ‘Nature Recovery Networks’ and a ‘Nature Recovery Strategy’ for Somerset, as and when required by The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.
  5. Look for opportunities to work in partnership with other councils, local charities, and environmental organisations to deliver nature recovery in Somerset, and support local land management practices that protect and restore the natural world.
  6. Support the development of a county-wide ‘Tree Planting Policy and Strategy’ to support nature protection and recovery and carbon sequestration.
  7. Ensure the Council’s Property and Assets Committee considers opportunities for biodiversity enhancements and tree planting on Council landholdings, and formalising purchasing policies that are consistent with this declaration.
  8. Write to all Somerset’s MPs urging them to support the Climate and Ecological Bill, a private member’s bill, in keeping with the declarations of this Council.
  9. Listen to members of the community who report concerns or ideas relating to these issues.
    Have an ongoing approach to learn from best practice, as well as mistakes, and to share the ‘lessons learnt’.

 


 

8
May 21

Thank You to everyone who voted for Harry

Congratulations to the Conservative Party candidate Clive Bishop, who has won the Glastonbury Town Council by-election for the St Benedict’s Ward.  Clive Bishop took the seat with 278 votes, just ahead of Harry, who received 224 votes.

Glastonbury and Street Green Party would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who voted for Harry on Thursday; the local press are describing the election as the Conservatives “in a close battle with the Green Party”.

The other results were: the Lib Dem candidate Maggie Dear came third with 123 votes followed by the Glastonbury Independent candidate Emma Jane King, who polled 88 votes.

Posting on social media, Harry said: “Many congratulations to Clive Bishop on winning the by-election. I spoke to Clive at the count and he was gracious and generous in victory. I am confident he will work hard for the ward and the town, and I wish him all the best.” Adding, “Huge thanks to those who voted Green; I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get us over the line on this occasion.”

3
May 21

PCC Candidate Cleo Lake Visits Glastonbury!

GSGP members were delighted to welcome the Green Party candidate for the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election – Cleo Lake – to Glastonbury today.

Cleo meets Harry and some of the GSGP team who have been canvassing over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Cleo met-up with Harry Wood, our Green candidate for the St. Ben's By-election and walked around town; meeting residents and listening to the issues that concern local people.

In a post from later that day, Cleo stated: “An inspiring visit to meet fellow Green Party friends and colleagues, residents and by-election candidate Harry Wood in Glastonbury today. Outstanding examples of Greens getting things done!”

We say: #VoteGreen #VoteCleo #VoteHarryWood on Thursday 6th May!

Find out more about Cleo's campaign HERE.

1
May 21

More About HARRY WOOD – Your Green Candidate

 

19
Mar 21

Harry Wood – Green Candidate for the St. Ben’s By-election

The St Benedict’s Ward by-election has been called following the tragic and untimely death of our well-loved friend and colleague, Green Councillor and twice Mayor of Glastonbury, Denise Michell.  Glastonbury’s Green by-election candidate, Harry Wood, is standing to make sure that Glastonbury Town Council remains Green, and that the social and environmental causes we champion in our town will continue.

About Harry:

I am standing as the Green Party Candidate for the St Benedict’s Ward by-election in May 2021. I have lived in Glastonbury since May 2018, having moved down from Bristol. I grew up in Leamington Spa, and lived and studied in Liverpool before moving to the South West. I feel very at home in Glastonbury, and know I am privileged to have become part of a diverse, unique community.

I work as a Rights of Way Modification and Commons Officer at Somerset County Council, and am interested in land management, rewilding, and public rights of way. I previously worked for Bristol-based reuse charity Children’s Scrapstore; my role concentrated on reducing waste, encouraging reuse, promoting recycling, and helping to develop a circular economy. I am a keen cyclist and walker, an enthusiastic but novice gardener, a bass player, and a long-suffering Coventry City fan. I am an active member of the Glastonbury and Street Green Party and have served as Local Party Coordinator and Membership Secretary since May 2019.

I have always been interested in politics and joined the Green Party in 2016. For me the Greens have always been on the right side of the key issues throughout my lifetime, from promoting investment in green energy through to the anti-austerity campaign, and from campaigning against foreign military interventions through to fighting for meaningful action on climate change. I also strongly believe in cooperation and dialogue, and feel that the adversarial nature of the current political climate is disastrous for democracy and political accountability. I feel that the climate and ecological emergencies should be the starting point for all political and policy decisions, and this shift in perspective is just as important at the local level as it is in Westminster.

12
Mar 21

Become a Friend of the Green Party

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Together, our Friends are helping to strengthen the voice of progressive green leadership in British politics.

So whoever you are, whatever matters to you, be that. And be Green too.

Your voice matters to our democracy.

Click HERE to become a Green Friend today!

 

23
Feb 21

Green’s call for Universal Basic Income trial in Mendip

At the Mendip District Council meeting on Monday, 22nd February, councillors passed a motion overwhelmingly to support a trial of Universal Basic Income in Mendip.

The motion was proposed by Cllr. Shane Collins, leader of the Green Party Group, and seconded by Cllr. Ros Wyke, LibDem leader of Mendip – and passed with cross party support.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr. Collins said:

“Tonight the council voted overwhelmingly to support our motion for a UBI trial in Mendip. Many thanks to the 29 Green and LibDem councillors who voted in favour. Our next step is to write to the government asking for a trial – so don’t hold your breath – but Mendip is now one of many councils who have asked for a trial. This is progressive pressure to make sure UBI is debated at (and before) the next election.”

“In a time of COVID, Brexit, Artificial Intelligence, the ‘gig economy’, and Climate Emergency, the amount of paid jobs are shrinking and with 5.8 million people on Universal Credit and often falling through the net, now is the time for a UBI trial in Mendip.”

“UBI would simplify and replace benefits such as Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits and work alongside housing benefit and carers allowance, with additional UBI payments for groups of people who experience barriers to working, including disabled people, single parents and people of pension age – offering basic financial security for all people at a time when it is needed more than ever.”

The motion in full:

A Universal Basic Income Trial in Mendip

Motion to be moved by: Shane Collins, Keyford Ward Green Party Councillor, seconded by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of MDC.

Date submitted: 9th February 2021.

Passed: 22nd February 2021.

This council notes:

1. The drastic impacts of the Covid pandemic on employment and household incomes in Mendip, in particular the self employed, those on zero hours contracts and people working in the arts, festival and cultural industries.

2. The threat to income and employment from Brexit, climate breakdown, automation and artificial intelligence, which could affect a great many more jobs in future;

3. The development of universal basic income (UBI) trials in other countries, which offer a non-means-tested sum paid by the state to cover the basic cost of living, which is paid to all citizens individually, regardless of employment status, wealth, or marital status, which has been widely debated in recent months;

4. The resolutions of other local authorities including Sheffield, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, Lewes, and Brighton and Hove (with cross party support) calling for trials of UBI;

5. A network of Universal Basic Income Labs has been set up and works with local authorities across the UK developing UBI proposals to address problems such as poverty, inequality, discrimination and environmental damage, long-term and immediately, in relation to coronavirus.

6. UBI has been Green Party Policy since the 1970s and now taken up by the Liberal Democrats and more recently the Labour manifesto calling for a UBI trial.

7. The time has come for Universal Basic Income.

This council believes:

1. That the current benefit system is failing citizens, with Universal Credit causing hardship to many communities;

2. A UBI is the fairest, most effective way to mitigate the effects of coronavirus on people’s incomes as it does not discriminate between employment status, caring responsibilities, age, or disability when providing basic support;

3. There is a danger of increasing numbers of people facing poverty as a result of the coronavirus crisis;

4. Testing a UBI is needed, as a UBI has the potential to help address key challenges such as inequality, poverty, precarious employment, loss of community, and breach of planetary boundaries through:

i. Giving employers a more flexible workforce whilst giving employees greater freedom to change their jobs;

ii. Valuing unpaid work, such as caring for family members and voluntary work;

iii. Removing the negative impacts of benefit sanctions and conditionality; and

iv. Giving people more equal resources within the family, workplace and society;

v. Breaking the link between work and consumption, thus helping reduce strain on the environment.

vi. Enabling greater opportunities for people to work in community and cultural activities or to train or reskill in areas that will be needed to transition to a lower-carbon economy.

5. The success of a UBI pilot should not be measured only by impact upon take-up of paid work, but also the impact upon communities and what the people within them do, how they feel, and how they relate to others and the environment around them; and

6. Given its history of social innovation, wealth of expertise, and active networks across community, business and public services, Mendip is ideally placed to pilot a UBI.

Full Council calls on the Chief Executive / Leader to:

1. Send a joint letter with the other party leaders to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the leader of the party in Government, their counterparts in all opposition political parties in parliament, and all local MPs, and media asking for a trial of Universal Basic Income in Mendip citing the above reasons.