At the end of August, all five councils in Somerset were targeted by Extinction Rebellion over investments in fossil fuels by the councils’ pension fund.
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.
“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.
Open the Newsletter as a pdf HERE.
Councillor Jon Cousins, Green Mayor of Glastonbury, pays tribute to Denise Michell, Archdruidess, Elder Ovate and Bard, ‘Fairy Queen’, and twice Green Mayor of Glastonbury.
First published in ‘Green World’ magazine – Wednesday, 24th June 2020.
Denise Michell 11th August 1952 – 22nd June 2020
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.
11 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday, 25th January at Glastonbury Town Hall.
Glastonbury Town Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group will hold a second People’s Assembly in the Town Hall. This is an opportunity for residents to collectively discuss the urgent situation created by climate change and ecological destruction and make decisions, so that all voices are heard and equally valued.
The Main Hall will be open from 11 am to 3:30 pm and will accommodate more people than the October People’s Assembly, when the small hall was filled to capacity. Presentations will take place between 11 am and 12 noon. The Assembly is scheduled from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm.
Presentations – 11 am to 12 noon:
- Robert Macbeth (Glastonbury Growers Group)
- Anna Francis (Frome Resilience Officer)
- Sonya Bedford (Avalon Community Energy)
- Jon Cousins (Green Deputy Mayor, Town and District Councillor)
People’s Assembly – 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm:
The next step toward building a resilient community.
Following our successful People’s Assembly in October, we will continue the discussion on these topics: Transport, Food, and the Local Environment. The Assembly will be facilitated by Extinction Rebellion’s Indra Donfrancesco.
This is an on-going process. In the short-term we need to have local strategies and actions for living with a reduced environmental impact. In the longer term we may even find ourselves having to provide basic services from our own community resources. Future assemblies will discuss other areas that need addressing: e.g. energy, health care, waste-disposal, education.
Please come to ensure your voice is heard!
Glastonbury’s Green Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, will compère this special Climate Emergency Day event, which focuses on “Lifestyle Choices and Sustainable Future for Our Community”; open from 10 am until 4 pm on Saturday, 21st September 2019, at Glastonbury Town Hall.
Featuring key-note speaker Anita Van Rossum of Stop Ecocide, giving a talk on the urgent importance of ecocide being recognised as a crime and the Earth Protector Town initiative.
“We are facing an emergency and communities countrywide are trying to find ways to lessen its impact”.
This is a free event is organised by Glastonbury Town Council, Somerset Waste Partnership, local community food growers, Extinction Rebellion, Plastic Free Glastonbury, Friends of the Earth, and Earth Protectors.
There will be guest speakers, films, and stalls with information and advice on sourcing local food produce and growing your own; switching to renewable energy; how to reduce consumption; reducing plastic use; recycling; composting; and gardening for wildlife.
For more information please click HERE.