Here's a blog from Jo who attended the climate camp in the UK last week as an independent volunteer.
I recently got back from spending some time in a field with 2000 other people motivated to take action against climate change. Well that’s how many it built up to being over the course of the week. Despite some serious aggression from her majesty’s finest police force, people came from all over to make it the biggest climate camp ever. It was brilliant.
The week long event, one of 8 across the world this year, culminated in a mass day of action last Saturday. Where we caused some serious disruption to Kingsnorth coal fired power plant - owned by energy giant E.On.
I was helping out with media on site and had one of those fantastic days where you’re in the centre of update after update of brilliant news “7 kayaks are on the Medway” and “Greens have breached the inner fence, using – get this- the outer fence as a ladder.” Though of course I couldn’t help being a bit jealous of the Great Rebel Raft Regatta crews, how much fun must that have been!!??
The day of action was amazing, but so was the whole camp. I was overwhelmed by everything the organisers, always working on consensus decision, had achieved. From compost toilets (complete with sign welcoming us to P.On E.On – brilliant!), to kids spaces, workshops on every related topic you could think of and great entertainment.
A particularly special memory is when rain stopped play on a story we were writing. A giant storm meant we had to shut power down for safety. It was one of those that you can see heading towards you – absolutely stunning as these forks of lightening heading straight down moved over to us. And it has to be said the sound of rain on the tents was far more pleasant than the police helicopter had been the night before. We headed up to K5, the gate where there had been most clashes with the police. Poetry, guitars, sound systems. Singing, dancing, shoulder massages. There we all were in the rain under the tarp eating soggy peanuts and feeling on top of the world. The police on the other hand stood in a line on the other side looking wet and miserable.
And I was amazed by how well the consensus decision making worked. I have to confess to being a little sceptical. But sitting in my neighborhood (you camp in areas you come from or live in, or just fancy hanging out in) and seeing how well the tasks, issues for the day were wrapped up and taken forward (by spokespeople to other meetings) was worked out.
The other main thing going on all week was the actions by affinity groups – building up the momentum to the big day. My personal favourite was the world’s smallest activists, with quite possibly the world’s smallest banner – at... you got it Legoland! E.On sponsor Legoland and have a replica of Kingsnorth there. It was great to see lego people hitting back at this invasion of their space!
Superglue remained a key tool this year – many successful actions. I am still in awe of the brave 12 who superglued themselves to the UK department for Business naked. Yes naked.