Sunday, September 03, 2006

Climate Camp Review

I thought it would be good to review what I got up to at the climate camp and share some of the interesting things that went on there.

What I got out of the camp.

I arrived Saturday evening with Phil from CCC and helped to erect the stall before helping to burry a few of the water pipes under the fire lanes.

I then sampled the delights of Vegan cooking that where imposed upon the whole camp...something seemed not quite just about this but the food was pretty good.

I went to the main entertainment tent that evening, as I did most evenings and drank organic cider, a man of habit, I stuck to cider and apple juice the whole week!

The next few days I attended a range of workshops and short films, suprisingly my favorite workshop was run by someone I already know (Almuth Ernsting) who setup biofuel watch. I may well be involved with this nascent organization more over the coming months. Another workshop that was very good was that given by Mark Lynas on 6 degrees of climate change and what this would mean for the planet.

I also attended a workshop on social change which, due to the political inclination of the camps participants, ended up being a discussion of what sort of co-operative we should have in the future and how the hedgemony of the nation state can be overthrown. But in any discussion of matters which are usually not talked about in society as a whole usually throws up some good points. In this case I was left with the impression that education is over emphasized as a catalyst for change and that what is really needed is some of the routes of power that we where given in the camp to be taken to broader society. I don't however think that these societal level changes are going to power action on climate change although they may well grow as concern for the climate does. I differ from many of my peers in being pragmatic in this regard, I'm interested in finding ways to influence cooperation's to become more sustainable not just to overthrow them!

Shout Outs

Hello to all the great people I met on the camp and to all the people who I already knew but who where there. Particularly the +10 CCC people there; Poppy; Jay, Adam and Rosie; also a big shut out to indymedia who had an onsite internet cafe and the various talented open mic participants.

Climate Camp Philosophy

I want draw attention to one of the interesting aspects of the camp, namely that it was run based ostensibly on anarchist principles (look up anarchy if you think it means chaos, it doesn't!). The camp was hugely well organised and very cheap to live on for a week, this is possible because anarchy stresses involvement of all, stressed best during the introduction to the camp where we where assured that 'we are all crew'. There where overheads for parts of infrastructure such as marquees and these where covered largely by donations. Most of the camps facilities/services where built/run on-site, its amazing what you can do when 500 people are working together.

In relation to how the camp was run I`d say the most interesting aspect was the ability of consensus decisions to be pretty good decisions, and for people to feel much more involved than when meetings are lead by one or a few people. The functioning of an anarchist commuity has some real advantages over a liberal democracy. Unlike the real world, everyone is part of a community, a strong community where resources aren't just shared but where skills, time are also shared. The problem with consensus meetings is that they are slow, and sometimes really slow!

There are a few important caveats to my largely positive thoughts on the camp. I was talking to one of my friends who had been helping to promote the camp and he pointed out two things:
1. There are sometimes pre-meeting meetings to set the agenda--is any system ever going to be free back room intervention?
2. The tranquility team (security) where backed up with a collection of rough and ready types--fluffy with a hard backbone.
3. There was a wide range of involvement, some people did a hell of a lot, some relatively little.


Climate Change Action

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