Category Archives: What’s on

The Great North Run, Sunday 11th September, 2016

14th Glorious Year for Jubilee Debt Campaign’s team for…
Action on Global Poverty & Action on Climate Change

The Great North Run is the biggest half-marathon in the world! Team recruitment was good this year, rivalling that in 2015, with nearly 70 registering to participate, many but not all of them staff and students at Newcastle University. Injury, illness and conflicting responsibilities conspired to reduce that number to about 60 people prior to the big day, which dawned warm and sunny – perfect for the spectators, but not so good for runners wanting to improve on their times!

A good number turned out for the Team Photo on the morning of the Run and they made a fine sight, doing their now traditional ‘Mo Farah’ and ‘Usain Bolt’ impersonations! The team included four university professors and Dr Phil Ansell, the university’s Dean of Sport, and Prof Emma Stevenson, Professor of Sport Science, joined them for Pre-Run photo’s.

After the Pre-Run photo’s, the Team Manager, David Golding, went across to the Finish and took ‘shattered but triumphant’ photo’s of team members. Whilst waiting for them, he enjoyed the spectacle of the aerial acrobatics provided by the Red Arrows.

Two team members came up from London to take part – namely, Charlie Tunmore, until recently a member of JDC staff, and Alysa Remtulla, a staff member at STOPAIDS. Both spoke on behalf of the campaigns on the previous evening, at a high-profile meeting to celebrate the Run attended by several community leaders and about 60 supporters of North East CALL TO ACTION, a regional member of JDC.

The team raises sponsorship funds for JDC and the wider global poverty and climate change campaigns and, excluding the present year, has raised over £180,000.

Photo’s, courtesy of Crispian Oates (Pre-Run) and David Golding (Post-Run):

1) Team members doing a ‘Mo Farah’ and a ‘Usain Bolt’ prior to the Run;

2) The ‘Professorial Team’ (l-r): Prof Bernard Golding; Dr Phil Ansell, Dean of Sport; Prof Emma Stevenson; Prof David Leat (Team Captain); Prof Steve Vincent; Prof Phil Taylor;

3) Charlie Tunmore, former staff member with Jubilee Debt Campaign; and Alysa Remtulla, staff member at STOPAIDS, at the Run Finish;

4) Raquel Teixeira De Sousa and Khristianne Greenhalgh – both students in the Medical Faculty, at the Finish.

5) Professor David Leat, Team Captain, at the Finish.

6) Revd Bryan Vernon, Veteran of many Runs, at the Finish.

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7th Annual ‘Eve-of-Run’ Gathering, Saturday 10th September

7th Annual ‘Eve-of-Run’ Gathering, Saturday 10th September
to celebrate the Great North Run
and express support for those in need at home and abroad

Our ‘Eve-of-Run’ gathering was a splendid affair!
• The range of agencies which sponsored it;
• Our Special Guests, including Ms Lucy Winskell OBE DL, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, who had warm words of welcome for the gathering;
Chi Onwurah MP, who chaired the ‘Advocates for Justice’ campaigns event;
• Singer/Songwriter Gareth Davies-Jones moved us with two songs of justice and compassion;
• Speakers, Alysa Remtulla, runner, & staff member, STOPAIDS, Charlie Tunmore, runner, & staff member, Jubilee Debt Campaign, gave brief updates on their respective campaigns;
Andy Biggs, Chief Executive of Traidcraft, was an excellent keynote speaker;
• and The Revd Catherine Lack led the brief ‘Service of Blessing’, with which the evening concluded.

Our thanks to everyone who made the occasion such a success – including St Thomas’s Church which hosted it and the sixty plus people who supported it!

Images courtesy of Crispian Oates, to whom thanks are also due.

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Climate campaigners take issue with Alan Campbell MP

I was reminded of the pungent comment by Professor James Hansen, formerly NASA’s chief climate scientist:

“They talk about goals which sound impressive, but… the actions are such that it will be impossible to reach those goals.”

I also remembered reading a strong statement by Gordon Brown, when he was Prime Minister, that “tough decisions” would have to be made if we were to rise to the challenge of climate change. But later in that very week his government gave the go-ahead for expansion at Heathrow Airport! I thought, “Does the irony of this not strike him?”, great and able man that he undoubtedly was, who had been such a champion of the debt and global poverty campaign.

The occasion was the publication in the Whitley Bay ‘News Guardian’ of a statement by Alan Campbell MP, welcoming the decision to construct a third runway at Heathrow, and the letter which follows, co-authored with Malcolm Scott of Friends of the Earth, was published in the paper on 20th November.

http://www.newsguardian.co.uk/news/mp-meets-climate-campaigners-1-8194243

“We were both disappointed to read Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell’s endorsement of the decision to build a third runway at Heathrow, in his regular column in the News Guardian (Oct 27). It was the case because, only a week earlier (Oct 20), campaigners had been pictured with Mr Campbell near St Mary’s lighthouse, presenting him with a T-shirt showing the words ‘MPs against climate change’. As we told him then, ‘We’ve had the promises – now we need the policies!’

“Of course a new runway will increase economic activity – in the North-East as well as in the rest of country – but that is only in the short term. In the long term, it will make a mockery of the Government’s promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions to an acceptable level. Climate change is already with us, as climate-related disasters become regular events throughout the world, but if we carry on with ‘business as usual’, these events will turn out to be only the foothills of an Everest of climate chaos.

“There is a better way – it’s to honour the Paris Agreement, of which the UK is a signatory, in spirit and letter! As the Agreement puts it, if ‘everyone fully supports it and helps bring its ambitious goals to life with real action’, then and only then we have a real chance of bequeathing to our children and grandchildren ‘a safe and prosperous world’.

Dr David Golding CBE, Newcastle University and North East CALL TO ACTION

Malcolm Scott, Coordinator of North Tyneside Friends of the Earth

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‘Speak Up’ Week of Action on Climate Change, 8th-16th Oct – Press Release

PRESS RELEASE, FRIDAY 14TH OCTOBER

National ‘Week of Action’ on climate change marked by meeting with Rt. Hon. Alan Campbell MP at the iconic St Mary’s Island.

Taking as their theme, “For the love of people living by the coast”, about 30 supporters of North East CALL TO ACTION (NE-CAP) draw attention to the threat of sea level rise to people living in low-lying regions.

Speaking on behalf of NE-CAP, a member of the national Climate Coalition, Dr David Golding CBE quoted the words of an anguished Veena Khaleque, Director of the aid agency, Practical Action, in Bangladesh:

“I find it almost impossible to imagine how the poor of Bangladesh will cope”, she said, contemplating the prospect of sea level rise due to global warming.

Hardly surprising, given that ten million people live below the one metre mark in Bangladesh alone! And then there are the low lying, ‘Island States’, which will be completely submerged unless we get a grip on this issue.

Alan Campbell MP, David Golding - and T-Shirt - against the backcloth of St Mary's Island

Alan Campbell MP, David Golding – and T-Shirt – against the backcloth of St Mary’s Island


David thanked Mr Campbell for his exemplary support in the past on matters of global justice and sustainability and asked him to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to:

* Congratulate him for rapid progress on ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, and to:

* Ask him to publish an ambitious low-carbon investment plan to transform the economy in line with the Climate Change Act.

But he had a word of warning for all our political leaders, stating that: “We’ve had the promises – now we need the policies!”, and “We’ve had the words – now we need the actions!”

Alan Campbell MP with campaigners (and dog!) at St Mary's Island

Alan Campbell MP with campaigners (and dog!) at St Mary’s Island


Mr Campbell responded by warmly thanking all those present for making the effort to turn out on such an unpleasant afternoon and assuring them of his support and commitment. He pointed out that, “David has, if anything, understated the threat of sea level rise, since about 150 million people world-wide live at or below the one metre level, and they also face the prospect of more extreme climate events, including damaging storm surges, etc.”

Photo’s, courtesy of Veronica Golding, North East CALL TO ACTION. High resolution images available.

The t-shirt presented to Alan Campbell bears the words “MPs against CLIMATE CHANGE” and David Golding jokingly told Mr Campbell that the campaigners would expect him to wear it in the House of Commons. David’s t-shirt is from the group “Grandparents Climate Action”.

Contact Dr David Golding CBE, david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION on global poverty and climate change; and Associate, Institute for Sustainability, and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University

Notes for Editors:

North East CALL TO ACTION, a voluntary grouping of the supporters of the aid agencies, etc., is a member of the Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and to limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities. The combined number of supporters in the Coalition’s 100+ member organisations is more than 15 million people. We have banded together to show our love for all the things we could lose to the impacts of climate change; and to ask politicians to put aside their differences, and commit publicly to do whatever is necessary to protect us and the things we love.

During the Coalition’s ‘Week of Action’, 8th-16th October, we are asking MPs like you to take a lead, locally, nationally and internationally. The UK has an opportunity to show its continued commitment to the wider world and its determination to remain a leading nation on climate change.

Now is the ideal moment to move ahead with ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, so we applaud Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement on 20th September that the UK will begin its domestic process for ratification before the next UN climate talks. This shows our continued commitment to the international fight against climate change, and will encourage the EU and its Member States to move more quickly to ratify the deal too.

One of the first acts of the new government was to set the fifth carbon budget into law, and we welcome that. This charts an exciting low-carbon future for the UK with a rapid, economy-wide transition over the next 15 years. We want this future to become a reality – so now the UK needs a plan to get there! We need the promised new “Emissions Reduction Plan” to drive forward vigorous and urgent action to transform the economy.

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‘Speak Up’ Week of Action on Climate Change, 8th-16th October

EXTREMELY EASY ACTION!

This was the this request for action sent to Committee Members, Constituency Contacts and Supporters in the run-up to the Week of Action.

3rd October, 2016

Dear Colleague,

Further to the two emails I sent to you earlier today, with ‘Fairly Easy’ and ‘Very Easy’ actions, I now provide you with one which is ‘Extremely Easy’! [But please read previous.]

All you have to do is to write legibly the message below (or something like it) on the A4 sheet of NE-CAP stationery Provided (or your own) and post it, together with the Briefing, to your MP as directed below, immediately before or during the upcoming Week of Action, 8th-16th October.

With the significant degree of success of the international Paris Agreement last December, and the Prime Minister’s promise to ratify it very soon, we really do have something to build on!

With appreciation, as ever,

David
—————————–
Find the name of your MP at www.writetothem.com – simply type in your postcode.
Send your letter to “House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA”;
Include your name, postal address, postcode and email address;
—————————–
MESSAGE FOR MPs:

Dear [Name of your MP],

The Climate Coalition – Week of Action, 8th-16th October

I write to enclose and endorse the Coalition’s MP Briefing, but underline our request that you write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to:

• Congratulate him for rapid progress on ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement;

• Ask him to publish an ambitious low-carbon investment plan to transform the economy in line with the Climate Change Act.

We need the promised new “Emissions Reduction Plan” to drive forward vigorous and urgent action to transform the economy.

I would be most grateful to receive a reply.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

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‘Speak Up’ Week of Action on Climate Change, 8th-16th October

VERY EASY ACTION!

This was the second of three requests for action, sent by post and email, during the run-up to the Week of Action.

Dear Friend of NE-CAP,

The national Climate Coalition depends on NE-CAP, a member of the Coalition, and other supporters, to ‘Speak Up’ and make its voice heard in the region – and NE-CAP in turn depends particularly on YOU, its Committee Members, Constituency Contacts, and Supporters!

So I’m asking you to write to or email your MP immediately before or during the upcoming Week of Action, 8th-16th October.

With the significant degree of success of the international Paris Agreement last December, and the Prime Minister’s promise to ratify it very soon, we really do have something to build on! But ‘they’ need to know that there are plenty of us out here who really want to see ‘Policies, rather than Promises’, and ‘Actions, rather than Words’!

As usual, we’ve made it REALLY easy for you! See below.

With every good wish,

David

Dr David Golding CBE (Development Coordinator)

—————————–

Find the name of your MP at www.writetothem.com – simply type in your postcode.

WRITE BY POST:

Send your letter to “House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA”;

Include your name, postal address, postcode and email address;

Type, or write legibly (!) by hand, our message to MPs outlined below (or something like it).

WRITE BY EMAIL:

Your MP’s email address is as follows:

firstname.surname.mp@parliament.uk [So my MP’s address is: alan.campbell.mp@parliament.uk]

State your name, postal address, postcode and email address.

Type our message to MPs outlined below (or something like it).

Thanking you in advance,

David

Dr David Golding CBE (p/p the NE-CAP Organising Committee)

—————————–

MESSAGE FOR MPs:

Dear [Name of your MP],

I write as a supporter of North East CALL TO ACTION, a member of the Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and to limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities. The combined number of supporters in the Coalition’s 100+ member organisations is more than 15 million people. We have come together to show our love for all the things we could lose to the impacts of climate change; and to ask politicians to put aside their differences, and commit publicly to do whatever is necessary to protect us and the things we love.

During our ‘Week of Action’, 8th-16th October, we are asking MPs like you to take a lead, locally, nationally and internationally. The UK has an opportunity to show its continued commitment to the wider world and its determination to remain a leading nation on climate change.

Please write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to:

• Congratulate him for rapid progress on ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement;

• Ask him to publish an ambitious low-carbon investment plan to transform the economy in line with the Climate Change Act.

Now is the ideal moment to move ahead with ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement, so we applaud the Prime Minister’s announcement on 20th September that the UK will begin its domestic process for ratification before the next UN climate talks. This shows our continued commitment to the international fight against climate change, and will encourage the EU and its Member States to move more quickly to ratify the deal too.

One of the first acts of the new government was to set the fifth carbon budget into law, and we welcome that. This opens up the possibility of an exciting low-carbon future for the UK with a rapid, economy-wide transition over the next 15 years. We want this future to become a reality – so now the UK needs a plan to get there! We need the promised new “Emissions Reduction Plan” to drive forward vigorous and urgent action to transform the economy.

I would be most grateful to receive a reply.

Yours sincerely,

[YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]

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‘Speak Up’ Week of Action on Climate Change, 8th-14th October

‘FAIRLY EASY ACTION’

One of three requests for action sent by post and email in the run-up to the Week of Action.

Dear Friends of NE-CAP,

The national Climate Coalition depends on NE-CAP, a member of the Coalition, and other supporters, to ‘Speak Up’ and make its voice heard in the region – and NE-CAP in turn depends particularly on YOU, its committee Members, Constituency Contacts, and Supporters!

Because of the ‘Save Druridge’ campaign, the Great North Run, our ‘Eve-of-Run’ events, and other pressures, I have not been able to give the ‘Week of Action’ the time and attention I would have wished. However, all is not lost, because Christian Aid has taken the lead on this for the Coalition in the region and a creditable number of events have been arranged as a result – our thanks to them! [AND I’ve arranged another one – see below.]

So please support one of these events if you possibly can – it doesn’t have to be in your constituency.

AND support our drive for climate sanity and justice by taking the ‘VERY EASY’ action by writing to your MP (see other email).

With sincere appreciation,

David (Dr David Golding CBE, Development Coordinator)

Speak Up North East Events:

8 October The Masonic Hall, Main Street, Middleton-in-Teesdale DL12 0SN
10:30 am Coffee & Cake Morning;

8 October Ponteland Methodist Church, 61 Cheviot View, Ponteland NE20 9BH
1.30-4.30pm Prayers, walk, tea and film;

13 October Morpeth Methodist Church, Howard Terrace, Morpeth NE61 1HU 10:00 am Coffee Morning, with Lynne Gargett, of ‘Save Druridge’, and David Golding;

14 October St Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay, NE26 4RS,
1.30pm On-the-level, 10 minute seaside amble for all ages, then photo with Alan Campbell MP: ‘The Sea – its Beauty and its Threat’;

14 October The David Puttnam Media Centre, Sunderland SR6 0DD
5:30 pm Film screening of ‘The Island President’;

15 October St Nicholas’ Cathedral, St Nicholas Square, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1PF
10.30am-12noon Coffee and climate conversations with Chi Onwurah MP;

Chi Onwurah MP with t-shirt; Christian Aid's Kerry Crellin is on left

Chi Onwurah MP with t-shirt; Christian Aid’s Kerry Crellin is on left

15 October Riding Mill Parish Hall, Millfield Road, Riding Mill, NE44 6DJ,
2:00pm, 3 mile nature walk with activities for children, then tea/cake at the village hall;

Between 14-16 October, Hartlepool Solar Farm visit. Details tbc.

For further information and resources, visit http://theclimatecoalition.org/ (then the Main Campaign Site), or christianaid.org.uk/climateweek

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7th ANNUAL, ‘EVE-OF-RUN’ GATHERING, Sat 10th September

Dear Friends of NE-CAP,

Even H.M. is sending a representative to this one! [The Deputy L-L – see below.]

We very much hope that she and the other community leaders who have promised to attend are greeted with a good crowd of supporters of Fairtrade and the wider campaign. Details below and click here for flyer 7th ‘Eve-of-Run’ Gathering

WONDERFUL LINE-UP TO OUR…

SEVENTH ANNUAL, ‘EVE-OF-RUN’ GATHERING, Saturday 10th September, 4.30-5.30pm & 6.00-6.30pm; St Thomas’s Church Haymarket.

Sponsored by Newcastle City Council, Traidcraft, Newcastle University Chaplaincy, and North East CALL TO ACTION of course!

SPECIAL GUESTS:
* Ms Lucy Winskell OBE DL, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear;
* Cllr Hazel Stephenson, Lord Mayor of Newcastle and her Consort, Mr Trevor Stephenson;
* Mr John Marshall, Former Lord Mayor of Newcastle and instigator of the city’s Fairtrade status, and Mrs Audrey Marshall;
* Professor Richard Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University.
—————————

4.30-5.30pm: ‘ADVOCATES FOR JUSTICE’ campaigns event (this is not a religious service):
* Chair, Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central;
* Keynote address by Andy Biggs, Chief Executive of Traidcraft;
* Items by renowned singer/songwriter, Gareth Davies-Jones; and by Alysa Remtulla, runner & staff member at STOPAIDS; and Charlie Tunmore, runner & staff member at Jubilee Debt Campaign.
—————————

6.00-6.30pm: ‘SERVICE OF BLESSING for the Great North Run, and those in need at home and abroad’, led by Revd Catherine Lack (University Chaplain):

A brief service of Christian worship, to which those of all faiths and none will be warmly welcome. This year the service will highlight women and men who’ve done extraordinary runs / Olympic exploits.
—————————

For further information, contact Dr David Golding CBE (david.golding@ncl.ac.uk)

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Open Letter to Frances Wilkinson, 6th July

AN ‘OPEN LETTER’ TO FRANCES WILKINSON, PLANNING OFFICER, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTRY COUNCIL, ABOUT HER ‘DISMISSIVE’ RESPONSE TO SCIENTISTS’ TESTIMONY RE. THE PROPOSED OPEN-CAST MINE, NEAR DRURIDGE BAY, SENT ON 6TH JULY 2016

——————————–
An extract of this letter was published under the heading, “Opencast – Don’t dismiss our concerns” in the Northumberland Gazette, on 17th July 2016
http://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/opinion/letters/opencast-don-t-dismiss-our-concerns-1-8013442
——————————–
Please note that the author is writing only in a personal capacity, and as Development Coordinator of North East CALL TO ACTION.

Dear Frances Wilkinson,

I was astonished, indeed shocked and upset, that I failed to hear the words “climate change” so much as pass your lips, during the lengthy, detailed, and well-delivered summary of your Report to the Strategic Planning Committee yesterday. [I did listen carefully, but I might be mistaken – it has been known! If so, please let me know.]

Similarly, in your Report, you stated that, “The burning of the coal that would be extracted from the site would contribute to CO2 emissions. Establishing the extent of this would be based on very generic estimates and assumptions and so little reliance could be placed on any conclusions” (p. 57).

Do you really think that can so lightly (and so tritely) dismiss the emphatic warnings of the folly of this proposal by six climate and environmental scientists of international renown, three of whom are members of a university nearby, who took time out from their busy schedules to address this issue? Did you or your colleagues even take the trouble to consider them? I believe your treatment of my distinguished colleagues has been – yes, ‘dismissive’ is the word, even discourteous. They deserved better from you – and from me they deserve an apology for wasting their valuable time. [For a more detailed treatment of your statement, see the Appendix provided.]

According to Lord Robert May, then President of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, “Never have we faced such a global threat. The longer we procrastinate. The more difficult the task becomes.” That was in 2006, and here we are in 2016 planning to create a massive new coal mine – it simply beggars belief!

But such warning and appeals for urgent and radical action have been made repeatedly. For example, in 2009, twenty Nobel Prize winners, the world’s finest scientific minds, gathered for the St James’s Palace Symposium to assess the evidence for man-made climate change. In their ‘Memorandum’, they declared, “We know what needs to be done. We cannot wait until it is too late. We cannot wait until what we value most is lost”.

I conclude with the words of someone who, like me, is a scientist but not a climate scientist; and also, like me, a grandparent. I commend them to you, whatever your family circumstances: “How could I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew about this and did nothing?” (Sir David Attenborough)

Yours sincerely,

Dr David Golding CBE

Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION

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Druridge mine approved – but the fightback begins!

The Planning Committee of Northumberland County Council unanimously approved the application by Banks Mining Ltd for a new surface mine at Highthorn, near Druridge Bay, on 5th July, after hearing a detailed verbal report by the planning officer, Frances Wilkinson, during which the words ‘Climate Change’ did not so much as pass her lips – astonishing!

But the fightback is beginning already with plans to try to get the government to ‘call in’ the application – i.e., to send it to Appeal by way of a Public Enquiry.

David Golding wrote an ‘Open Letter’ to Frances Wilkinson on 6th July, and an extract of it was published in the Northumberland Gazette on 17th July. [See following post.]

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