Notes from Sheffield FoE Local Group meeting - 20th December 2021 by Zoom
Attendees: Lindy S (chair), Liddy G, Helen F, Sandra B, Nick B, Richard S, Greg H.
Apologies: Sean A, Claire B, Duncan F, Sarah S
New members: Greg Hewitt is an active campaigner from Chesterfield, recently moved to Sheffield and introduced himself to the Sheffield group – an experienced and very welcome addition to our campaigning capacity. Greg has previously met Richard and some other FoE members, other group members also introduced themselves to Greg.
Cambo Oilfield success: The decision by Shell to pull out of the Cambo project, and then by Siccar Point to ‘pause’ their plans is a massive win for the movement. While it is not complete closure and nor did the government have to rule on it, it is cause for optimism. However, careful eyes will be being kept on future plans.
Working locally with partners:
a) Lindy is part of an SCA lobbying group that has now met with Douglas Johnson, executive member for climate change, twice. Unfortunately progress by Sheffield council is still slow. There was discussion of the best ways to engage councillors and the need for ways to ensure they are better informed on environmental issues. Some attention is now shifting to South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, particularly in the run up to the Mayoral election in May 2022 when Dan Jarvis stands down. There will be candidates from the four main parties including the Green Party. There will also be council elections.
b) Claire, Sarah & Lindy are also part of the Nature Recovery Sheffield steering group which aims to help share the work of different groups around the city around the network and together work with the council to develop a Nature Recovery Strategy for Sheffield.
Working nationally with FoE - See below for information on opposition to the Mozambique LNG project. The new national priorities will be announced in the New Year.
Monthly challenges set:
· December: Add an extra ‘no-meat’ day to your week. If you’re already veggie : one extra day, no dairy. If you’re already vegan: one day, focus on local produce
· January: Write to your MP or local councillor - on a specific issue or just urging more/better/faster action on the climate & nature crisis (use ‘They Work For You’ website to get MPs’ contact details easily, use local council website for councillors) OR sign one (or more!) petitions on an environmental theme.
· February: If wanting a ‘new’ item of clothing for yourself, a child or any loved one buy second hand (pre-loved!) OR ensure it’s made from 100% sustainable materials OR rent/hire/borrow instead.
Richard gave a presentation on the current context for the gas pipeline project and related energy challenges in Mozambique, informed by his own experience in the country. The country is very poor and only gained independence from Portugal after an armed struggle in 1975. He shared some key background in terms of geography and the recent history of the area where the pipeline comes ashore. The involvement of the UK government is at odds with our climate policy and locally the project is already causing conflict. The Cambo campaign highlights how sustained international pressure can make a difference to government and industry policies. The legal case is ongoing (hearing was 7-9 Dec with judgement now awaited) and so it is worth keeping up the pressure from numerous local groups acting together. Action in the UK helps to motivate and support the local campaigners.
More information on how to follow the campaign and social media links on: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate/whats-happening-mozambique
Future Events and Actions:
Further action on our Peat-free compost petition – We have not had the capacity to take this petition forward but the need has become more urgent with the news that there is another delay in legislating for a ban on peat compost. A small working group needed if we are progress this campaign in January. Nick offered to be a contact for retailers/garden centres in his area.
Sustainable Fashon online event: Helen & Izzy are leading on this. Potential date in February 21st with a target audience of younger people as a way of extending our reach.
Working Regionally with FoE: A regional opposition is building against the wood burning Drax power station and we will keep abreast of this and involve ourselves where we can. An excellent policy paper on this topic has been produced by FoE. https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/future-drax-old-inefficient-damaging-and-expensive
We can support by sharing and promoting a petition led by West Yorkshire: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-public-money-funding-destructive-biomass-2
Rough schedule for campaigning:
· January : Peat Free compost petition roll out to local retailers
· February: Joing in Climate Coalition ‘Show the Love’ campaigning boosting climate awareness
· March: Drax campaigning
· April: SY Mayoral race, including hustings
Supporter numbers: current database and social media followers continues to grow: Database 477 (+1 in the month) Twitter 774 (+ 21) Facebook 656 (+4)
Copyright issue: A 2015 post promoting an action, shared from a now-defunct national group, included an image which is deemed to have broken copyright. We have been served a notice to pay £78 or be taken to court. Shaun has taken advice from regional lead Simon Bowens
Plastics campaigning and recycling: Although there is limited action and issues about the lack of recycling in Sheffield, Greg is aware of current campaigning in Chesterfield and is linking with Sheffield campaigners to enhance their work. .
Schools’ Climate Education South Yorkshire: Richard updated on plans to build on the very successful conference held in July 3031 and bring the next conference forward to March 2022 so it is more central to the school year. Already they have 20 contributors signed up and are lobbying all the South Yorkshire local authorities for contributing funding and delivery capacity. Individual and organizational donations are also being sought and we will put more information on what is planned and what funding is still needed in the next newsletter.
Next Local Group Meeting – 7:30pm on 17th January 2022 – via Zoom. Duncan has offered to lead a session on his ’10 year journey to reduce carbon footprint’.