Welsh Green Dragon


Climate Change Protesters Clean Up Banks by Chris Halpin
October 31, 2009, 10:18 am
Filed under: Climate Change, Energy, Protest | Tags: , , ,

To mark October 24’s international day of climate action, Climate change activists caused somewhat of a stir in Cardiff City centre. Protesting primarily against the Ffos-y-fran open cast coal mine at Merthyr Tydfil, around twenty activists from Climate Camp Cymru concentrated on banks and businesses which they believed were to be involved in ‘dirty’ unethical investment.

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Armed with mops and feather dusters, participants took a mystery tour around the city entering banks and high street shops along the way. Guided by a mega phone shouting slogans such as ‘Clean Coal: Dirty Joke’ and ‘Can we have our money back please’, in reference to the tax payer having to bail out the banks, the protesters certainly made themselves noticed by the many Saturday afternoon shoppers on Queen Street.

Alongside noise, chalk seemed to be their main weapon of choice, with the pavements and stone facades of the banks being scrawled with anti capitalist messages. They also caused disruption at cash points by sealing them off with out-of-order notices and specially made police tape which read, ‘Climate Crime Scene’.

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Alyson Austin, who is from RAFF (Residents against Ffos-y-fran) and lives a few hundred metres away from the mine in Merthyr Tydfil, says its a disgrace that businesses are investing in unsustainable and polluting fossil fuels, instead of renewable energy sources such as wind or tidal power. She also believes that more people should be made aware where large companies and corporations make their investments. On the face of it, many companies boast sustainable and ethical investing credentials, only to cover up dubious investment strategies under alias company names or within their pension schemes. This means that unwittingly hundreds of thousands of employees could be indirectly funding things that go against their personal opinions and morals. She also feels very frustrated that the people of Merthyr are not being taken seriously.

After an hour or two amongst the shoppers, the campaigners marched towards the bay to visit the Senedd for the culmination of the days efforts. Albeit a little bedraggled after being buffeted by strong gusts of wind, morale was still high and the protesters were able to give it one last push when revealing their 30 metre long banners in front of the Welsh Assembly. Although not as busy as in town, even despite the fact that the World Rally Championship has descended on the bay for the weekend, this was when the protest was at its most impressive.

Did they sucessfully get their message across? I think the answer is yes, although not a marauding throng of hundreds of people, the Climate Camp Cymru protesters certainly sounded like it and with more action planned in the run up to the Copenhagen summit in December, I reckon they will certainly be keeping up the momentum.

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Environment Agency Wales foxtrots through floods by Chris Halpin
October 30, 2009, 7:05 pm
Filed under: Flooding

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Isolated communities in the Welsh Valleys are being targeted in a new campaign to warn those who are most vulnerable to the dangers of flooding. New ways have been thought up to get the message across to the elderly, parents with children under 5 and the socially deprived, who otherwise would not know what to do should a flood occur.

I attended the first of these events, and luckily I evaded having to show off my dance moves; the first event held was a Tea dance. Trehafod, just a few miles North of Pontypridd, has been hit hard by floods in recent years, so was the perfect place for the campaign to begin. Residents in the Rhondda valley are no strangers to what happens when the water level reaches breaking point, and the 30 people or so who took to the dance floor were all too vocal of their experiences.

One flood victim, Alison Dimond who is 61 and lives in Trehaford, had to live for 3 months in her upstairs bedroom after the storm drain overflowed outside her house in December 2007.  She lost all of her downstairs furniture and carpets and it was a full four months until things were back to normal. To her distress, there was not a lot of help at hand from the council when it happened, and she found insurance companies sometimes difficult to deal with.

As part of my journalism studies, I produced this link and clip on the event for broadcast on the radio.

Tito Lopez, who you’ve just heard, is a Flood Risk Officer for the Environment Agency. He reckons getting the message across is much easier when they work together with existing events which are already popular. This way they can ensure people are going to turn up; and the popularity of the Tea dance obviously proves this.

He said events like these are always a success even if only a few people sign up to the flood warning service that the Environment Agency provides. After a scramble for the free flood kit bags, clockwork torches and key rings, it seems that most people went home with a better idea of how to be prepared for high water levels as we head into the winter months.

That said, there were maybe a few scoundrels who had turned up to take advantage of the free tea and cakes!



Fire in our bellies… by Welsh Green Dragon
October 25, 2009, 9:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This blog is going to be an open platform for anyone who has something to say about the Environment in South Wales. It’s about sharing ideas, advertising events and most importantly being a shared voice to tackle the day-to-day issues the natural world faces in our region. It’s about lobbying, and its about educating. But it will only work with participation and from this tiny seed we hope WelshGreenDragon will flourish to provide a small corner of the internet which concentrates on the important challenges that our world faces, both locally and internationally.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, there will be stories on here that will inspire; of people who are taking a proactive approach to living sustainably.  To advancements in technology and the development of renewable energy. It is our job to gather this news and spread these stories so it may give that proverbial kick up the backside to those that simply can’t be bothered. It is our job to cut through the Welsh Assembly rhetoric and make sure its members stand by their promises.

We need to stand up and be counted now, because if sustainable development continues to succumb to financial greed, then our environment will undoubtedly continue to deteriorate. We need to ensure that our planet earth is not permanently raped of its resources through the negligence of human existence. That starts now…

The Welsh Green Dragon will roar, will you?

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