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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Tanya’s three day Climate Camp 08 Journal

Kingsnorth, Kent, 4th-6th August

Written by Tanya Geddes

While at Climate Camp we decided to get creative with some paint and our fingers to produce a large banner that read, order more about ‘No New Coal.’ We hope it was helpful on the day of action.

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Placing some wood boards down so nothing would blow away

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Kate tracing the O

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Time for finger painting

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Mel and her pink fingers

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Almost finished

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Emma and her green hands

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Looking good

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Electro-poppers Morton Valence were headlining at Cargo tonight, viagra 100mg aided and abetted by the amazing Anchorsong and some rockabilly DJing from the Truckin Lauras.

Improvising a soundscape of looped vocal, more about keyboard and percussive samples, Anchorsong (AKA Masaaki Yoshida from Japan) mesmerised the audience with his unique take on old-school electro and dance.

Then, in the words of Flanagan & Allen, taking to the stage “underneath the arches” of Cargo’s main hall, and with keyboards balanced on an old ironing board, Morton Valence launched into their set. Morton Valence’s music slips effortlessly from hushed intimacy into full-on stompers, incorporating tinkling xylophones, trumpets and megaphones along the way. We were treated to their most recent single, the lush Chandelier, as well as Veronica’s Blades, an instrumental which sounds like New Order’s Everything’s Gone Green reworked by Blondie. There was playful vocal interplay on Bob and Veronica Crickets and, of course, probably their most well known song, Sailors (a particular favourite of mine), with its’ synth riff and insistent rhythm.

With a fan-financed debut album in the pipeline and several recent plaudits under their belts, Morton Valence are sure to become a more well-known fixture on the scene, so make sure to check them out when you can!

Climate camp has progressively expanded in numbers from 600 people in 2006 to over 2, treat 000 people in 2007 and this year saw even more supporters. An array of people from all walks of life gathered at Kingsnorth to oppose E.ON and the government’s plans to build the UK’s first coal-fired power station in 30 years, troche and seven more after that. Along with the Amelia’s team, and I rocked up to Climate Camp eager to learn more about a movement that is going from strength to strength.

Monday 4th August
On arrival, what surprised me was the welcoming atmosphere of the camp with fellow campers hailing me a friendly ‘hello! And how are you?’ (well this was a novel concept-after all I am from London where no one even holds eye contact on the tube!)

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With the camp split into different neighbourhoods, I made my way to the London area which was still being put together, with people carrying planks of wood. ‘We need to put up the kitchen!’ I heard an errant voice call. Although eager to help out I thought it best to leave it to those more technically minded. After all I didn’t want to cause any fatalities on my first day!

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Before long we heard calls that the police were inside the camp! People were hollering to come and support a mass action protest. Curious at what all the commotion was about I ran down to see a line of taciturn police staunchly holding shields and batons. I was confused as to why they were there. One campaigner told me that there were already previous police intrusions, with the police even secretly coming in the camp at night. This all seemed a bit like child’s play.

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Having taken part in the peaceful protest, we decided to put our tent up (which was surprisingly easy seeing as I was in the company of two professional tent setters!)

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derv and kate

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kate embracing nature

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umm…

After having a yummy vegan dinner at the London neighbourhood and satisfying some rumbling bellies, we mostly hung out. But not for long as there was another protest going on where yet more police were set on making their presence known. It’s here I met up with afew friendly faces, namely my friends Sam and Nathan who tried to make me sing whilst I played them a tune on guitar (sorry guys I’m just too shy!)

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Tuesday 5th August
On the second day we were all booked up and ready to hit some talks and workshops. We decided to go to the media talk which was in a tiny tent. From photographers, ex-journalists, media students to those just generally interested in the media, the crowd was definitely varied.

What emerged were concerns about how best to present the movement when it is made from so many different people. Did we have to have a representative leader to present to the media? And wouldn’t that undermine the concept of community and the sense that all voices were equal and valid within the camp? We discussed the representation of campaigners and climate camp and the need to promote them both fairly after all the negative coverage. We also decided that fair coverage would be more achievable through smaller independent journals who were not aiming to sensationalize for profits. Yet despite this being more reliable, this would only foster a small readership. And wasn’t our aim to be widespread and inclusive?

Sitting on the grass and discussing these points felt like having a slightly intellectual conversation with a friend over a coffee session. Although the arguments tended to be cyclical where a clear solution was never in sight, it was refreshing to hear so many young people engaged in debate. These questions needed to be aired and although a conclusion was never reached, by triggering them they were given a headway into a public arena.

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some camps

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charles lookin’ pretty :p

The second workshop I went to was the ‘Sustainable Networks’ where organizing community based networks was on the cards. Included were success stories where communities arranged activities and green sharing programmes. There were projects that ranged from individuals campaigning in their areas for climate change through leafleting, shared gardens, park projects, art groups, political letter making, art and music events. Transition Towns was even mentioned once or twice. T.T aims to create a way of living that’s significantly more connected and in touch with the environment through community building-much of what the workshop and Climate Camp was about!

What I took from the workshop is that campaigning; building links and raising awareness for a more sustainable way of living need not be drab. Instead, a lot of these successful projects were implemented by creativity and spoonfuls of ingenuity. Why not have fun whilst getting informed?

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All these workshops were making me peckish so I decided to help cut out some cabbages in the kitchen for dinner.

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The moon came out and peeps sat around their neighbourhoods in groups. We were feeling inspired by our day of talks and workshops so many interesting discussions ensued. However after many plastic cupfuls of wine later we felt like a jigg so bee-lined it to Amelia’s Celilidh band. What better way to spend a night being directed by the lovely Amelia into synchronized dance (nb: this is not meant to sound sexual!)? At first I remembered why I was always skipping barn dance practice at primary school. But a few moments later we were all getting into the spirit. Even Charles got in on the act!

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amelia’s band

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dearbhaile busting some groovy moves (girl with pink bow!)

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charles is either camera shy or has drunk a wee too much!

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kate and dearbhaile peeping over the loos to say ‘hello’

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walking back to our tent-all that excitement made us tired.

Bedtime beckoned and sleep looked v good (we were only hoping we could all get in without collapsing into the tent).

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Wednesday 6th August
Time to leave.

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waiting for the train to london

But what exactly had I learnt from my stay? Three points that rang out clear as a bell were-

The media’s depiction of activists/campaigners was far from representative. Here was a combination of passionate and informed people who came from all different backgrounds. You name it, lawyers, lecturers, students, families, the generally interested-they were all there to support the cause through peaceful means. The fundamental activist, the drugged up hippy, the lay-about dreg locked raver-none were to be seen.

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Also the term Capitalism is always used as a buzzword for evil companies taking over the world. To be against this in the short term is easy but doesn’t that mean blockading economic progress? And doesn’t capitalism breed forth nice shiny stuff that makes us happy? No! First, is capitalism really a synonym for progress?! Abstract labour is the only result of capitalism whereby constant pursuit of profit through labour can never satisfy in the long run. Secondly, understanding a world in terms of profit is a sad way to live, where things makes up our appreciation of ourselves and others too. Of course this is superficial. The only antidote is sustainable living.

Food, climate, oil and financial crisis’. They are all linked and feed off each other. By aiming to make one manageable this will pathe the way for the others to be constant.

Climate Camp definitely opened my eyes to what is happening now. There are concerns that exist and it is sometimes tempting to bury your head under the sand. Ignorance is bliss right? Well maybe to you but who suffers? And it is this unnerving question that continues to permeate. It is great to hear a voice that is unafraid to stand against a government that supports companies like E.ON who perpetuate and aggrevate climate change. The future doesn’t necessarily have to be bleak. By highlighting climate change and taking direct action, we can most definitely cause positive change. We can create sustainable lifestyles and beliefs that strive for thriving environments. Just the belief that we can cause change is as powerful as the concept of change itself.

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