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Climate Campers Set up shop on Gillingham High Street

Press Release – August 2009

One year on from the climate camp at Kingsnorth, a group inspired by the camp have set up shop on Gillingham High Street (1)(2).

Named ‘Tipping Point’ (3), the project aims to be a community resource to support local people in building a fair and green future for Medway. Kingsnorth Climate Action Medway (KCAM), the local group opposing the building of a new coal-fired power station at Kingnorth has already started using the shop as a base for its operations.

KCAM campaigner Jill Osborne said: ‘This shop is going to make a big difference to local people trying to safeguard the future of the planet and the future of Medway. Kingsnorth should not only be scrapped because it will be under two meters of water because of the effects of climate change but also because green jobs in renewable energy would supply many more jobs for Medway than burning coal, the dirtiest kind of fossil fuel.’

People from across the country have moved to the area to work on the project because what happens in Medway over the next year will effect futures all over the world.

Jeni Davis, one of the people who helped open the shop, said: ‘Kingnorth is one of the most significant decisions at the heart of the most crucial issue ever. Building a new coal fired power station would have major ramifications not only in terms of local employment and health but also affecting the future of people all over the world. It would open the floodgates to a whole new generation of coal power across Britain and the rest of the world won’t be prepared to give up coal if we don’t. There is simply no hope of avoiding runaway global warming if we don’t move on from coal.’

The ‘Tipping Point’ shop window now hosts a specially commissioned interactive exhibition about the opinions of the people of Gillingham. Locals were asked what they thought about climate change and Kingsnorth. Passers by are invited to identify friends and neighbours from the drawn portraits in the display. If they guess right, they get a free cup of tea and a slice of cake. Other displays in the shop include The Climate Roadshow which plots future scenarios as the effects of climate change increase, and another looks specifically at the implications for Kent.

The launch event last Wednesday was timed to coincide with a national day of action to supportVESTAS workers who have recently occupied their wind turbine factory to save green jobs (4).

The group intends to use the shop front to host local groups concerned about securing a sustainable future for Medway communities; from campaigners against the construction of Kinsnorth, groups protecting the local wildlife, to workers fighting for green jobs. The shop will contain an internet café power by bicycle generators, exhibitions, meeting space and information about local campaigns.

Jeni Davis said:

‘We’re really excited to be opening a space which not only supports local people in securing a better future for Medway, but also a better future for billions of people on the planet. Last year 300,000 people died because of climate change around the world. That’s not just a statistic, that’s 300,000 real human individuals who have lost their lives.’

She added:

‘The Camp For Climate Action was great for helping to highlight the catastrophic dangers of building a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth, but we’re setting up shop here to help maintain the pressure, working with local people to a better future here, whilst helping to protect the future of the whole planet.’

Notes to Editors:

1. The shop is located at 46 High Street, Gillingham. Previously Sparkles dress hire shop and before that an NCH Action For Children charity shop. At some point in the distant past it was a J Sears Co Ltd ‘Trueform’ Boot Co shop.

2. The Camp For Climate Action formed early in 2006 with the aim of kick-starting a social movement to tackle climate change. Last year it focused on the Kingsnorth issue. This year it aims to make the connection between climate change and the failed economic system, by camping in London, August 27th-September 2nd. climatecamp.org.uk

3. The name ‘Tipping Point’ is a dual reference to the need to tackle CO2 emmissions before global warming reaches a point of no return and also a sociological term for the momentum when social movement becomes unstoppable.

4. The Climate Roadshow (http://alturl.com/ugjt) consists of three bodies of work: ‘Six Degrees’ based on the book by Mark Lynas, ‘ABCD Scenarios’ based on permaculture founder David Holmgren’s work on the impact of energy transitions and multiple converging crises, and ‘Steady State’ depicting eco-economist Herman Daly’s work on sustainable economies.

5. The Vestas dispute relates to the closure of this countries only significant wind turbine factory. The isle of wight production has been shifted to the USA with the loss of over 600 jobs. Vestas say the move is due to lack of orders in Europe.

6. The Kofi Annan report commissioned by the Global Humanitarian Forum found that 300,000 people per year now die as a direct result of climate change. ghf-geneva.org

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