Cloud Cafe

Sign Up to The Next Cloud Cafe

With more people turning away from the two main parties in Britain and deciding to place their political commitment firmly on the side of climate emergency and sustainability, we can start to imagine what the country would be like with a stronger Green Party influence in Parliament.

All over the world, this is starting to happen and we have invited Greens from Europe, in a position of leadership, to join us for this session. They will talk to us (amongst other things) about their achievements and successes, the nuts and bolts of changing policy to become greener and the challenges they have met along the way, particularly given the success of recent Right Wing parties in EU elections.

Joining us to speak will be:

SETH PIPER

Formerly Marketing and Campaign Advisor for the Green Party in Norway, now a Senior Consultant working with non-profit organisations in Norway.

BENEDETTA DEMARTE

Secretary General of the European Greens and Italian local Councillor in Brussels.

MARIA KJELLBERG

of the Swedish Green Party.

Everyone is welcome to join us – there will be opportunity to ask questions and join the discussion following the speakers.


Watch PREVIOUS CLoud CAfes

Head to our YouTube channel to watch previous Cloud Cafes.

Religious faith can be about much more than just ‘going to church’. It can provide the moral certainty to take practical action in support of important causes – and the courage to risk arrest.

At our Cloud Café, people of faith will speak about their active involvement in protest movements such as XR, Palestinian solidarity and the campaign against HS2. They will explain how their faith drives and sustains them and how their activism raises awareness of the causes close to their hearts.

CONTRIBUTE

Most of our speakers offer their services for free and we are proud to offer such a great range of topics for discussion. If you are able to, please contribute towards the sessions.

Previous cloud cafes

You can watch all previous episodes of Cloud Cafe on our YouTube channel.

See below for the previous Cloud Cafe’s to date, with panellists and a link to the recording.

Stroud’s history of dissent is rich, wide and long.

In the nineteenth century rioting Chartists on Rodborough common were reported in newspapers and the Whiteway Colony was formed. In the twentieth century, Quakers and adherents of Rudolf Steiner were significant presences in the town.

In 1976 the campaign against the Ring Road [SCAR] won a public enquiry, the inspector finding that the proposed Ring Road would be ‘an environmental disaster’. In 1977 an application to demolish and redevelop four listed buildings in the High St was turned down. In 1980 the District Council and Millwards, the owners decided to demolish the buildings on grounds of safety. Resistance to this, saved the buildings through a combination of direct action and High Court actions.

There have been many campaigns since, sometimes local, some with a national reach such as the birth of Extinction Rebellion. Numerous projects have arisen from commitment to our community and shaping our town, such as Shire Training Workshops, the British School, Stroud Preservation Trust and the Stroud Valleys Project, the Community Planning conference, the Farmers Market, Lansdown Hall and others.

Speakers included:

Tim Harrison, Stroud High Street Action Group

Adrian Oldman, Defence of the Stratford Park Trees

Gill Tavner, Just Stop Oil.

13.03.24 – Doing Politics Differently

The planet is on fire and mainstream politicians continue to play party politics: winning the next election is their only prize with little attention paid to the health of our environment, our communities, our children and our planet. The NHS is in crisis and the educational system is failing our children. Meanwhile, the far right is on the rise throughout the world fomenting hostility, hatred and division.

Nationally in the UK, the two biggest parties trade sound bites hoping to set themselves apart and appeal to voters while, at the same time, setting out policies that are increasingly identical. When the Labour Party declares it will campaign and govern as a pro-business party, keeping the Tory policies of low business tax rates and unlimited bankers’ bonuses; dumping their £38 billion green investment pledge to reach carbon neutral targets, and; refusing to take courageous stands calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and a sane and humane response to the migrant crisis.

On a local level, councils are going broke trying to cope with rising costs of social care and housing. If the two largest parties will not offer meaningful solutions to the problems we face on a national level, can we expect them to do any differently in local government?

Using local authorities as case examples, what happens when the voters decide to vote for the alternative and elect Greens to represent and serve them?

What can the future hold with Green administrations? Why are the May district council elections so critical to keeping the Tories from taking control?

CHRIS JARVIS

Chris is a Green Party Councillor in Oxford. Since being elected to the Oxford City Council in 2021, he has led the Green Group on the council during which time they have secured major successes including rolling out free period products in community centres across Oxford, greater protections for biodiversity in planning, a pioneering policy on trans inclusion, and improvements in active travel infrastructure. Chris is also the editor of Bright Green, an online publication focusing on Green politics, social movements and the labour movement, and has worked for a number of years in both political journalism and communications.

CHLOE TURNER

Chloe represents Minchinhampton at Stroud District Council, where she chairs the Environment Committee and Gloucestershire County Council, where she chairs the Environment Scrutiny Committee. She is also the Green Party parliamentary candidate for the North Cotswolds constituency. Chloe lives in Minchinhampton with her family. In her spare time, she plays the trombone in Stroud Red Band and writes fiction.

PETE KENNEDY

Pete Kennedy is the Green Party candidate to fight the next general election. Pete, 33, who lives in Chalford with his partner, Charli, and their baby daughter, Summer, has worked for the Green Party for more than five years in a variety of roles.

14.02.24 – Media Reporting on environmental Issues

The media informs opinion and shapes views about the world around us. To a large extent, people choose how they interpret the information in the media to inform or reinforce their own personal world view. And the media itself filters and interprets the available information in the first place, to uphold the interests of its corporate owners. This includes what we know and understand about our environment. Dr. Jonathan Fuller, veteran environmental campaigner, spoke with others on the subject which was followed by discussion, comment and debate from the online audience.

08.11.23 – WHAT WOULD A PROGRESSIVE MIGRATION POLICY LOOK LIKE?

The mainstream media narrative is that migration is a problem, that there are ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ migrants. Meanwhile, the tragedy of the small boats continues. Our expert speakers discussed how capital, information, viruses and many people travel with ease. What should be the fair, positive and green role of migration in a world of national age imbalances, climate breakdown, acute inequality and war? The speakers were Judith Large, Benali Hamdache and Martin Whiteside. Cloud Cafe - YouTube banner - Nov 23

13.09.23 – ECONOMIC GROWTH OR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?

The mainstream political parties are all battling over who can create the most ‘economic growth’ without taking any account of the impact this has on our environment and our climate. As just one example, Labour’s housing plans would blow the entire carbon budget, but they are not joining up these dots. Everything that we make and consume depends on the resources and energy provided by the natural world. Continually increasing resource extraction, industrial throughput and waste production is entirely incompatible with ecological sustainability.

Our speakers were Charith Gunawardena, Molly Scott Cato and Mark Bryan. Cloud Cafe - Banner Sept

14.07.23 – THE MACHINES ARE TAKING OVER, OR ARE THEY?

Where is the curb on the advance of AI – can we trust the tech companies, Government, an Office for AI Management (OffAIM?) or a more open, public discourse? How do we ‘flag’ up when something has been produced by a person, or by AI – and does it matter?

If AI is taking over work roles, what opportunities will remain for social interaction at work and face to face interaction in other public venues such as GP practices and libraries- and will AI control our lives in ways we don’t understand?

With factory automation some hoped for more productivity, more leisure time, enough resources for all – it didn’t happen. Can we make AI work for the common good this time – in increasing leisure, better services and enough for all?

If AI takes over even more jobs, what do we do about people’s ability to provide for themselves? Every previous industrial revolution has increased inequality – how do we do better this time using AI?

Will AI cause even more confusion between truth & fiction.

We had three fantastic experts, Steve Wells, Natalie Bennett & Tim Davies, to present their views. Cloud Cafe - Banner - June 23 - Youtube

12.04.23 – A BRIGHT GREEN FUTURE

A a deep dive into the thorny problem of how to solve our housing crisis.

  • Who should be leading housing planning? At present it is developer & market led and at the whims of NIMBYS – surely we need better?
  • How do we fix the problem of housing distribution and equity? We have older people living in large houses, families crammed into box-like houses and young people sofa- surfing or on the streets
  • How can we reconcile our housing needs with our housing stock, and how do we design for better living?
  • What would a genuine multi-age, multiple ability, sharing housing community look like?
  • Is zero carbon modular self-build an idea whose time has come?

We had some fantastic speakers both from Britain and the USA to present their experiences of alternative forms of housing. Click below to watch! Cloud Cafe - May 23 (YouTube)

12.04.23 – FARMING POLICY – IS IT FIT FOR PURPOSE?

STROUD YOUNG GREENS CLOUD CAFE TAKE-OVER

The Government claims its new (post Brexit) system of farm support is rooted in sustainability and the environment. The Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) will pay farmers to provide environmental goods and services alongside food production. Will it work – and will it encourage young people, and people from diverse and ethnic communities to develop careers in farming or rural affairs?

Our speakers included Katie Jarvis from the NFU, Anya Whiteside from the Landworkers Alliance, Chloe Turner, County and District councillor and farmer Paul Westaway. Click here to watch our last Cloud Cafe on farming policy

08.02.23 – LOSS & DAMAGE WITH SARAH QUEBLATIN

The Cloud Café for April featured a talk courtesy of Hawkwood College. Our speaker was Sarah Queblatin, who weaves 15 years of experiences in peace building, cultural heritage conservation, environmental education, and humanitarian assistance. She does this as co-founder of Green Releaf Initiative in the Philippines, as member of Permaculture for Refugees, and Re-Alliance. She designs enabling ecosystems of collaboration through innovation labs and learning journeys through Re:Source Regeneration Labs with Green Releaf, ReGEN Nations with the Global Ecovillage Network Oceania and Asia, and the 4 Returns Labs with Commonland. Cloud Cafe - Feb 23 (Banner) Youtube

11.01.23 – GREEN MONEY, NOT DIRTY MONEY

In these days of austerity, the spiralling cost of food and energy and the freeze on pay and benefits almost all of us are concerned about money. Worrying whether we will have enough to keep us warm and fed in the week and pay the rent or mortgage or even put money aside for a rainy day can affect both our physical and mental health.

We also need assurance that the banks and institutions that look after our money for us are doing so in an ethical and responsible way and are not shoring up dirty industries who have responsibilities only to themselves and their shareholders. Even more than that – do our banks have interest in helping local business and are they investing in our community and helping it to thrive? We will hear from speakers knowledgeable in the finance field and discuss what ordinary people can do to avoid supporting unethical banks.

We had two speakers who are experts on matters financial. They were:

TOM LEVITT

Consultant, Sector 4 Focus and co-founder of Fair for You – a responsible lending company. He will describe how Fair for You is able to support people in poverty by enabling them to purchase essential household items without spiralling into debt with loan companies. He will also be telling us about how their new partnership with Iceland supermarkets makes £75, interest free, loans available to tens of thousands more as the cost of living crisis deepens. All this, without issuing a single penalty charge and without repossessing a single item… Their massive social impact includes improving borrowers’ credit scores. This is the story of a successful social enterprise making the world of finance fairer, one loan at a time.

GARY LUFF

At 31 had a negative net wealth and yet at 47 he was able to retire and found Sustainably Enough Community Interest Company. Since October 2021 he has helped people across the world to optimize their spending, build financial resilience, invest efficiently, and give effectively. Gary will share how you can optimize your spending to increase your happiness, increase your financial resilience and improve the world. He adds: ‘Levels of financial literacy rates are shockingly low and many people do not know how their spending interacts with their happiness. Most people do not have access to financial advice and much financial advice benefits the advisor more than the client’.

Click here to watch the recording of our January 2023 Cloud Cafe on Green Money, Not Dirty Money

09.11.22 – EQUALITY & DIVERSITY

In 2010 The Gordon Brown Government passed the Equality Act, whose 3 main aims were : to eliminate discrimination; to advance equality of opportunity; and to foster good relations. The Equality Act protects people against discrimination because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. Under the Equality Act you are protected from discrimination in the workplace, using public services like healthcare or education, using businesses and other organisations (like shops, restaurants, and cinemas), transport, clubs or associations and when you have contact with public bodies like your local council or government departments. As well as making life better for a range of people, The Equality Act should have been changing attitudes, setting up the expectation that equality is the norm. Supermarkets and theatres, for example, now have autistic-friendly days. To what extent has the 2010 Equality Act improved people’s lives and advanced a positive, inclusive climate? What more needs to be done to ensure that people with disabilities and differences can play a full part in society? The speakers were:

MAGS LEWIS

Joined the Green Party in 2007 whilst an NHS manager in Leicester. She had to take ill health retirement in 2014, after a couple of serious relapses in her MS.

DZAIER NEIL

Dzaier, the current Convenor of the Disability Committee, has been a tireless campaigner for social and environmental justice for many years, with the rights of disabled people and people of colour, being of particular interest.

NORMAN KAY

Norman is our District Councillor for Nailsworth and is himself from a minority ethnic community (an East London Jew). He has been an active member of SDC’s small and enthusiastic Equality and Diversity working party since its inception. Click here to watch the last Cloud Cafe, recorded on 9th November, title: Equality and Diversity

13.10.22 – ENERGY

What are the root causes of the current (and possibly permanent) energy crisis? What can be done? Are there solutions to manage our energy needs that are sustainable and local?

We invited a team of people to present the issues to us and invite you to join us to question, discuss and debate the short and long term solutions that will enable us to manage our energy needs in a way that is helpful to us, our community and the planet.

The speakers were:

RHEANNA JOHNSTON

Policy Advisor for EU Energy Transition at the climate and energy thinktank, E3G.

MOLLY SCOTT CATO

Green Party’s external communications coordinator and speaks for the Green Party of England and Wales on Economy and Finance.

MARIA ARDLEY

Local coordinator with the Big Solar co-op to encourage non-domestic rooftop owners in Stroud District to adopt solar panels. Cloud Cafe - Oct 22 (YouTube)

14.09.22 – A Party for the Future

What sets the Green Party apart from other Political parties and the environmental movement more broadly?

Is the Green Party obsolete now that other parties all compete over their “green credentials”?

This event will explore the distinct philosophy of the Green Party and consider how its policies have been developed and refined over decades based upon the principles of participatory democracy, nonviolence, social justice, sustainability, respect for diversity and ecological wisdom.

Participants will emerge with a deeper understanding of the global Green movement and the Green Party’s position in UK politics. The speakers were:

PETE KENNEDY

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud.

DR. SIMON PICKERING

Ecologist, Activist, former Stroud District Councillor and former Chair of SDC Environment Committee.

04.05.22 – THE USE OF SATIRE AS SOCIAL COMMENTARY

Satire is a powerful art form using humour to critique an unfavourable aspect of society and used by many as a powerful tool to interpret political and social events.

Speakers from political activist collective Led by Donkeys and from Extinction Rebellion talked about how they use humour to critique unfavourable aspects of society and to interpret political and social events.

Led by Donkeys’ actions have included:

  • Projecting anti-Brexit and pro-refugee images onto the White Cliffs of Dover;
  • Posting the quotes of politicians on advertising billboards to expose the government’s lies about Brexit.
  • Filming a parody video with the cast of police drama Line of Duty, apparently showing prime minister Boris Johnson being interrogated about his behaviour during the Covid crisis.

BEN STEWART

Co-founder of Led By Donkeys. He worked at Greenpeace for 20 years, where his roles included communications director. He was one of the Kingsnorth 6: activists who shut down a controversial coal-fired power station and were acquitted at the subsequent trial.

SARAH LUNNON

Sarah has represented the Green Party at Town, District and County Council level, and over 15 years was thrown off only one of them. In 2017, after standing down from Gloucestershire County Council, she became involved in nonviolent civil resistance, and since then has been involved in some of the UK’s most high-profile environmental campaigns. The Use of Satire as social commentary - event details with a large YouTube 'play' button on top - click to play video on YouTube.

06.04.22 – Enslavement, Colonialism & Empire

how this shapes who we are today – and what should we do about it?

Wealth from enslavement and colonialism helped drive our country and Stroud’s industrial revolution, our mills, canals and railways. Some local massive estates were bought with profits from enslavement and Empire. Some of the owners of these estates are currently making further profits from greenfield development and soaring house prices, while limiting public access to a few footpaths. People who would like to grow food or plant trees are excluded by unaffordable land prices. How does this history affect our attitudes to other countries, migrants and our diverse society today?

With us to discuss these issues were:

Cleo Lake

Social justice activist, artist, first Woman of Colour and first Green Party Lord Mayor of Bristol 2018-19, involved in community arts, Colston Statue and reparations issues.

Stuart Butler

Radical Stroud Historian: Peripatetic, Performative, Informative: ‘Footprints not Footnotes’.

Jyoti Fernandes

Policy and Campaigns Coordinator (and farmer) – Landworkers Alliance Click here to watch Cloud Cafe for May 2022 - Enslavement, Colonialism and Empire

02.03.22 – What is the reality of poverty in Stroud?

Choosing to eat or be warm – what is the reality of POVERTY in Stroud today and what is being done about it?

The number of children in Stroud living in low-income families is rising. In the UK 13% of children live in food insecure households, 12% of adults living with children report skipping meals, while 4% of adults with children report going for a whole day without eating. This Cloud Cafe, with the help of a range of inspirational speakers, will explore what we know about poverty in the UK and here in Stroud, what different organisations are doing about it and give participants a chance to discuss where the gaps may be and what more needs to be done. Poverty is a political issue – there should be no place for it in the 21st Century! Speakers include:

JADE BASHFORD

Jade works for the Real Farming Trust on a UK wide practical and research project to address food poverty and food sovereignty. She has worked on equality and community building in the food and farming sector for thirty years, seeking practical systemic solutions to injustice with the Soil Association and Community Land Advisory Service. She presently volunteers for Trinity Food Hub in Stroud and is an owner of Stroud Brewery and is engaged in community life in Stroud;

ROBIN BURGESS

Robin has worked in the charity or public sector for over forty years, spending most of that either as a charity CEO or in policy and strategy, especially related to poverty, addictions, homelessness, problem gambling and quality improvement in the NHS. Robin has been a volunteer and managed or worked with volunteers throughout his career. His current charity, the Northampton Hope Centre provides a wide range of services to people in poverty and homelessness and hosts the local Equalities group for this area.

LYNSEY KELLEHER

Joining Lynsey Kelleher will be a representative of a community hub in Stroud. Lynsey is a single mum to 4 children who has been on Universal Credit since 2020, when the pandemic and a set of circumstances meant she lost her business. Lynsey started the Uplands Community Hub to create a supportive network throughout  the community offering food and practical support. Click here to watch Cloud Cafe - March 2022 - The Reality of Poverty in Stroud

09.02.21 – Art in Action and Action in Art

February’s Cloud Cafe featured some fantastic speakers who use their experience of the creative world to motivate, inspire and raise awareness for change. Speakers included:

Tweedy the Clown

Infamous entertainer from both Giffords Circus and the theatre. Accomplished in most circus skills, he is proficient at playing various musical instruments and regularly performs magic. Tweedy recently starred in waiting for Godot at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham.

Emily Joy

A Stroud based sculptor who is a socially engaged artist and researcher and whose current work reflects environmental concerns. Fundamental to her work is the idea of self and other, and how we connect, care and share. Emily sees these issues as fundamental to the environmental crisis.

Katharina Child

From Atelier in Stroud who is the environmental lead at a local company and runs Atelier as a community maker/art space. She has also been convening a set of ‘Culture Reset’ dialogues in Stroud as a way of getting conversations going about the role of the arts in social action.

Sarah Nicolls

Pianist, composer and inventor of the ‘Inside-out Piano‘, who toured her work ’12 Years’, a one-hour piece of original music and text, using real interviews, speeches and headlines from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report 1.5 in 2018 to Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and David Wallace-Wells, author of ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’. Sarah is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and features on several CDs. Art in Action and Action in Art

08.12.21 – Nationality & borders bill debunked

There is room at the Inn

The Nationality and Borders Bill, which makes arriving in the UK without permission a criminal offence, will be the topic of a public meeting in Stroud on December 8.

The audience heard how the Bill overturns 70 years of UK adherence to the 1952 Refugee Convention and curtails the rights of refugees.

Organiser Elizabeth Lee said: “Many of us believe that not welcoming homeless, destitute and exhausted people to our country should be a criminal offence, and that our government is acting uncharitably and inhumanely.

“The Bill is now at the Committee stage following its second reading. There is an opportunity for changes to be made to the wording or for new clauses to be added. It’s vitally important to understand what is being proposed so that people can have their say about this heartless Bill.”

Our speakers were Judith Large, Caroline Beatty and Helen Kidan. Watch the recording of our latest Cloud Cafe - Nationality & Borders Bill Debunked - There IS room at the Inn!

13.11.21 – COP26 – The Day After

Listen to first-hand accounts from people who attended the summit or drive the green agenda and hear their ideas about what we can do as a local community to help achieve some of the targets.

Our speakers were:

Carla Denyer – Co-leader of the Green Party of England & Wales.

Carla is the co-leader of the Green Party with Adrian Ramsay and a councillor for Clifton Down in Bristol, as part of the largest Green councillor group in the UK. In 2018 she proposed the first Climate Emergency declaration in Europe, committing Bristol to go carbon neutral by 2030 and inspiring hundreds of other organisations to follow her lead. She is the Green Party’s Housing and Communities spokesperson, with a track record of standing up for renters and working to prevent homelessness. Before entering politics, Carla worked as a renewable energy engineer, specialising in offshore and onshore wind.

Dr Simon Pickering – Ecologist & Environment Advisor for Ecotricity, Co-chair of Gfirst Business Energy Group and Advisor to Business Declares.

Simon has been a professional ecologist for over 40 years (working on Bats to Beavers, Albatrosses to Flamingos). He has help design and create internationally important wetlands, introduced beavers to Gloucestershire and advised Government on issues including human disturbance of wildlife, bat and wind turbines.

He recently stood down (after 21 years) as Green Cllr on Stroud District Council where, as Chair of the Environment committee, he oversaw the council cutting its waste to landfill by 50%, the development of nationally acclaimed natural flood management scheme and the council becoming the first carbon neutral council in Europe.

Dan Green – Climate Youth Striker.

Dan is a 17 year old student at Archway 6th form in Stroud, he was one of the founding members of Stroud youth strike 4 climate back in 2019. These continued almost every month from February 2019 until march 2020, with the largest having around 1500 protesters. Dan has always had a keen interest in environmental issues and wanted to provide an opportunity for young people around Stroud to have a voice that was taken seriously.

Juliet Davenport – Climate scientist, renewable pioneer, businesswoman, environmental activist.

Juliet Davenport has spent more than 20 years not just advocating for solutions to climate change, but actively creating them. Having achieved degrees in atmospheric physics and economics, Juliet founded one of the UK’s first 100% renewable electricity suppliers in 1999. An innovator whose contribution to climate action over the last two decades is among the greatest in the UK, today she is a figurehead for climate change action.

13.10.21 – COP26 – Time for real action, our final chance for climate justice?

People are waking up to the fact that not only is climate change upon us, but it appears to have accelerated far faster than predicted. The time for fine words and no action must now stop. We must act.

In November, the world will head to Glasgow for the 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties – COP26. Taking place from 1-12 November 2021 – delayed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – this is the opportunity for governments, NGOs, trade unions, businesses, and everyone else with any interest in climate change to meet, review and negotiate global action to prevent further worsening of the climate emergency.

To explain more about how the summit will work, the European position and the role of NGOs, we present three excellent speakers with a wealth of knowledge and experience. They are:

  • Pär Holmgren, a meteorologist and climate expert and, since 2019, a member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Green Party (Miljöpartiet de Gröna). In the Parliament, Pär Holmgren serves a member on the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), as well as substitute member of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and the Committe for Transport and Tourism (TRAN). He is also chairing the working group within the Greens/EFA on Climate.
  • Richard Lancaster is a Greenpeace activist who has been a member of Greenpeace for over 30 years and dedicates much of his free time to campaigning and giving environmental themed talks to educational establishments, companies, community and faith groups. Richard is now convinced that climate change is the biggest challenge we now face.
  • Rod Nelson, who as an environmental activist, was a delegate at the 2018 COP23 summit in Bonn as a member of the Green Economics Foundation. He will be able to explain the purpose behind the event, how it works and who will be there.

WATCH THE VIDEO

Rod Nelson’s pictures from his presentation

India, the mother, the great Sacred Cow amongst nations, has produced a display stand of Bollywood magnificence, and considerable opulence. I scratch my head at what this means and why. The image I remember is a photograph of the ruthlessly political and extremely worldly wise Narendra Modi sitting in half-lotus on the Janpath in Delhi, with the magnificent Empire architecture of Lutyens as a background to hundreds and hundreds of Yoga practitioners joining with their Prime Minister to practice. If there is one thing I do know, it is that all people who practice Yoga are equal on the mat, so the image pleases me. And even though I know I am being a sucker for being pleased a soft smile comes to my mouth that there are certain things that cut through politics.
Every evening at 5, all comers from every nation on Earth, no questions asked, nobody excluded however unpromising, are welcome to come onto the Indian Stand to practice for an hour under some really delightful, stylish and expert Yoga tutors. Here we are, stretching ourselves in thirty languages. Thank you India!

India, the mother, the great Sacred Cow amongst nations, has produced a display stand of Bollywood magnificence, and considerable opulence. I scratch my head at what this means and why. The image I remember is a photograph of the ruthlessly political and extremely worldly wise Narendra Modi sitting in half-lotus on the Janpath in Delhi, with the magnificent Empire architecture of Lutyens as a background to hundreds and hundreds of Yoga practitioners joining with their Prime Minister to practice. If there is one thing I do know, it is that all people who practice Yoga are equal on the mat, so the image pleases me. And even though I know I am being a sucker for being pleased a soft smile comes to my mouth that there are certain things that cut through politics. Every evening at 5, all comers from every nation on Earth, no questions asked, nobody excluded however unpromising, are welcome to come onto the Indian Stand to practice for an hour under some really delightful, stylish and expert Yoga tutors. Here we are, stretching ourselves in thirty languages. Thank you India!

The sinuous tarmac way to COP23 in November 2017 upon which the eternal thunderous ribbon of  European prosperity snakes its way nose to tail into Germany, and I am part of it. But my purposes are different from almost everyone else in this procession.

The sinuous tarmac way to COP23 in November 2017 upon which the eternal thunderous ribbon of European prosperity snakes its way nose to tail into Germany, and I am part of it. But my purposes are different from almost everyone else in this procession.

I am sitting in a darkened room on a plastic chair, one of hundreds of minds and brains and energies organised neatly into serried rows in the Forestry conference day at the COP, a tiny speck of being, but the one I call me. As the speaker intones, I allow my eyelids to half close, and the sense of warm cosy sleepiness lulls me dangerously towards that indolent den of comfort, the oblivion of Morpheus. The speaker speaks of forests, forestry, forestry initiatives, of measures and protocols, standards and protections, parternships and planning and a whole lot else besides. Suddenly I snap out of it: there is some creativity to be done. I am instantly taken back to 1994 when I first went to a forestry conference. A sudden spark of realisation comes to me. THE LANGUAGE IS IDENTICAL. I have heard all this before. This single speaker has been speaking for twenty three years and nothing has changed!. Furiously I start to scribble down the words as they pour in an endless torrent from his mouth. I write them as they are.

I am sitting in a darkened room on a plastic chair, one of hundreds of minds and brains and energies organised neatly into serried rows in the Forestry conference day at the COP, a tiny speck of being, but the one I call me. As the speaker intones, I allow my eyelids to half close, and the sense of warm cosy sleepiness lulls me dangerously towards that indolent den of comfort, the oblivion of Morpheus. The speaker speaks of forests, forestry, forestry initiatives, of measures and protocols, standards and protections, parternships and planning and a whole lot else besides. Suddenly I snap out of it: there is some creativity to be done. I am instantly taken back to 1994 when I first went to a forestry conference. A sudden spark of realisation comes to me. THE LANGUAGE IS IDENTICAL. I have heard all this before. This single speaker has been speaking for twenty three years and nothing has changed!. Furiously I start to scribble down the words as they pour in an endless torrent from his mouth. I write them as they are.

India, the mother, the great Sacred Cow amongst nations, has produced a display stand of Bollywood magnificence, and considerable opulence. I scratch my head at what this means and why. The image I remember is a photograph of the ruthlessly political and extremely worldly wise Narendra Modi sitting in half-lotus on the Janpath in Delhi, with the magnificent Empire architecture of Lutyens as a background to hundreds and hundreds of Yoga practitioners joining with their Prime Minister to practice. If there is one thing I do know, it is that all people who practice Yoga are equal on the mat, so the image pleases me. And even though I know I am being a sucker for being pleased a soft smile comes to my mouth that there are certain things that cut through politics.
Every evening at 5, all comers from every nation on Earth, no questions asked, nobody excluded however unpromising, are welcome to come onto the Indian Stand to practice for an hour under some really delightful, stylish and expert Yoga tutors. Here we are, stretching ourselves in thirty languages. Thank you India!

India, the mother, the great Sacred Cow amongst nations, has produced a display stand of Bollywood magnificence, and considerable opulence. I scratch my head at what this means and why. The image I remember is a photograph of the ruthlessly political and extremely worldly wise Narendra Modi sitting in half-lotus on the Janpath in Delhi, with the magnificent Empire architecture of Lutyens as a background to hundreds and hundreds of Yoga practitioners joining with their Prime Minister to practice. If there is one thing I do know, it is that all people who practice Yoga are equal on the mat, so the image pleases me. And even though I know I am being a sucker for being pleased a soft smile comes to my mouth that there are certain things that cut through politics. Every evening at 5, all comers from every nation on Earth, no questions asked, nobody excluded however unpromising, are welcome to come onto the Indian Stand to practice for an hour under some really delightful, stylish and expert Yoga tutors. Here we are, stretching ourselves in thirty languages. Thank you India!

Egged on by the magnificent and formidable Bianca Jagger, every shaman in the place is assembled in revolutionary defiance. WE NEED A SEAT AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE! Yes, we do.

Egged on by the magnificent and formidable Bianca Jagger, every shaman in the place is assembled in revolutionary defiance. WE NEED A SEAT AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE! Yes, we do.

The faceless men……there they are, faceless, and there they are, men. Oh man! There must be money in it, no other explanation fits for the rapt attention, the full attendance, the complete order, such conformity. The room hangs on every word….or does it? I wonder what is going through the mind of the shaman sitting in front of me. I wonder what ancestral memories lie under that magnificant headpiece, what magical knowledge there must be on those shoulders.

The faceless men……there they are, faceless, and there they are, men. Oh man! There must be money in it, no other explanation fits for the rapt attention, the full attendance, the complete order, such conformity. The room hangs on every word….or does it? I wonder what is going through the mind of the shaman sitting in front of me. I wonder what ancestral memories lie under that magnificant headpiece, what magical knowledge there must be on those shoulders.

08.09.21 – COP26 – Opportunities for a transport revolution

Whether we live in cities, towns or the countryside, transport is key to enabling us to go about our daily lives. However, over- reliance on the car has helped push CO2 emissions in this country to unsustainable levels. The COP26 summit later this year is a real opportunity to put discussions about a shift to sustainable transport to the fore. As a forerunner to this critical event, we have invited speakers with a wealth of experience in this matter to discuss their work and answer audience questions, our speakers were:

Click here to view the video, and click here for the presentation from Richard Lloyd.

14.07.21 – The Right to Protest

The future for the right to peaceful protest in the wake of the controversial Police Bill was discussed at an online public meeting on Wednesday July 14 from 7.30pm-9pm.

Stroud District Green Party‘s Cloud Café discussion forum will hear from speakers who are experienced in organising demonstrations and non-violent dissent.

They will talk about the practicalities of facilitating protest, will share the issues they’ve faced in planning events and their top tips for effective actions, and will discuss the potential implications of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

  • David Lambert is an Extinction Rebellion activist from Stroud who was one of a group charged with criminal damage after an action at the Shell HQ building. They were acquitted in April after successfully arguing that the damage they caused was negligible compared to the damage being caused by Shell and that they acted to save lives. Having been arrested several times, including for criminal damage and aggravated trespass, David believes that we have a right and a duty to disobey and rebel when our government is failing to protect humanity and the natural world.
  • Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin of Ocean Rebellion – Extinction Rebellion’s sea-focused campaign group – was among the hundreds of climate campaigners who protested in Cornwall on the first day of the G7 summit. They called for G7 world leaders to act immediately to honour the global climate commitments they made in Paris in 2015, and to address the climate and ecological emergency.
  • Nabeela Akhtar is an anti-racism campaigner who is involved in inclusion work with a focus on intersectionality in a number of organisations including Stroud Against Racism, which was formed last year in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Her work is about highlighting the injustices faced by racialised minorities and promoting understanding of different marginalised people, through learning, partnership and direct action. Nabeela has taken part in actions for multiple causes including Reclaim the Night, anti-war, Palestinian solidarity, pro-EU, and Black Lives Matter. She will give her insights into how, through the Police Bill in particular, protest is being demonised in an attempt to stop scrutiny of injustice, and will discuss the importance of effective messaging in countering the misrepresentation of people who exercise their right to protest.
  • Human rights lawyer Jules Carey is head of the actions against police and state team at Bindmans. He represented a number of MPs in their challenge to the Metropolitan Police ban on Extinction Rebellion Autumn Uprising protests in London in 2019. More than 400 XR activists were arrested during the four-day ban, though charges were later dropped. Jules believes that protest is necessary to ensure that dissenting voices raising public concerns are heard by those in authority. There is a pressing need for government to react to the climate emergency and the suppression of non-violent civil disobedience must be resisted, he says.

Click here to view the video.

09.06.21 – Footpaths and the Right to Roam

IF THE LAST YEAR HAS TAUGHT US ANYTHING, IT IS HOW MUCH WE VALUE OUR COUNTRYSIDE AND THE ENJOYMENT OF WALKING THROUGH IT.

Travelling to work or school without using the car, finding new routes and discovering places previously unknown to us. This session will explore some of the new and exciting opportunities, both local and national, being planned to improve access to the countryside and some of the barriers that have prevented it. Amongst our speakers were:

  • Daniel Raven Ellison, guerrilla geographer and brain child of Slow Ways – a network of 7,000+ walking routes that connect all of Great Britain’s towns and cities. You can find out more and get involved here.
  • Jack Cornish from the Don’t Lose Your Way campaign at the Ramblers (Britain’s largest walking charity). The campaign focuses on supporting volunteers in finding lost rights of way and researching historical research so that they can be applied for to go back on to the map (and on the ground!).
  • Alan Bently, Principal Rights of Way Officer GCC. Alan has been involved in managing and improving public rights of way for over 30 years, both in the north east and here in Gloucestershire, with a recent spell in Sustainable Transport too. Alan currently leads a small team looking after the day to day management and protection of the 3400 mile network across the county, along with a role as Access Authority with powers associated with CROW Access Land, and we have also recently spent time and resources improving the multi user trail  along the old railway line between Stroud and Nailsworth.

Click here to view the video.

10.03.21 – the end of trump and the birth of hope?

How do we recover from the four-year nightmare that was Trump?

What does the future hold for American progressives confronted with a far right that is most likely not going away?

What does the Biden presidency mean for the US and the rest of the world facing two of the most serious crises in modern history: the climate crisis and the pandemic?

How do we make sure the issues of racial and economic injustice and inequality are put front and centre as we face the future?

Our speakers include:

  • Rebecca Kemble who serves on the Board of Directors of the Madison Mutual Aid Network, and HUMANS, the global Mutual Aid Network. She serves as President of the Board of Directors for the online publication Toward FreedomToward Freedom and is a founding member of the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.
  • Paul De Main, also known as Skabewis, a news journalist and Oneida/Ojibwe traditionalist. He is the Managing Editor and CEO of Indian Country Communications, News from Indian Country, and producer for Indian Country TV, based on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation in northern Wisconsin. He’s a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and of Ojibwe descent, with relations on many Ojibwe reservations here in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He’s also a former Indian Affairs Policy Advisor under Governor Anthony S. Earl from 1982-1986.
  • Larry Sanders – an American-British academic, social worker, politician, and health spokesperson of the Green Party of England and Wales. Sanders immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1969 and became a university lecturer first at the University of West London and later at Oxford in the Department of Social Administration. He is the older brother of Bernie Sanders, United States Senator and twice U.S. presidential candidate.

10.02.21 – COPportunity knocks!

As we emerge from the Covid crisis we will still be facing the deeper and longer climate crisis. This is the year that all eyes will turn to the UK as the host country for the latest UN climate talks. Our speakers include:

  • Sarah Lunnon of the CEE Bill – in a previous life has been a historic building surveyor, a local authority councillor for the Green Party, representing Stroud at District and County level and the coordinator of Extinction Rebellion’s Political Circle. She is now working with the CEE Bill Alliance, lobbying to change the law to protect our future.
  • Carla Denyer on the Green’s 10 point climate plan – Green Party councillor in Bristol. In 2018 she proposed the first Climate Emergency motion in Europe. Before entering politics, Carla worked as an engineer in the renewable energy industry, specialising in offshore and onshore wind technology. She was the 2019 Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, and was also a candidate in the 2019 European Elections.
  • Laura Baldwin from Green’s CAN (Climate Action Network) – Green Party member, mother, Olympic sailor, activist, community connector, building resilience and environmental restoration. The Green’s CAN was established in November 2020 in response to the governments inadequate action on the climate and ecological emergency.

Click here to view the video.

13.01.21 – Valley Protectors

With local planning and regulatory authorities failing to control pollution, community groups around the country are responding to the challenge of monitoring and protecting their local environments.
Our speakers include:

Click here to view the video.

09.12.20 – Creating resilient and sustainable local food supply chains

Panellists include:

Click here to view the video.

11.11.20 – The Rise of Conspiracy Theories

Panellists include:

  • Sarah Dixon and James Beecher (Stroud Coronavirus Community Response)
  • Lynn Haanen (Stroud District Green Party)
  • Tom Scott (Writer, Editor & Lecturer)

09.09.20 – Cloud Cafe – The Politics of Climate: Where are we now?

Panellists include:

  • Sarah Lunnon – Former Green Party Councillor on District, County and Town for Stroud. Coordinator of the Extinction Rebellion’s Political Circle and currently working with an alliance groups to highlight the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
  • Riccardo Mastini – PhD candidate in Ecological Economics & Political Ecology at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Member of the academic collective Research & Degrowth and of the international network Wellbeing Economy Alliance. Policy advisor for the international campaign Green New Deal for Europe.
  • Robert Noyes – From Platform London – a campaigning organisation focusing on social, economic and environmental impacts of the global oil industry. Platform combine art, activism, education and research in one organisation

08.07.20 – Cloud Cafe – Build Back Better across Europe

Panellists include:

  • Ville Niinistö – Finnish MEP, Greens Coordinator in #ITRE and former MP, Environment Minister and party leader.
  • Ernest Urtasun – Spanish ecosocialist politician & MEP – Vice President of Greens/EFA.
  • Laura MacKenzie – Senior Parliamentary Advisor on climate, nature, farming, food, post-growth politics & wellbeing economics.
  • Ruth Potts – Author at Green New Deal Group & Lead on GND APPG Reset Inquiry.

24.06.20 – Cloud Cafe – Build Back Better 2 – This time it’s local…

Panellists include:

  • Will Mansell – Founder of the Foodbank & social enterprise entrepreneur.
  • Martin Large – Co-founder of Stroud Commonwealth & Chair of Oakbrook Community Farm Co-op.
  • Rebecca Trevalyan – Co-founder of Library of Things and high streets advocate.
  • William Frazer – NFU Gloucestershire County Adviser

10.06.20 – Cloud Cafe – International Response to Covid-19

Panellists include:

  • Miguel Polido – Director of Health Care Services for the Secretary of Health of Bogota, Colombia.
  • Adele Owen – Director of GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
  • Dr Yixian Sun – Lecturer & Assistant Professor in International Development at the University of Bath.
  • Fariba Alamgir – Postdoctoral Researcher for Centre for Development Studies at the University of Bath.

27.05.20 – Cloud Cafe – Build Back Better

Panellists include:

  • Cllr Catherine Braun – Green Party District Councillor for Wotton-under-Edge, North Nibley and Stinchcombe.
  • Professor Molly Scott Cato – Green Economist and former Green Party MEP for South West.
  • Hugh Barton – Town planner – Emeritus Professor of Planning, Health & Sustainability.
  • David Owen – CEO of Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (GFirstLEP).

13.05.20 – Protecting Stroud District Community

Panellists include:

  • Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities representative.
  • Rachel Smith – Leader of the Green Group on Gloucestershire County Council.
  • Dr Richard Dean – Local GP.
  • Chris Jockel – Workplace Occupational Health & Safety expert.

29.04.20 – Civil Liberties in the age of COVID-19

Panellists include:

  • Martin Surl – Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire.
  • Jenny Jones – Green member of the House of Lords.
  • Tom Scott – Lecturer and author of a report on abuses of social media during the 2016 referendum.

05.04.20 – Community Response to Covid-19

Panellists include:

  • Molly Scott Cato – Green Party spokesperson on Finance & EU, former MEP.
  • Martin Whiteside – Leader of the Green Group on Stroud District Council.
  • Liz Whiteside – Stroudco.
  • Nick Weir – Open Food Network UK.
  • Catherine Braun – Green Stroud District Councillor, Wotton-under-Edge, North Nibley and Stinchcombe.

CONTRIBUTE

Most of our speakers offer their services for free and we are proud to offer such a great range of topics for discussion. If you are able to, please contribute towards the sessions.

To top