Sunday, 27 September 2009

the visuals - travelling from Bristol to Exeter...

   Jackie and I pop in to the Pickwick's Tea Shop for a spot of afternoon tea, no soya here but yummy tea and scones.  
                               funny little Cullompton - check out the earlier blog for details.

                                         fire-side Millie.

                              Oh Wondrous Helen - with us for our only rainy days this month...
                                              Well on our way into the West Country!
                              Elly with our newest gift: an Edwardian megaphone - perfect!

                               The Great Climate Rush Wall - see it NOW on Jamaica Street.
            heading through Bristol, whilst climate rush graff it up and clog up town on bikes.
                                        sun setting on the industrial estates outside Bristol.
our campsite, just outside Bristol, was visited by Irish gypsies - cute cute kid who totally refused to smile.
first time I realised quite how far we'd gone - a motorway bridge on our way into Bristol.  and we've walked way over the 121 miles they record cause boy have we taken the long, windy road..
                           this is the Severn Bridge as we begin our slow approach to Bristol
                            high carbon method of transport - but gawd dammit - so so stylish...
                                    tension in the camp, time for Tamsin and Brad to fight it out...

Saturday, 26 September 2009

how to make a vegan omelette

There's a phrase about omelettes and eggs. Well, in the omelette of stopping catastrophic runaway climate change through taking direct action that pushes the boundaries of the law, the biggest eggs we’ve ever broken have turned out to be the Jeremy Clarkson fanbase. It’s odd because Clarkson himself seems to have taken the whole thing rather well, but the torrent of abuse has been really quite remarkable. Firstly, there’s just been soooo much of it. There’ve been emails, facebook messages, posts on Climate Rush’s profile and group walls, messages to Tamsin’s personal facebook account and texts and voicemails on my phone. And secondly, it’s been really, freakily similar in tone and content, almost as if there was an organised group out to discredit climate change and demoralise those who are fighting to curb emissions. I wonder…

My first experience of it was two voicemail messages left on the afternoon of the action, both by the same drunken Manchunian. ‘Climate Rush my balls you silly slags’ he slurred, and then, a couple of hours later: ‘You goddamn stupid fucking halfwits. I’m going out for a drive in my big powerful [indistinct] powered car now, hope to see you!’ In the early hours of the next morning, someone decided it was worth their while to text ‘Hey you clowns, man made climate change is NOT proven, read heaven and earth by Ian Plimer!!!!!!! Txt back.’ At least this guy had the decency to leave a return number.

The next day I finally managed to get online and sample the delights that had been left for us there. There were plenty of ‘man-made global warming is a myth’ ones, quite a few that promised to emit more CO2 to spite us, and almost always a hint of misogyny. Julian Tighe had written to suggest we ‘stop this nonsense and maybe return to your caravans and do a bit of ironing.’ Sam Richardson kept it short and sour with ‘HIPPIE SCUM’. Chris Hunt mixed his messages, saying we’re ‘yet another bunch of tree hugging, dole claiming twats [that] has fallen for the corporate swindle of climate change... can’t you see it’s all about revenue raising and taxation by the back door.’ (Because corporations are so into raising taxes.) Tamsin was called a ‘tampax lesbian whore’ and told that just as ‘you like to dump shit on Clarkson’s property… we will dump hydrochloric acid on your ugly lesbian face’.We even got a message from one ‘David Cameron’, though I’m pretty certain that the leader of the Conservative party doesn’t use as his primary email address.

Then the messages took a turn for the bizarre. Here is an edited version of a truly foul email from

‘go back to [expletive] Commie Russia where you belong [performing fellatio] &

[uh, another intimate thing] of the eternal whinging scabby cockroach maggot Jews

when we find you ,..we will kill you

there is more [faeces] spewed out of the nuclear bomb factories in maggot Israel each year,..but you [those who like to practice the sin of Onan] never go their [sic] to terrorize people

what about the millions of litres of aircraft fuel wasted by the USA, USSR & UK air-force in AWAC planes etc,...

keeping scumbag maggots like you safe from your Commie brothers in terror

eat [manure] fatso Jew [bottom] lickers’

Bugger. Here I was thinking that I was part of a Suffragette-inspired women-led eco-activist group, and suddenly it turns out we’re obese Russian Semitiphile rimming fetishists! This crisis of identity was only further confused by the article sent to us by a ‘peasant philosopher’ on the ‘rise of the Eco-Nazi’. Apparently the term ‘Nazi’ is appropriate in this context because of the little known fact that the Nazis were actually a left-wing socialist party. So while I thought I was fighting for a global solution to climate change to protect the world’s poor, actually I’m part of a nationalist cult! Though god knows what my final solution will look like, considering that I’m also a communist, Jewish gay gypo.

Another one arrived while I was checking the inbox, this one addressed to Caroline Lucas as well. She must get this sort of thing a lot. This one said that global warming is a hoax because it doesn’t meet the ‘Scientific Protocol’, and then, weirdly, turns into a sidelong advert for the Miracles DVD hosted by Bryant Gumbel. (It’s hard to tell if they’re dismissing it – if you’re so stupid that you believe in global warming then you’re probably stupid enough to believe in faith healings – or trying to find an audience for it.)

Logging in to the Climate Rush facebook account, I found a message alerting me to the latest entries on the group wall. Michael Chillcott had posted ‘CLARKSON IS A LEGEND!! I HOPE HE TAKES A SH*T IN YOUR FACE!!’ while Vishnu Nair exhorted ‘LET ALL THE SEVEN WITCHES WHO DUMPED MANURE ROT IN HELL...’, finishing with a curious ‘AMEN’. Oto (Latvia) went all out with such bad language I’ve replaced every ‘f’ and ‘c’ with ‘sh’.

“shuckin shunts not women. Women are to be respeshted, you are to be shucked in the ass on a street shorner and then thrown in the gutter. Shuck you shor shucking up Shlarkson's lawn and i'm gonna go buy another V10 engined super polluting car to shuck up the environment more to spite your PMS behavior. Also I'm gonna drive my M5 extra much and burn tires in order to waste resourshes and combust large volumes of shuel.”


I’m just not sure what they want from us. A reasoned discussion of the scientific evidence for and against man-made climate change? Affirmation that we are indeed hippy scum / Jewish butt-lickers / abhorrent un-women who should be dragged back to the kitchen? But where might that affirmation come from? solves the problem of whether or not I should try and formulate a reply by finishing his message with ‘don't bother replying to this e-mail, I'm not interested in anything you've got to say.’ Mostly I’ve ignored them, taking a sliver of pride in the fact that we’re clearly doing something right if we’re getting these sorts of people’s backs up. Some, I’m sure, are commercial astro-turfers, in the pay of some fuel-guzzling corporation or other, and their motivation (if insanely avaricious) is at least vaguely comprehensible. Others are presumably just web freaks who get their kicks from trawling the internet looking for people they disagree with to hassle; I guess I’m never really going to understand why they don’t have something more fulfilling to do with their lives. Overall though, if that’s the sum total of people who disagree with us, the outlook’s pretty good. In a population of 62 million, that’s 35 to them, 61, 999, 965 to us.

Bristol mural

This mural is so epic it's gonna take four photos to fully express its glory.

Friday, 25 September 2009

missing Bristol for the town that time forgot

I'm sat in St Andrew's church, Cullompton.  It's tucked behind a high street on which every shop is individually owned.  We entered Devon today and I am in the sweetest town I've ever visited.  As we walked round town giving out copies of our 'Here Comes the Sun' magazine I saw Peggy's Pantry, Pickwick's tea room, Moonlight Pizzas, Alfie's hardware, a tattoo parlour, a lot of charity shops.  And then I walked round a corner, onto Church Street, and there was this building - 15th Century, huge carved tower, painted inside, bright stained glass.  And the seagulls outside.  

It's a special place - on our arrival Jackie leant over to me - 'See - the England I grew up in is still out there.'  It's been left forgotten, even by Tesco Express.  

There's been a notable gap in these blogs... again... For which I'm sorry.  Bristol went undocumented (although it will be put down in a different blog soon) - my own experience of the events we put on there is just one speedy drive through the city.  My mum had come to our camp (under the flight path of Bristol Airport) and on her way out I jumped a lift to town.  As we neared the centre we got stuck behind over 300 cyclists - this was the Critical Rush that we'd promised Bristol, and they had delivered.  Ten minutes later we were biking down Stokes Croft and I yelled as I saw Joie and Elly flicking paint at one another.  Standing through the roof window I waved at the incredible mural they had painted over one half of Jamaica Street - such beautiful artwork which won't be painted over for a month.  Go and see it today!

But mostly I have been walking.  Groups of rushers peal off, give out zines, organise events, do talks and I just keep on walking.  I've walked through Bristol and out past the Clifton Bridge.  I've trudged down to Taunton,  I've got pissed off with the A38 and it's busy-ness and I've passed over two borders in a matter of days - both Somerset and today Devon.  I've really been toning these legs of mine.  And what's been happening along the way.  

I've met a Lot of people and heard hundreds (literally) of different opinions (all very STRONGLY felt) and been so surprised at how much people already know.  I guess when you're moving through the countryside you're in a place where people are experiencing these strange weather changes the most.  After just one month I can tell the time by where the sun is.  I've felt the difference pre and post Equinox.  I guess the longer you stay the more you understand nature's rhythms and the more aware you are when they start to get out of sync.  The number of men in waistcoats who have given me a pound coin and patted me on the back for what we're trying to do... it fills you with hope.  These people love to be spoken and listened to.  They have so much to say, but all agree with one thing - one mega disempowerment that Climate Rush is trying to blow sky high... we cannot do anything.  If this problem is going to get sorted it needs people with a lot of power and influence to begin sorting.  And whatever you do, don't tell them to become vegetarian... 'Vegetarian - I am a veggie - I love three veg and a good bit of meat!'  Same old men - not always the greatest senses of humour.

And so - when a man in a cattle farm, outside Bridgewater, started to tell me how pointless our choices are, and how paddy fields let off far more methane than cows, I was so excited because the day before I'd glimpsed the front cover of the Guardian.  And that cover told me... that internationally things are beginning to move.  Each small step that we take echoes across the choices of other individuals worldwide.  Each shift in policy that one country pledges sets a marker which other countries must meet, or indeed beat.  Things are changing and we'll all be part of that change.  

As I was sat here earlier a parishioner came in and asked me what I was doing.  He'd come by to cut the grass and we were soon drinking coffee and talking about how cold the earth was this year, and how birds were starving for lack of earth-worms.  He took fifty copies of 'Here Comes the Sun' so that he could give them to the other members of the church this Sunday.  He showed me a prayer corner of their church that the Sunday-school kids had decorated.  It was very eco-focused.  There we drawings of deserts, yellow and black patterned cats with 'EXTINCT' writ large across them.  He took me round the back of the church and showed me the enormous pile of compost.  He then told me about the church's ongoing struggle with the town council over their desire to build a wind turbine.  He loved the picture of the bee on the front of our 'zine.  He told me all about the different varieties (some 87) of bees that are all being seen less frequently.  He snorted at my city girl obsession with the bumble and the honey bee.

He's just one guy I met along this road.  He's not as scary as the BNP-proud barmaid under the Bristol flight-path or as sweetly generous as the grumpy farmer who almost set the police on us when he discovered us in his field - before listening to our purpose and returning with a bottle of scrumpy and plenty of delicious apples - 'Good awn you missus - and safe journey tomorrow - you Will be gone tomorrow?'  But he's got one same concern.  Everyone I'm meeting can get distracted off immigrant hating, or telling us off - when you get them onto the subject of climate change.  Everyone has an opinion and everyone is hoping for a solution.  This town, Cullompton, might seem everso forgotten - but even here climate change is well on the agenda.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Date with Dale

Here at the Climate Rush we are not against speed.  No way.  So when Dale Vince, founder of ecotricity, invited us (one day after our Top Gear Poo Stunt) for a ride in his mega fast electric car (from 1 to 60 in four seconds) we just couldn't turn him down.  And what a ride we had.  From the heart of Stroud to the first turbine that the great man built, just over ten years ago.  Before he was Green eco-tech Entrepreneur extraordinaire Dale Vince was a traveller, living on hills and verges for fifteen years, also living off-grid.  He got in tune with his wind turbine and one day, deciding it was time to lay some roots, he decided to build a turbine that could power not one, but 400 homes.  That was the turbine that we were driven to see (a drive that cost the environment ZERO emissions) and from that starting point came a business that sees £37 million turnover.  All profit is paid into building new wind-turbines, a step away from the bonuses for shareholders business model that we are all so used to.  What a wicked man.  And what an inspirational story.  He began ten years ago and in ten years time he pledges to be one of the big six energy companies - to have as many as 1 million members.  And why ever not.  If there is one thing that Dale is king of - it is inspiring you to believe that with enough will power each one of us could completely change the world.  Long may the fire he put in our bellies this morning burn.

After the spin in his car he took us back to our camp, posed for some photos with the local press and enjoyed a black camp-fired tea.  After our shenanigans with Jeremy C it felt so good to remember that the future is all about progress - clean, sustainable, joyful progress - the kind of progress that we don't have to feel bad for.  The kind of progress to celebrate.  

                                 Joie and Milly get comfortable with Dale and the bat-mobile
                                      Dale and Tamsin - such mutual loving round the fire
                                                     Dale shows us his first wind turbine.
                                                  Vroooom Zoooooom!
                                        Tamsin, Misty, Dale and sexy sexy mother of a car.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

anyone for manure? words and photos

So there’s been a fair amount of press over a wee idea we had not very long ago.  It’s crazy what captures the nation’s media and the public imagination, and we just thought we were having a little joke – that we might just make it into one of Clarkson’s columns… 

Along the epic journey from Stroud to Oxford (4 days on the road, blisters, aching muscles, two girls down with some form of ill) we began to wonder whether it might be time to start targeting all those nasty big-time carbon emitters.  It’s true that since this roadshow begun we’ve circled Heathrow Airport and held a picnic at London Oxford Airport, but we haven’t Really done a funny and engaging action.  So… we began to think – we can target high carbon infrastructure or we can target high carbon individuals.  And if we’re targeting high carbon individuals then the people we want to draw attention to are those who promote carbon intensive lifestyles. 

Enter Jeremy Clarkson…  well a mate of mine saw him zooming between Stroud and Oxford so we thought he must live nearby.  A few phone-calls later and it was confirmed, if we could find our way to a small village in Oxfordshire then perhaps we could make some headlines.

But how?!  We’re a very peaceful group really.  We didn’t want to do anything that would piss Jeremy off, especially as some of our members are big big fans of Mr controversy Clarkson.  Yet we did want to make a point.  Cause let’s face it, he says a lot of stupid things…

“But let’s just stop and think for a moment what the consequences might be.  Switzerland loses its skiing resorts?  The beach in Miami is washed away?  North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane?  Anything bothering you yet?”

Now I’m guessing that this is said with his tongue firmly in his cheek but some people, probably a lot of people, are going to take him at his word, and chuckle at his ‘give a shit’ attitude.  Clarkson’s left some things off the list – the Great Barrier Reef collapsing, sea rises that wipe out entire cities, massive resource wars, no more Bangladesh, potentially the Amazon rainforest turning into a massive bonfire, and carbon emitter.  These things bother me.  I don’t want to live in a world where the richest nations say ‘fuck you – I like my quality of life’, whilst the poorest, those least responsible for climate change, go to war.  It’s difficult.  Like Jeremy I like my liberty.  I just know that a future of climactic collapse is probably not a future where civil liberties will reign high.  I guess the big question with freedom is how much value does it hold if it relies on others' enslavement?

Anyhow.  We didn’t want to be mean.  We just wanted to give him something to think about.  As we were mulling this over behind the horse and cart, Blossom, our youngest mare, lifted up her tail and out dropped eight balls of manure.  We watched each one drop and a plan began to form.

For our horse drawn climate roadshow the main emission is what our horses are laying on the road.  It would be a cool comment on Jeremy’s approach to his emissions if we were able to dump ours on his lawn and at the same time give him free fertiliser! 

With hands gloved we began bagging the manure.  As we bagged we hummed a tune, finally adding words and singing…




I’m picking up poo, poo for you, Jeremy,

What a thing to do!

I’m picking up doo doo

To tell you Jeremy,

Cut your CO2


I might be only driving 3 HorsePower

And my top speed trot is only 12 miles per hour

But the oil is running out and fast

And my engine just runs on grass

So what you gonna guzzle in all them cars

If you think it’s not a problem then I think

You’re talking out of your arse.


I’m picking up poo, poo for you, Jeremy,

What a thing to do!

I’m picking up doo doo

To tell you Jeremy,

Cut your CO2


You don’t give a toss about your emissions

And you took a big truck on an arctic expedition

But the footprint of your little spin

Was one point seven tonnes of carbon sin

And it’s nothing to the damage black carbon can bring

So we thought we’d dump a taster

Of the shit we know you’re landing us in!


I’m picking up poo, poo for you, Jeremy,

What a thing to do!

I’m picking up doo doo

To tell you Jeremy,

Cut your CO2

Eventually (and after pinching more poo from a nearby field) we had enough – a whole lotta poo.  Then came the organising of a chip-fat fuelled van.  Three calls and it was done.  All we had to do now was wait by the roadside for our carbon-free lift. 

When we arrived the press where already snapping.  We walked up to the wrought-iron gates of Clarkson’s home, hitching up our Suffragette skirts so that we might just walk in, but no such adventure – instead the gates just opened ahead of us.  Thank God for motion detectors.  The photographers were scared of being arrested for trespass so stayed firmly outside the compound’s gates.  We dumped six bin-bags full of poo before sticking out banner in it ‘This is what you’re landing us in’, and singing our song to the film crews. 

Two of Jeremy’s staff walked past but said nothing as we approached his house.  But there was no-one at home, so we left him a little pile more before heading off home.  In the bus back our song rang jubilant, especially when we passed the daily mail photographer who’d been pulled over by the police.  We zoomed past unnoticed.

And then the reaction… a tonne of press – more than we got for rushing Parliament with over 1000 women, staging a sit-in at Heathrow Airport with over 600 Edwardian picnickers or supergluing ourselves around a statue in Parliament.  It can be strange to see what gets people talking – I guess there really is nothing like a celebrity to stir up headlines.  Which seems a bit of a pity when there’s such an important message to get out there, something that should be saturating all of the papers all of the time. 

But thank you Jeremy for your jolly response.  You can keep the patio heater – and good luck with the roses – we’ll have plenty more manure from the final two weeks of the journey if you need it.  

                                        Press at the ready...                      In the back of a chip fat fuelled van, on our way to the controversial man.
                                           My bag's bigger than yours...
                                            Anyone for some poo on ice?
                                         POO JUMP
                                         a small pile for his front lawn
                                             and then they close again
                                           As if my magic - open Sesame!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The road - 4 days worth - between Oxford and Stroud - photos

        Picking out the tune that Cadi taught us: 'yellow roses'.  Now we can be a rambling band of climate rushettes.  Bring on the Christmas number one...
                                     Mnyyummm - thank you kindly farmer.  Delishusness.
This is about as blustery as the sky has got these past two weeks that we've been on the road.  It's mental - where is the rain?!  Nowhere near the Climate Rush that's for sure.  Tamsin, our resident Christian (and wannabe evangelicising priest is freakin' us all out - she says that if it doesn't rain for the whole month (which would be a bit of a miracle - but shhhh) we ALL have to convert.  And if it does?!  Well she looks a little muddled at this point and mutters something about becoming an athiest.  As if - she'll wiggle her way outta that.  
          Joie and Dash are either ill, or faking illness, and so are allowed to sit on high.  Means that Joie gets all the good looks from passing cars - she is our Harvest Queen!
                                      Gloucestershire - home of the hippy - receive us well!
                                        And still more... Oh those Herbal Essence moments.
                                                                       Even freakier...
                                                     Three handed Cordelia - freaky!
                                              Joie de Winter with a cheeky smile...
                                                      Joie and Emma play hide and seek.
         A friendly farmer lets us charge through his corn fields and pick some for our dinner.
   Guess Fairfold is getting scared of climate collapse - check their sandbags against the river.
               This town, Fairfold, is so utterly ON IT.  Check out this sign outside their butchers.
                                         This is so utterly mega beautiful.  Lucky lucky us.
         Finally, Pat gets his own back on one of the girls he's sharing his month with... poor Joie!
On our way out of Oxford we go over this toll bridge and are the only vehicle that aren't asked to pay - thank you Oxford County Council for the free passage!
                              Brad riding up high with Climate Rush flags waving in the wind.
Cordelia with one of the rescue horses.  We shared the field with three horses.  This one had been so neglected that its hooves had rotted through.  After a year in a dark stable recovering she is now able to stand and run a bit, but will never be able to gallop with the others.
   And this is how you use it - with leisure and the latest 'harvest' copy of Here Comes the Sun.
                      The compost loo at our Oxford site.  One half for no.1s and the other side too.
Cordelia about to fall into the river that was at the foot of our Oxford camp - perfect for early morning swims and general chilled revelling.
                            Deborah in her pre-raphaelite 'Ophelia' pose.  She does it So well!
                                        Cadi is the flower girl.  Pretty meadows all the way.
                                             Cordelia and Fred (post arrest) horsing around
                    Oh most wondrous Nuala - lender of a field, giver of water and finest malt whisky.
                                          Climate Rush girls dancing on police lines.
                           Climate Rush picnic / road blockade outside London Oxford Airport...
                   The Climate Suffragettes hold strong on a Sunday afternoon in Central Oxford.
                                      Cordelia charms passers-by on Oxford's cornmarket
                             Ben joins the camp for a night and gets Well stuck in to wood whittling.