Monday, 2 February 2015

Standing up for your beliefs.

I went to bed, under my nice warm duvet in my comfortably heated flat, last night, in the full knowledge that there were protestors sleeping in freezing temperatures in the trees on our beloved plot, to try to keep the chainsaws at bay. Over the weekend they had slipped onto the land where the trees are and begun to set up a camp in the trees, determined to try to stop the chainsaws that were originally set to begin today.
So today I went to site, mainly to say thank you but also to see how things were and chat with other people about the protest and their part in it. What I found was a group of people aged from 1 right up to folk in their 70s. A group of people connected to the land, not necessarily at that site, but to land all across the city. A group of people who have worked on many different community projects that rely on our land to survive. Community projects that change and improve lives and if you have any doubt of that, please read Mrs Seven Storeys Up on this blog.
There have been plenty of news stories about this today, which is great as its been nigh on impossible to engage with any national papers until now. But I think it's important to keep reminding people of a few vital points. Primarily, Bristol has the title of European Green Capital in 2015 ànd however much it is widely understood that improving the transport system must be a part of that, concreting over Grade A soils cannot possibly be. A good transport system, which connects the whole city and its suburbs well and efficiently is definitely needed in Bristol. Metrobus however, is not it as it misses out large pieces of the city(an estimated 100,000 people in East Bristol alone) and fails to support any of our hospitals or schools. The cynic in me thinks it moves people from South Bristol where there is a lack of local employment, up to huge business parks in South Gloucestershire. Business parks that are full of call centres and retail areas where people are unlikely to be earning the Living Wage. Hardly the jobs of dreams or the local jobs for local people that we should be encouraging.
We are also in the International Year of the Soil. A year in which we should be looking at the damage we have done to our soils since mass use of agro chemicals was brought in post the 2nd world war. A year in which we should be looking after our soils, encouraging good practise in order that we begin to repair our soils. A year where we look at how, going into an uncertain future, we protect the good soils we have, many of which are in urban areas where great soils such as that at Stapleton and on our Blue Finger are. After all it's not as if we have unending amounts of best and most versatile soil-there is less than 3% of such soil across the entire UK.
But for me, what's most important is that we start to appreciate locally grown food on local land. Food grown by local producers, that support their community by producing top quality produce that keeps the local economy buoyant. Unless we start to fight for our land, this can't happen. Remembering that not just an allotment site but an award winning community food project, Feed Bristol, is at risk here, I ask you to look for your local community project and support it. You never know when it might be gone, possibly in the name of progress. 

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