Small ripples in the media

Yesterday I delivered the petition calling on the BBC to include more Pagan content. Over 2000 signatures now! As it is pointless just handing a petition in, I informed the press about it too (the object of this type of action is to use pressure to change behaviour).

The Independent and Telegraph ran with the story! Talk Radio did a piece on it yesterday and I might be on the Jamie East show on Talk Radio later today too.

Small bits of pressure sometimes add up.

Our voice is increasingly needed as the world dives headlong into environmental meltdown. How we act in a way that honours thesacred relationship with the Earth, Sea and Sky is a unique message that is sorely missing from mainstream media.

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Petitioning the BBC

You doubtless recall that I have been wittering on about the lack of Pagan voices on the BBC. Sure, Philip Carr-Gomm and Ron Hutton get on there very occasionally, but just looking at only objective measure that I could find (appearances on the multifaith Thought for the Day), we are not being heard. Add to this the failure of the BBC to recognise us in their religion and ethics review at the end of last year and it is easy to feel ignored…

Following the BBC review, I have been corresponding with Mark Friend, the BBC director in charge of this area. He seems nice and has reached out to the PF and TDN but I’m not aware of the outcome of that. That’s a win at least!

But it is not enough on it’s own so back in January I started a petition. Six months on it is time to hand it in to the BBC, which I will be doing in person on Tuesday at 11am at Broadcasting House in London. If people would like to join me for a photo for my blog then please let me know!!!

I have sent a press release to a selection of  media places. No point in handing a petition in so that it can be ignored. Lots of work goes into these which I don’t want to waste. I hope that the media pick up on this. This is the press release (most of it…):

Druid Stuart Jeffery: “Almost 2000 people have call on the BBC to make Pagan voices heard. The BBC should have an occasional programme looking at Paganism and they should feature a Pagan voice on Thought for the Day at least once a year.

“The BBC recently published a review of its religious programming however despite getting the views from a range of religious leaders, no Pagans were consulted. While they have recently said that they will now consult with us, there has been no change in broadcasting practice yet.

“Nature based religions have never had more relevance than now with climate change hurting the world and plastic soup killing our oceans. Human animals are failing to honour Nature despite us being part of her. Having voices in the media that have a different regard to the world of which we are part is more necessary now than ever.”

Ends

Notes:

    1. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/bbc-should-make-pagan-voices-heard
    2. Thought for the Day (T4tD) goes out on Radio 4 and despite it being multi-faith it has no Pagan voices on it. According to the 2011 Census, Pagans make up 0.2% of all people in the UK expressing a religion (this will be understated given our natural reluctance to make ourselves know!). By comparison 0.6% identified as Buddhists but had 3% of T4tD broadcasts and 0.7% identified as Jewish with 5% of T4tD broadcasts.

Human interest stories vs the real issues

England through to the semi finals, the cliff hanging rescue of the boys from the water filled cave, David Davis resigning and throwing the government into turmoil, a death by nerve agent poisoning: emotionally charged stories have filled our news feeds this weekend.

While these human interest stories abound, there is one story that almost always gets overlooked. The ecological collapse that is happening around us and is of or own making.

CO2 levels are at 410ppm this morning. When I was at school they were 330ppm, just a few years ago (May 2013) they exceeded 400ppm for the first time. Wild fires rage out of control in the north of England but they don’t feature highly on the news just a few hundred miles south. Siberia is 20C above normal this week and there are 100 dead in the Japanese floods. Now China is pumping banned CFCs out that will open up the ozone hole.

It’s a particularly bad week for the planet but the planet will survive, it is the animals, particularly us humans, who will suffer most.

While I watch the xenophobic idiocy of England fans trashing an Ikea store to celebrate a football victory over Sweden, I find myself asking whether human animals have got the intelligence to survive.

The need for a dramatic change in attitude / consciousness / approach to life has never been greater. It will happen too, either we will collectively wake up and change ourselves or the planet will do it for us.

 

Mission Lifeforce and The Druid Network

A couple of month’s ago at its AGM, The Druid Network (TDN) debated the Mission Lifeforce project that seeks to establish ecocide as a crime under international law – part of the Rome Statute alongside war crimes and genocide. Mission Lifeforce is also encouraging “Earth Protectors” to sign up as trustees to help fund the project and to protect “conscientious objectors” who stand up for the Earth.

I was particularly impressed by the TDN statement in support of Mission Lifeforce which includes the following: “In these times of climate chaos, habitable land destruction and loss of biodiversity, amidst the failures of government accords and the inability of the public to take civil action against corporates and governments who actively harm our planet and all the life on it, actively defending our living planet and seeking internationally recognised sanctions becomes an act of Druidry.”

The last part of the last sentence: “actively defending our living planet and seeking internationally recognised sanctions becomes an act of Druidry” is the important bit. Active Druidry, walking the walk, defending that which is sacred, is an essential part of what it means for me to be a Druid. This means both living in a way that minimises damage to the Earth but also taking non-violent direct action to protect the Earth too.

Please support Mission Lifeforce!

 

 

Walking the walk

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring edges closer every year. Our wildlife is disappearing at an alarming rate and the countryside is becoming a sterile apology as decades of monoculture, pesticides and agro-business grind species out of existence. It was good to see Chris Packham’s piece in the Guardian talking of our increasingly “green and unpleasant land” and his warning of an ecological apocalypse.

The Guardian article was put on a Druid forum with a comment that:

“As Druids especially, imo, it’s vital that we all do our bit to wake up our communities.”

This is key.

While many in other religions with their focus on salvation of human animals are working to help the poor and vulnerable in society, we Druids have a wider focus in our Earth centred religion.

There is continued good work by The Warrior’s Call. The Dragon Environmental Network provides some, er, networking. But Druidry as a whole, IMHO, needs to become more active in our local communities and be more organised in our overall efforts.

Active Druidry is putting our beliefs, ethics and morals into action. It is an embodiment of Druidry. It is demonstrating to our Gods and Goddesses that we care about them. It is putting our words into action, walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

Chris Packham is quoted as saying: “We need a peaceful public uprising. We need people to say we’ve had enough. We do that every time there’s a terror attack. We need a similar movement for nature. We need people to stand up and say we want action now. We have the ability to fix our countryside.”

I couldn’t agree more. It is time that we, as Druids and members of all Earth based religions, increased our collective efforts to wake up those around us to try to stop the continued sterilisation of our land, sea and sky.

 

McDonald’s Balloons

Sometime it is blatantly obvious where litter has come from. On my walk home after my morning run I was picking up litter from the path in the park, mostly drinks bottles and crisp packets, but then I came across this Happy Meal balloon.

McDonald’s have certainly tried to clean up their act a little. Organic milk, British beef, cardboard packaging and biodegradeable balloons, apparently.

This is what they say about balloons on their website:

We are aware of the potential harm that balloons may cause in coastal areas to marine wildlife, as well as the additional litter generated when they are irresponsibly discarded or released. We have worked with our suppliers to ensure that all balloons are made from bio-degradable material, in order to limit the longer term damage, but unfortunately, this does not prevent the immediate impacts that balloons have on the local environment, and especially beaches.

We believe that by replacing helium balloons in coastal restaurants with stick balloons will help our customers have greater control over their disposal, and minimise the unplanned environmental consequences of a travelling helium balloon. We have also increased the anti-litter messaging printed on the balloons.

It goes on to say that they are “Looking after the environment”.

While a small(ish) piece of balloon might not seem a lot, the brightly coloured material is a draw for some animals and children. As a child I remember my mother being paranoid about balloons and worrying that I would inhale the rubber and suffocate. I didn’t but other animals have. Needlessly. Just so some kid can have a bright balloon with their meal for 30 mins. Really?

Of course, this is nothing to the mess outside the McDonalds itself or in the nearby park on a Sunday morning. Those people on their way home from the pub seem to have no grasp of the purpose of a bin. But most of that litter is not immediately dangerous. The balloons are.

I’m sending the photo to McDonalds. It won’t do any good but over time if they receive enough, maybe.