What a good first meeting of the year. New faces (and a few old ones), exciting campaign ideas and actions around our key themes: transport, recycling, energy and green collaboration events. There is also the new local development plan being created and we want to have a voice.
So what’s happening around our key themes?……
We’ve been feeding in our comments to the Draft new Liverpool cycle strategy and are looking forward to it being published and more cycle-friendly infrastructure being created.
We are responding to the consultation on the suspended bus lanes – Liverpool has the lowest car ownership in the country so banning bus lanes does nothing for those who have no vehicle or would prefer to use buses, bikes or walk; to say nothing of the environmental implications or the message it sends out about Liverpool.
Liverpool only has one household waste recycling centre. We’re feeding in our comments to the proposed additional one to be based in Old Swan – much needed.
Members (especially those from other parts of the country) are appalled at the lack of home-based or neighbourhood recycling facilities for flats and in central Liverpool generally. They want to recycle, but have nowhere to put the items. We want to do something about it.
Friends of the Earth nationally is planning a campaign around community renewable energy. We think there are some really good local examples and that Liverpool, with it’s strong communities, entrepreneurial spirit and natural resources is well placed to lead on new initiatives.
As for a Friends of the Earth Liverpool collaboration event in early March, the EU energy week in June and on the ground actions – watch this space!
2014 is going to be a good year….
Last night (18 Dec 2013) was the Christmas social for Liverpool Friends of the Earth. Great food and drink among friends old and new.
The end to the year brings with it some looking back on what’s been achieved through the year. The word “achieve” is uncomfortable for me , as there are plenty of times (the majority!?) where I can feel like we’re not achieving anything. That’s not the case though and in the last year I’ve tried to take a different approach to thinking about the “achieve” thing.
Through 2013 we have had a lot more activity in our group relative to the previous year. There have been new people join….and come back! We have attended various events and had various groups and individuals attend our meetings to share ideas and initiatives.
Looking back on this year, it’s easy to get frustrated that we haven’t run tons of campaigns, captured thousands of signatures, influenced policy or other outcomes we would want. When I look at what we have achieved, not what we haven’t, then this year it feels like we have become more of a crowd.
We are a very open group and actively seek to bring others in – successfully and unsuccessfully. I think it’s to our credit that we aren’t very cliquey or tribal – we are keen to work with other people and groups. You start to see this pay off after a while on a personal level: people who you used to just recognise, become people who you chat to at events, and later your chat involves more detailed talks about issues and possible collaborations. We’re becoming a crowd – and that feels like a good achievement.
Liverpool City Council last published a cycling strategy in 1997.
A lot has happened since then. Nationally cycling levels have increased, but Liverpool has not kept pace with the increase. Other large metropolitan cities like Manchester and Bristol are receiving significant funds to further improve their cycling infrastructure but somehow Liverpool lost out.
Increasing cycling has proven economic, health and happiness benefits. We want Liverpool to reap those benefits.
Liverpool City Council published a new draft 2013-2025 cycling strategy for consultation in October.
We support the principle of the Cycling Strategy but have asked for more amitious targets and an identified owner to be responsible for implementation. You can read our detailed comments here: Comments on Liverpool Cycle Strategy by Liverpool Friends of the Earth – 2013
We’ve just added a blog section to the website. Now we’re not expecting Stephen Fry et al to stop what they’re doing and look over this way, but it’s still a big deal for us!
As a group of local volunteers one of our biggest challenges is always time. So finding the time to contribute to this blog is not going to be easy, but….what the hell…we’re up for the challenge!
Various members of the group will contribute here, as and when time allows them or they are struck by inspiration / frustration or any other type of -ation. That should give the blog a fairly eclectic mix.
So, happy birthday our new blog.