Experiencing the camp at St Paul’s
This past week, two TTT supporters have made separate visits to the ‘Occupy London’ camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral. We asked them both to blog on our site to share their responses, and we hope you find their personal comments interesting and thought-provoking:
On Saturday I decided to see what all the fuss was about and spend some time at the Occupy London Stock Exchange Camp outside St Paul’s. As has been commented on in the mainstream media it is difficult to simplify and describe; I thought it would be good to share my experience and let everyone know how they can get involved if they’re interested.
Firstly, I feel the comments that have been made that the camp is ‘incoherent’ and ‘don’t know what they want’ are missing the point. Protests such as strikes and marches often have demands but the Occupy movement is different, it’s about participation and opening up space to have a conversation about the type of world and society we want to live in, talking to one another and working on solutions together. It made me think that Transition Towns are, in a way, also about ‘occupying’ our communities positively to help build resilience.
If, like me, you don’t think we can solve our environmental problems without addressing issues of social justice then I think the coming together of environmental activism with calls for social justice is a very positive step. I have been back today to listen to a talk by Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone: essential reading on the effect of inequality on social cohesion and a huge number of other issues from levels of trust to crime rates.
The other Transition-related part of the camp it is that I was very impressed by how they have created a low carbon community from scratch. Great public transport links, communal veggie cooking, low heating bills and an excellent waste management system. I heard a rumour that they have single-handedly increased the City of London’s recycling levels!
If you want to get involved at the camp discussing how environmental and economic justice are linked, the environment working group meet at the info tent outside St Paul’s on Wednesday and Sunday at 5pm. There is also a working group dedicated to recycling and waste management at the camp. I’m not sure when they meet, but as I said it’s about participation – so go along and find out!
I’d be interested in your thoughts about the Occupy movement – do add comments below.
All the best, Jesse