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A beginning for Shift Camden

Transition Dartmouth Park has been part of setting up a new campaign for jobs and action against climate change, a new North London wing of the SHIFT movement, which held its first event last Saturday in Camden Town Hall.

The accepted view amongst climate scientists is that the world is heading towards a climate catastrophe. If we don’t act soon to change our course we can expect hunger on a huge scale, flooding of cities, and destruction of low lying agricultural land close to the sea, as well as inevitable conflict.  We are already beginning to see the impacts whether through high food prices or increasingly extreme weather patterns.

At the same time, we are in the middle of an economic crisis which involves not just a short term downturn but a longer term decline in the UK economy. The banking crisis has shown that the City of London, and the wider financial services sector is not the solution to this. Meanwhile the government continues with its counter- productive policy of slash and burn. At the moment, all eyes are focused on getting us out of this crisis and opposing austerity.

The SHIFT movement is about changing course. Its about developing broad based local level coalitions that ask for action, and take action themselves, to counter austerity and invest in and renew our economy along different lines. The movement is about creating an economy that is stronger and more resilient; and an economy that works not only for us but for our children and grandchildren, those living in poverty in this country and abroad.

On Saturday, social enterprise directors and Transition Groups led discussions about setting up new local industries: from a bigger renewable sector including small scale anaerobic digestion plants and community solar PV schemes, to a new sector focused on repair. Trade Union groups led discussions about their million climate jobs proposal. Move your Money and UK Uncut talked about putting pressure on Councils and other bodies to invest in a sustainable economy and ethical corporations. George Barda, Occupy talked about protest and direct action. Crossroads Women’s centre spoke about action by women across the world.  Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, explained her vision of an economy that was needed for a fair, just, peaceful society. Charles Secrett, ex- Executive Director of FOE talked about building a wide coalition that makes it clear to politicians that just coasting on will win them no votes.

It was an inspiring event, showing that if many different groups all work together we can create a different sort of economy and a brighter future for all. This Coalition has been inspired by similar events in other parts of the country, led by the Alliance for Jobs and Climate. This meeting was a beginning and will lead to something more, so if you would like to take part, please email us at transitiondp@gmail.com

Read notes from the Transition Sustainable livelihoods workshop at Shift Camden

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