Saturday, 20 October 2012

One day like this a year would see me right ...

I regularly blog on the Edinburgh Greenpeace website, but this was one blog that I felt particularly proud of (especially when it was promoted to the front page of Greenpeace UK!) so I thought I would share it here. Enjoy!

Anna bravely volunteered for the toughest role in our Occupy Edinburgh anniversary event performance! Credit: Guy McV

Some days, when I wake up in the morning and think of all the enormous challenges which face us today, I want to just roll over and go back to sleep, to hide from it all, to pretend it isn’t happening. How can just one person make a difference when the problems are so huge that we struggle to even understand what’s happening? How can we ever hope that we can change things for the better?

Monday, 27 August 2012

BBC Radio 4: The Philosopher's Arms

Exciting news: I'm a panellist for BBC Radio 4's programme The Philosopher's Arms Series 2 Episode 4, which was recorded last week here in Edinburgh, debating whether or not we have a moral obligation to obey the law, from the perspective of a Greenpeace activist.

It's broadcast at 3pm on Tuesday 28 August 2012, and you can listen again online here. My bit starts at 17:53, but I recommend listening to the whole thing as it's a great programme!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Edinburgh group targets BAE (July 2012)

Imogen Michel, ‘Edinburgh group targets BAE’, CAATnews (UK), July-September 2012
In front of the Edinburgh University Graduate Careers Fair 2012. Photograph: Imogen Michel/Edinburgh CAAT

 We had an extremely successful stall outside the Edinburgh University Graduate Careers Fair and a whole range of different peace groups joined in. Some students went inside and relieved BAE Systems of their propaganda materials, using BAE post-it notes to write 'Ban BAE' on the pavement by the entrance. We'll be back in the autumn for the next careers fair if arms companies are invited back again!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

No Plane, No Gain? (2012)

Imogen Michel, ‘No plane, no gain?’, The Student (Edinburgh), 3 April 2012

Terminal 5 flash mob at Heathrow Airport, 27 March 2008. Photo credit: Greenpeace

 As someone who has been involved as a volunteer with several environmental campaigning organisations over the last few years, and as someone who had grown up in London, I joined with many of my friends in breathing a huge sigh of relief when the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government announced it was scrapping plans for a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport back in 2010. An idea which was fundamentally ridiculous on so many levels, it seemed as though the politicians had seen sense for once, and we could move on to campaign on other issues.

CAAT Schools Workshops (2012)

Imogen Michel, ‘Edinburgh CAAT Schools Workshop Programme’, Peace and Justice News (Edinburgh), February 2012

As peace activists, there are many different ways in which we seek to make the world a safer, more peaceful and more just place, from asking others to sign our petitions through to chaining ourselves to the gates of a nuclear weapons facility. However, whilst these actions help secure the present and the short-term future, to make long-term change I believe we need to also involve education and young people in our campaigning activities, as they are the people who will shape the world after us. Without their help and support for what we want to do, the action we take now can only last so long.

Debate: Nuclear Power (2011)

Matt Dumont & Imogen Michel, Debate: Nuclear Power’, The Student (Edinburgh), 18 October 2011

It is undeniable that the greatest challenge facing the world in the 21st century is and will be climate change. The 2-4ºC rise in global mean temperatures by 2050 will not only damage our global economy, but it will also bare its consequences on biodiversity, land productivity, and human lives. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 has done little to abate global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and renewable energy alternatives are simply not being produced fast enough to accommodate our burgeoning energy demand.

Festival Nomad (2011)

 Imogen Michel, 'Festival Nomad’, The Student (Edinburgh), 13 September 2011

Weirdigans Café at Knockengorroch Festival 2009. Photo credit: Imogen Michel

This summer I did the same thing that I’ve been doing for five years – I travelled around the UK festival circuit, earning money to save for my studies and having fun at the same time. I have two main jobs which I do at festivals: working in a festival café and teaching workshops on low-powered LED lighting.

Working at festivals often sounds like a lot of fun (and it can be), but it’s also very hard work. For a three- or four-day festival happening over a weekend, the core crew will usually arrive on the Sunday or Monday beforehand, sometimes straight from a previous festival! We have to set up the large tents which we will be using, which is between one and four depending on the festival. This includes both erecting the tent itself and also constructing the interior furniture and decor.

Entente démodé? (2010)

Imogen Michel, ‘Entente démodé?’ The Student (Edinburgh), 9 November 2010

Subvertised billboard in South London, April 2010. Photo credit: Imogen Michel
In a historic agreement this week, the UK and France agreed to defence treaties which, according to some commentators, will usher in a new era of cooperation in defence matters between the two countries. As part of these agreements, the testing of nuclear weapons will be shared by Britain and France. According to David Cameron, this will save the two countries millions of pounds they would have otherwise spent on developing their nuclear weapons.

High on the agenda in the discussion of these treaties has been the common threats and interests which the two countries share. Undoubtedly, Britain and France as two geographically-close European democratic nations will have many similar concerns in the modern-day, increasingly globalised world. However, one topic has dominated the conversation in this regard, and that has been the need to fight the perceived threat of terrorism.

Restoring Liberty? (2010)

Imogen Michel, Restoring Liberty?’ The Student (Edinburgh), 2 November 2010

Until this week, if you were detained by police in Scotland then you could have been questioned for up to six hours without the right to take legal advice or have a lawyer present at interview. This was in sharp contrast to the rest of the UK, and indeed the vast majority of Western Europe, where you have the right to request a lawyer as soon as you have been arrested, and you have the right to have a legal representative sit with you whilst you are questioned by police. However, this week emergency legislation was passed which finally brought Scots law in line with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on this issue.

Nuclear Diversion (2010)

Imogen Michel, ‘Nuclear Diversion’ The Student (Edinburgh), 26 October 2010

Poster on Aldemaston AWRE fence, 24 November 2006. Photo credit: Greenpeace

It was revealed a few weeks ago that the idea of shared UK-French nuclear deterrent, which has been suggested and then rejected previously, is back on the agenda for talks between Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron this year. In order to save money in difficult economic times, it is proposed that France and Britain could share their nuclear capabilities and thus reduce the amount needed to be spent by each country on maintaining their respective nuclear deterrents. Critics have claimed that any such action would endanger the independence of the nuclear deterrents of both France and the UK, an independence apparently highly valued by the citizens of both countries.

From AWE to Hope (2008)

Fighting the Change (2007)

Rob Embry & Imogen Michel, ‘Fighting the Change’, Wessex Scene (Southampton), 29 November 2007

We all know about climate change: the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, the Gulf Stream, the ozone layer, deforestation, and David Cameron.

Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Photo credit: Imogen Michel

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has now stated that the effects of global warming are happening far earlier than expected. It’s easy to list the problems, but much harder to find the solutions.