Climate Change – how do we make a difference?

It is now 5 years since I ‘woke up’ to what was happening to our beautiful planet.

earthReports on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen were all over the media in 2009 and this caught my attention. I felt the need to do something about climate change and decided entering politics was the way I could try and make a difference. I joined the Green Party and stood as Parliamentary Candidate for East Devon in 2010.

Since then I’ve stood for town, district and county councils and I’ve been a town councillor for Honiton Town council since 2011. I was a founding member of East Devon Green Party in 2011 and helped set up Transition Town Honiton the same year.

The East Devon Green Party has grown tenfold over the past three years and now has four members working hard as parish councillors. The support for the Green Party in this rural traditionally Tory area was illustrated in the results for Honiton St Michael’s last year, when I polled 25% in the Devon County Council elections.

So……five years on I’m thinking, is being in politics the way to do something about climate change? I’d love to hear from you, please do leave a comment, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Save St Michael’s Day Centre

stall to launch st michaels petition
From left - Green Party members Emily McIvor, Olly Davies, Sharon Pavey, Ana Pulteney & Martin Paine

The East Devon Green Party launched a petition to save St Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton on Saturday 8th March. Members of the local party were astounded at the response as people flooded to the stall to sign once word got round the High Street that a petition had started to stop the much loved local centre from closing.

Petition organiser and local town councillor Sharon Pavey said “We knew St Michael’s was close to everyone’s hearts but we did not expect this immediate level of support, it’s incredible. It just shows that there is such wonderful community spirit in Honiton and we look after our own.”

Over 300 people signed the petition on Saturday morning with many commenting how disgusted and let down they are by Devon County Council. The day centre provides a much needed service for older residents in Honiton and is a lifeline for their carers who only have a few hours a week to themselves when their loved ones are using the centre.

Several local town councillors have said they’re appalled at the plans to close the centre as have the local doctors surgery and Headway, a support group for people with brain injuries who use the centre.

Sharon Pavey added “I think we all know that cutting services like these is extremely short-sighted and will have a direct impact on the health of elderly people. This leads to increased spending on medical care in the long-run. We hear that levels of dementia are rising and we have a large elderly population, particularly here in East Devon, so where is the common sense in this decision.”

Petitions are available to sign at Honiton Surgery, the TRIP office on New Street, Honiton Sports Shop and Wendy’s Cookshop. There is also an online petition for anyone living in Devon to sign (if they’ve not already signed the paper version) http://freepetition.co.uk/devoncc/LivePetition.aspx

We have been hearing of people having problems accessing the petition via certain web browsers like Firefox. This has been reported to Devon County Council. If you are able to use Chrome or access the petition on a mobile phone, please do that or email me direct & I can post you a paper petition. Contact me.

PLEASE NOTE ONLY DEVON RESIDENTS’ SIGNATURES WILL BE COUNTED ON THIS PETITION (but thank you to everyone else all over the world who has offered support).

NEWSFLASH – As of Monday 17th March we have over 600 signatures on & offline combined but we need many many more – can you help take a petition round your street, your village, your workplace or put the link on Facebook – or help out at a street stall? Get in touch.

Sharon Outside St Michaels

Post election thanks

Election Day
Some of the members of East Devon Green Party at the count on May3rd 2013. From left Roger Saunders, me, Maggie Baldwin, Emily McIvor, Martin Paine and Henry Gent.

For those of you who weren’t at the count on Friday – this is my speech after gaining 25% of the vote in Honiton St Michael’s.


“Thank you to the returning officer and all the staff who have helped with this election both here and all across Devon. Congratulations to Cllr Randall Johnson and the other candidates on their results but most of all thank you to the 709 people who voted Green in Honiton St Michael’s. This is an incredible result in this area and just shows how much the tide is turning as people demand a fairer society to live in, a more supportive community and protection for this beautiful area we are so lucky to live in.


We must remember there were no Green Party candidates for the County Council election here 4 years ago, and today we have 6 outstanding Green Party candidates standing in East Devon, 48 Green Party candidates standing across the whole of Devon and 900 Green Party Candidates standing across the country –
more than ever before.


In Honiton St Michael’s – our team works all year round but we’ve been particularly busy for the last 4 months knocking on thousands of doors in all weathers! Lots of people have said we deserved to win for the sheer effort we have made, for the fact that we ask people about their concerns and issues and we LISTEN.


We will continue to listen and continue to build upon our success today. Thank you to the other 5 Green Party candidates in East Devon – Henry, Martin, Ben, Olly and Roger and my sincere thanks go to our amazing team – over 50 people who have worked so incredibly hard on this campaign. Particular thanks go to our election agent Kate Jones-Groves and our co-ordinator Emily McIvor and I mustn’t forget my husband Daniel and my children Natasha and Aleck.”

Why I joined the Green Party #1 Why are we trawling our seas?

avant_apres_trawling

Here’s something I can’t quite get my head around – why (on earth – literally) are we destroying our oceans? Bottom trawling involves dragging huge, heavy nets along the sea floor. Large metal plates and rubber wheels attached to these nets move along the bottom and crush nearly everything in their path. Here’s a Greenpeace video if you don’t know what Bottom Trawling is http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/oceans/problems/bottom-trawling

All evidence indicates that deep water life forms are very slow to recover from such damage, taking decades to hundreds of years – if they recover at all. Are you eating fish that has been taken from the sea as a result of bottom trawling, do you know where your fish comes from? The Green Party has a clear policy on bottom trawling:

MC329 We would press the European Commission to ban bottom trawling, gillnetting and long-lining for deep-sea species in EU waters., either by EU or international fleets. We would promote measures to prohibit destructive deep-sea fishing and would work towards a ban on high seas bottom trawling, and for proper implementation and enforcement under relevant international legislation.

Now is the time for change!

The East Devon Green Party is working extremely hard this year to get a Green Councillor elected onto Devon County Council. Unlike the big parties we do not receive huge donations.

Some of our members with Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett last week in Honiton

Some of our members with Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett last week in Honiton. From left Maggie, Stephen, Kate, Ben, Henry, Natalie, Ana, Sharon, Martin, Hilda and John

I’m the prospective candidate for Honiton St Michael’s and our incredibly hard working and dedicated team have been out knocking on doors for several months now. We are planning on delivering an election leaflet to over 5,000 homes in our division but we can’t do this without your help and support. Please consider making a donation to East Devon Green Party today – even £5 or £10 would help. £50 would help us leaflet one quarter of our Honiton area.

We had 23 members and supporters at our Honiton Action Day on February 16th 2013

We had 23 members and supporters at our Honiton Action Day on February 16th 2013. Here are some of them pictured from left: Jo, Ben, Lynda, Katy, Sean, David, Ana, Sharon, John, Roger, Susan, Keith and at the front Elena, Louisa and Noor

Please send your cheques to our treasurer Paul Bennett at 2 Malden Road, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 9LS. They need to be payable to East Devon Green Party. Any queries please email Paul direct p.c.bennett18@btopenworld.com

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” Quote by Margaret Mead

East Devon Green Party CHRISTMAS PARTY

The East Devon Green Party is almost three years old, our membership is increasing every month, we now have three Parish Councillors (Honiton, Broadclyst and Axmouth) and we’ve been standing candidates in every election for the past three years. We’ve all worked hard during 2012 and now it’s time to relax, celebrate and enjoy some time with each other. We’ve booked Twyford House in Sidmouth again – some might remember our well attended (delicious) Curry Night there when we set up the group or the Open Mike event we had a couple of years ago.

Getting out and about in Axminster - from right Ana, Emily, Ben and me
Getting out and about in Axminster - from right Ana, Emily, Ben and me

Our Christmas Party is on Saturday 8th December from 6pm – everyone is welcome, members, supporters, friends etc. Children especially welcome (which is why we started it earlier this year). There’s no entrance charge but we are planning on having a bit of fun with Ana’s Auction! The theme is ‘Items Surplus to Requirements’ so please bring along anything you no longer need that may sell in an auction and help us raise funds for our election campaign.

At Henry's farm with Caroline Allen, Green Party Spokesperson on animal issues
Back in the Summer at Henry's farm with Caroline Allen, Green Party Spokesperson on animal issues. Clockwise from right Henry, Aleck (7), Natasha (10), me, Stephen, Caroline, Martin and Emily

It’s a ‘Bring & Share’ meal so please bring a dish of food to add to the buffet and let us know if you are coming. Contact me here. We’re hoping to have some entertainment arranged but if you can sing or play a guitar, again let us know as we’d love to hear you play! We’ve organised a bar license too so local, wines, beers etc will be on offer.

Green Party members at the recent Sidmouth March
Green Party members at the recent Sidmouth March

Greens on course to make big gains in County Elections

County Hall group photo

As their membership continues to grow across the County, the Green Party in Devon are campaigning hard to gain seats in the County Council elections next May. Devon Greens will be standing a record number of candidates, allowing more people than ever the chance to vote Green in 2013.

Green Party members are currently developing a Devon-wide manifesto that will offer fresh and realistic approaches on issues such as public services, the local economy, energy, planning, waste management and transport.

There are currently nine local Green Parties operating across Devon, who promote and deliver Green Party policies via their elected Town, Parish and District Councillors and hard working members and supporters.

Town Councillor Katie Reville is the Green Party Prospective Candidate for Ivybridge: “I recognise that the role of County Councillor comes with great responsibilities such as social care and education but also with great opportunities to influence how Devon develops into the future. I will bring energy, enthusiasm and initiative to the County Council and am proud to be giving my local residents the chance to vote Green.”

Andrew Bell, who achieved 20% of the vote in the Exeter City Council elections earlier this year, will be standing for the County Council in Exeter St David’s and St James: “As people become aware of the dreadful reality and outcomes of Tory policy; as the Lib Dem vote collapses and people realise Labour have nothing new to offer, the Green Party offers a real alternative. We know we can win seats in Devon and bring a much needed distinctive and common sense approach to Devon County Council.”

Sharon Pavey joined Honiton Town Council in May 2011 and has been selected to stand in Honiton St Michael’s: “The East Devon Green Party came second to the Tories in Honiton in the District Council elections last year. Greens are the opposition in Honiton and with support constantly growing, we are confident of a breakthrough very soon.”

To find out more about your local Green Party please visit www.greenparty.org.uk

Green dates for your diary here in East Devon

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Monday 15th October 7.30pm – Affordable Housing Talk
Honiton Baptist Church meeting room (use rear door). Organised by East Devon Green Party, the meeting will be addressed by an expert in the field of housing – Trevor Ives. Trevor is a chartered surveyor who has worked within the social and affordable housing sector since 1976. Click here for more information

Saturday 20th October – Autumn Fayre
Please support our East Devon Green Party Fundraiser. 9.30am-12.30pm at the Mackarness Hall in Honiton. We still need donations of cakes, books and bric-a-brac and more volunteers are needed on the day. Contact Sharon for details sdpavey”at”gmail.com

Saturday 3rd November – SOS Rally
Save our Sidmouth are organising a mass rally and stroll along the Sidmouth Esplanade at 11 am meeting at the Eastern end, rain or shine. This is part of the S.O.S. campaign against the Knowle development, the Sid Valley/Sidford industrial development and the proposed supermarket at the Alexandria Estate. Contact Michael Temple for details michael.temple”at”btinternet.com

Saturday 8th December – East Devon Greens Christmas Party
Twyford House in Sidmouth – details tba

There’s also a lot going on with our East Devon Transition groups at the moment. See
Transition Town Honiton www.transitiontownhoniton.org.uk
Vision Group for Sidmouth www.visionforsidmouth.org
Blackdown Hills Transition Group www.blackdownhillstransition.org
Sustainable Ottery www.sustainableottery.org.uk
Transition Town Exmouth www.transitiontownexmouth.co.uk

With all these events – we all try to car share so if you can offer a lift or need one, please let us know.

Hope to see you soon.

Sharon

Sharon Pavey – Coordinator East Devon Green Party
Tel: 07447 597390