Amelia’s Statement for Deputy Leader of The Green Party of England and Wales

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My vision

As Deputy Leader, I will engage with grassroots activists to build the capacity of the Green Party locally and nationally, working to increase our vote share and empower new members so that their excitement at having joined can be translated into positive action. I will prioritise re-electing Caroline Lucas and support key constituencies where, by sustaining the Euro vote, we can gain new Green MPs. 

As voters look for change, our challenge is to prove that we are the real alternative, best placed to deliver social and environmental justice. Voters associate us with issues I am passionate about, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, but as Deputy Leader I would also work to highlight that our policies on housing, the NHS and the economy provide a vote-winning alternative for those disillusioned with the worn-out Westminster parties. To grow, we need to recognise the achievements of our activists and build on their motivation for the 2015 general election whilst developing an innovative and dynamic communication strategy. Through my experience of activism, such as the successful demonstration against Tesco’s anti-homeless spikes, I have also seen the difference that non-violent direct action can make.

As a European and council candidate, and dedicated End Ecocide Campaigner, I am an experienced public speaker and activist and have featured across all forms of media, including live radio debates, press conferences and hustings. I am experienced at using Twitter and social media to spread our message. I have recruited members, and coordinated volunteers to build the capacity of our party, and would continue this work across the country.

The Green Party is now highly popular with young people and students, so we need to maximise this potential, ensuring that we motivate younger citizens to vote and campaign for environmental and social justice.

As a Young Green with eight years’ experience of Green Party activism, my election as Deputy Leader would prove that we are serious about our commitment to future generations. Through campaigning about inequality, austerity, education and TTIP I want to ensure that our work remains relevant to the next generation. Research shows the best way to make politics resonate with young people is to ensure that they are represented at the highest levels. We can prove that the Green Party is the only party giving a voice to young people, complementing my work coordinating the European Youth Manifesto.

My BSc in Environmental Biology and MSc in Environmental Technology give me the technical knowledge of both the environmental challenges we are facing, and the solutions in areas including TB and the badger cull. I also have experience of working in community engagement, carbon footprinting, green jobs, and youth engagement.

With my passion and proven track record, a vote for me is a vote to build the capacity of the party from the grassroots, maintain our commitment to environmental and social justice and to energise those outside the party who, like us, believe another world is possible.

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Cops off campus – Students in action

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Young people today are fast becoming a forgotten generation. Forgotten by the politicians who are privatising their futures, forgotten by previous generations who are complacent in making the opportunities for this generation less than their own, and forgotten by the journalists who felt the most newsworthy part of the Cops off Campus demo was the burning of a bin in Bloomsbury. However, the way we have been seeing students standing up for their rights and standing against the marketisation of their institutions the last few weeks makes me believe that they won’t be forgotten by history.

Wednesday 11th December 2013 saw over 1000 students from across the country defending the right to protest on campus as part of Cops off Campus. Driven by a sense of anger and injustice from the events of the previous week where police were accused of aggressive and unnecessary tactics in face of peaceful protest. Footage of police punching, pushing and hitting students filled social media, as young people’s blood hit the streets of London. In the face of the event ULU obtained a court order to ban peaceful protest on campus, rather than challenge police tactics. While attending the Cops off Campus demonstration, I was proud to stand alongside students who have not allowed themselves to feel intimidated by these disproportionate and brutal police tactics; standing together to ensure that universities are free from violence and are an open space for students to express their political views and opinions. The protest was largely peaceful and I’m proud to have been a part of it.

One of the students who was arrested that day stated that “The feeling from the protesters was that we didn’t want to be kettled; we felt we had the right to demonstrate. When the police caught up with us they used mass arrests to break up the demonstration, arresting people for simply being at a protest. The way the police continue to behave, using violence and intimidating protesters, has shown why we need to fight to keep them off campuses”.

Taking note of these events, I want students and civilians alike from across the country to remember that it is your democratic right to protest! Using police tactics to make it feel like you are doing something illegal exercising this right is immoral and unjust and devalues the fundamental rights that people have fought and died for the right for you to have.

Welfare not warfare – Speech from The North London People’s Assembley

 

 

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One of the things that come out of war are stories, and let’s face it, none of these stories are ever fairy tales. Today, I want to tell you a brief story about a friend of mine named Steven.

Now, I grew up in Newport South Wales, a place that is not known for many thing. It was the place that the Chartists movement began, although few people seem to remember that these days, and since then through many an injustice inflicted upon it, it is a place known for poverty.

I remember going to “careers fairs” as a 15 year old, and what always struck me was the volume of military stalls that were there. Placed there to recruit young people into the mantra that the army, navy, marines was a career for them, and the best option for their futures.

Many if my friends took up this offer, and while on the way to my GCSE exams I bumped into my friend Steven. I asked him how he did in his English exam, he said he thought he failed because he hadn’t studied, then I asked if he wanted to walk to the maths exam. No he said…there’s no point doing my GCSE’s really because I have already been accepted into the army.

So why had Steven given up his education in the name of the military? He gave some very good answers. He had a guaranteed job with a career route, training of skills on topics that he was interested in, a secure salary, financial support for him to buy a home, a community to live in that would support his family should he have one and the opportunity for international travel. Now you can’t argue with that. By having a career in the military he would be given support to acheive his goals in life, to move on from our estate to bigger and better things.

This is great….really it is….but shouldn’t we all have this opportunity, and not have to risk our lives to have the support from our government to achieve these basic dreams? have training into topics that interest us without killing innocent Iraqis? or get support in buying our first homes by being tools into larger government spending on bombs and nuclear weapons.

I share the same vision as the Green Party, that the government should be supporting all citizens and cutting military spending.

We need to be ensuring that schools have more freedom to frame the curriculum around the needs and interests of the young people in the school, and that there should be free lifelong education for everyone so that we can get training and develop skills in the areas and topics that we are interested in, that we all deserve the support we need to ensure we are able to have a roof over our heads, that we need support for our families from our communities, an NHS that is based on it’s original principles of health care for all and finally that we need to have a secure income so that we can support ourselves through a citizens income. To do this for everyone would create a just society, and to achieve this we need to invest in this dream.

The UK has the fourth highest military spending in the world, behind only the USA, China and Russia. We spend 38.4 billion pounds a year on our war machine. That could pay the Work and Pensions budget 5 times over, or alternatively, the entire budgets of the departments of Work and Pensions; Transport; Energy and Climate Change; Environment; Food and Rural Affairs; Culture  Media and Sport; International Development; and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – put together.

Of course if our government spending is redirected to these institutions then people like Steven, his colleagues and the workers who manufacture weapons will be out of a job. This will hit our already oversubscribed job market with more unemployed individuals than we have seen as a result of austerity alone.

If creating jobs through military spending is our goal it is spectacularly inefficient. The Campaign Against Climate Change trade union group, working with the CWU, PCS, TSSA and UCU unions calculated that 1 million green jobs could be created at a net cost of £18bn per year. So our war budget could support somewhere in excess of two million jobs, while creating world-class mass transit, renewable energy, and sustainable homes into the bargain.

In addition, we need to stop the £400m a year of subsidies that British taxpayers currently give to subsidies arms exports. Where could our investments go if we subsidised something else? Investment and subsidy into the arms industry has painted and shaped our world in ways we probably can never fully appreciate. I mean, the reason we have toxic deadly nuclear power is because we discovered that plutonium generated power as a coincidence while researching it for the creation of nuclear weapons to fundamentally kill thousands upon thousands of people. What would have happened if that money had been invested in something that would have actually benefited humanity, such as medicine….what could be have discovered then?

Thinking about Steven, I wonder what the future holds for him once he leaves the army. As I typed Veterans and into Google to top search results were, Veterans and post traumatic stress, veterans and homelessness, veterans and mental health……popular searches alone paint a pretty bleak picture.

Figures released in 2010 stated that 24,000 people leave the armed forces each year, it’s feared that as many as 1,400 of these end up homeless, and that 3% of prisoner are ex-army, 4% reported probable post-traumatic stress disorder, 19.7% reported other common mental disorders, 13% reported alcohol misuse and more British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting in Afghanistan. Interestingly, it has also been reported that 45% of veterans end up claiming benefits

War breaks people, and it’s the welfare system (and charity) that’s expected to pick up the pieces. Through a lack of investment in welfare the government also lets down the very people who are at the forefront of their warfare

I blame Steve’s decision to join the army on the fact that he came from a poor community and didn’t see another option. Would he have made this choice if there had been proper investment in welfare, if people had an opportunity to be educated in a way that didn’t allow people to slip through the net because mainstream education didn’t meet their needs, because his family had lived without a guarantee of a roof over their head despite the fact his mother worked. Without investments into warfare he could have lived in a world where this was a reality.

Inequality is bad for everyone, leading to social problems, crime and ill-health. Coincidently,warfare leads to the same issues……quite frankly I no longer want to live in a country where both of these things are an issue

 

Amelia Womacks’ Hustings Speech at London Fed AGM 29th September 2013

While reflecting on the 4-8 positions for the European Election Campaign, I think it is important to ensure the individuals work well as a team as voters will be voting for the Green Party and not for a persons. This means that we need to have a dynamic and holistic voice that represents the different voices of the people of London as well as the needs of the campaign. I will add to this team by providing many skills and qualities that add diversity of skills, knowledge, background, age and gender.

Through my working life I have consistently delivered results to everything I apply myself to. These results have been delivered in sectors including community engagement in London (giving me an on the ground knowledge of London communities, carbon footprinting, green jobs, access to sport and implementing ethical and environmental policy.

I have a diverse environmental knowledge through my BSc in Environmental Biology and MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London. These courses have given me knowledge and (most importantly) analytical skills in environmental policy, environmental economics, environmental law, pollution control and management, ecology and the interactions between the environment and society.

I have nurtured my work, academic and volunteering life around social, environmental and sustainability issues due to my passion and commitment to these issues faced by people and planet.

My seven years in the Green Party have provided me with an opportunity to campaign on these issues and to promote a better environmental and more equitable future. This passion, skills and knowledge is something I now want to apply to the Euro campaign.

Having visited the European Parliament and met MEP’s during a recent trip to Germany through the Green Parties 30 under 30 programme, I have had the opportunity to discuss current environmental policy across the EU. I am keen to build on these progressive environmental, economic and social policy during the Euro Campaign. 

I provide real reliability and commitment to the team, and want to ensure that through the list we elect as many Green MEP’s as possible.

So vote for me, Amelia Womack, first preference.

Thank you

Why I support the law of Ecocide – how we can protect our human rights and the environment

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As a campaigner and published author for the End Ecocide Campaign, I truly believe that this potential new law is the ideal way to ensure that we do not only make our business decisions in terms of what matters to a marketplace economy, but also what matters to our social economy, and the economy of nature. 

Imagine a world where any attempt at drilling for oil in the Arctic could not take place because it is already illegal, where the Pacific Trash Vortex would have to been cleaned up by the organisations responsible for creating it, or a world where fracking would never happen as there is already legislation against it.

This is the world I am fighting for with the “End Ecocide” campaign. The vision is for an international law protecting nature, therefore preventing the long term destruction of our planets ecosystems. This destruction that so often leads to social issues, such as those occurring in the Niger Delta, would become illegal.  

“Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished”  – proposed amendment to the Rome Statute, by Polly Higgins, April 2010

There are laws concerning ecocide currently in the UN Convention on Human Rights, but they are only applicable in times of war, and not in times of peace. Access to clean water and natural resources is a fundamental human right, and I believe that this oversight needs to be updated.

Londoners are currently experiencing illegal levels of air pollution.  The effects of it are evident in both short and long term symptoms including cardiovascular problems, respiratory disease, brain disease and cancer. The worst affected are the elderly and young children, especially those with already present respiratory problems. With schools lining the busy streets of London, their exposure to harmful air pollutants has meant that around 15-30% of all new cases of asthma can be attributed to air pollution. The protection of our society from the risks and harm caused by pollution must be included in business cost-benefit decision making, and through strict laws we can incorporate these principles into our current market-based economy.

When experts are predicting that the wars of the future will be over water and resources, we owe it to future generations to change things now. This will ensure that our children are able to live in a prosperous and peaceful world, not one that is riven by resource depletion. 

So, how am I working to get this law put into effect? How can we protect the environment, and limit conflict over resources, not only for current generations but also for future generations too?  

To begin with, we are using the European Citizen Initiative to get the proposal discussed at the European Council and European Parliament. If successful at a European level, then the campaign will be able to open up conversations at the UN.

The petition needs 1 million signatories from across the EU, so please sign it here http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/welcome.

To be inspired, as I was, by the vision of protecting our society and environment from Ecocide, then watch the following Ted Talk by the creator of the principle of Ecocide Polly Higgins’s – 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EuxYzQ65H4 

Amelia Womack – A Short Manifesto

With a foundation in understanding science, economics, law and policy, what I am focused on is tacking the plethora of issues that need to evolve within the EU. As a result of my history working and campaigning on social, environmental and sustainability issues, I will draw upon these experiences of action issues to work in a principled and effective way at a European level. Below are the key areas in which I will work to see change:

Europe needs to asses issues on more than a market economy
The road to sustainability and ensuring that we live within our planetary boundaries needs to be assessed in terms of the values of the economy of nature and the economy of people, not just the economy of the market. Through embracing these concepts in the area of European policy, we can then stop “Generational Theft” at all of these levels, creating a more resilient future for all.

Stricter enforcement on environmental and social policy
There are a collection of strategic European laws that protect both communities and the environment. As an example, through analysing air pollution in London, it’s clear that the city is in breach of key European directives. The impact of this means people living there suffer an increased risk of health issues such as asthma and cancer, as well as also adding to the risk of future climate chaos.

Renewables and green jobs
The more than 2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions that are currently traded on European markets will lead us over the 2oC temperature rise, and prevent us from continuing to maintain our current standards of living. We need to stop our addiction to fossil fuels and move into a green renewables based energy system.

Changes in law, incentives and taxes in Germany demonstrate that a movement towards a green economy not only creates jobs and has generated an increase in GDP in the country, but has also improved the economic resilience the country has experienced during the recession.

Women’s rights
We are still living in a time of widespread gender inequality. Women’s pay across the EU is on average 16% less than a male equivalent, and in some instances can be up to 31% less than their male colleagues. Women are also subjected to higher prices and tax on products aimed at them, and specifically the taxation on sanitary products – which could be argued is a tax for being a woman.

Income Equity
We are seeing a ever increasing gap between the highest and lowest paid people in society. This divide damages wider social cohesion, and harms the feeling of investment in democracy for many members of our society. I will campaign on fighting to both raise the minimum standard of living, but to also increase the top tax brackets ensuring that those at the top do not lose touch with the rest of us.

Please vote for me first preference in order to elect someone who will continue to be a tireless and passionate voice raising solutions for the issues impacting our society and our environment.

Statement for the European Elections London 4-8 list

Student at Imperial College London studying Environmental Technology
Volunteer for the End Ecocide Campaign
Currently in the Green Party 30 under 30 programme.

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As a passionate environmental campaigner, I have dedicated my career to environmental and social issues. I’ve supported green jobs, access to sports, skills development in young people, community volunteering and carbon footprinting. I have delivered real results in these sectors, and successfully campaigned for ethical and environmental practices at work.

I’ve been active in my local Green party and currently volunteer for the End Ecocide Campaign as a political strategist, campaigning to use the European Citizens Initiative to pass the law of Ecocide in the European Parliament. I have recently published a paper on London air quality for Green Week in Brussels as part of this campaign, and have been selected to take part in the Young Greens 30 under 30 programme.

My strong educational foundation complements my campaigning experience, with a BSc in Environmental Biology and an MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College London. My MSc is focused on solutions to environmental issues, covering environmental policy, law, economics, and pollution control and management.

My experience of working in London communities and studying EU environmental policy enables me to connect European questions to local issues and take a strong and informed stance on European policy. I want to apply my skills, passion and experience to benefit people and the planet at the European level.

Press and writing experience.
Published “A rubbish career?” in Resource Magazine 2009
Published “AIR POLLUTION: The case for a stronger European Legislation” European Green Week, Brussels (2013)
http://www.endecocide.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Air-pollution-the-case-for-a-stronger-European-legislation.pdf
To be published circa October 2013 “Impacts of changes in environmental law on business” End Ecocide Campaign

Public speaking Experience
Presented to the President of Fiji on the Olympics and east London
Business and event presentations within the working environment. 

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE PARTY
I’ve worked in local campaigns in Brent and Hackney including canvassing and leafleting for council and parliamentary seats. I am also in the Young Greens 30 under 30 programme which has develop core skills and knowledge required to expand my ability to perform in roles within the party. The programme has also given me the opportunity to visit Brussels to meet current MEPs and witness the operations of politics within the city.

Through  my involvement in People and Planet and as the elected Ethical and Environmental Officer at university, I ran campaigns for World Aids Day, Climate Change and supported the university achieve Fair Trade status as well as win NUS “Sound Impact Award”.

I currently volunteer as a political strategist for the End Ecocide Citizens Initiative, which allows EU citizens to vote on issues they want to be discussed at European Parliament.

I have also attended many demonstrations on issues such as climate change, stop the war, save the NHS and stop the G20.

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE OF EUROPEAN / EU ISSUES AND POLITICS.

I have had a unique opportunity to study and critique EU environmental policy through my BSc in Environmental Biology as well as my MSc in Environmental Technology. This analytical study of new legislation and directives has ignited my interest in the role of Europe in securing our environmental future, and encouraged me to look into future social and environmental scenarios. It’s allowed me to be actively involved in report writing regarding the risk of climate change to European business and to access and review draft IPCC reports.

Through my work with BT, I worked on the ground to ensure Britain’s commitments to digital inclusion – ensuring that people from every region and background don’t get socially excluded as a result of being unable to access the internet through lack of connections, knowledge or skills.

I have also been campaigning with the European Citizens Initiative to get the law of Ecocide (like genocide for the environment) discussed at European Parliament and potentially passed as European law.

I have also had the opportunity to visit Brussels with the Young Greens to get an introduction to the political issues within Europe through discussions with European Green MEPs and visiting the European Parliament.