Climate Camp in south-east London

My plinthing sabbatical’s over now (don’t look at page 3 of this week’s Bexley News Shopper if you don’t want to know about it, but rest assured that despite that location I do keep my top on), so let’s get on with looking at what’s happening a bit closer to Bexley.

'Come to Climate Camp' sign

The Climate Camp has arrived on Blackheath, which is not in Bexley by any stretch of the imagination, but is just a half-hour 89 bus ride from Bexleyheath and so pretty easy to get to from most places in the borough, if you’re interested in climate change and positive action people can take to tackle it.

It’s quite entertaining to see the media struggle to come to terms with the fact that London does extend beyond the Tube map. A number of outlets persist with calling Blackheath ‘Greenwich Park’, which shows that there really are parts of London that media types have as little understanding of as they do of most of the rest of the UK.

The programme for the four-day camp kicks off today in earnest, with a mixture of discussions, masterclasses and planning throughout the day.

My wife and I visited after work last night with some trepidation after various reports and claims that the camp was irresponsible or that the police might attack at any moment, but I’m pleased to report that there were no signs of trouble from any origin. Instead, as soon as we walked into the camp we were greeted with smiles and the polite offer of a guided tour, which we gladly took up.

It was a fascinating place and the organisers are doing all they can to ensure no trace of the camp ever having been there will remain when they’ve left next week, which will counter the accusations from some quarters that it’s ‘ironic’ that their environmental campaign will result in litter pollution or other damage to the heath.

We saw all manner of clever ways to prevent this, from compost toilets (the waste from which will be going by prior arrangement to a farm for use to grow crops) to a cunning system for filtering the dirt out of washing-up water into some straw in a bath before allowing it to run into the ground!

The dirty water filtration system. Yes, they do still have the turf and soil from the hole in the ground and will be replacing them when they leave :)

The couple of local residents who shared our tour suggested that contrary to the fears of some locals about litter and damage, the climate camp would probably leave less of either than its neighbouring fairground does!

Overall the impression we came away with was of a well organised, friendly and peaceful gathering of people concerned about what most people do now acknowledge to be the biggest threat humanity now faces. We’ll be returning as time allows over the course of the weekend, so I may do a further report on this not-quite-in-Bexley event at a later stage.

In the mean time I leave you with the single bit of litter we did spot on our entire tour, just near the exit of the camp. (And yes, I’m sure someone will have tidied it away by now.) Snapped by my wife, we were quite amused to see that even what little litter there was, wasn’t your average discarded Coke can…

Discarded organic soya milk carton


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