News from Geoff Tansey

Geoff writes: “I’m delighted to invite you to use this new, open education resource to transform our food systems: The Food Systems Academy

geoff tansey 3He adds: “You might like to use the talks to provide guest speakers for educational courses or citizens groups to kick off a discussion.

“It would be very helpful if you could inform your networks about this. I have attached a flyer, which we would love people to print out and put up on notice boards.

Please also share this flyer with any colleagues for whom this new resource may be useful.

1food systems academy2food systems academy

If you are on Twitter it would be great if you could both follow the Food Systems Academy and tweet about it. Here are a few tweets you could use:

Introducing the new @FoodSystemsAcad, an open education resource to transform our #foodsystems. Curated @GeoffTansey

The new @FoodSystemsAcad is a free library of talks giving a succinct overview of food in our world today #foodsystem

How do we face the challenges of our #foodsystems? Explore the answers through @foodsystemsacad #video archive:


News from Sabine McNeill

Sabine, who supports victims of the financial, legal and judiciary system by grouping cases in order to press for legal redress, or even changes in the law, has written about her plan to spend the first week of December lobbying in Brussels. The following graphic shows half of her flyer:

sabine graphic

She will be there from Dec 1 to 5th, “SEVEN guys from the Commission want to meet me, while the Vice-President will meet the Chair of the Petitions Committee about our issue!… “

This follows her initial successes. Here is the official recording of her earlier presentation in Brussels and the subsequent comments by MEPs, members of the Petitions Committee, who made very relevant points which may be read by following the link. Sabine in action:


Following that presentation and discussion until 16:43, a Dutch father of Russian Jewish origin, a Polish mother and the sister of this Lithuanian mother presented their petitions. The Polish mother said, “I am here on behalf of defenceless children and intimidated parents”.

Lydia Smith, in the International Business Times, reminds us that apart from Croatia, Britain is the only EU member state that practices forced adoption and for some, it is seen as a secretive system that allows social workers to separate children from loving families without proper justification and with little concern for their interests.


The GenerationNext making waves, Molly Scott Cato and Karen Leach

molly scott cato 4Molly, now the Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar, was given an opportunity to use experiences learned from last winter’s floods in the South West to give the European Parliament a Green perspective on tackling flood alleviation and flood prevention.

In her address she said that Greens call for three elements of a responsible flood policy:

  • making adequate investment in the infrastructure that prevents flooding, not allowing austerity cuts to increase the risk as our communities become inundated;
  • using a whole-catchment approach, considering how our farming practices have reduced the land’s ability to absorb rainfall for longer before it drains into the river, prioritising, in the CAP subsidiary scheme, the adoption of land management practices involving maintaining hedges and trees; using organic methods that reduce soil run-off, making explicit the link between flooding and climate change;
  • constantly remembering the flooding incidents across Europe which underline the urgent need to agree meaningful carbon-dioxide reductions at the COP 21 negotiations in Paris next year.


Karen Leach was given the 2014 Attwood Award for working to strengthen the region’s economy.

katen award 2

City architect Joe Holyoak (last year’s awardee) presented the award. Other local recipients of the award include the Aston Reinvestment Trust, Kirsty Davies of Professional Polishing Services and the Green New Deal designers.

karen awardLocalise West Midlands’ chairman, Jon Morris, spoke about Karen’s work inspiring others to take action by her commitment, her logic, her actions, her integrity and her persistence.

For ten years Karen has been the organisation’s cornerstone. Jon thought that one of the achievements that most typifies Karen is the Alliance for a Better Economy. Read more here.There is a range of groups across the country working for a fairer and better local economy and which see localisation as at least an element in this.Though they all have different approaches and at times compete for resources and attention, Karen believed they could be more effective by working together to create and promote a common voice for a common aim. Read on here.



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The GenerationNext making waves, Ben Dyson & Rianne ten Veen

ben dyson News from Ben Dyson: Positive Money recently hosted a groundbreaking talk by Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator and associate editor of the Financial Times.

Martin was talking about proposals to “strip banks of their power to create money”, and was cautiously supportive of the “radical” reform ideas of Positive Money. There was a packed house at the Great Hall of the Institute for Chartered Accountants on 9th September 2014.

The event entitled ‘Does Money Grow on Trees?’ attracted an audience of professors of economics, politicians, economists, city professionals, accountants, and representatives from civil society organisations including unions, NGOs, and think tanks, and even a couple of employees from the Bank of England. Martin Wolf gave an insightful commentary about ending private sector money creation. He opened by saying: ‘I am grateful to Positive Money, they have done some very very interesting work, and I think it’s admirable and important that we have this debate on the future of the monetary and financial system.’

Martin Wolf and Positive Money’s Ben Dyson spoke recently on national Dutch television about the need to reform the monetary system - watch here.

Positive Money events have been held in several parts of the country:

Positive Money Meetup – Oxford, October 15
Reading Modernising Money – Birmingham, October 15
Positive Money Quiz – Godalming, October 17
Hackney Housing Debate – London – Hackney, October 19
Positive Money Informal Meetup – Edinburgh, October 21
Positive Money Meetup – London – Hammersmith, October 22
Debunking Banking – Sheffield, October 27
Money: Master or Servant?London – St.Paul’s Institute, October 28


rianne 4Rianne ten Veen is an Open University tutor and her courses include: Introduction to Ecosystems , Muslims in Britain: changes and challenges, The secret power of brands, Introduction to Ecosystems, Fairness and nature: when worlds collide, Cooperation in the Contemporary World: Unlocking International Politics, Starting a business: realise your vision,

After a decade at Islamic Relief Worldwide, from January 2013 she has focussed on working as head of research with Osman Consulting Ltd, a company with a humanitarian heart focussing on its core work, spending no time on fundraising and accepting no donations. She contributed to the widely reviewed Study of the Impact of Donor Counter Terrorism Measures on Principled Humanitarian Action. The link no longer works but may be viewed by cutting and pasting the title into a search engine. Rianne was invited to speak on this at invitation-only event at Durham University.

One of her many voluntary interests is Tree Aid.

tree aid logo7.2 million trees have been planted across Africa. Hundreds of thousands more trees have naturally regenerated through improvements in natural resource management. Over 450,000 villagers have benefitted from improved incomes from tree products meaning better health, education and life chances. Over 1,000,000 people have benefitted from improvements in soil and water conservation.

Increasing crop yields and establishing an additional food supply from tree fruits is helping poor communities to produce more food, reducing hunger and malnutrition and increasing resilience in times of drought. Income sources are being developed from the sale of non-wood tree products provides cash to spend on immediate needs and invest in the family’s future

Full profile:


Next: The GenerationNext making waves, Molly and Karen

The GenerationNext making waves, Shaun and Rashneh

Recently on this website we focussed on networkers working with and for the younger generation. We now turn to some members of the GenerationNext.

shaun chamberlin 4Shaun Chamberlin, in addition to other initiatives, is carrying forward the work of The Fleming Policy Centre, an independent research centre founded by the late Dr. David Fleming in 1994, best known as the originator (in 1996) of the TEQs system. The Centre aims to design and develop strategies in the context of the environmental problems that are now facing society – especially climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels.

The latest news: a joint seminar on TEQs was held in July by the All Party Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG) and the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group (APPCCG) at the House of Commons (Committee Room 17).

john hemming on teqs

Speakers were the Centre’s Managing Director Shaun Chamberlin, Prof. Michael Grubb and Dr. Tina Fawcett. The event was chaired by MP Alan Whitehead.


Shaun would appreciate the words of Rashneh Pardiwala from Mumbai, who was invited to give a presentation at the Edinburgh India Institute Inaugural Conference (15-16May):

(E)mbedded in (India’s) memory is a culture of frugality and a survival instinct rooted in ‘jugaad’ or the creative use of meagre resources. These have been a part of the Indian psyche long before Global Warming and Climate Change made ‘sustainability’ a buzz word and an essential practice.

However, unfortunately, in the last two decades, in a quest to achieve rapid economic development, India veered off the path of ‘sustainability’ with grave consequences. But now with the pressures of over-population leading to resource depletion and rising inflation combined with climatic changes, the country has once again been forced to revisit its ancient wisdom of ‘resource consciousness’. Read more here.

rashneh dr kalam

Rashneh was asked to accompany and assist Dr. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, in an unscripted session where he answered students’ questions.

She and her colleague Kitayun Rustom, with CERE’s increasing staff, are now established in their new office, after completely renovating it.

cere office before Before . . .

The Bombay Municipal Corporation had refused to renew the lease of their first premises and they were forced to take a large bank loan. Lack of space had prevented them from employing more researchers and restricted their daily working hours; in addition they were not allowed entry on ‘each and every national, state and optional holiday’ when the school building was shut down.

cere officeAfter: the new office just before they moved in, looking spacious because there are no researchers and equipment in the picture.


Next post: GenerationNext news from Rianne ten Veen, Ben Dyson, Molly Scott Cato and Karen Leach


Network news: working with and for the younger generation

Though there are many reasons for pessimism about the world’s future, the FT report of the results of the new opinion poll by Gallup led to a mental review of activities and achievements of younger networkers (next week). The FT:

“The new opinion poll demonstrated a big generational gap in views about the situation in Israel/Palestine. Americans in the 18-29 group 51% said Israel’s current use of force current use of force was unjustified and 23% supported these actions, whereas the in 55-65+ agegroup 54% believed its current use of force was justified and 30% said it was unjustified”.

We start with networkers working with/for young people

eirwen harbottleEirwen Harbottle helps to plan Peace Child activities. These often use music and drama to work to “empower young people to be the change they want to see in the world”.

Last year she attended a production of the original “Peace Child’” musical at UN HQ in Geneva. Green peace child latviaCross international asked for this to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its creation by Mikhail Gorbachev. Its story begins with the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear plant; the cost of seeking advice from world experts on how to render it safe left a huge hole in the Soviet military budget. National – and global – security had suddenly assumed a new environmental priority. It proved the political undoing of Gorbachev. Sacked, he was left to ponder where the essence of global security actually lay? Green Cross International was the result.

kitayun rustom 3Katy Rustom is co-founder of CERE in Mumbai.Its activities include promoting environmental education across all institutions and communities. The educational programs and activities raise awareness and promote the need for personal initiatives and social participation to achieve sustainability.

cere watts coverCERE designs – inhouse – a range of publications, websites, educational aids, film scripts, e-learning modules, posters and pamphlets. CERE was commissioned to research and script a film on Climate Change by the Ministry of Science & Technology (MoST) in collaboration with National Geographic Society entitled Cutting Carbon.

ne young ashaZerbanoo Gifford (centre) founded the Asha Centre. This charity works for the empowerment of young people, sustainable development and peace & reconciliation worldwide. ASHA runs a full programme of activities, free of charge for young people aged 16-35, throughout the year. Many of these are supported by the European Union’s ‘Youth in Action’ Programme, which aims to inspire a sense of active citizenship, solidarity and tolerance among young Europeans. It also seeks to promote non-formal learning, inter-cultural dialogue and mobility within and beyond the EU’s borders. ASHA runs a range of Youth in Action activities – principally Training Courses, international Youth Exchanges and  volunteering placements (EVS).

butterfly project to NE

christine parkinson2 (2)When not furthering her health centre project Christine Parkinson spends much time these days carrying out fund-raising activities for her son’s Ugandan project, Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network (CYEN) which works among slum children and the rural poor. CYEN trains young people who have a selfless attitude and ideas for their community from the most remote rural villages and disadvantaged urban slum districts to become social entrepreneurs. Poverty and human rights at the top of the agenda and the young people are trained in a range of subjects – social enterprise and entrepreneurship, Ethics, International Citizenship, ICT, Problem-solving and much more, while they attend the Chrysalis Centre. Additionally, each member must undertake a project of their own, both in the local slum district and in their home village, so that they gain experience of leadership and practical problem-solving. The new Ashoka Youth Venture in Gulu is proving to be a huge success recruiting almost sixty capable youth living in remote rural areas.


Next week: news of the GenerationNext networkers who are ‘making waves’

Ben Dyson
Molly Scott Cato
Karen Leach
Rashneh Pardiwala
Shaun Chamberlin
Rianne ten Veen