Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The SCAN AGM for 2009-10 was held at the Friends Meeting House on Wednesday 9th June.
The accounts were received and accepted. There was also a vote of thanks to Viv for her work as Treasurer.
Steve gave a review of SCAN's activities over the past year.
SCAN was founded in 2005 'to address climate change through the actions of the people of Swindon, their elected representatives and employers.' With the ever increasing amounts of information, news and analysis about climate change and linked topics such as resource repletion and sustainability, it's important to keep reminding ourselves that it's ACTION that is needed by individuals, organisations, companies and government.
SCAN has not had a permanent chair or co-ordinator this year. At last year's AGM a number of people decided to cut back their level of involvement due to changes in personal and work circumstances and, on behalf of SCAN, I want to thank them for their really important contributions. We know that tackling climate change is urgent, but we also know it's a long haul and it's right that different people take up the reins from time to time.
A lot has happened in the last year. The committee has met every month, possibly with the exception of August, but we've had fewer public meetings compared to previous years.
It fair to say that two major events have dominated a lot of the year: the Copenhagen climate talks and the General election, barely a month ago now. Organising events and campaigning in the run up to these took up a lot of peoples' efforts, which I'll expand on later.
We believe in working in partnership with other groups and organisations and over the last year this has included - in no particular order - Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Swindon Civic Trust, the World Wildlife Fund, the GMB union, Swindon Borough Council, Swindon South MP Anne Snelgrove, Swindon Churches Together, Transition Swindon, the Bike Users' Group and others. Please forgive omissions from that list!
SCAN's website had a design revamp thanks to Jez and Simon, which is most obvious on the home page, but a lot of other changes behind the scenes will make it easier to update in the future. This year SCAN also dipped a toe into social media and we can now be found on both Facebook and Twitter, with links from the main SCAN website. We could and should be doing a lot more ion this area.
Every other month SCAN has continued to publish the edigest - an excellent electronic summary of local news and events which goes to over 350 people on our email list and can also be found on the SCAN website. Thank you to Deb and Helen for producing that.
To raise public awareness we've run at least 6 stalls across the year - at the last year's Literature Festival in May at the showing of the film 'Age of Stupid', Swindon College Environmental Week in June, Pinehurst Fun Day in July, at another Film in November, at a Wiltshire Wildlife Networking Event in January and at this year's the Literature Festival. More are planned this month for the Old Town Festival and the Cycling Festival in Lydiard Park. Thanks to Helen and Deb and everyone else who's helped with those.
Here are some of the highlights of the year -
In July the Transition Food Network ran a well attended second event at Heelis House, the National Trust headquarters, including a workshop by the Co-op on its local food policy and a consultation by Wiltshire Wildlife. Transition Swindon continues to focus on the themes of food, education and transport, so watch out for future events.
Also in July, Duncan Robinson gave a talk on his trip to Antarctica with explorer and environmental campaigner, Robert Swan OBE. There's a very good write-up in the September edigest.
In September SCAN responded to the council's Core Strategy document – which was judged to be good on housing, but poor in the area of transport.
October saw us organising an open air event with Swindon Churches Together for World Poverty Day in support of the campaign 'The Great Persuasion'. This was part of a mass lobby of MPs on behalf of all the leading development agencies. Anne Snelgrove spoke, as did representatives from Swindon Churches and Wiltshire Wildlife. This illustrates the crossover between climate change and poverty – with the poorest bearing the brunt of climate changes already happening and also how we can work with other organisations.
In November over 40 people attended the showing of the film ' Yes Men fix the World' at The Vic with technical help from Swindon Film Society.
Around this time the World Wildlife Fund UK invited SCAN and other local organizations to work together to ensure that climate change was given a high profile at the general election. This became the 'Ask the Climate Question' campaign which was focussed on the 50 top marginal seats. As we know both seats were taken by the Conservative candidates and we now need to build useful and productive relationships with them.
We also held a Candlelit vigil in Town Centre to raise awareness for the Copenhagen climate talks.
December saw SCAN organising a full coach to take part in the 'Wave' march around the Houses of Parliament on Dec 5th with 50,000 people. We enjoyed a great day of bands, speakers and amazing costumes with people taking to heart the suggestion to dress in blue. Some of our group were invited to join a Q&A session with Ed Miliband afterwards.
Impressively, two SCAN members braved the 29 hour coach journey to Copenhagen to be a voice on the streets, as part of the vital popular movement of support for a successful outcome at Copenhagen. As we know, expectation were largely dashed and views differ on whether it will prove to be a necessary stepping stone to an effective agreement in the future. Anne Snelgrove, labour MP for Swindon South, held a local briefing shortly after the conference on Dec 22nd, which many SCAN supporters attended.
In January SCAN took part in the Wiltshire Worldchangers networking event at Wroughton.
The end of April saw a flurry of activity with street theatre performed by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust in Swindon town centre to publicise a Question Time event at the Wyvern Theatre and SCAN's own Climate Change hustings in the Pilgrim centre on April 29th, just a week before the election. SCAN members were also invited to meet Ed Miliband, then Energy & Climate Change minister, when he visited Swindon on Friday 30th April. Several of our members were able to go along at short notice.
Thanks to Adrian for keeping the website updated on a daily basis across this period!
May saw SCAN host an evening at the Literature Festival. This was a two-parter, starting with Peter Lipman, Director of Policy at SusTrans, discussing the book he co-authored 'Do Humans Dream of Electric Cars?', as well as many issues around sustainable transport and his involvement in the Transition Town movement. This was followed by a showing of the excellent but sobering film Food Inc.
Lastly, Edward and I attended meetings of the Climate Change Steering Group, hosted by Swindon Borough Council, since last summer. During that time SBC has effectively shelved the detailed Climate Change Action Plan, that was the original focus of the group and is now working to include some principles of sustainability within its next 4 year strategy under the banner 'One Planet Swindon' – the focus is on energy, waste, transport and food. There are many good ideas included under these themes, and some specific targets, but in other areas these are missing. In line with SCAN's constitution, we want to keep engaged with the council, since they can affect local GHG emissions significantly through policy, standards and procurement. The issue of whether to engage with the council and if so, how best to do so, is regularly debated at the committee meeting.
I'm bound to have missed some event or someone's contribution, so if it's important please free to mention it now or let me know afterwards so it can be included in the final report.
Election of officers for 2010-11. According to our constitution, the committee consists of two co-ordinators and a treasurer, and other positions as felt necessary by the AGM. The following were elected:
Co-ordinator and public face of SCAN: Andy Parsons (subject to his accepting the position)
Co-ordinator and day-to-day running: Steve Litchfield
Secretary: Ed Glennie
Treasurer: Viv Dipper
Minutes secretary: Simon Bridewell
Publicity: Adrian Read
Stall co-ordinator: Helen Baldwin
Web site co-ordinator (technical): Simon Bridewell
Liaison with Transition Swindon: Gerry Hannon
There was also a vote of thanks for all the hard work by Andy Parsons and Deb Joffe during their time as SCAN co-ordinators.
We also discussed a possible need for another position, someone to co-ordinate the way SCAN uses social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and content of our own web site. This is distinct from the web site co-ordinator (technical) role, who is someone who understands what makes computers tick, and would be better filled by someone who understands how people tick. If this position exists then it's currently vacant, so if anyone is interested in this role then please step forward.
With the formal business of the AGM concluded, there were a few talks. Jenni Miles, SCAN founder member and Green Party candidate for Swindon South in the recent General Election, talked about her experiences from knocking on doors and canvassing.
Kate Robinson of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust talked about the Ask the Climate Question campaign which targeted a number of marginal constituencies including Swindon South during the election campaign.
At the end of the meeting a lady from Water Wise talked about a scheme they are running in conjunction with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Thames Water to reduce Swindon's water consumption by offering households retrofitted water-saving devices. See the article in the Link Magazine.