“Focus On”- Richard Priestley: Global Problems, Global Solutions

Thanks to Richard for the first of our new “Focus On” posts – there are more in the pipeline and please send yours in. It would be great to hear about what you are doing – your group’s aims and activities and/or how you are adapting at the moment.

Richard: “I write regular blogs called ‘Global Problems: Global Solutions’ which usually focus on how humanity could have a better, more ecologically sustainable and socially just future.

I give talks and evening classes and occasionally write other things. The ideas are global, but of course many of them have to be manifested in particular places and times… and nowhere better than Hereford, and now. I want to develop my work in collaboration with others, some of whom may be members of HGN.”

Visit this site to read previous blogs and sign up to get Richard’s blog posts by email https://www.richardpriestley.co.uk/

Send your “Focus On” contributions and picture to admin@hgnetwork.org

Reminder – first open day at the new Sustainable Future Centre at Queenswood, this Saturday

This Saturday, 14th March, is the opening day of the Queenswood Sustainable Future Centre!

The Jubilee building will be packed with information, so come along between 10am and 4pm, take a look & chat to staff about how you could get involved, plus get a free glass of Orchard Origins apple juice & 20% off eco-products in the shop!

We welcome your input into future plans for themed exhibitions, literature, films and workshops that highlight different areas of sustainable development. From climate change and biodiversity loss to plastic pollution and water management: come and tell us what you want to see.

Want to get involved ?

Wendy Ogden and Pete Norton from New Leaf will be on site on Sat. 14th March to talk about volunteering opportunities at the centre which will be open every Saturday from then on.

Contact pete@herefordshirenewleaf.org.uk or wendy@herefordshirenewleaf.org.uk for more info.

An HGN visit Jesse…

In November 2018, 4 members of HGN visited Jesse Norman in his surgery to discuss climate related issues and concerns effecting his constituents in Herefordshire.

Gareth Williams (HGN Chair / MD Caplor Energy), Kate Gathercole (HGN Secretary / Associate of New Leaf Sustainable Development), Nick Read (Director Brightspace Foundation / Agricultural Chaplain for the county) and Will Edwards (White House Farm How Caple / The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association), spent 90 minutes in discussion with Jesse. 

Having gathered ideas from HGN members about issues they would like raised (click here to read them all) the four went along with a range of ideas, and some specific asks of Jesse for actions to take forwards.  

Will Edwards invited Jesse to develop his understanding about the carbon sequestration benefits of grass-fed livestock, replete with an example he had prepared earlier – a clod of turf from White House Farm, rich with worms and microbial action.

Nick Read’s engagement with Jesse ranged widely across the moral ethics of international and UK climate needs and policy, and the mismatch of policies from central government and the concerns of Herefordshire communities. Nick has broad connections across Herefordshire communities from Herefordshire Diocese and the NFU, and he chairs the Local Nature Partnership. He wanted to explore how Jesse might contribute to important parliamentary debates that would be taking place on future agricultural and environmental policy, and how HGN might provide relevant briefings to him.

Gareth Williams focused amongst other things on concerns raised by the newly formed HGN Youth Council about plastics in our environment, and Kate Gathercole picked up on the failure of government to provide meaningful visible leadership on climate issues.  

Specific outcomes included: 

  • Jesse Norman committed to Nick Read that he could help to organise some Westminster meetings on specific issues. Jesse indicated that meetings were most likely to take place if we were able to demonstrate the breadth of the groups and networks we represented.
  • Jesse appeared to take on board Will Edwards concerns around grass fed meat, and seemed supportive.
  • He acknowledged the need for two way communication with the Network, and offered to come and speak to the HGN in a public meeting to address our community’s concerns about a lack of Government leadership on climate. 
  • He was keen to hear about the youth group and perhaps engage directly with them
  • He agreed to support Gareth Williams with a piece specifically focused on energy issues.
  • He suggested that he would value meeting with HGN representatives every 6 months
  • We agreed that we will invite Jesse to send us two articles per year on what he understands the Government to be doing to address climate change.

If you would be interested in contributing to the next HGN meeting with Jesse Norman please get in touch. We will be scheduling a meeting for March 2019.  

XR in Herefordshire

Just over four weeks ago Extinction Rebellion (XR) in the UK was only known to a few hundred people. The Declaration of Rebellion was originally planned as a symbolic action – with perhaps thirty participants – to demand the UK government act in accordance with the climate and ecological emergency we all face. Instead, on 31st October around 1,500 people turned up and took part in spontaneous mass civil disobedience.

As this generated huge national and even international publicity, news of XR began to spread and with it, our ideas connected with thousands of people. Local groups came together and organised autonomously to take action, and around the UK local people are calling on their local Councils to declare a state of Climate Emergency.

Here in Herefordshire we’ve gone from a dedicated team of 5 people a few weeks ago to a march with songs and theatre on the 1st December that saw 500 people attend.

And now local groups are starting to form around the county to bring the XR message to our communities in Herefordshire.

So this is a message to anyone living in the North Herefordshire region who would like to help convince Bill Wiggins to take urgent action and ensure Herefordshire follows in the footsteps of Bristol, London and the Forest of Dean by declaring a Climate Emergency. Please contact Christina: ReclaimOurEarth@outlook.com

And if you would like to come along and see what XR look like in action, join a ‘Singing Emergency’ in Church Street Hereford on Wednesday 19th December, at 6pm – more details here. 

Or click here for a link to the Extinction Rebellion Herefordshire facebook page for general updates for anyone interested to find out more.


Saturday December 1st

Meet on Castle Green at 11am for a Respectful, Peaceful, Inclusive day of action to launch Extinction Rebellion Hereford.

Please note that Extinction Rebellion is a totally Non-Violent Movement working with Determined Love for all life on Earth.


– Wonder at the joy of our stunning world and everything we want to protect

– Mourning for what has already been lost and what will soon be lost

– Determination to change the course of climate destabilisation and mass extinction for the better

Aims of the Rally:

– To launch Extinction Rebellion Hereford

– To raise awareness that time is rapidly running out to avoid climate catastrophe and to slow the rate of species extinctions ….. this is a ‘wake-up’ call

– To portray a true representation of our predicament and to put Jesse Norman on notice that his constituents know what is happening and demand government action

– To get people on our side and grow our numbers because for this movement to succeed we need MASS participation

The Declaration

Ben has sent the Extinction Rebellion Declaration to Jesse Norman to put him on notice that change must happen. Jesse has been asked to respond with his perspective on the Declaration’s demands.
During the day people will sign copies of it which we will gather together when we get to the Shire Hall and later given to Jesse Norman.
Please see attachment for the Declaration wording.

Set up for the theatrical aspect of the day:
Dress code…
Children and some adults dressed as animals / trees / ‘life’ / cheerful / colourful / celebratory of life please…painted faces encouraged
Face paining will be possible on Castle Green…early attendance encouraged
Some adults completely in black as ‘mourners’ please…bring candles in jars if possible

4 or 6 adults totally in black with black net headdresses will be carrying a coffin representing our Earth and all life upon it.

Possible pallbearers so far are , Bella and Bryony.

Other mourners will walk with the coffin bearers in solemn dignity.
Children and other adults will be joyful.

There will be flags, banners and placards available but please make your own too. Please make them pertinent to the theme. If you use the extinction rebellion sign of an hour-glass inside a circle representing the Earth, please remember to keep the hour-glass upright 🙂

Bring cameras. John will be videoing but the more photos the better. Send them in to the Hereford Times and maybe we could get a page of lovely photos. Send them to the FB page too….. XR Hereford

We are all crew and need people to take on these roles please:

– EVERYONE please be aware of safety. We will have children with us who will be enjoying themselves rather than thinking about staying safe. We will have older people and less able people too. Please care for each-other and the other people using the town with respect. We are all in this together and we need love for all, to help us through. Thank you.

– People happy to talk to the public, explain what we are doing and why, invite them to join us, invite them to sign the Declaration that will be handed in at the Shire Hall. It would be good to also have a sheet of paper to collect email address of people wanting to join this list please…..please ask them to write clearly! If we can’t read it we lose that contact and we need to grow this movement as fast as possible..thanks.

– People to hand out leaflets

– A couple of people with a donation bucket asking for funds as we’re going to need money as this movement grows. If possible please make your bucket attractive…maybe decorate it with pictures of wild-life that we don’t want to lose.

Running order

Speeches on Castle Green
– Rick Guest will open the rally
– Rumy Salmon
– Ben Salmon
– Someone yet to be asked
– Cathy Monkley
– Richard Priestley
Speeches will be less than 5 mins each.

We might do a practice ‘die-in’.

During this time on Castle Green there will be face-painting and we get the chance to sign the Declaration .

Then we march and sing through Cathedral Close to stay and sing a while outside the Cathedral.

Then we’ll proceed down Broad St. into High Town.

At some point there will be a ‘die-in’ during which The Declaration will be read. The pallbearers will be still, with the other mourners gathered around them. Around them will be all the other adults and the children. There will be a double drum beat, or a bell and all except the mourners will fall to the ground and stay still.

The exact details of when and where the ‘die-in’ happens will be dictated a bit by the circumstances on the day. We might even do it in a couple of different places.

Then we sing and march our way to The Shire Hall to end the rally.

At the Shire Hall there will be a couple more short speeches probably from
– Pat Ronan from ‘Wye Ruin It’
– Rob Palgrave and
– Diana Toynbee both from The Green Party
and the signed Declaration sheets will be gathered together to be handed in to Jesse Norman.

Going with the flow!

This is a guide only and may be subject to alterations as weather / people / circumstances dictate but the rally will happen at the stated time and place provided Castle Green is not 3 foot under water!

Immediately After The Event

Please join us at De Koffie Pot, The Left Bank for a gathering to celebrate what we’ve done, decide what was good, what we won’t do again and what we need to learn for next time. A general de-brief and rally-goers friendship making session! This will give us a chance to set a date for our next meet-up.

Important Singing and Die-in Rehearsal

If you can, please join us on Friday 30th Nov to practice the songs and the bit of theatre.
Meet at ‘Clear Space’ which is above The Friends Meeting House in Broad St, in good time to start at 7pm. We have until 8:30pm to get in good voice and all excited about the following day.


There are so many people to thank already and I am bound to miss people out who I am not aware of so please forgive me for that, but I’d like to thank:
Everyone for coming last night
Everyone who made that possible by looking after things at home
Nat for letting us have the room
Melodie and Friends of The Earth for funding
Rick, Toni, Ben, Nada, Petra, Paddy and David for doing so much organising
John for offering to video the rally
Kate for offering to bring clip-boards
Carrie for letting us borrow the coffin
Oscar and Sam for their enthusiasm about getting more young people involved
Bella for sourcing flag material
Everyone involved with banner, placard and flag production
Everyone who is happy to speak
Ben at The Rocket for being the leaflet distribution centre
Everyone who has taken leaflets around the shops and everyone who has agreed to put one up
Everyone who has invited family, friends or neighbours
Everyone who has talked about the rally / the issues with anyone
David England for that wonder picture ‘No Pomp’ on fb
And…everyone I’ve missed…thank you all.


Please continue to invite people to join us in the family friendly event…Ta

Onwards to our better world

Climate Choking Plans

Drax power station near Selby in Yorkshire has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to replace its two remaining coal-fired units with much larger ones burning fossil (natural) gas.
Drax is already the biggest biomass burning plant in the world and the largest single emitter of COin the U.K
Drax claims that this is part of their “strategy to play a vital role in changing the way energy is generated as the UK moves to a low carbon future.” 
The reality is that Drax made a net loss last year and switching to burning gas would allow the power station to keep operating once the government’s pledge to phase out ‘unabated coal’ by 2025 comes into force. 
If this gas development goes ahead, it will tie the U.K. into the long-term burning of more fossil fuels at a time when we need to drastically reduce our carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change. 
It will also enable Drax to continue burning millions of tonnes of wood pellets every year, many of which come from the clear felling of biodiverse forests in the U.S. 
If you agree that we should not allow Drax to increase our carbon emissions by burning gas and wood biomass, please help us to stop Drax’s proposed gas development by sending an objection to the Planning Inspectorate. 
The deadline for responses is Wednesday the 29th of August at 11.59pm
For more information about the environmental and climate impact of Drax’s gas plans, please see the Biofuelwatch briefing here. and follow links to make an objection.
Thanks to Cathy Monkey for sharing this news. Reducing CO2 emissions is core to all of the work of Herefordshire Green Network, particularly in our own lives here in Herefordshire – but of course we’re not an island, and strategies like this give us reason to act global ….

h.Energy 2018: Let’s Do This!

h.Energy is an event in Herefordshire that has been running since 2010.

Would you like to be involved this year? Please tell us how!

Crowdfunder link is also live – please support us here!

This year the event will take place over the weekend of October 13/14, have two main hubs (Hereford and Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum) and other pop-ups around the county according to interest.

Its aim: Promoting sustainable lifestyles, encouraging action to reduce carbon and providing practical support for carbon reduction initiatives.

Your interest and enthusiasm at this stage is what will shape the event – this year once again we currently have very little secured budget to spend on this event, so we are looking to partner with as many of you in our great network as possible.

Previously we have seen films, fun runs, workshops and puppetry all in the name of sustainable energy for life – what will you make happen this year?!

Please let us know how you could be involved in this form by FRIDAY 29th June 2018.

If you have an idea, but you’re not sure if you have the resources – come to our funding workshop with Herefordshire Community Trust on 2nd July. We’ll have a bid written in a morning – promise! 🙂



Film showing – TAWAI

Hunter-gatherers stalk their prey in a rainforest, acutely attuned to their surroundings, perceiving every sight, every sound. The film TAWAI contrasts the intense interconnectedness of tribal cultures with our own experience of living in urban environments. Here our sensory input is on overload, and we are forced to limit the amount we take in, habitually deadening ourselves to what is happening around us.

The question of interconnectedness is at the heart of this stunningly beautiful documentary from well-known BBC TV presenter and explorer Bruce Parry, who revisits tribes in Borneo and the Amazon to describe the changing lives of the people there.

After the film join Herefordshire Green Network for a discussion. Cecibel Egan of the Pachamama project joins us along with other expert voices from rural Herefordshire. Listening to ‘the voices from the forest’ we will be considering our own quests for reconnection in the context of such a rapidly changing world.


Film showing at Monday 9thJuly, 8pm at The Courtyard, Hereford. Followed by a discussion in the bar.

Fossil Free Herefordshire

Thank you Gareth and Patrick. A full house and a full workshop last night on how we can get pension funds to stop investing in fossil fuels.

They were talking about the UK parliament pension fund – but so many of the ideas could be used for other lobbying, working with councillors and much more.

Some tough questions, ranging from “if they don’t invest, surely someone else will…” to how to change the mind of someone that’s completely immovable! All questions answered and a load of positive actions in amongst the reality.

Here is a summary – if you’d like to do more please get in touch with Rebecca events@hgnetwork.org. We’ll have an interactive poll on this topic at River Carnival (need some pollsters) and there was real interest in working with sympathetic councillors on this issue. Get in touch!

  • Make contact with your MP – simple tool on the Divest Parliament website
  • Plenty of advice from other network members with experience of visiting our MPs if you’d like to arrange a visit (email if you’d like to be connected)
  • We can create our own pledge to ask councillors to sign – this will build support towards a campaign with MPs
  • Good advice from Councillor Jenny Bartlett – every public council meeting has space for questions, we can ask “How much of the Herefordshire pension fund is invested in fossil fuels?” and bring the issue higher up the agenda
  • Herefordshire shares its pension fund with Worcestershire, so using the links we have within this network would be a great start
  • A poll at River Carnival – “Do you know that your MP’s pension is linked to fossil fuels? Do you want that to stop?”
  • More ideas and resources at the Fossil Free website and email divestparliament@gmail.com to be put in touch with Gareth or Patrick – they are keen to offer support!
  • Share this post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and let’s get more people talking about ditching fossil fuel investments.

Thursday’s Inconvenience …

A decade ago Al Gore’s film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ boldly raised the profile of climate change issues. A decade later ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ picks up the baton…

Showing at the Courtyard Studio Theatre this important documentary will be followed by a discussion chaired by the Herefordshire Green Network, and preceded by a short film from the Size of Herefordshire.

This will be an uplifting evening: at the core of the Inconvenient Sequel is a sense that climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion…

Thursday 12th April, 8pm

Studio Theatre, The Courtyard, Hereford, HR4 9YJ.

Please share the event on Facebook on Instagram and help us get the word out – thanks!

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