Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Solar panel update

Just a quick update to say that my solar panels have been up and running for one year now. So far they have produced 858 kWh from a 1.06 kWp system. That is slightly over half my annual electricity usage, so they are certainly making an impact. It is also worth mentioning that the installers gave me a prediction of 880 kWh for the year, so they were pretty damn close - just 2% out.

While I am on the subject the panels set a new March record on Monday, producing 4.9 kWh for the day. That is normally the sort of generation I would expect in late April or May, so it just goes to show that when the sun is out, they work perfectly happily in the cold.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The end of climate camp? Raise a glass.

Is this the end of climate camp? In a statement put out tonight, the Camp for Climate Action has announced that it will not be hosting a Climate Camp in 2011, nor will it be organising gatherings under a national banner this year. To be honest this is neither a surprise, nor should it be a disappointment.

As the statement clearly says, the world changes and movements must change. For all its flaws, I love and respect the energy and vitality that Climate Camp has brought to the environmental movement. It stopped the Kingsnorth Power Station, it held up the runway at Heathrow and it highlighted the sheer absurdity of bailing out the banks as our environment fails around us. One of my fondest memories is lying on the road in Bishopsgate in 2009, looking up at the skyscrapers around me as my friends and colleagues hung banners proclaiming 'Nature doesn't do bailouts' between the buildings. That is as true now as it was then.

Climate Camp has had a wider impact too. It has inspired the big NGOs, however much they might have tried to ignore it, and many of these groups are belatedly beginning to realise how entrenched they are in a system that is failing. Its tactics inspired the current students, UKUNCUT tax protests and movements in many countries around the world. It was far from perfect, but it gave the activist community a boost and the traditional campaigners a kick.

I will be sad to see it go, but also happy. In one sense Climate Camp has served its purpose. It has motivated and radicalised a generation, and as the Camp's 'high command' has acknowledged, times change. New tactics, new targets and new strategies must be found. The environmental crisis is real and ongoing, from climate change to deforestation, to over-fishing, plastic waste and mass extinctions. We have to act, for our own sake if nothing else.

So cheers Climate Camp, I'm sure you will be back in some way. In the meantime, the revolution goes on! I salute you.