Two grand Herefordshire schools

Our project to save rainforest has just been aided by two fantastic Herefordshire primary schools, teachers, children and parents alike.   Connected to this year's Go Green Day, Leominster Primary School - in the handsome and much under-rated town of Leominster - and Stretton Sugwas Primary School both ran inventive and very productive fund-raising campaigns for us.  Leominster had a no-uniform day, asking the children to come in wearing green and to bring a little collection.   Not so little: they raised just about £400. 

Impressively, Stretton Sugwas Primary School, which lies not far from Hereford, raised the same amount and had some very clever fund raising ideas.   One of them was a 1p and 2p competition, the class with the most pennies getting a trip to the National Trust Weir Gardens just down the road.   The emptying out of lots of piggy banks alone produced £180.  Also, the school's Eco Committee organised a Toy Sale and the PTA ran teas and cakes for sale. 

.We are hugely grateful to the schools, and not least the teachers who organised the collections. The success of these two school's action on our behalf is particularly pleasing to us... not just the money but also giving us the knowledge that the importance of protecting rainforest is getting through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Size of Herefordshire is swelling

Our campaign to protect the rainforest is gaining traction.   We've had two very successful recent events and some wonderful donations from schools and parents.

Our first event was at the Hay Festival, and it was both a sell-out and the subject of approval of people who attended.  Dan Haworth-Salter showed a short version of a film he is making about a trip he, Malcolm Bell and Conrad Feather made to the rainforest people were are supporting, the Wampis.   Cutting against the clock, Dan's film made a big impact, especially for the powerful ways in which individual Wampis people spoke of their predicament and their determination to protect their rainforest.  We are hoping that a taster of Dan's film will soon be on this website.

Dr Conrad Feather of the Forest Peoples Programme, the charity helping the Wampis, gave a succinct and powerful summary of the Wampis struggle- and a notable recent success.   Last month the Peruvian High Court ruled that a major oil development in Wampis territory, already well underway, was illegal and must be dismantled. The FPP approach of helping the Wampis by using the law and by legitimising their right to the land is bearing fruit.    Sue Bell, the chair of the Size of Herefordshire, gave a crystal clear outline of why we are doing what we are doing... that it's possible to gain ground in the rainforest struggle, and that it's important not to give in to fatalism.   The whole event was chaired sensitively by Diana Toynbee, the Green candidate who one day might be the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire.

The second event took place on June 16th, in Moccas Park near Bredwardine.  The park is run by Natural England and has prodigiously varied wildlife- from 13 species of bats, to the county's first nesting Red Kites, to the profusion of pied flycatchers, to a rich variety of invertibrates, including a beetle only found in the park.  It's hard to get to walk in the park, but by persistence Sue Bugler persuaded Natural England's man-in-charge Bob Silverwood to lead a guided walk through the park.  What he said was a revelation to the 20-odd people lucky enough to grab places on the walk.   Some of them have lived for years in the neighbourhood but there was a stream of revelations... that a mature oak growing in its own free space may have a root system spreading 5 metres beyond the canopy;  that the park's famous oaks (wonderfully described by the Reverend Kilvert) can be thriving even though they may be hollow; that a bank of earth is the remains of Norman `pillow mound', or place where they bred rabbits.   Many of the people who attended must have wished they had recordings of Bob talking.    The walk raised more than £200 for the Size of Herefordshire.

Wonderful sums have been raised too by two Herefordshire Primary Schools... Stretton Sugwas and Leominster Primary School.   Each has raised £400 for our campaign.   We are hugely grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

The Size of Herefordshire at the Hay Festival

We have our own special event at the Hay Festival!   On Friday 26th May, at four o'clock, Diana Toynbee, Hereford South's Green candidate, will be chairing the event which will relate the very recent trip of two Size of Herefordshire supporters to the rainforest home of the Wampis people.  Last month Dan Haworth-Salter and Malcolm Bell travelled to north eastern Peru in the company of Conrad Feather, the key man of the Forest Peoples Programme in their support of the Wampis people in their struggle to protect their forest.

Dan will be showing a short film about the Wampis and both he and Conrad will be relating what they discovered about the Wampis' progress in holding on to their land.  Sue Bell, chair of the Size of Herefordshire, will be on the platform too, to tell the audience about why we set up our campaign group and where we are headed,

Please do come along to the event... and spread the word!

 

Herefordshire's generous people

Our fund-raising party last Saturday showed how lucky we are to have such generous and warm-hearted people living in our county.    We raised over £1600 to donate to the Forest Peoples Programme and the boat that the Wampi indigenous people badly need.   Or 3,200 hectares of rainforest protected.

The band was terrfiic  - Wye Valley Jazz and Dave Provis not only donated their performance fee, they played with great verve and passion.   More than 100 people bought tickets for the event at De Koffee Pot, Hereford's place on the Left Bank which is growing in popularity as a place for parties, exhibitions as well as food and drink and watching the river Wye flow by. De Koffee Pot didn;t charge either.

My deep thanks go to the organisers, Sue Bugler and her good friends Cam Provis, Vicki Murray, Ingrid Heatly and Jenny Bullough, to Sue Bell and Malcolm Bell who spoke so well, and to Will Bugler, who patiently explained the ways to donate through our interactive map, taking over £400 through the map alone.

Jeremy Bugler

 

 

 

Join Our Party and Have a Blast!

The Size of Herefordshire is holding a fund-raising party in the heart of Hereford's cool quarter, the Left Bank (and where could be cooler anywhere on the globe?).   De Koffie Pot has become a very popular place in relatively short time it has been open... all are invited on Saturday 18 March, starting at 7.30.   Dave Provis and his band will be playing, there will be a raffle with some terrific prizes (such as week's holiday in a Pembrokeshire cottage).   Tickets are £10 on the door.  All the funds raised will go via the Size of Herefordshire to the Forest Peoples Programme and especially to support the Wampis in their brave fight for their land.

 

 

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We are very glad now to have an excellent fund-raiser working for us... Susie de Labilliere., who has many Herefordshire connections.  We count ourselves very lucky to have found her. She can be contacted on sizeofh1@gmail.com.

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In April, the Size of Herefordshire is sending two supporters to northern Peru to meet the Wampi people and to find out more about their struggle and how we can aid them.  Going are Malcolm Bell, who lives about one metre inside the Herefordshire border as its cuts through Hay-on-Wye, and Dan Haworth-Salter, an expert film-maker who teaches photography at the excellent Hereford College of Art.   Malcolm is a well-known planner with a specialised knowledge of Peru and a very experienced expedition leader.   Dan plans to make a short film which will be used to make our campaign better known  -and  also to help the Wampis themselves.  They need a film which can be posted on the internet to publicise their fight.  Their leaders may even be coming to Europe this year to meet political leaders.   Malcolm we hope will write and speak at meetings about us and them.

Going with them will be Conrad Feather, the Forest Peoples Programme's Peru specialist and the man who knows the Wampi well.  He has been a great support to the Size of Herefordshire.

Initial soundings indicate that there will be an event at this year's Hay Festival about Malcolm and Dan's experiences.   This will be a great opportunity for us... and we are very grateful for the interest of Peter Florence, the Hay Festival Director.

More on this later....

 

 

Our slice of Peruvian rainforest hit by oil spill

An illustration of the threat to the Amazon rainforest, a small slice of which the Size of Herefordshire is trying to protect, has come with the news that a state oil pipeline has ruptured in the territory of the Wampis people.  It's their land that we are trying to help them protect.

The pipeline is run by Peru's state oil company, and it appears that sheer neglect of the corrosion of the pipeline lead it to rupture last month, spilling oil into the Cashacano river along both banks, the contamination then flowing into the much larger River Morona, spreading downstream for one  and a half hours travel time.   The spill has severely affected both rivers and the subsistence livelihoods of the native communities who live there.

The spill has followed an earlier spill, on January 25, from the same pipeline.

Now the Wampis people, through their governing body, are demanding that sanctions are issued against Petroperu, that a robust plan be put into effect to control and clear up the spill and to help the affected communities with food and water.  They've also demanded an end to pumping on the whole northern branch of the pipeline.

What should spur the Size of Herefordshire onwards is the simple knowledge that the donations we funnel through to the Wampis people via the Forest Peoples Programme, is greatly strenghtening the ability of the Wampis to protest, to fight and ultimately to protect this huge 1.3 million hectares of Amazon rainforest.

Read the full story on

http:/www.forestpeoples.org/topics/economic-social-cultural-rights/news/2016/03/press-release-wampis-denounce-negligence-state-o

 

 

 

 

 

Blast-off! Our unique map goes live!

March 1st was an epic day for the Size of Herefordshire.  We have developed a ground-breaking way of raising money for the rainforest and involving the people of Herefordshire at the same time.   It is an interactive map: it divides our county into 10 hectare squares.  By clicking on the map and moving the cursor, people can find an area of the county that means something to them.  They can then click on the number of squares they want to sponsor; the website then takes them through to a JustGiving donations page which will direct the donation to the Forest Peoples Programme.   At the rate of £5 a square, donors will have protected an equivalent area of rainforest in the land of the Wampi indigenous people' in North eastern Peru., where the Forest Peoples Programme  is doing great work.

The interactive map is the inspired idea of some bright people at Acclimatise, the climate change adaptation consultancy.  They kindly passed the idea on to us.. It was then developed by Ian Short of PragSys, based in Cardiff.  Its USP is its ability to connect donors to their favourite places and then link them to the Amazon rainforest.   We hope that Herefordians will sponsor their villages, their districts, even their parishes, as well as beloved beauty spots.

We also hope very much that other counties in England will follow Herefordshire and set up their own interactive maps, so protecting increasing areas of rainforest from loggers and  miners and ranchers.   We hope to see a Size of Shropshire and Size of Gloucestershire.. and even a size of Greater London.   After England... perhaps some European countries.   One can dream.

The concept in fact could be used for other fund raising needs.    If the Phillipines is hit again by ferocious hurricanes, an interactive map of the country would enable people to send support to devastated areas.   And the same thinking could apply to Syria, Gaza... the potential list is long.

For the moment, we at the Size of Herefordshire urge  Herefordians to click on the map and sponsor some hectares of God's Own County.. and thus protect  rainforest vital to us all.

 

Jeremy Bugler 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why so shy?

It has been many months since the Size of Herefordshire website went online, but we still do not have a large public presence.  We have had no mentions in the Hereford Times or BBC Hereford and Worcester, let alone the national media and even in the run-up to the Paris Climate Change Conference, we remain low profile.  What is going on, you may ask?

What's going on is the development of a Size of Herefordshire online interactive website, whereby people will be able choose and `buy' a ten hectare square of the county for a fiver.  These 10 hectares will mean that an equivalent 10 hectares of Peruvian rainforest will be protected, the £5 donated being divided between the Forest Peoples' Programme and Cool Earth, two charities who work in the north east of Peru aiding the indigenous people to protect their forest against loggers and miners and palm-oil planters.

The software engineering for this interactive site is very complex and it is taking specialists PragSys of Cardiff sometime to perfect.   But once it is working, Herefordians will be able to buy their favourite spot of their county, be it a village, a parish or a beauty spot. 

Taking online and offline donations together, the Size of Herefordshire has already raised about £5000 - from some generous and big-hearted people.   So 10,000 hectares of rainforest are already protected.    When the county's complete 218,000 hectares are `bought', our job will have been done and an area of rainforest the size of our much-loved county will be under protection.

We hope now to go public and launch in the New Year.   Then we will try to make a lot of noise.

So please, watch this space.

Jeremy Bugler

Co-ordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technology gives, technology takes away

I am very struck this week by the way technology blesses and curses.  I had barely finished reading a Guardian report on a new household battery being developed in London which will enable people to store up to 4 KwH of energy from their wind or solar systems when on came the Today Programme.    The Today Programme is itself something of a blessing and a curse.   In our house, it was a curse a few years ago when New Labour were populated by strongly-accented Scotsmen, such as John Reid, being interviewed by James Naughtie.   I know it is a pathetic personal failing  of mine, but I needed aural subtitles.

More often the Today Programme is a blessing, bringing sharp analysis with news and insghts.  So it was yesterday, Thursday 9 July when the excellent Welsh journalist reported from the Brazilian Amazon.   His report was tough: the illegal loggers of Brazil are rampant and its government reckons that 80 percent of the logging in some areas of the Matto Grosso are illegally logged.   Wyre Davies flew over the rainforest with the anti-logging police, who have to brave gunfire from the loggers on the ground.

The worst aspect of his report was the news that loggers now use a new method to get their trees.  Chainsaws are out of date.  Today the criminal loggers use a very heavy cutting chain attached to a big tractor at each end.  The chain is dragged through the forest felling everything in its path.  In this way, huge swathes can be toppled in a short time.

This development underlines the importance of rainforest protection  run by Cool Earth and the Forest Peoples Programme, which are supported by the Size of Herefordshire.   And when one adds in the knowledge that the Peruvian rainforest, where we are sending our donations, contains more carbon at seven billion tonnes than an entire year of C02 emissions from the US, one can see how vital are campaigns such as ours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How a Herefordshire hectare could save a rainforest hectare...

We are thinking of new inventive ways to ensure that in the great Amazonian rainforest there will be a protected area the size of our county.   For instance,we are looking into the idea of setting up an online map so that people can `buy' or sponsor ten-hectare squares of Herefordshire for £5 a square.  In this way, parishes could buy their area, knowing that an area of - say - Clifford Parish would mean that in Peru there would be matching area of protected rainforest.   Or someone could `buy' their favourite beauty spot, or farmers could `buy' the areas of their farm.  The possibilities are great.

The idea needs a lot of work to make it workable online, but we are starting doing that.   In the meantime, anyone who donates to the Size of Herefordshire's two projects will of course be protecting chunks of the great rainforest.   One donor this week has protected 400 hectares of rainforest   - that's something to be proud about.

We are also thinking about a date for the official launch of the Sise of Herefordshire and imaginative ways of doing it.

Please watch this space!