Our Long Walkers

We are greatly benefiting from the tough legs of two supporters. In April, our friend and near neighbour Jennie Hewitt took it on herself to walk the length of the Thames, from Gloucester to London. She did this in the middle of a campaign to get herself elected as an Independent councillor. Despite this time off, she was elected and … she did get to London, raising £570 for us. Her motivation, she says, was her desire to do something for her children’s future - and her new grandson Solomon - in the face of the climate crisis.

And now, on Saturday, May 25th, supporter Stephen Kyle sets out on an epic walk all round the border of Herefordshire, some 200 miles, carrying his tent on his back and sleeping in fields and woods. He is fundraising for the Size of Herefordshire and thence for the Forest Peoples Programme. With a target of £2,500, he is on his way ( see http:// justgiving.com/fundraising/stephen-kyle6 ). He has been training for many weeks, testing especially a knee that was operated on last year. It will be an epic… his journey takes him from the Malvern Hills, around the wonderful country near Presteigne, down into Hay on Wye during the Festival, then following Offa’s Dyke into the mountains before dropping down again into the Monnow and Wye valleys and then turning for home and the Malverns.

We will benefit hugely from Jennie and Stephen’s commitment, The money they raise is being match-funded by the Size of Wales and thus comes to some wonderful lumps. If the landowners of Herefordshire so far have been hard to entrance with our message, big-hearted individuals are taking their place.

Jeremy Bugler

Co-ordinator, the Size of Herefordshire


FABUARY was the headline in the Sun summing up the very warm February we had this year. Well , one doesn’t turn to the Sun for intelligence; it has downplayed climate change for years. I was interested though how many people were evidently disturbed by the extraordinarily warm month, with the highest ever recorded February UK temperature of 21.2C in Kew Gardens. Ian Jack was just one columnist who wrote with insight in the Guardian how such weather events may indicate global warming getting out of human control.

The Size of Herefordshire recognises how public concern has reached a new high on climate change. We will further emphasise the critical role that rainforest plays in global warming, contributing perhaps a quarter of all greenhouse gases annually. Put another way, rainforest destruction gives out more CO2 than all the world’s planes and cars and trucks in a year.

One of the best local campaigns to fight climate change must be The Size of Herefordshire.

Where in the world is wildlife being most destroyed?

I have found the report this week from the World Wildlife Foundation that humanity has wiped out 60 per cent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970 to be the very definition of an extreme news shocker. Coming close on the heels of the Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change report earlier this month, the WFF calculations chill the blood. Reading these reports in the early hours, coming through on my Kindle from the Guardian, has made me want to just pull the covers over my head and never get out of bed again.

One key part of the WFF report highlights that the worst affected region is South and Central America, which “has seen an 89 per cent drop in vertebrate populations, largely driven by the felling of vast areas of wildlife-rich forest. The deforestation, says Mike Barrett of the WFF, “is being driven by ever-expanding agriculture producing soy, which is being exported to countries to feed pigs and chickens.”

This news underlines the value of the Size of Herefordshire’s work. We are supporting, through the Forest Peoples Programme, the battles of the Wampis people in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. The best people at preserving their rainforest homes are the indigenous peoples, the peoples who have long had their homes and livelihood there. So, rather than pull the covers over, I am redoubling my efforts to give backing to the Wampis people, who are able and inventive but need some assistance. And I am eating less meat.

Jeremy Bugler

One of the most effective ways we can fight climate change....

Since yesterday, the papers have been full of guidance on what an individual should do to fight climate change. For yesterday, the UN published the stark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, arguing that we must now try to stabilise the increase in global temperature at 1.5 degrees C - not the Paris Accord’s 2C… if we want to avoid catastrophic damage.

It’s suggested that we eat much less meat and dairy and stop beef entirely; that we switch to electric cars; that we walk and cycle much more; that we just consume and spend less. All this is wise and sensible. I will do much more in my personal life and forever eschew the Hereford-based Rule of Tum’s delicious beef burgers. (They do very tasty veg burgers as well).

But one of the very most effective ways we can fight climate change is to protect the rainforests. The destruction of the rainforests is one of the very biggest causes of rising CO2 - bigger in size than the C02 put out by all the world’s cars and trucks. That’s an amazing fact. The World CarFree Network judges that globally cars and trucks contribute 14 per cent of the annual output of CO2… whereas most analysts now put rainforest destruction as making up 15 percent. An appalling 32 million acres of rainforest - at least - is cut down each year.

The Size of Herefordshire is one of the most effective ways to prevent rainforests destruction - protecting as we do a huge area of Amazon rainforest in North east Peru. Whether it is offsetting flights, or just putting the world to rights, support the Size of Herefordshire is a must.

Many people haven’t realised the urgency of the threat to our ways of life. The IPPC gives just 14 years before the 1.5 degree C level is reached, if we carry on as we are. And there are many knowledgeable experts who think that the IPPC report is too soft. Says one: if the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 410 ppm - the highest level for the past million years in which human society developed - why should we think that 1.5C is bearable? In the past, 410 ppm is associated with much higher temperatures.

I have never felt more that the work of the Size of Herefordshire is more valuable.

Jeremy Bugler

Co-ordinator, The Size of Herefordshire

The peoples of the forest fight back

The Size of Herefordshire has long been concentrating on aiding the indigenous people who live in the great Amazn rainforest in their fight to protect their lands.  In particular, we have been helping the Wampi people and the Awajun people of the forest in north eastern Peru.   Indigenous people own a quarter of the world's land and evidence shows that they are the best protectors of the land.

So it was with particular pleasure that we read that at the end of August indigenous leaders from Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Suriname and Venezuela met in Bogata and called for the consolidation of "the biggest environmental and cultural corridor in the world to unite protected areas with indigenous territories, recover degraded areas and promote the sustainable use of the forest."   Forest of course means that extraordinary Amazon rainforest of 200 million hectares which runs from the Andes to the Atlantic.  

The indigenous leaders called on governments of the region to "weave alliances and commitments to promote, protect and make visible the Andes-Amazon-Atlantic Corridor, its biodiversity, its cultures and the sacredness of its territory,"

One indigenous leader, Tuntiak Katan, put it well; "For us the Amazon basin is sacred.  Some say it's the lungs of the world.  For us it is the heart of the world and in this heart we find an immense concentration of biodiversity and cultural diversity.  Yet it's here that they're pushing ahead with more extractive and industrial activities."

In short, the forest is up against voracious late-form capitalism, in which the only bottom line is the return to shareholders.  

The summit was financed by small donations from Avaaz subscribers.


Great things come in pairs

Two wonderful things have happened to the Size of Herefordshire in the past few days.

First, the Size of Herefordshire has secured the Holy Grail of all fund-raising organisations: match-funding.   Our inestimable inspirers, the Size of Wales agreed at the beginning of May to match-fund all the future funds that we raise for the Forest Peoples Programme.   This is a great advance for us  - and great generosity by the Size of Wales.  It ought to make fund-raising that vital bit easier... being able to tell a potential donor that any money they donate will doubled is a juicy carrot...and a real help to us.   Our deepest thanks go to the Size of Wales.

 Second, and by no means second, one of our supporters, Will Bugler, ran in the marathon at Nantes, raising for the Size of Herefordshire.  Will first set his target at £1000, but quickly surpassed that and raised it to £1,500. Then he raised it again to £2000, and then £2500.   By the time he went past the finishing post in the very respectable time of three hours 14 minutes (on a very hot day), he had gone well past £2,500.  With Gift Aid, he has secured for the Size of Herefordshire over £3000.    

This is by some way the largest sum ever donated or collected for us.   In land terms, over 6000 hectares of Herefordshire have now been blocked in on our interactive map, protecting at least the equivalent area in the rainforest of north-east Peru.

Many many thanks and congratulations to Will... and many thanks too to all you generous people who supported him.  We are deeply indebted - and a good way further onto to our target.

Wisdom from the Rainforest

Size of Herefordshire supporters gave a generous welcome to an inspiring leader from the Wampis indigenous people of the Peruvian rainforest.   It was the least we could do: Shapiom Noningo Sesen was hugely impressive..  He spoke to us quietly, calmly, gently, imparting wisdom as much as knowledge.   Film-maker Dan Haworth-Salter, who visited and filmed in the rainforest of the Wampis Nation last year on behalf of the Size of Herefordshire, spoke at the welcome meeting for Shampion of the novel experience at finding that when he asked questions to Wampis leaders, the answers he got were direct and unadorned.  There was none of the calculation and spin that he had experienced when interviewing Western politicians.

So it was with Shampion, effectively the foreign minister of the Wampis nation.    In answers to questions, Shampion spoke frankly of how the Wampis would still have to use the rainforest once they have full control of it, but not for mining or oil, but sustainably, organically.   He spoke of the difficulties of working with national government.  In Peru as well as all Latin America, government is corrupt and makes corrupt decisions.  One corrupt tactic in Peru is the Government declaring an area of the rainforest a "conservation area", after token consultation with the forest peoples. Perversely, this conservation area has rules which then make it much easier for the government to allow in mining and petroleum companies.

The message from Shampion though was upbeat; " I am one hundred percent optimisitic"  that the Wampis will be able to protect their rainforest territory, he said in Spanish,  very ably translated  by Anna Campbell.   He plainly appreciated the efforts of NGOs like the Forest Peoples Programme and fund-raising groups such as the Size of Herefordshire.  Money raised by us has funded a vital boat, with a powerful engine.  The boat, named The Hereford, is deployed in ferrying Wampis leaders to meetings which they hold to progress the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis Nation, the declaration made last year that is so vital to success in protecting their territory.   Shampion reminded the gathering that the Wampis people had been fighting for their territory for centuries, going back to the time of the Incas.  "We know well how to fight" he said,

The gathering was also treated to an excellent 15 minute film on the Wampis' struggle by Dan Haworth-Salter, that he is making for the Forest Peoples Programme for advocacy.    The film was both informative and moving, featuring a number of Wampis people, men and women, relating the meaning of the rainforest to them and their determination to protect it..  The Size of Herefordshire website will shortly have a 5 minute version of this film included on it.

After the meeting, Shampion got a short conducted tour of the centre of the Hereford.  He may have been surprised that Hereford Cathedral at 5.30 on a Sunday evening was closed.  He was though undoubtedly impressed by the City's statue in St Peter's square: the muscular Hereford bull.   "Ah, Toro" he said.  "Muy bien."

Rainforest leader comes to Hereford!

One of the leaders of the Wampis, the indigenous people who are superbly resisting the loggers and miners in their part of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, is coming to Hereford this Sunday, February 18th.   Shapiom Noningo Sesen Bio will be welcomed by Size of Herefordshire supporters gathering at De Koffee Pot on Hereford's Left Bank, close to the old Bridge.  Shapiom has been a prominent leader within the Amazonian indigenous movement for many years, from the community level right up the national organisation which represents the forest people of the Peruvian Amazon.  In the Consejo Aguaruna Huambisa (the Council of the Awajun and Wampis people, Shapiom has played a huge role in defending the land and the social and cultural rights of the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.   And we just need to constantly remember two facts:   the destruction of the rainforest causes more carbon dioxide release than all the world's transport in a year.... and as Naomi Wolf has said, the best defenders of the rainforest are its people.   Shapiom is one of those best defenders.

From between 3.00 and 5.30, we will be proud to welcome Shapiom.


See the film that has taken France by storm.

A positive film about the environment is a blessing; a positive one about climate change a double blessing.   The French film Demain is both of these, a feel-good and constructive film that has been an immense success in France.  Now the Size of Herefordshire is bringing Demain to Herefordshire with a special screening at Ledbury's Market Theatre.   We will also be showing a short film by Dan Haworth-Salter about the Wampis, the forest people of the Peruvian rainforest which the Size of Herefordshire is doing a lot to help in their fight to keep the loggers and miners from their ancestral forests.   Dan will introduce his film, which will be followed by Demain.

The screenings are in Friday February 16th at 8.00.   Come and be cheered up!

Events, Proofs, Successes

More events to raise funds for the Wampis and Awahun indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest in Peru are brewing.   Last week, we raised over £400 when about 80 people came on a dark cold night to listen to the geologist Dr Paul Olver deliver fascinating revelations about the landscape of our county.   The listeners will surely never forget that there are lumps of rock in Herefordshire that were once in the south Atlantic. that the first Ice Age ended on the line on the M4 and the second Ice Age on the line of the A49 and that 19th century landowners spent vast sums sinking shafts through the Herefordshire's red sandstone in the search of coal.  They found schist, which could spelled another way,

This coming weekend, the Hay Winter Festival features two walks, organised by the excellent Woodland Trust.  Tickets for both are already sold out which may be good news for the Size of Herefordshire, since the Trust has kindly agreed to hand out some of our flyers and leave a bucket around for donations.

We are also planning to hold a fund-raising showing of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel, the successor film to his revelatory An Inconvenient Truth on climate change.   Our hope is to show this in Hereford.  Watch this space.

Asking people, not least good people, for support is never easy.  One estimable person said to us recently  "Oh God, do we have to worry about climate change?"   I am sure the Almighty muttered "you do, my dear, you do."   Another at the same event doubted whether the approach of the Forest Peoples Programme in giving land rights to the indigenous people of the forests was the right one.  Indeed, he said it wasn't.

Well, it's good to report of a study by researchers of the Peruvian Amazon .   They analyzed campaigns to give land rights where more that 1,200 indigenous communities over 11 million hectares have received title to their land since the mid-1970s.  They used data from high-resolution satellite images to estimate the effects of titling between 2002 and 2005 on forest clearing and disturbance.  The results indicates that titling reduces forest clearance by more than three quarters and forest disturbance by roughly two thirds in a two year period after the indigenous peoples got the rights to their land.    The research was carried out by Allen Blackman, Leonardo Corral, Eirivelthon Santos Lima, and Gregory P. Asner and can be seen on www,pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1037/pnas.1603290114.

Given that destruction of the rainforest is causing more co2 emissions than all forms of transport in a year, appreciating the value of giving the forest people the rights to their land is a key insight.   The Size of Herefordshire is on the right track.

So are the Wampis and Awajun.  They are success stories .  They are holding on to their land and repelling invaders.   The Peru High Court judgement in March 2017 which found that petroleum companies had illegally invaded their land was a historic victory.