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.