XR Godalming Update 2nd June

A new month, a new season, a new start?? We are allowed to do more. We can meet in groups of six – enough for some rebel action? We have recently debated at various times about when to take part in actions, and to date we have felt the time is not right. As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, other groups did do the reclaim the streets bike ride. And last weekend there was a national Change is Now action. As a group we decided at the meeting on Wednesday not to participate. There is no right or wrong in these matters. Collectively we will continue to use our own democratic processes to make decisions on what we do, and do not do. Many of us may still feel bruised, or exhausted, or deflated by the impact on our family, personal or work lives. Our individual and collective well-being is a priority. We need resilience for the task of tackling the climate emergency. No doubt, week by week, we’ll work out when we want to have a physical presence at actions.


Those on Telegram will be very familiar with the action taken at Horse Hill this week. Nonetheless, it is worth documenting here. For those not familiar with the history of drilling and protests at Horse Hill, Drill or Drophas a very good narrative on this going back to 2010, when Magellan Petroleum UK Ltd submitted a planning application for an exploratory wellsite. The website is right up to date, including the actions on 1 June 2020. This action didn’t just get niche online media coverage. Even the New York Times had a brief article on it. The protest did involve trespassing onto the site, but as comments on Telegram show, many of us support the rebels in what they did. The Horse Hill site is relevant in its own right, but for us also has an increased pertinence because it is managed by UK Oil and Gas (UKOG), who want to drill at Dunsfold. Information on this can be found in the past two newsletters. Planning permission has not yet been granted, but it will go to committee this month on 29 June.


A couple of weeks ago Chris provided information about responding to the Waverley Borough Council Climate Emergency Action Plan. So far eight people have volunteered to contribute to our response, which is great. If you haven’t become involved yet and would like to, please contact Joyce or Chris, or email xrgodalming@gmail.com.    


At last week’s meeting, we discussed taking part in the national ‘Change is Now’ action last weekend (30 May). The level of enthusiasm was mixed, and we decided not to participate. The core of the meeting was devoted to listening to and discussing Marco’s campaign idea of promoting industrial hemp. Unlike its narcotic cousin, cannabis, hemp can be used for pretty much everything else apart from drugs: textiles, plastic substitutes, hempcrete (building material), food, to name but a few. Hemp had a long history of cultivation in the UK and all over the world before being outlawed relatively recently due its loose narcotic affiliation. Marco is passionate about its potential as a sustainable super crop of the future and agreed to present some action proposals to our local group and the South East Action Circle soon. If you would like to get involved, please contact him on Telegram (@petamino) or get in touch with us at the general email address.

IN THE NEWS (and in case you missed it on Telegram)

Last bank holiday weekend we hit new heights of the ridiculous. Because of Covid-19, energy consumption is low, and because of high winds and sunny days, alternative energy production was high. The solution? Apparently, being prepared to pay alternative energy suppliers to cease production, and to pay electric vehicle owners to charge their cars. Someone please explain what’s going on!!

Chris wants to draw our attention to Local Democracy, an XR Surrey initiative to see how we can use our energies most usefully to push for our agenda through the 2021 Surrey County Council elections. Some creative thought is going into this from members of various XR groups in Surrey. There is a working group you can join. Contact localdemocracy_se@protonmail.com.

Basil posted an article on random acts of wildness. This is an initiative running throughout June organised by the Wildlife Trusts, in which you commit do doing one wild thing every day during the month.

Kirsty posted information about the World Health Organisation’s Manifesto for a healthy recovery from COVID-19. She also posted a link to an article about a letter written by 350 organisations representing over 40 million health professionals and over 4,500 individual health professionals from 90 different countries, to the G20 leaders calling for a #HealthyRecovery.

On the theme of letters, Louisa posted a link to a letter from Greenpeace to the Chancellor of the Exchequer imploring him not to provide any blank cheques to the aviation industry. Greenpeace is seeking at least 200,000 signatories to the letter, so let’s help then to achieve that goal.


As reported over past weeks, Tim and Basil continue to develop the XR Godalming website. Please take a look at xrgodalming.org and contact Tim or Basil if you have any thoughts about the content, or if you want to be involved in the project.


This Wednesday, 3 June, we have a regular meeting. If you have any topics you wish to include, please email xrgodalming@gmail.com. Chris will provide an update on emerging plans for aligned actions which may take place in the near future. One of the topics to discuss is arrestee support. We may separate the meeting into two parts, with a general meeting first, then a separate arrestee support meeting after.

As always at present, the session will be on zoom.

The session starts at 7.30pm


Information about forthcoming Think Tank and book club sessions will be posted on Telegram.

Heading for Extinction talk. We are looking at doing a Zoom version of the H4E talk, with some adjustment to the content in light of the coronavirus crisis. A date has yet to be firmed up, but likely at some point in June.

Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday or soon.

With hope and determination.

XR Godalming