Freedom News

Prison Column: From an environmental prisoner

Freedom continues its regular prison column with an update from Jan Goodey who is currently serving a six-month sentence for blocking the M25 with Just Stop Oil.

Seems to me I’m banged up for stating the bleeding obvious. The Financial Times article entitled “UK needs ‘war effort’ to cut energy bills and carbon emissions, say MPs” reports: “the [House of Commons Environmental audit committee] recommended ministers consult on a date to end new North Sea Oil and gas licensing rounds” which it said should be “well before 2050”. Jess Ralston of the think-tank Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, described this as a “no brainer”.

Practically the only problem I can see is the national grid. The grid is out-of-date, it’s overrun with smaller scale energy projects which it can’t connect in a reasonable timescale – say six to eighteen months. The current wait time can be anything up to 12 years. Ofgem, the energy regulator is tasked with allocating how much money can be spent by networks on the poles, wires and transformers to transport electricity from one part of the country to another. The government under Sunak, who has recently made 5 pledges to the UK electorate, none of which mention climate change or biodiversity, could invest the windfall tax billions from Shell and BP et al. to this cause. And so, meet the expansion in demand from renewables and help the grid infrastructure to catch up.

Reading a book by the transition town founder Rob Hopkins (not my usual fare owing to his affiliations to major greenwash merchants) he states that we have an imagination deficit, in other words if we put into practise simple and effective ideas, we could be in a far better position in regards to the climate emergency and nature-ecological catastrophe.

So that’s it regarding the environment for this time, save to say, globally the decarbonisation programme is stalled despite chinks of light like Marina Silva in Brazil and the walrus in the UK which halted a fireworks display on New Year’s eve and if we can do this we can do an awful lot more.

Prison life at Wandsworth is same old same old. Having been busted down to basic for refusing to transfer I’m seeing a smidgeon of what can be meted out by power fixated SOs (senior officers). The lack of amenities for a week is fine by me except my cellmate suffers too which I don’t like. Still, life goes on…

This Sunday we were refused entry to a catholic service on New Year’s Day because we weren’t “on the list” – so peaceful surroundings and fellow feeling were out the window, hard cheddar. The chapel here is peopled by kind, positive men and women with goodness in their hearts just the same as the prisoners’ circle on the whole, where selflessness and thinking of others is uppermost in peoples minds. If only the government and State could adopt this mindset. Until next time…

Jan Goodey

Images: Guy Smallman

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