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INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 35 3 Climate campers take on bank 4 Circles of Support 5 100 days Simon Beard 6 Quakers aid flood relief in Pakistan Adrian Rose 7 Your burden is my burden Ken Aldous 8-9 Letters 10-11 Faith not charity Bob Johnson 12-13 The good ego John Anderson 14 Did you find God in the garden? Diana Lampen 15 In Tokyo with love Beryl and Roger Lankaster 16 Q-Eye 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: The remains of the 100-years old Madyan hospital, Pakistan, that has now been washed away. Photo: Abaseen Foundation. See page 6. Images on this page: Pakistanis affected by flooding (top and middle) and destroyed buildings (bottom). Photos: Abaseen Foundation.
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the Friend, 27 August 2010 News
Climate campers take on bank
Climate campers in action. Photo: Amelia Gregory.
VISITORS TO THE EDINBURGH Festival Fringe were taken by surprise on Monday, when environmental campaigners staged protests at sites connected to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). There were at least three arrests at an RBS branch in the city centre after activists superglued themselves to walls and furniture.
Around 600 campaigners had formed a Camp for Climate Action outside RBS’s international headquarters over the weekend. Most of the building’s staff are reported to have stayed at home on Monday.
The campers pointed out that taxpayers own eightyfour per cent of RBS, which they accuse of using public money to finance ‘climate destruction’. They were backed by performers angry at RBS’s sponsorship of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The bank has attracted strong criticism for its investments in tar sands exploration, a form of obtaining oil thought to be around three times more carbon intensive than conventional methods. RBS has loaned £117 million to Cairn Energy, which recently began drilling for oil off the coast of Greenland.
Natalie Swift of the Camp’s media team told the Friend that the Camp enabled participants to ‘work sustainably, take direct action against climate change, get educated and really create a network’.
Sara Walcott of Lewes Meeting said that her Quakerism had motivated her to attend. ‘Quakers know that the pure accumulation of wealth unattached from a deeper reflection on its purpose is inherently not in right relationship,’ she explained.
‘We experience God through struggle,’ said Sara, ‘Through personal struggle, through showing up and coming even when we don’t want to come, through practising and living’.
Sara explained that conversations and events at the camp had challenged her outlook and she had learned a lot from both internal and external experiences.
Campaigners report that the policing of the protests was less harsh than they had experienced in the past.
One group of activists who spread fake oil on a road in imitation of an oil spill were accused of a ‘reckless and dangerous act’ by a police spokesperson.
‘We don’t set out to take action that will harm members of the public,’ insisted Natalie Swift. Asked if the camp had a commitment to nonviolence, she said that they never promote violence against people, but that ‘nonviolence is not a word that we usually use’ because some interpret the term as ruling out damage to property.
But Chris Wood of Westminster Meeting, who has attended the Camp on previous occasions, expressed his surprise. ‘I would think that Climate Camp is an example of nonviolence in action,’ he said. ‘I think they should use the word.’
A spokesperson for RBS said, ‘While we understand the protesters’ intent and publicity tactics, we clearly cannot agree with their decision to target RBS’.
Symon Hill the Friend, 27 August 2010