Archive for the ‘Society’ category

Syria’s Climate Conflict

September 5th, 2015

Trying to follow what is going on in Syria and why? This comic will get you there in 5 minutes.


This image is an excerpt from the comic linked to above at Upworthy. Written by Audrey Quinn and illustrated by Jackie Roche it looks back at the underlying causes of a people fleeing their homeland.

Even amongst researchers critical of linking war and catastrophes to climate change, Syria is considered an exception:

“I have tremendous respect for the authors of the recent study of violence in Syria,” Solow says. “But given the history of Syria and the region generally, I find it hard to believe that, but for the drought, this violence would not have occurred.”

There is a Refugees Welcome event taking place in Oxford tomorrow at 3pm.


Free flooding workshop this July

May 27th, 2014

Climate Outreach and Information Network are running a series of free workshops this summer, including an event at the Langdale Hall in Witney on 13 July.

'Can we talk about climate change now?' says COIN's banner over a flooded Oxford residential street.

The workshops will discuss a number of issues arising from flooding, which much of Witney has been historically prone to. These include:

  • Will flooding get worse?
  • Is the weather changing?
  • How is climate change connected?
  • How can we be prepared for future floods?

You can join fellow Witney inhabitants in discussing these issues, and learn how to communicate to others the risks we all face.

Spaces are limited but you can book for free here.

Come and ride your bike with us in Witney Carnival tomorrow

July 12th, 2013

Witney Carnival is tomorrow – and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day for it.

So do you want to join us as part of our bicycle-riding “float” in the procession? Anyone who can ride a bike is welcome, and we’ll be riding along with the children from the Witney Mountain Bike group.

The theme for this year’s carnival is “the history of Witney”, so if you want to dress up please do; if you have a vintage bike then that would be especially welcome! We’ll be meeting at the west of the Leys at 10.10am (near the toilets).

Not sure about riding with us? Come along for the carnival and the floats, and cheer us on! You’ll probably be able to spot us: we’ll be the ones on two wheels.

Resurgence Exhibition & Talk, Asthall Manor

June 10th, 2013

Satish Kumar, the long-term peace and environment activist, is speaking at The Ballroom, Asthall Manor, at 6pm on Saturday, 22nd June. Satish has been editor of Resurgence magazine for 40 years and Resurgence, (now merged with the Ecologist) has been in publication for 45 years. An exhibition celebrating these two anniversaries is on display at Asthall Manor from the 22 – 30 June, and this talk is about the story of Resurgence, and Satish’s involvement with it.

The event is free to all.

Directions to Asthall Manor

The Spirit Level – The Fleece, Church Green

March 17th, 2013

SpiritLevelWednesday 20 March at The Fleece, Church Green, Witney, at 7.30 pm.  Admission Free but limited places.

If you have read The Spirit Level, you will find this talk by Madeleine Power, Senior Researcher at The Equality Trust fascinating. If not come and find out what it’s all about.

To book please access


Comparing life expectancy, mental health, levels of violence, teenage birth rates, drug abuse, child wellbeing, obesity rates, levels of trust, the educational performance of school children, or the strength of community life among rich countries, it is clear that societies which tend to do well on one of these measures tend to do well on all of them, and the ones which do badly, do badly on all of them. What accounts for the difference?

The key is the amount of inequality in each society. The picture is consistent whether we compare rich countries or the 50 states of the USA. The more unequal a society is, the more ill health and social problems it has.

Inequality has always been regarded as divisive and socially corrosive. The data show that even small differences in the amount of inequality matter. Material inequality serves as a determinant of the scale and importance of social stratification. It increases status insecurity and competition and the prevalence of all the problems associated with relative deprivation. Particularly important are effects mediated by social status, friendship and early childhood experience. However, although the amount of inequality has its greatest effect on rates of problems among the poor, its influence extends to almost all income groups: too much inequality reduces levels of well-being among the vast majority of the population.

Arranged by the West Oxfordshire Green Party.

Bridewell Organic Gardens open days in August and September

August 9th, 2012

Bridewell Organic Gardens (©

Bridewell Organic Gardens are on the far side of Wilcote from Witney. You might have seen their signs and garden walls, en route between Wilcote and North Leigh on the long, sweeping single-track road.

But have you ever thought about what they do? They’re a therapeutic gardening project: they offer worthwhile work opportunities, in a therapeutic setting, for those who need a combination of therapy, exercise and to make a valuable contribution while doing so; the majority of their referrals are from primary care trusts.

Because of their therapeutic status, the gardens aren’t often accessible to the public. But! you can go on one of their open days, which will be on Sundays 19 August and 9 September. That’s a week this Sunday; and the second Sunday in September.

If you’re free on one of those days, why not pop along to Bridewell gardens, and maybe bring back some locally produced organic wine, or even organic honey, in your panniers…?

Put The Kettle On

July 25th, 2012

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one among my family and friends who is concerned about climate change and find it difficult to talk to them about it, so this course immediately caught my attention:

How to win the climate change argument in a 15 minute tea breakLow Carbon Hub training course with George Marshall, Director of the Climate Outreach Information Network

I assumed it would provide the basics of the science and some facts to convince people that the wettest June ever (and possibly July too!) was happening for a reason, but it turned out to be far more interesting than that.

» Read more: Put The Kettle On

Carbon Conversations

April 25th, 2012

Concerned about climate change and want to reduce your carbon footprint? How about coming along to Carbon Conversations?

The aims of Carbon Conversations are to:

· help you explore feelings about climate change

· use your creativity to look for solutions

· make plans you feel comfortable with

The details are:

· Six 2 hour meetings held in the evening locally over 3 months with a small group of 6 to 10 people and 2 facilitators

· Each meeting addresses the key areas of a person’s carbon footprint eg the home, travel and food in a supportive and non-judgmental way and involves discussion, understanding and practical plans. See the Carbon Conversations website for more information.

· The cost of attending the sessions would be about £20 to pay for the Carbon Conversations Handbook

If you are interested in attending a course then please email Sustainable Witney: just click on Contact on the green bar at the top of the page, fill in your details and click the Submit button.

Be The Change – High St, Methodist Church

April 13th, 2012

Corn Exchange & Town Meeting

March 7th, 2012

© James Clark Travel Blog and Travel Photos

The next meeting of the Public Halls Committee is on Tuesday 13th March.

Prompted by the closure of the Corn Exchange, the Town Council are still accepting submissions to the Public Halls Consultation. You can participate either by using this online form, or by downloading this form and printing it off.

It’s also the Witney Annual Town Meeting on Wednesday 14th March, 7:30pm in the Langdale Hall. We’re hoping there’ll be tea and cakes!

Annual Town Meeting

March 7th, 2012

7:30pm Wednesday 14th March in Langdale Hall. Agenda…

Public Halls Committee Meeting

March 7th, 2012

7pm Tuesday 13th March at the Town Hall.

Be the Change

February 15th, 2012

On 28th January Steve Mohamed, Michael Richards and I attended an exciting event in Abingdon called “Be the Change: Awakening the Activist Within”. Hosted by Abingdon Quakers, the day included films, workshops and action plans for the the future relating to environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfilment. We learned a lot about the growing worldwide movement to create a sustainable, fulfilling and just human presence on Earth as the guiding principle of our time. This movement began as a connection between Ecuadorian tribes and Californian environmentalists, which became known as the Pachamama Alliance and is now spreading to all parts of the globe, including Oxfordshire!

The three of us came away thoroughly inspired and eager to set up a similar event in Witney. To this end we’ve spoken to people in Sustainable Witney, Witney Quakers and others who are also keen to progress the idea. The person from the Be the Change initiative who ran the Abingdon event has agreed to run an event for us in Witney. So now we need to find a good venue, a good day and lots of people to come and be inspired! We hope this will lead to action groups around particular environmentally-related interests to make things happen in Witney and beyond.

We plan to hold a meeting in Witney to plan the initial event and will post details on this website.



Local Film Maker

March 27th, 2011

Just up the road in Hailey, Ross Harrison has produced a film which we think is the best way to round off Climate Week.

You can read the the story here in the Witney Gazette and view the entire film at Beyond the Brink. Here’s the trailer…

Beyond the Brink Trailer from Ross Harrison on Vimeo.

The High Street

December 1st, 2010

Last night’s episode of ‘Turn Back Time’ was very revealing about human nature.

The programme was set up to produce a cost vs service situation in Shepton Mallet’s High Street, and even though we all know the answer, the result was still dramatic.

We might value highly the social benefits of ‘traditional’ shops, but when spending our money we almost always choose the cheaper option, even if we can afford not to.

It’s our choice, but it seems it’s a choice we have little control over.

The episodes taking the High Street through the ages are still available to view here,