Monday, 21 March 2016

Branding Truth...

I was reading an interesting observation piece on LinkedIn entitled: The Art of Marketing to the Gullible and recognised the truths both as having worked in marketing and now, primarily working actively to whip away its veils and expose the dangers lurking beneath. The author, Simon Iredale asked things like:

"How did we end up drinking fizzy drinks laced with sugar, eating deep fried foods at every opportunity, believing that chocolate bar with nuts and raisins was good for us? How do we borrow more money than we can afford, buy products with global logos on for much more than they’re worth and give our kids graphically animated games that ‘shut them up’?"

and
"At the time of writing this we have leading UK politicians blatantly lying but being believed, we have very educated people buying products that are actively contributing to global warming, we have one of the most dangerous men in the world being followed and voted for by legions of adoring fans (and I’m not talking about North Korea). We are individuals so surely we can’t make a difference? If I stop buying that sugary drink will that shut the company down? If I stop buying that shampoo will the tree felling stop?"

I was speaking with a former UK Diplomat about how after public meetings about the process of fracking, the following would happen and what to do about the last bit: Most people would gather to form groups or question the speakers, looking for ways to be effective in preventing the industry from getting started. No-one ever said we were wrong (apart from the odd, exposed industry-insider) but there were always a few who would say:

"Sure it's a bad thing but hey, what can you do? The government has said we're getting it."


The Diplomat replied: "Oh yes, that's the 'Implied Inevitability' ...it's relied on to convince people that they are powerless to stop something; a decision has been made." Not that a law had yet changed or that planning permission had been obtained, just that somebody important said it would happen.

White coats and sharp news-reader suits have a lot to answer for. Before online alternatives, we were informed of all the inevitables as well as shades of reality that media chose to shine a light on; all together at 6 and 10 o'clock. By the end of the news you had a picture of the world as told by the sensible man in the suit.

Then along came online and instead of wondering if it was just me feeling jaded and sceptical about all sorts of things from the news items to margarine, or if my opinion of the politician on Question Time was a rare one... I could go to Twitter and engage with countless others feeling the same, asking questions, searching reports, sharing results and informing ourselves.

In the past, I have written quite a few hotel websites and was delighted as they became virtually worthless with the advent of reviews by actual guests. Although to be taken with a pinch of salt and awareness that not everybody's definition of 'yuk' is the same... I have more chance of truth on Booking.com than a glossy description by someone who hasn't even visited and is acting on information, from the person who most needs it to sound perfect,

Applying marketing skills to truth telling is a glorious plan and maybe that's what is happening particularly amongst the (unplanned) 'branding' of our 'Nana' activists against fracking in the UK and the Knitting Nanas Against Gas fighting coal seam  gasification in Australia? For us here in the UK, identifying as Nanas was simply an attempt to make clear WHY we became activists and to ensure anyone watching us on media, would not see us titled as something they maybe didn't relate to like: 'eco warriors' 'environmental campaigners' etc.

Our 'Nana' status was a job title and description in one - we are protecting our young.

There's no denying that the world is changing rapidly with the advent of new technology - for better and for worse.. my hope is that we seize the moments to infuse them with truth and humanity so that the cold hard sell, becomes obsolete.

I'll leave the last words with Simon as they sum it up well:

"We are amazing marketers; we perform magic tricks on the world, we seek out the gullible and take their hard earned money. It’s really dead simple. The good news however is that we have this ability in our hands to do this magic, to make people believe what we tell them, to make a difference to peoples perception of the brands we work on."



*Note the notes before taking too literally :)

ps... just discovered some having fun and effect with the old marketing ways by turning the tables on big fibbers.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Time is NOW...

What a time this is. The anti-fracking movement is being stretched to the limits and the pressure is huge - sites for exploration (experimentation) springing up all over and the case for the first full production sites being debated in the current appeal in Lancashire. We need it to be clear to those it would affect - investors and politicians (who seek re-election) that the UK WILL RESIST and will do so against the companies on the ground and the politicians in the polling stations. Marches, demonstrations, public meetings, groups formation, MPs lobbied, Councillors informed, letters to Editors, online sharing, Protection camps, independent reporting, peer-reviewed studies, whistle-blowers and victims coming over and speaking out - ensured we have remained FRACK FREE for 5 years. Right now though - we are experiencing an emergency and EVERY ONE OF US needs to act/react in some way (any way) to add to the volume - to let it be known that we will not accept this dangerous industry here on UK soil. Of all the issues we face under this government - and there are so bloody many - NOTHING will matter if we don't have safe air, safe water, safe agricultural land and our health. If this wasn't an immediate emergency I would be fighting to keep our NHS public, our kids out of wars that aren't waged for self-defense or the good of anything other than special interests, the under-funding of mental health issues, the state of over-crowded classes and under-funded education, the risks posed now and in the future by nuclear waste disposal sites, the injustice of our expensive justice system, the unrepresentative election system and and and... .. but right now, unconventional energy companies are literally risking our lives and so we can't stop - until we're done. Tired, fed-up, drained, infuriated, broke, missing precious pleasures and family time BUT what is the choice for those of us that KNOW what is at risk? I think the knowledge of the illness and harm being done right now, in so many places where this industry is - means I couldn't stop if I wanted to. No heroics - this is an obligation, plain and simple.
My biggest fear is they start here in the UK - ONE planning go-ahead for a production site and we are pretty lost. The ability to fight in court is beyond us - we can NEVER have as much money as this, the biggest industry in the world - to tackle them in court system. Once they start - stopping them is harder. :( We have a tiny window of opportunity and sadly, despite the exhaustion - that window is now. Tina xxx THIS link: https://www.change.org/p/pledgenvda-i-pledge-to-take-non-violent-direct-action-against-unconventional-energy-techniques-fracking-coal-seam-gas-coal-bed-methane-underground-coal-gasification-etc ...is to a PLEDGE to act against this industry in a non-violent way - PLEASE sign it so we can at the very least, let our numbers be known. It seems such a little thing to ask and yet could contribute to the difference we make. I have spoken to crowds of 8000+ and KNOW we are very many more... I hope this pledge can reveal that.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Cuadrilla Appeal to Frack Lancashire - Day 17

Heck of a day - nearly 70 individual residents spoke at the appeal... I cried, laughed, applauded, encored and got told off for all of the above along with everyone else who did the same. The Inspector and the legal teams live and breathe this world and the Inspector was snappy and short with us for daring to react naturally, in the moment and honestly - for us, it is a strange setting full of confusion, masses of incomprehensible clauses, laws, amendments, tricks and outright lies... soul destroying on one side to KNOW this is where the government puts its support... and pure beauty on the other witnessing a community united, individuals empowered and truths, poured out packed with wisdom and humanity and sometimes tears.
The Inspector finds emotion a nuisance as every second over-time may cause a moment of over-run. But a room packed with humans fighting quite literally for their lives... is in no way able to contain itself neatly in a bloody package of corporate order.
Other fantastic Nanas spoke as Nanas or as residents... I spoke for RAFF - Residents Action on Fylde Fracking - the first group I joined when I discovered fracking existed. One of the earliest groups in the country. We had taken public meetings to towns and villages in this area and I was moved during my testimony to see faces I recalled from their first ever meetings. I felt horrid in a way too as I could see how hard this has been for them - the Unwelcome Gift of Truth ...once you know, you can't unknow and you can't walk away because you KNOW you are all you have as the government is head cheerleader.
I saw ill-health, tiredness and pain... only made bearable because I also saw warriors for truth, determination, commitment, power, unity and strength.
Exhausted but uplifted too... tomorrow morning is one of the final days - the imporant one where our incredible side sums up. We are going for a big show of gratitude and support - be at Blackpool Football Club for 9:15 if you can make it for this: Defend Lancashire: Last day and summing up day of the Enquiry
Namaste 




Click either of these links for independent. professional news coverage of the appeal:
http://drillordrop.com/
http://www.counterbalance.org.uk/
Click here for archive and live footage:
http://www.cuadrillaplanninginquiry.co.uk/



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Saturday, 5 March 2016

No returns

Today I briefly re-visited my past at a business function (impossible to eat if I don't find a way to make work fit somewhere into my week somehow)... it was like when you leave a town for a while, then return to find although your life has been changed - here it remains the same; frozen like that bit in the movie 'Shining' where the bar is always the same people and era. It made me sad and despondent but I don't regret (or maybe just the tiniest bit) the path I ended up on when I realised that the world and government was not as I had allowed myself, to be led to believe.
Truth is surely beautiful even when it is about the ugliest things? This 'movement' made of activists/campaigners/Protectors is full of beauty, full of reasons to believe we can and will eventually all be on the same page of awareness and working together to correct the harms. Until we get there though, this is an exhausting life and although a break/pause is good advice - I don't feel able to heed it.
It's not just the fracking threat that is current, immediate and requiring everything we've got to try to stop it from getting started - but the fact that right now as I sit safely writing and complaining that I'm tired... children are in perilous, terrifying circumstances; trying to escape war, suffering, drought, hunger. THIS is a state of emergency.
Those with the power to do anything to change this – aren't. I find it almost impossible to believe that people like Donald Trump or Boris Johnson could even be considered as potential 'leaders' and because they are being considered – know that this 'system' of government is not a system of government but a facade and behind the facade is blind greed. WE have to act because we're all we seem to have right now.
And more than this - we have to act together against the true problems and not each other - that just does the job for the bad side. The exhaustion in our movement makes us frayed at the edges, raw and sensitive... ruffled feathers could do with soothing of course but we need to remember that as a result of our distractions - more suffering, more harm, more pain is done.

.......................................................................
No Returns

The sacrifices cannot be measured in words
Or heard through brief encounters
Pain this raw, scars this deep, wounds that weep
From truths acknowledged
Are whispered in dialogues and monologues
That go late and are held close
To chests that heave with emotion

No notion on entering through a door once closed
By blissful ignorance and unknowing...
Blown open
Drawn in
Held fast
Thrown about
On waves of revelation
Explanations too unbelievable to believe
We bleed
With the burden of this
Path labelled 'Activist'

Lives forever lost
Goodbyes without choice
Voices too often raised in anger, anguish and grief
Diseasing the joy,
Breaking the imaginings,
Shattering the dreams
That once lullaby-ed life

How to rest in a state of emergency?

How long do we go on
Dissecting the news,
Parading the truths,
Exposing the lies?
Warning! Warning! Warning!
Cries 

Want to hush it away
Make today a better day
Cause it's me
Cause of this
That brings the rain of gloom.
Sadness to the state of play.
There is no time to dance
Barely time to ease away yesterday
Before tomorrow throws it all again.

Glancing over shoulders,
There it is...
That other life from before
Floors filled with light laughter
Bright conversation
Effervescent bubbles of not-knowing
That on the horizon comes a threat

Today there is no bittersweet
Just the sour sting ...and tomorrow brings more.