Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

A singular and crucially significant political event has been and gone. My worry is that a lot of us have more or less missed it. The general consensus seems to be that the Copenhagen Climate Summit has been a dissappointment. For certain it hasn’t delivered the unilaterally sanctioned agreement that Oxfam and others had hoped for. But there were some small signs of progress, and the issue must not be allowed to wither. I would urge everyone to read Oxfam’s intial report here and to try to stay abrest of developments next year.

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The Copenhagen climate summit is here and controversy is already at hand. Following the leaked (and suspiciously well-timed) emails there is now a leaked document suggesting that big countries have already made tacit aggreements that, if pushed through, would benefit them most. Considering what is at stake, it’s no surprise to see tensions escalating and power plays being made by all the interested parties. The next couple of weeks will no doubt be fascinating and we should hope that sensible resolutions are found. In Oxfam’s words:

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the outcome of The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, 7 – 18 December 2009, will affect everyone on the planet.”

More on that here.


Many Glaswegians are sad to see Borders go into administration. The Glasgow store occupies a significant building in the centre of the shopping district and has become a one-stop shop for international magazine and newspaper browsing as well as having (in this bloggers opinion) a superior selection of non-fiction to Waterstones.  If there is no successful bid, let’s hope something imaginative pops up in it’s place. Not that I’m sympathising with the competition struggling (!), but it does seem like a significant vacuum will exist in it’s absence.  You’ll all just have to spend more time in the incomparable Oxfam Books on Byres Road…

Finally, the Christmas machine is well and truly in motion. It’s momentum and gathering pace all the way now. Our card and food ranges seem to be going well this year so fingers crossed it continues.

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My apologies for the long break between posts. We’re entering our busiest period of the year. Anyone who has volunteered with us or worked before in retail or charity may have experienced Christmas trading. It’s a beast! Our biggest weeks occur in December, the big one being the last full week of the calendar year. Christmas cards cannot be topped-up fast enough, queues snake around sections, everyone gets run ragged, but it pays off. Work=profit, and in our case profit=help for people in poverty, so work=….you got it. It’s a rewarding bottom line.

As ever, we are swimming in excellent quality donation. Yesterday a man rolled up in a station wagon sagging with neatly stacked, dead-weight boxes. He said to me: “this is the cream of the crop here”. Seriously, it was. This is one way the system works really well. I suspect, like a lot of donors, he knew the kind of stuff we sold, knew we had the skills and diligence to establish a deserving price, and he packed up what amounted to a large amount of revenue for us, drove it over and gifted it. My only tiny gripe was that there wasn’t a huge amount of fiction in there (greed, greed). So just as well the steady stream of one-and-two bag dontions of fiction and crime keep our bread-and-butter sections going too.

In Oxfam at large, the East Africa Food Crisis is still a crucial campaign, as is the Climate Change drive to Copenhagen. Go here to find out details about  the Glasgow Wave on the 5th December. Get involved if you can. Also,  Helena Chistensen recently travelled to her mother’s native country of Peru to document the consequences of climate change there. You can view her photographs here.

I’ll post again before Santa graces your chimneys.

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I spent two very relaxing days in Manchester this weekend past and I made time to visit some Oxfam shops there, namely Oxfam Emporium and Oxfam Originals on Oldham Street. The emporium was unfortunately shutting by the time I got out of the clothes shop so I had to content myself with window browsing. Had I not spent an agonising half-hour in Originals vacillating over two excellent pairs of shoes which, however much I wanted them to, just didn’t fit, I may have found time to foot-browse both. Anyway I found the clothes store trendy and accessible, with superb stock-lines. It’s the first ‘Originals’ shop I’ve seen. Gets my thumbs up.

At the bookshop we’re in the little calm before the Christmas run-in. One thing we are really trying to punt is gift aid as it applies to donated stock.  A lot of customers are already familiar with this idea as it pertains to donations of money, but we (and a number of other charities) are now able to collect gift aid on books, music, bric-a-brac, whatever we sell. It’s a great scheme and it enables the shop to get 28p in the pound back. It’s extra money which goes straight into the kitty which means more to hand for our international work. So please be sure to fill out a gift aid form when you next donate to an Oxfam store. It’s very much worth the minute or two extra that it takes.

News from Oxfam:

The climate change page has been updated at the oxfam site. This is to recognise that December and Copenhagen are looming and it’s really, really crucial that information gets out about what’s at stake and that as many people as possible get mobilised to become involved. Ideas for contributing and getting motivated, including the excellent new pound-a-week idea, are laid out in an easily understood way.  Please visit folks.

Also, Jamie Hewlett, the artist behind Tank girl and Gorillaz, has painted a series of watercolours reflecting his experience of Bangladesh where he travelled recently with Oxfam.

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Courtesy of www.oxfam.org.uk, 19/09/09:

Ever since Alexander Graham-Bell picked up the phone and said, “Mr Watson, come here. I want to see you”, there have been some pretty important telephone calls. Now you can join the list of people who have used the phone for world changing stuff.

There will be a “Wake Up Call” to leaders all over the world on 21 September. World leaders are meeting at the United Nations General Assembly on 22 September and the leaders of the G20 – the world’s biggest economies – will be meeting a few days later.

Ahead of those meetings people will be calling their leader to reinforce the message that at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen this December they must agree a deal that saves the planet, and the people on it, from run-away climate change.

People across the UK need to pick up the phone and tell the Prime Minister that they want him to ensure strong action in every international meeting from now until the big one in Copenhagen. You can say pretty much anything you like but make sure you call him on 020 8144 7459.

However, if you want to go into detail, here are a couple of tips about how you can direct the conversation.

1. The PM must make sure that the UN and G20 work towards rich countries reducing their emissions by at least 40% by 2020.

2. Rich countries provide at least $150 billion a year for developing countries, so that they can develop cleanly and deal with the immediate impacts of climate change.

Copenhagen will be vital but at every international meeting we must take important steps towards ensuring we get the right outcome in December. The PM needs to be in no doubt that thousands of people are demanding that a fair and safe deal is done at Copenhagen.

So call him on 020 8144 7459 and you never know, you might get a “hullo” – that’s Gordon Brown answering – from the other end. You will probably be greeted by a voicemail so make sure you leave a message. You can also leave one below letting us know what you’ve said to the PM.

I don’t know what was so urgent that Mr Bell needed to invent the phone to get hold of his mate Mr Watson, but I’m sure he never grasped the implications of his invention. So phone the PM and let him know that you need to speak to him about climate change. You never know what it might lead to.

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Our annual postcard sale is now on. It’s an excellent selection this year so if old postcards, cigarette cards and the like are a collecting interest of yours (or anyone you know)….

We are also trialling a 3 for 2 offer on our standard crime fiction. It’s not often (if ever) that we have promotions on this section so please avail of it!

I am still brainstorming ideas for a Haiti fundraiser. I had the idea that I would try and contact as many natives of Haiti living/working in Scotland as I could and see what they could bring to the event. This is proving slightly more difficult than I thought, but I’ve made a little headway. We’ll press on… 

I’m pleased, however, to see more articles recently in the national/UK media about Haiti. It’s crucially important that Haiti comes to wider international attention as climate change has the potential to cause devastating damage there. Please follow the links below for some related info:



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