Today I made a difficult decision.
When I started working at Friends of the Earth Scotland it really opened my eyes to the injustices caused by the use and abuse of environmental resources. I knew the planet and our ecology was struggling because of humanity and our over-consumption, but I got to meet people whose families and communities had been destroyed by companies like Shell and Coca-Cola over-extracting the local resources.
So I put my heart and soul into the job, and it almost killed me. Partly for reasons outlined elsewhere in this blog, and partly for other reasons, which will remain unspoken.
But, alongside other colleagues, I was touched and inspired by my international colleagues. They were kidnapped, tortured, driven off their land. They started Occupy type camps to protest environmental destruction. They mobilised thousands of people with only volunteer resources. They travelled under threat of not being allowed re-entry to their country. Nothing I faced was even a midge on the skin of what they faced.
But I knew my wee group in Scotland inspired others. We were feisty and kept environmental justice at the heart of our work. We never forgot, despite funding problems, that we were representing an international network whose work could easily be undermined by the smallest decision we made.
And when I had to leave I was ridiculously sad. And even last week I was telling my partner how I had given up my ideal job.
So today when I stopped my direct debit to Friends of the Earth Scotland and transferred that donation to Friends of the Earth International I did so because I think my local branch have let me down.
And I, perhaps more than anyone, know how difficult it is to be FoES in the current environment. But I cannot stand by the Director’s decision to come out in support of Yes Scotland a year before the referendum.
I’m not saying I disagree with the premise that the environment will be better served in an independent Scotland, but I want my money to support an organisation who will fight for environmental justice regardless of the result of the vote in September 2014. And by coming out for one side, the Director risks his, and his organisation’s influence.
I’m sure he weighed his decision, and I’m not him, so can’t pre-judge his decision. But it doesn’t sit well with me. So I have withdrawn my financial support for Friends of the Earth Scotland, and instead directed it towards the international network.
I’m sorry guys, I really am, but this is the final straw for me. Neutrality as we go forward to September 18th 2014 is vital.
I wish you well, and I know it’s been hard to even survive since 2011, but you should’ve warned me about this. This is one step beyond.