A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views

 

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Entries with tag solar power .

How far is Balcombe camp a responsible alternative?

Its interesting to be in the middle of camp life doing something that is core to the camp functioning. Am one of the crew responsible for the tech tent, we run a solar power set-up that charges the camp phones, runs the laptops and provides shaky internet for legal, media and wider camp community. This is currently working pretty well but we have a number of issues that need addressing, lets briefly look at each one:

We are completely reliant on a single source of power – solar – this as anyone knows is unsubstantial as people are finding out on dark rainy days – as we move into the autumn/winter this will stop working in a meaningful way. The is a blindness and intolerance to addressing this issue that is worrying and the wider camp is not taking on the responsibility for this issue.

The majority of people while expressing green views treat camp infrastructure as if it was normal mainstream home infrastructure. The is a tendency to get angry if they can't plug their phone in when they wont to or use the internet after dark, or watch videos over our shaky internet connection. You can explain to them all you like but when you leave the tech tent to get a cup of tea often when you get back you will find 3 extra phones charging and the laptop left on with nobody using it etc.

The solution being pushed is HUGE increase in battery’s and solar panels and tech so you can treat natural resources power as if it was home power. This is a surprising and shocking unthinking indictment of our culture, its why fracking/dangerous energy is happening in the first place. It seems people are un-willing to move closer to nature (even though they are living on a road verge in the rain) rather they unthinkingly continue to use technology to bend nature to there convenience.

We still have individuals who are ripping apart working camp set-ups see my last post for motivations for this LINK The camp is not taking collective responsibility over damaging individuals and there actions, the camp meetings are dysfunctional and fractures, the only way most things are decided is be mob rule or attrition through boredom. Consensus is failing through a lack of trust in the shifting camp crew.

If you wont to challenge fracking and dangerous energy extraction in general you need to be at least able to offer and outline of a working alternative. How can you build a green/alternative with out looking at this issues/mind set in our own camp.

This happens nearly every day at Balcombe - Snatch Arrest

This happens nearly every day at Balcombe. This film was shot and edited and uploaded in 1 hour at the camp media center all on solar power.

10 days at Balcombe Protection Camp

Photo: Katherine Stanley

(DRAFT)

My experience at the camp was over all positive, and came away feeling that fracking is a completely winnable campaign.

I went to the camp to spend a week making media about the people, issues and organising of the #fracking protest camp. In stead of this media/video making, which am very good at I spent 10 days living on the camp trying to sought out many core issues.

* the dysfunctional camp meetings

* the draining camp fractions/dynamics/power struggles

* the tech tent

I will start with the tech tent, when i arrived the camp had no working solar power and all battery were charged (by grid electricity - fossil fuel) offside and driven in by car each day. No care was taken for the effective life of the battery’s so they were disintegrating rapidly by being excessively discharged each day. With 12v battery’s it is much more efficient (and safer) to run the camp on native 12v then use fragile/inefficient and potently dangerous 240v inverters as was happening.

The tech space was being ripped apart and trashed (by persons unknown) every night, leading to the problem that nothing permanent could be built or sustained, this lead to all the competent people leaving this core space. Each day new equipment would arrive and by the next day it would be broken, the solution was to then order more new equipment, the tech spending was spiralling out of control.

When equipment was ordered it was always the wrong type because of the politics/opacity of shopping - this was very damaging as it lead to more equipment failer and the strong possibility of electrical fire. This repeating power politics and unspoken agenda’s was the root of many issues.

I spent much of my 10 days on this problem, and by the end of the time we were charging all legal/camp/media/visiter phones on 12v solar power and had finally ordered the equipment to run the wider camp on solar power.

This was on order when I left:

Core permanent power for the tech tent

100w 12v x2 semi-flexible solar panels permanently affixt to the roof of the south facing tent

water/shock profer controller x2

strong water prof connectors

heavy duty cabling

Then we had politics - Experimental event charging (this was a political choice rather than technical)

1x250w 24v glass facing solar panel 

Voltage regulating Controllers to bring this huge 24v panel (20KG metal and glass) down to the 12v needed

This experiment system saves around 50 in cost but is a HUGE problem as its heavey and frigile if it is mixed up with our 12v set-up as this will lead to equipment failer and possibly fires.

The camp is in a permanent state of chaos with out some one in the space to mediate this chaos, and at time the will not be, then this experimental system has to be (at a minimum) installed/looked after in a physically separate space to the core stable power set-up.

Is saveing a small amount of money worth adding to this chaos?

Because of camp politics this essential equipment was not ordered.

GOOD CAR “cigarette lighter” connector banks x2 (branded)

6x double 5v USB car adapters (branded)

3x laptop 12v power supply’s with tips (branded)

My videos - a winter project

Idea for a project for next winter.

I have been making activist films for 20 years well over 100 short radical actavist 3-10 minit news reports on many different campaigns. 

Tell the stories of video activism by my films – list all films then get key people who were in the campaigns (preferably in the video) to tell there motivation for being on the action/each film. Take all this footage to an abondond village on a Spanish island for 3 months next winter and edit it on solar power.

Its relatively simple and don’t have to work with anyone but me to get it done, which makes it easer (:

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