Joss Garman (2001-2003)
Environmental Campaigner and Journalist
In 2009, student Owain Williams, wrote this article on Joss after a visit to the College:
Former student, Joss Garman, 23, environmental activist, member of Greenpeace and co-founder of the Plane Stupid group gave an informative talk to students at Hereford Sixth Form College about climate change. He focused mainly on the importance of trying to cut out pollution from aviation.
Joss has taken part in many protests to give his opinion on climate change. He believes all the protests he takes part in to be non-violent as he never brings any harm to humans or animals. He has been arrested many times.
Joss began by outlining the importance of reducing carbon emissions as it has a devastating effect on climate change. He mentioned the insufficiency of coal-fired power stations and stressed that they are the most environmentally damaging of all the fuels available to man.
Moving on to talk about the Government's plans to build new coal-fired power stations to replace older ones, Joss explained that just one of these new stations will produce 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, this is more than thirty developing countries combined. By building these power stations it would make Britain a high producer of emissions for years to come as each power station would typically operate for 30-50 years. The estimated carbon emissions of these power stations have worried many people. Even the world’s most respected climate scientist, Dr Jim Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has been concerned enough to write to the Prime Minister, warning him that he has the power to influence ‘the future of the planet’.
Joss also informed us of the importance of our personal actions on climate change. He told us about how the idea of action on climate change is in an unusual - and counter-productive "loop": the Government won't do anything because they believe they are not getting a sufficiently strong message from the public, and the public aren't telling the Government of their concerns and their wish for Government action because they assume that if climate is such a major and undeniable problem then the Government would already be doing something about it!
Joss also talked about his action group, Plane Stupid, and their recent actions at Stansted airport. Although aviation is notably a small overall part of climate change, it is also incredibly important as flights are growing in popularity, so by stopping or reducing plane flights now this should stop it from becoming a bigger problem in the future. It was also mentioned how planes have become too easy in today’s society, because it is easier to catch a plane than a train or bus - and this is partly down to the poor UK public transport system. It is becoming especially noticeable as plane journeys are becoming more local instead of mainly being used for long journeys to distant countries. The fact that one flight to the USA will cause as much global warming as an average UK driver does in one year is astounding. This is because air travel produces so much carbon monoxide.
In the second part of his talk, Joss answered questioned put to him by the group and argued his points with great knowledge, before ending the talk and taking some individual questions at the end. Joss certainly gave everyone who had attended a lot to think about.
Photo credit ~ www.theecologist.org: