Thanks to Simon Wallace from Transition Town West Kirby and Sustrans for a wonderful Transition Cafe last night. Simon suggested that while many look for high-tech solutions to climate change and energy depletion, in a resource constrained future there are many devices and technologies that could be made with found and recycled materials.
Next month our topic will be: Sustainable Transport: Come along on the 13th of June!
At October's Transition Café, I presented a new collaborative Transition project that we're hoping to start up early next year. It's inspired by two things.First, one of the Transition ingredients, which used to be called 'Honouring the Elders', and is now simply referred to as 'oral histories'. The basic idea is that if we are looking for new ways of adapting to post-peak oil life, one important step is to ask older people how they used to live before the age of cheap oil. For example, how did they get around, what did they eat, what did they do for entertainment and what kind of energy systems did they use? This kind of information can then help feed into a Transition Initiative's Energy Descent Action Plan. There don't seem to be a lot of these kinds of projects around yet, though we did find ones in Bristol and right next door in West Kirkby. (You can see the great video they've recently produced here).
Second, I've been fascinated by a set of plaques on the side of the Liverpool One Tesco, which point out that a market garden used to be right where the Tesco is now. The garden was apparently owned by Thomas Seel (one of Liverpool's foremost slave traders) and so the area is called 'Mr Seel's Garden' on the plaque. Its a really striking juxtaposition of historic and modern food systems, and how Liverpool's global connections have changed over time.
So we've brought these two ideas together to develop a project called 'Memories of Mr Seel's Garden: historic and future food systems in Liverpool'. It's going to involve oral histories, looking at old maps and researching in the Merseyside Maritime Museum Archives. We're aiming to build up a multi-layered picture of how people used to eat in Liverpool and where they got their food from. There's a broad range of groups involved and Transition Liverpool will be working alongside the Friends of Everton Park and the Friends of Sudley Estate, as well as with academics from Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Once we've done our research we're hoping to develop a historical food walking tour in the form of a print map and an iphone app inspired by the Walking Through Time project.
If we do get the funding we'll be putting a call out for people who would like to be trained in the different research methods and contribute to the project. So if you are interested please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org). We'll find out about our application in Late December-early January, so keep your fingers crossed for us.....
November's Transition Cafe is taking place on Wednesday the 9th, and will be dedicated to discussing children's attitudes and responses to climate change. Neil Chadborn from Transition Eastham and Bromborough will open the discussion by discussing some of his research, but in the meantime I wanted to share a poem with you, written by Anna Briggs' grandson when he was 12, in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Transition Liverpool hosted its 2nd Annual Symposium - Feeding Liverpool in a World in Energy Crisis - recently and we've now uploaded the photos and outcomes from the event to the website. You can check this out here.
Thanks to everyone for coming along and to the Liverpool Quakers and the Liverpool Primary Care Trust for supporting the event.
In a recent post on Transition Culture, Rob Hopkins linked to a Jeremy Rifkin video. The first half is one of the strongest cases for TEOTWAWKI* that I've seen so far - so pleased be warned, but in the second half he talks about his theory of a Third Industrial Revolution. He suggests that the same kinds of peer to peer networks that have changed the music industry so drastically, might also be the key to more sustainable world economies. The example he talks about is developing decentralised energy production using smart grids and millions of home based power generation sources. So rather than a few massive, centralised power companies, there would be a distributed network of suppliers (something I actually remember John Seymour talking about in his 70's classic - The Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency). If Napster could put a serious dent in the profits of major record labels, could a Napster inspired energy sharing project have a similar effect on ExxonMobil and Shell? For that matter, what kinds of effects could a peer-to-peer banking system such as Funding Circle have on the out-of-control investment banks? There are, of course, questions of developing new infrastructure, particularly in the case of peer-to-peer energy sharing, and of scaling up, but it's an exciting idea. As Buckminster Fuller argued: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
What do you think?
*The End of the World as We Know it
Things are gearing up for the 2nd Transition Liverpool Symposium: Feeding Liverpool in a World in Energy Crisis. Tickets are now all allocated and we're putting the finishing touches on the day's programme. It's going to be a great interactive day, with lots of time to discuss how we can support the development of more local food projects in Liverpool.
In the meantime I thought I'd share some photos from my latest attempt at preserving some of the bountiful harvest of local Liverpool damson's. How's your preserving going?
NB Our monthly Sustainability Discussion Group has had a slight makeover and will now be called Transition Cafe
Transition Café is our monthly meeting where we discuss a variety of Transition issues in a relaxed and informal way. Come along and meet up with other Transitioners or find out more about how you can get involved.
14th September Topic: Linking the Local and the Global
Localisation is at the core of the Transition approach, but how might this work relate to global issues? This month we’ll be watching a short episode of The Powerdown Show focusing on Global Citizenship to kick off the discussion.
12th October Topic: Honouring the Elders
Rather than seeing the past as something to be left behind, the Transition approach suggests that we have a lot to learn from those who lived before the age of cheap oil. This month, Michelle Bastian will open up a discussion on these issues by describing a new project being developed that will explore the history of local food in Liverpool.
9th November Topic: Children, Health and Climate Change
After looking at how we can learn from the past in October’s café, November’s meeting will looking to the future. Neil Chadborn from Transition Eastham and Bromborough will open the discussion by discussing some of his research aimed at learning more about children’s attitudes towards health and climate change.
Transition Café starts at 6:30pm with tea and coffee available.
You’ll find us at the Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane.
On the 13th July Transition Liverpool had a meeting to explore the heart and soul of transition – otherwise known as Inner Transition.
Jonathan Jelfs led the event which began with some group movements designed to explore and experience inner and outer aspects of reality using some simple ideas from Integral Theory. The sound of the Tibetan singing bowl offered a link between traditional ways of thinking about the inner and outer aspects of reality and cutting edge cosmic acoustics in the field of physics. Jon described Transition issues in an evolutionary context and suggested that we might ask “what will we do about climate change” but also “what will climate change do for us?”. The climate change, energy, economic and other related crises offer humanity the opportunity for a conscious evolutionary transition. The group then explored the reasons why giving attention to inner aspects of transition might be important alongside the vital attention to practical projects that lead to greater community resilience. The inner Transition PowerPoint Presentation can be accessed below.
Several people expressed an interest in continuing to explore this subject on a regular basis, perhaps by using Carolyn Baker’s book ‘Navigating the Coming Chaos; a handbook for inner transition.’ Do contact Jon at email@example.com to express interest in pursuing this.
Transition Southport is planning the 2011 Green Fayre on 17th September at the Old Christchurch, Waterloo.
Friends of the Earth, Sustrans, Allotment Associations, Wildlife Trust, organic growers and many more organisations and individuals will be represented and we are expecting to repeat last year’s success.
Although there is already a lot of interest, the more the merrier, so Transition Southport would welcome any organisation or individual who would like to take this splendid opportunity to promote their activities.
The organisers can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
Via: Transition Southport
Our beautiful banner - Thanks again Anna!
Monday started with a short workshop, a meeting with our home groups and then a longer final session at closing.
At the final session, Hal Gilmore (from Transition Tours) spoke about the tour to the Granby Triangle in Toxteth – wonderful to see community regeneration – with plants and paint! The photo of the residents (and Ed Gommon) remained on the screen for the rest of the session!
Rob summed up the conference as maturing, focusing and deepening. He was so pleased that transition has got to the stage around the world where it’s ready to step in – in Rio, following the devastating floods in Feb, local transition groups reached out for help and the national network immediately offered training as well as practical help in planning rebuilding. Following earthquakes in New Zealand transition groups also played a role. In protests in Barcelona, they held a transition meeting on road traffic island and replanted a flowerbed with veg! There had been a meeting last night to discuss how transition could support the revolution in Spain. (some of this may have been in Peter Lipman’s or Jo’s talk – all blending ...)
After leaving and cycling down to the station, I realised that I had lost my wallet! Back to Hope, where I found Totnes people loading up their van, and Catrina (Pickering) told me that a wallet had been handed in! So I relaxed and realised it was an opportunity to have another two important conversations.
One with Steph Bradley who had helped me with my research, so I could tell her a little about the findings from the work, and hope to get further thoughts from her.
The other with one of the Portuguese attendees about politics. She was thanking us Liverpudlians for our hospitality (I had already explained that I lived on the Wirral, and it was too much to explain that I was actually a Southerner, so abashed, I accepted her thanks!).
She explained that the Portuguese group had walked to try to find a park, and were trying to cross the road, looking the wrong way (almost stepped into the road), when a car stopped and asked if they were OK. When they explained that they were Portuguese and looking for the park, the man got out of the car, walked round to them and gave them directions!
I asked about transition in Portugal, and I asked whether part of the reason it appeals to people was because of financial concerns, and we talked about how transition could prepare people and be there ready for further problems. I wondered whether transition could help bring about change and asked whether transition should develop a political party (because we have discussed this in our group in Liverpool). She was adamant that it shouldn’t, the power is in its independence and welcoming of all people. As usual I tried to be clever and took it one step further; should transition develop a new political structure which doesn’t involve factional parties – but she thought transition should just keep out of politics. As soon as you associate with one group, you exclude the others, and furthermore, when something goes wrong with that group, you get associated with that as well. It turned out that she was the person to know about this, as she had worked for several years in Brussels as political adviser....! Her message was that transition should not try to lobby. It should just do its own thing, but when governments come asking for help – then give advice!! This resonated amazingly with May East’s talk earlier – she has been approached by UN to give a talk in Brazil, when she agreed and told them a little more, they asked can she do a lecture, she gave some more details and they asked her to do a day workshop...
Anyway I wished the Portuguese a good journey home and got on my way!
By Neil Chadborn