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!
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
We recently visited the terraced house in Wavertree that has been retrofit
to the Scandinavian 'PassivHaus' new build standard by Plus Dane Housing, with government funding. It includes high level (Supawall) insulation; triple glazing; high level of air tightness; Mechanical Heat & Ventilation Recovery and LED lighting. It's purpose, alongside the other houses in the project, is to assess efficiency, viability and potential of using these technologies in existing housing.
Finished in October 2010, it was amazing to look round on the recent open day and speak to the tenant. It will be interesting to see what we can learn from this project, especially as much of the technology and installation is new to this country.
See here for more information.
Elizabeth Turp and Ed Tidy
South Liverpool Energy Group
Liverpool Sci-Bar asks a scientist or professional to give short informative presentations about their work one evening a month at the Ship & Mitre.
One of our transitioners, Colin Dyas, went along on the 18th to see Professor Tim Greenshaw from the University of Liverpool talk about how much energy the UK will need in the future and the contribution that renewable and non-renewable resources can make to supply that energy, without causing climate change.
Here's his report:
In brief it was about current and future UK energy needs, and how the future need might be met. All options were covered in detail with the exception of geo-thermal.
Tim is a physicist versed in nuclear power. He and others are doing cutting edge research on particle accelerators and reactors that are much more efficient in terms of "energy in-energy out" and less harmful in terms of residual waste. The waste from these machines are measured in tens rather than hundreds of thousands of years. But, the technology is new, time lines long, planning issues complex, and solutions are needed now, not tomorrow. So just like us, the Transition Towns movement, he too was stating that transition is needed now.
He suggested that there is a solution for electricity at least, and it's simple too. It involves "farms" of solar concentrators in hot desert countries. These can produce all the worlds electricity for a limited loss of land mass, which on the whole is uninhabited anyway. The energy can be distributed by high voltage DC cables that are highly efficient and the investments
can add to local and marginalised economies. There are issues of complex regimes and energy security, but no worse than our dependence on Russian or Saudi oil for example.
Apparently it was an interesting and informative night - highly recommended.
Liverpool University has announced a new research centre - The Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy - which is billed as the first interdisciplinary centre into energy research in the North West.
Hopefully the centre will be a great resource for transitioners.
See here for the Institute's latest events. Pete North will be presenting on the 10th of May.
via Home Heating Guide
News, events and opinions from the Transition Liverpool team.