Thursday, 21 December 2006
Apart from anything else I’m disappointed with our elected officers for hijacking the precious V word. I could lobby, protest and write things like this, but I don’t want to. Having paddled in the waters of spin, greed and denial the last few weeks, I’ve decided that this is not my bag. It’s there; it runs the show. For now. But what I’m most interested in is the twin sister. Hope, truth, honesty. Intuition. Vision.
Real vision is what I experienced at the first event of Transition Town Lewes last Sunday. End of Suburbia was documentary film about a post-peak oil future that was both shocking and strangely encouraging. Afterwards, the 81 people who attended stuck up post-it notes: ‘One step I can take’, ‘One step Lewes can take’, ‘One step government can take’. The intentions, collated and emailed back to the filmgoers and now on the Transition Town Wiki page, are beautiful, juicy with personal vision and hope. That’s the reality I choose.
Friday, 15 December 2006
Here are some ideas, from entries to East Sussex County Council’s recent Green Christmas competition: Wrapping paper from Christmas presents can either be saved and re-used or torn up into little bits and put in the garden composter. Don’t buy presents for the sake of it which may get stuck in cupboards; if possible spend the time and money making a meal (organic if possible) with your friends. Make your own crackers. Back to the basic Blue Peter idea of loo rolls! Wrap presents with newspaper and use recycled string to tie them up. Add a gift label made of old Christmas cards. A funky look and excellent for the environment.
There’s a very interesting book called Find Your Power, by Chris Johnstone. It’s about breaking out of the depression of the consumer dream, moving through the grief, fear and stuckness and allowing us to face the bigger picture and think differently about our capacity to participate in and influence the future.By the way, An Inconvenient Truth is showing again this Sunday 6.30 All Saints. It’s still a must-see film, and it is probably the adventure story of our time.
Friday, 8 December 2006
Thursday, 30 November 2006
People’s lack of knowledge about bikes is truly frightening, says Pete. Most people are put off riding bikes because they don’t even know how to change a tyre, and they’re not prepared to spend money on a bike, unlike a car. Pity. Bikes are on my ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ list. Without cheap fossil fuel we, like Cubans, might suddenly understand the amazing power of the bike. Chris and Pete could become recognised as the local heroes they already are. Meanwhile Chris and Pete like the fact that something can be genuinely free, with no obligations. They like Lewes. They like to be able to be informal. ‘We like to confound people’s opinions about what society should be.’
Friday, 24 November 2006
There are many reasons why I’m slowly giving up supermarkets themselves: health, ethics, community, financial and time (and that’s not smug, it’s pragmatic). For a positive alternative, Just Trade is one of those great Lewes social enterprises. It’s a bulk food and goods collection organised by Common Cause, Lewes’s non-profit co-operative, and it takes place every other month at Lewes New School. Once you get your head around transport (they also deliver) and storage it’s much easier and cheaper: a 5kg sack of organic rice costs £5.41, 2kg of BioD concentrated washing powder costs £5.58, there’s less waste, and there’s that wholehearted pleasure of being part of a community process. This month there are some gorgeous things to eat, drink and give as presents. The order form can be downloaded from their website; deadline for orders is 27 November, collection is 8 December.
I discovered the power of my purse many years when through the customer suggestions book I persuaded my rural mini-supermarket to stock organic milk, then vegetables, then meat. I still like to believe that we create our own reality, one step at a time.
Thursday, 16 November 2006
I threw on a scarf and boots and set off. That day I walked around a Lewes lit by cloudless skies, with a deeply poignant feeling about the future these skies bring. We live in an abundant nature reserve here, much of it hidden in gardens and (shrinking) wastelands and edges, allotments and untended plots. There are fruit and berries and herbs, miraculous small things, rose hips and roses, even this late.
For a whole week this summer I watched the sun rise from a spot in the cemetery. I’m becoming re-bonded with nature, almost in love, and that healing relationship has motivated me hugely. (Fear is a bad reason for being an environmentalist, as Satish Kumar wrote in the last issue of Resurgence). Below are three links, one to help make sense of it all, two more for local ways to walk more deeply and develop essential skills in our precious habitat.
The Great Turning
Souls and Soles
Thursday, 9 November 2006
I discovered this summer that you can put almost anything outside your front door in Lewes and it’s guaranteed to disappear within a day. Once I hung a ‘please take’ sign on my railings over a box of clothes and some clever clogs left the clothes and took the sign. And now there’s Freecycle Lewes. It’s a free online service that is what my kids call funkadelic. It started earlier this year and already has 513 members in the area. You can get rid of what you don’t want and wish for things you want. The Freecycle network started in 2003 in Arizona, USA as a way to keep stuff out of landfill. It’s a grassroots and non-profit movement of now 2 million members in 50 countries. So far our family has got rid of some shelves, some books, some sheets and a minibus. We’ve acquired a saw, a lamp and a winter’s supply of cooking apples. Clutter clearing never felt so good.
Thursday, 2 November 2006
Thursday, 26 October 2006
Thursday, 19 October 2006
Thursday, 12 October 2006
This idea has been brewing for a year. At first I felt deprived and curtailed at the thought of it. But we started using trains more, walking around town more (it helps not shopping in supermarkets and getting most of our food delivered free) and planning things differently, so we ended up not using the wheels much anyway. But I do like to go to the woods once a week. So we’ve started a car share between five people, using a friend’s car. The cost is £100 refundable deposit to pay for the initial service and insurance, and then £1 an hour or £10 per day, plus petrol. We’re reviewing and refining it as we go along.
Car share schemes are springing up all over the country. Imagine them springing up here: a shared car/bike/minibus/van on every street in Lewes, with free parking. Imagine the council paying someone a salary to manage this. Apparently it costs £2,200 a year to keep a car on the road and it’s getting more expensive. So we’re saving loads of money. Plus we get to be smug about something we were going to do anyway!