Thursday, 21 December 2006

Vision or business as usual?

According to Einstein, intuition is the most important thing. Sometimes you just know. Like Virgin airline boss Richard Branson offering a $25 million prize for the first scientist to come up with a technology that removes carbon from the air. That’s just wrong. Intuitively, morally - are they the same? Like our District Council’s planning department last Friday putting Angel Properties together with 19 stakeholders who without exception are people the developer has consulted, and calling it a Visioning for the North Street area. That’s just wrong, isn’t it?

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

Christmas present and christmas future

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

Flight pledge

I adore travelling. I was weaned on it. Literally (I was once the youngest baby to fly transatlantic to New York, to my christening). But I’ve reached the point where my actions can no longer coexist with my beliefs. This world is changing and I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. So I’ve done it. I’ve taken a FlightPledge as an early New Year’s resolution. This means not travelling by air in 2007, apart from family emergencies. It’s taken me the best part of 2006 to decide this and in the process I’ve gone through anger, denial, fear, guilt and grief (what an addict!)

How to ‘Be the change you want to see’, as Gandhi put it? It boils down to changing my habits; there’s no other non-deluded way around it. Giving up air travel is the best thing we can do (George Monbiot’s Heat goes through all the reasons). The silver FlightPledge, by the way, means you can cut down slowly. For something closer to home, East Sussex County Council is giving away recycled Christmas baubles for the 50 most interesting Reduce/Reuse/Recycle Green Christmas pledges received by this Friday.

Pledges, or promises - commitments, really, are wonderful things. They push you to the edge of your comfort zone. And the amazing thing is that on the other side of ‘letting go’ are huge reservoirs of freedom, power and pleasure. Letting go generates time and money and many other hidden treasures.