March 23rd: Climate science, community action #Llanfyllin

  • Just how bad is it?
  • How long do we have?
  • Is it too late for action?
  • Action on climate starts locally and sends a message of intent to the whole world.
  • Are you ready?

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Talking about transition

The Transition Network is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world. Transition is a movement that has been growing since 2005.  It is about communities stepping up to address the big challenges they face by starting local.  By coming together, they are able to crowd-source solutions. They seek to nurture a caring culture, one focused on supporting each other, both as groups or as wider communities.

Transition accepts the huge changes we must make to our economic, food and energy systems to avoid catastrphic climate change and tries to take a positive spin on them. Transition anticipates the many community and biological benefits that might come from these essential actions and advises us to prepare for this seismic shift, as it is inevitable.

carbon budget
The path to climate stability

Transition podcast, Rob Hopkins talks with Richard Heinberg

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A discussion between the Transition network founder, Rob Hopkins and author and commentator on energy and the post carbon economy Richard Heinberg

  • Rob Hopkins is a permaculture teacher who challenged a course group in Kinsale Ireland some years ago to design a community response to the challenges of peak oil and cliamte change, and there began the Transition movement.
  • Richard Heinberg is a teacher and author of a series of books on transition including The Party’s Over and The End of Growth. He is a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, a response tothe joint challenges of climate change and peak oil.

We know the world is warming, there is extensive data measuring it, but we dont know how bad or how quickly the crisis will unfold. To many around the world it is already a disaster with rising sea levels, erratic weather patterns and increasing uncertainty.

Global surface tempreture change
Global surface temperature change

What kind of future are we planning for?

None of us has a crystal ball, but we can make informed guesses. David Holmgren came up with 4 scenario options in his book Future Scenarios and a

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World energy consumption, we are addicted to fossil fuels.

dvised us to plan for all of them. Rapid global warming, the top 2, point at desperate situations, either total collapse leading to lifeboats.. that is only pockets of stablity remaining and backs to the wall survival strategies, or Brown Tech, whereby the oil keeps flowing in an ever polluted and divided world, driving climate change and leading to ever more repressive regimes.

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Energy descent scenarios

The lower two scenarios assume slower climate disruption and a greater ability for society to adjust to the coming changes. If the energy supplies hold out long enough then we might have time to engineer a green tech sustainable future, and indeed early adopters who were never too heavily invested in the carbon economy might well make this shift in time. Costa Rica, maybe Nicaragua, Cuba, Uganda might get there as they have natural sustainable energy resources like solar, geo-thermal and hydro and a strong local food economy. The over-indistrialised countries are going to find this much harder as we are so heavily invested in economic growth, petroleum driven trasportation and industrial agriculture.

James H Kunstler says: We are not going to be able to continue driving to Walmart for our groceries in our post carbon future.

If energy supplies run out faster then Green Tech becomes much harder to achieve and we are headed to a future based on Earth Stewardship, or permaculture. This involves making the best of the what relics we have from the industrial age and working hard to repair the damage we have done to the bioshpere to offset the worst impacts of climate and ecological damage. We will need to construct a localised economy based on organic agriculture, social inclusion by the local economy and an abandonment of globalisation all together.

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This might all seem pretty bleak but the reality is that by failing to prepare in any way for the realities of our time will almost certainly lead us to the life boats scenario. Indeed persuit of the Brown Tech options will most likely also lead us to Lifeboats and a future we are unprepared for. We have to prepare for the Green tech future while we have the economic activity to achieve this. Our insurance policy is to invest in permaculture and to plan for an earth stewardship future as the basic default position to underwrite our food and resource security issues.

Find out more about Permaculture here:

  • Permaculture Design Principles
    Thinking tools, that when used together, allow us to creatively re-design our environment and our behavior in a world of less energy and resources
  • Permaculture Association
    We support our members and others in the permaculture network to design thriving communities across Britain by applying permaculture ethics and principles, and to contribute to permaculture worldwide
  • Permaculture Magazine UK
    Practical Solutions beyond sustainability
  • Transition Network
    Home of Transition network worldwide.
  • Sector39 permaculture
    Permaculture courses, landscapes and design.
    That’s us, we are based in Mid Wales and offer permaculture education and design services.

Standing for science and reason

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Cesar Manrique speaks out for the environment in 1987

This piece is from the latest Tanat Valley Chronicle

The publication is produced locally and is widely read, the best tool for reaching the local population. How has it come to this? It seems incredible that in 2017 we ap11-steve-jones-mar-2017-1re failing to grasp the messages coming from the scientific community and confusing their painstaking and peer reviewed research with corporate sponsored advertorial trying to deny to us what is plainly obvious. We ma prefer to hear the comforting lies coming from the corporate media but our own personal experiences tell us something different is happening. It seems essential that we all get a strong grasp of the research, of the established fast away from the filters and reality bending secondary suppliers of information.

The Llanfyllin event aims to build towards the World Earth Day when scientists across the world will be sending a unified and clear message that we ignore these findings at tremendous and horrific risk to all.

 

Are we ready to face the climate challenge? – Lecture Screening and Discussion

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Rachel Carson, author of the groundbreaking Silent Spring, warned us many years ago of the dangers of allowing politics to influence our understanding of the natural world:

“The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth — soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program, based on the most extensive research. Their administration is not properly, and cannot be, a matter of politics” Rachel Carson, The Silent Spring.

This begs the question what the role of science is when the politicians of the day can cast aside the dire and detailed warnings of the climate science community, despite the agreements and commitments they so publicly made to respond to this unfolding crisis?

We teach science in our schools yet we fail to adhere to it in our daily lives. What message does this send to the growing generation? The smoking ban, compulsory seatbelts in cars, these were considered responses to known and measurable threats, so why then do we ignore the much more serious warnings about climate and energy?

We know of the disproportionate hold the oil industry has over our economy, over the US presidency and the Russian rouble, yet to allow that reality to frame our responses will have dire consequences for all.

Last year we launched the Llanfyllin Transition Project, ‘Saving the Planet One School at a Time,’ with the specific aim of exploring these ideas across the whole community, and asking ourselves the question of how we can better prepare for what awaits us.

To begin, surely we are obliged to refer ourselves back to the science – what can we expect, what is happening, how much do we know? Also, we need to look at this information outside of the political and economic framework that surrounds the debate in the media.

The global scientific community will stage mass demonstrations to celebrate World Earth Day on April 22nd. This year’s event and campaign will fight against efforts to silence science and focus on creating and supporting knowledge sharing, community engagement, citizen science and stewardship.

We will be holding a series of events leading to Earth Day, the first of which is at Llanfyllin High School, 23rd March, building to the global event in April. It is free and will be informative, challenging and inclusive.