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MappingDevonThis issue maps many of the localgroups active across Devon, illustratingwhat an amazing community resourceIt shows that people care and wantto take positive action to tacklethe challenges we face. Together,communities can be strong and makea real difference, even more so ifthey can build successful partnershipswith their Parish Councils and LocalAuthorities.The DCRN/DCCN Conference presentsa unique opportunity for people fromdifferent walks of life and working indifferent sectors to brainstorm ideasand gain new perspectives from eachother – think outside their ‘box’-many of us rarely get the space to dothat. It’s really helpful for communityactivists to understand Local AuthorityCouncillors and Officers perspectivesand vice-versa, to network and makenew connections. It’s the stuff thatoils the wheels of good cross sectorworking partnerships.The conference, held in June inCrediton, was a resounding success,attended by around 60 people. Itthrashed out some key issues onhow our communities can tacklewaste, climate change, communityfinance and other issues we all face.The keynote speaker, Mark Shayler,who brought business perspectives,life cycle analysis and eco-designexpertise, delivered a powerful talkon ‘peak everything’ – not just oil,but resource use, water, chemicalexposure. He underlined the urgencyof the situation and critical point weare at.Round table discussion groups movedpeople around so everyone got todiscuss and build on different aspectsof climate change, recycling, reuse,and composting.For climate change there seemed tobe agreement that cutting across allthe issues the biggest need now wasraising awareness and education sothat people are willing to make thechanges and start changing behaviour.Mostly those changes have alreadybeen defined, the question is howwe make them, individually andcollectively, bottom up, top down andjoined up. Cross sector strategies areneeded. How do we finance them,make them happen, and enforcethem? Recycling is still trying to get10-20% of people to participate – thesame difficulties will be faced withother changes. Waste preventionremains a big challengeIf ‘Don’t let Devon go to Waste’ cost£1m for starters and WRAPs ‘RecycleNow’ campaign cost even more,then a massive awareness campaignon an unprecedented scale costingmany £m’s is needed to help peopleunderstand the problems and startmaking the changes required.On the resources side, consensusagreed that at least a whole LAdepartment for local action combinedwith central Government initiativesis needed – unfortunately the futurewill more likely bring us cuts with therecession. DCC has at least 16 peoplein the waste management team +administration. Districts combinedhave similar amounts. Are authoritiesreally thinking ahead properly andenvisioning resources on a sufficientscale?Significant money at community levelis needed to help communities makechanges – and be empowered. Howindividuals use their own money todeliver changes in their communitiesis in many ways a missing piece ofthe jigsaw – but organisations likeWessex are coming up with structuresto enable us to make different choiceswith money.On the action front, practical projectssuch as car free zones, transportsolutions, waste prevention and localfood should be prioritised so thatpeople can see tangible steps arebeing taken on various fronts.Findings from the reuse groupsupported more education andbetter co-ordination perhaps with anEducation Resources co-ordinator anda working party to establish problems,solutions, and strategies to encouragemore reuse: such as repair credits,more community facilities, a BusinessFreecycle for Devon – perhaps throughNISP (National Industrial SymbiosisProgramme).There was excellent feedback and callsfor more frequent conferences by theend.4 5

Have youseen anEDAPlately?“One of the main sinks of energy inthe ‘developed’ world is the creatingof stuff. In its natural life cycle, stuffpasses through 3 stages. First, anew-born stuff is displayed in its shinypackaging on a shelf in a shop. Atthis stage, stuff is called ‘goods’. Assoon as the stuff is taken home andsheds its packaging, it undergoes atransformation from ‘goods’ to itssecond form ‘clutter’. The clutter liveswith its owner for a period of monthsor years. During this period the clutteris largely ignored by its owner, who isoff at the shops buying more goods.Eventually by a miracle of modernalchemy, the clutter is transformed intoits final form, rubbish.”Transition Town Totnes have recentlyproduced an Energy Descent ActionPlan for Waste, (EDAP) which seeks toportray a timeline of changes in societythat need to happen to address thechallenges of climate change, peakoil and over-consumption betweennow and 2030. The plan engaged thelocal community in a series of eventswhich helped develop a vision of life in2030, where virtually zero waste hastransformed the way people live, andcommunities are much more self reliantand resilient. Here are some excerptsVision 2030“By 2030, Totnes and district hasachieved almost zero waste and almost100% resource recovery. Everythingis valued and reused and recycled inways that minimise impact on theenvironment. Few people have moneyto spend on luxuries, nor the space toaccommodate a lot of clutter, as homespace is used for all the tools, materialsand books needed being more creativeto meet ones own needs, such ascooking, sewing, DIY, gardening. Inplace of excess money, most peoplehave created more time to live morediverse lives to enable them to providefor more of their own basic needs.Through this change, values aroundresources and waste have moved onand reflect respect, an ethical approachand prudence, and recognition of theconnection between resources and theplanet, viewing with astonishment thebrief but severe mass-consumerism andthe throw away society at the turn ofthe 21st century.”A study found that 33% of shopperssurveyed had a "high level of addictionto rash or unnecessary consumption”.Affluenza, n. 1. “The bloated, sluggishand unfulfilled feeling that results fromefforts to keep up with the Joneses.2. An epidemic of stress, overwork,waste and indebtedness caused by thepursuit of the American Dream.3. An unsustainable addiction toeconomic growth.”The rationale that underpins theTransition movement is that:a) peak oil and climate change mustbe addressed together, not asseparate issues. We don’t knowhow fast the peak oil descent willbe, but as demand increases so thegap will get wider.b) Current ‘business as usual’ andperpetual economic growth is notsustainable nor possiblec) There will be much less energyavailable in the future, and itwill be much more expensive, so‘energy descent’ is inevitable. Wehad better start planning for it(at community level). There is aneed to recast energy descent asa positive process that can freepeople from the dysfunctions ofgrowth economics and consumerculture.The UK is heading for its own energycrisis: north sea oil and gas is rapidlydeclining, 30% of the current energygenerating capacity is due to close by2020, ‘desirable’ replacement optionsare running out, current UK effortsfor renewable energy are predictedto reach only 6% of needs by 2020,and higher renewable targets will bemissed.‘The Transition Timeline, for alocal, resilient future’ by ShaunChamberlain and published by GreenBooks, builds on Rob Hopkins earlier‘Transition Handbook’. It provides aset of innovative approaches, newnarratives and creative thinking toolsto help people create energy descentpathways, timelines and EDAPs fortheir community.The Transition Movement is creating atransition vision in which we shift ourcultural and economic assumptionsto fit our circumstances and moveto a more fulfilling, lower energyfuture based on earth stewardshipand sustainable and resilient localcommunities.www.totnes.transitionnetwork.orgFrom 2030 looking backIt's strange to think of a timeOf the early part of the century for instanceWhen we learn that there were these big storesFull of foods from every countryBrought to us by giant trucks and aeroplanesPackaged in cardboard and plastic to appeal to tastesWhole forests were cut down in order to make these presentationsWhich were then discardedAnd taken away in black sacksTo giant rubbish dumps.What a crazy way to live!From Wondermentalist Transition Cabaret12 13

Book ReviewBook reviews & climatechange scepticism.With the recent flurry ofclimate change deniallaunched by sceptics preCopenhagen, there are anumber of books worthhighlighting which mayhelp clarify any doubtsand raise awareness.Firstly, a ‘Climate Safety’booklet by the PublicInterest Research Centrecharity clearly presents thescience, targets, solutions, action anda summary all in a very readable 48pages. See www.climatesafety.orgto download free or £7 for papercopy via Amazon.The Transition Timelineby Shaun ChamberlainNext is ‘The Transition Timeline,for a local, resilient future’ (GreenBooks) by Shaun Chamberlain,which builds on Rob Hopkins earlier‘Transition Handbook’. It provides aset of innovative approaches, newnarratives and creative thinking toolsto help people create energy descentpathways, timelines and action plansfor their community. A clear messagefor positive hope.Future Scenariosby David HolmgrenA good understanding of theperspectives behind Transition Townthinking can be gained from ‘FutureScenarios – How communities canadapt to peak oil and climate change’by David Holmgren. It is an excellent,simply explained and unputdownableexploration of different future possiblescenarios from ‘lifeboats’, through‘green tech’ to ‘earth stewardship’.How these scenarios unfold dependson the rapidity or suddenness of peakoil and climate change. Gripping stuff.The Vanishing Face of Gaiaby James LovelockThen comes ‘The Vanishing Face ofGaia’ by Devon based James Lovelock,a leading ‘lifeboat’ scenario thinker.It updates us on his thinking laidout in his earlier book ‘The Revengeof Gaia’, which was hailed as ‘themost important book for decades’by Andrew Marr, but alienated manyenvironmentalists by his nuclearadvocacy and opposition to windenergy. His views can be surmised: wewill be unable to reduce our energyneeds, the earth cannot support thecurrent population level, sustainabledevelopment is not possible, so wehad better plan for a ‘sustainableretreat’ in the face of catastrophicclimate change as much of the earthbecomes uninhabitable.Lovelock says ‘I realised I had saidmuch about the imminent catastrophebut too little about how we couldtry to ensure our continued presenceon the Earth…’ The book, then, isa mixture of discussion of problemsand solutions, with historical,environmental and Gaian perspectives.There is some good stuff – suchas on understanding Gaia and ourseparation from nature. Unfortunatelyhis recommendations, whilst thoughtprovoking, compare unfavourablyagainst the analysis in GeorgeMonbiot’s book ‘Heat – How tostop the Planet burning’, whichremains the best written solutionsbased book on reducing carbonemissions – you will find more positiveevaluations there.However the ‘carrot and stick’approach often works, so do readLovelock, Fred Pearce ‘The LastGeneration’, and Mark Lynas ‘5degrees’ to disturb yourself intotaking urgent action to changeyour life. For example, the actualmeasurements of climate change (icemelt, temperature rises and otherindicators) are all exceeding the worstcase predictions made by the IPCC, sowe’d better take serious action pdq.Lovelock is provocative in hisarguments – no bad thing to countercomplacency. ‘Our wish to continuebusiness as usual will probablyprevent us from saving ourselves’,so we must adapt as best we can sothat enough of us survive to allow amore capable species to evolve fromus. Fundamentally the Earth cannotsupport the current population: it willneed to be greatly reduced. As wewill be unable to do that voluntarily,catastrophic climate change willensue, at least 5 degrees hotter withhuge desertification. Ergo ‘sustainabledevelopment’ is impossible – too manypeople - so we should be undertakinga sustainable ‘retreat’. This includespreparing ‘lifeboats’ for civilisationsuch as islands like the UK and NewZealand, nuclear power to ensureenergy security, laboratory food toensure food security, and mega citiesto support the most people efficientlyusing the least space and leaving landfor food growing & reforestation.Lovelock seeks to de-bunk what heperceives as misplaced green ideas. Heis very anti-wind and pro-nuclear – forexample, a 1GW wind farm requires 2m tonnes of concrete which releases1 m tonnes of CO2, and it requiresequivalent back-up for when the windis not blowing. However, he makesomissions, and in my view does notplace enough emphasis on the greatestpotentials – energy efficiency and solarthermal energy from hot areas and biocharfor carbon sequestration. Solarreflectors heat water to drive steamturbines, with energy stored using‘steam accumulators’. New mainscables carrying up to a million voltswould cost $1m a mile, so it is viableto send energy on a continental scale.Civilisation may survive the catastrophealbeit in greatly reduced circumstances,and the Earth can find a new naturalbalance in a much hotter world.Lovelock concludes: ‘We exist nowbecause Gaia did the selecting;perhaps we should leave it to her tocontinue’. ‘We could have a future incommunion with our living planet’…’able to counter the disabling impactsthat are due’…‘how could anyonebe a pessimist and imagine that theglobal heating crisis is the end for usor even Gaia?14 15

DEFRAdropscharges!Defra drops proposed£50 charge to registerpermitting exemptionsDefra has abandoned plans to introducea £50 blanket charge for registeringall exemptions from environmentalpermitting as a result of concerns overthe impact that the charge could haveon small-scale recycling operationsand small businesses in the currenteconomic climate.The Government has decided thatin the current economic climateimposing charges for the registrationof waste exemptions may discouragethe take-up of small-scale recycling.Defra had originally proposed that allwaste operators who needed toregister their activities as exemptwould have to pay the charge everythree years.The proposals had proved particularlycontroversial over the impact it couldhave on small-scale compostingactivities, and also on farmers'willingness to comply with permittingrequirements.In explaining its decision, the departmentexplained that the "vast majority"of respondents did not support theplans for a charge.The department had already delayedthe introduction of the new exemptionssystem from its original launch date ofOctober 2009 to April 2010 in a movethought to be linked to its reluctance tobe seen to be increasing businesses'administrative and financial burdenduring the recession.18

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