I’ve mentioned Transition Town Kingston on here briefly, and there are a lot of TTK events coming up, so I thought I’d give some more background and some relevant dates.
Transition Towns is a worldwide network of unique, local movements aimed at helping a local area to face up to two key environmental challenges: climate change and peak oil. Two things make Transition Towns stand out in the crowd of green initiatives springing up at the moment. Firstly, peak oil is looked at alongside climate change. Peak oil is the idea that the world’s oil supplies will soon plateau: from that point on, available supply at a viable price of extraction will only fall. Combined with trends of increasing supply, due mainly to rapidly industrialising countries, this is clearly a problem. As well as raising wider awareness of this problem, Transition Towns seeks to relate it to the other problems we face. Looking at climate change but ignoring peak oil leads to a lot of energy-intensive, high-technology suggestions for mitigating global warming, which, given the fact that we can’t rely on cheap energy being available forever, is not necessarily the best way to go.
This brings me on to the second thing that I think makes Transition Towns unique, and which is really important to me personally. It is focused on positivity, local action and local decision-making. We can’t rely (or at least can’t rely solely) on science to save the day, so why not do more for ourselves locally? Not only does this make us more independent of external factors, we can build stronger communities whilst creating a ‘vision’ of what we want to see in the future, and working towards it. I’ve said a bit more about this on my company’s blog here and want to develop my thoughts on how all this ties in with the new local government structures, primarily Local Strategic Partnerships, that are forming.
Transition Town Kingston is trying to promote Kingston’s ‘resilience’ to peak oil and climate change, for instance by encouraging local food production, but branching out into contributing towards plans to reduce energy demand and find lower energy ways of doing things.
Even if climate change didn’t exist, we might as well try to make Kingston an even more welcoming and fun place than it is now, and one where all interested people work together to run things. In preparation for my MA course, I’ve been reading about the history of town planning, and it seems that the single biggest impetus towards more collaborative decision-making in that field has been the environmental agenda. Whether or not this is a coincidence, it’s a link that I think we should embrace and continue to progress; treating sustainability in its widest sense to encompass sustainable communities as well as a sustainable mode of living within our material resources.
Tomorrow (Sat 12th September) we are helping Plastic Bag Free Kingston to run a stall outside All Saints Church in Kingston Market Place from 10am to 4pm. Free cloth bags for all!
Next Saturday (19th September) in the afternoon, TTK and KUTLETS (Kingston’s Local Exchange Trading Scheme) are holding an Organic Food Extravaganza at Kingston Environment Centre, Fairfield East, KT1 2PT – come to share and swap produce that you’ve grown and meet like-minded people.
On Tuesday 22nd September, we have a short film and discussion on transport to mark World Car Free Day– this is from 7pm at C-SCAIPE, Kingston University, Penryhn Road, KT1 2EE. All welcome, refreshments provided and donations to cover costs appreciated!
On Thursday 24th September, from 7.30pm at C-SCAIPE again, we’ve invited a senior planner from the Council for a discussion on the South London Waste Plan, currently under consultation. Do come and have your say – no prior knowledge required.
And finally (for now) on Saturday 3rd October, we have a cold frame building session at the Environment Centre – so if you want to keep growing food over the winter months, come down and find out how. Keep an eye on www.ttkingston.org or subscribe to the newsletter for more details.