With the editor’s apologies for a sadly belated posting: this month’s international anniversary events
Thames Water is subject to the Environmental Information Regulations (2004). This law says that bodies like Thames Water shall make the environmental information it holds progressively available to the public by electronic means which are easily accessible. The information will show where greater investment is needed to protect the river.
ELF has worked with London Waterkeeper (LW) since it was first approached for assistance in 2016. LW recently launched a campaign – A Thames Fit To Swim – to persuade Thames Water to notify the public when sewage works overflow and discharge to the Thames during wet weather, from the Cotswolds to the Capital, by putting the information on its website, in real-time. Readers living in those areas may sign up to the campaign here.
Copenhagen Harbour Bath
Copenhagen made its waters ‘swimmable’ by adopting this policy. Read an inspiring account here. Urban beaches and harbour swimming pools have been created which are now its most popular open spaces.
Read more here.
Jackie is a co-founder of Trelay, which is working towards the original dream of a sustainable, cooperative eco-village, but the development work seems to be building up to some sort of crescendo and there was a big effort to agree a final site plan and tidy the site.
In parallel with all this, food production has gone up, with wonderful dairy products, plenty of meat, and more vegetables from both the polytunnel and the veggie patch than ever before. A poor year for soft fruit
Read about the wild flowers and wildlife there, the Easter egg hunt, planting seed potatoes, animal rearing and Trelay members’ visit to Golitha Falls, south of Bodmin Moor.
In addition to refurbishing and extending homes and building a materials store they have decided to have another go at getting planning permission for a wind turbine at Trelay – difficult, because it is an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), but a pre-planning enquiry will be submitted, asking about a small turbine for the use of the community, rather than one to sell electricity to the grid.
Trelay Cohousing Community welcomes visitors, although they are not open to show people round most of the time, as it is their home and we are busy caring for our plants and animals, and building things.
Visitors can come there as holiday guests – see below for information about Tamarisk cabins, or contact Maria or James to find out about the campsite. To book in advance for next year please call 07378 286 126 or email email@example.com. Those who wish to learn or work rather than be a holiday-maker can come to one of the “Interest Weekends” to learn what cohousing is all about. Or come as a working volunteer, either for one of the allocated weeks, or at another time. The dates for interest weekends (including dairying, looking after the fruit and vegetables) are on the website.
A few days ago Rashneh emailed: “Glad to inform you that CERE has successfully completed one of the largest RWH systems within Mumbai city for Mumbai Police at their Armed Headquarters at Naigaon. The Commissioner of Police inaugurated the project on 3 Oct 2017”.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar inaugurating the rainwater harvesting system last week
Anurag Kamble reported in the Midday newspaper that the police precinct houses 2,335 families of the constabulary, a municipal school and a police hospital. It also serves as a base for three battalions and many special units. There are three large training grounds and national level sportspersons practising at the hockey maidan. Despite this, for the past 15 years, the locality has been receiving less than 15 minutes of municipal water supply each day.
“Every summer, delegations of cops’ families come to us begging for a solution. Also, whenever training camps were held, which happens at regular intervals, we had to arrange for water tankers, as we never had enough drinking water,” said Additional Commissioner (Armed Police) Aswati Dorje. “And, during the monsoon, the ground would get completely waterlogged. We wanted to fix all these problems permanently”.
Then the Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE) came to their rescue, suggesting a solution. “For the past three years, we were working with the Mumbai police to plant 500 native trees in Naigaon, under the Urban Afforestation Project. During one of those visits, we learnt about the acute water shortage and flooding problem in the area. We asked the administration if we could do rainwater harvesting here, and after a survey, gave them a presentation. We received the go-ahead immediately,” said Dr Rashneh Pardiwala, founder and director of CERE. “We got approval in March and literally worked day and night for three-and-a-half months to get the system up and running”.
Dr Rashneh Pardiwala, founder director of CERE, shows where the rainwater harvesting project was installed in Naigaon. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Phase 2: to create a natural reed bed system to treat waste water:
A long-term solution to water scarcity is to recycle grey water from the kitchen. This project component involves treating a part of the grey water from the police residential colonies through an effective and natural Reed Bed System and using the clean treated water to maintain the open grounds. Therefore, this intervention will help
(a) conserve potable water for watering open grounds,
(b) recharge the ground water table, and
(c) reduce wastage of water.
CERE is currently looking for funding for this phase of the project.
Highly recommended: a video about the detail of the project which may be accessed here: http://cere-india.org/rwh-with-the-mumbai-police/
Something rather Simpol happened in UK politics. We doubled the number of pledged MPs! But what about Germany?
John Bunzl says:
Yes, the UK election was special, and we’re not just talking about the reported youth voter turnout or the Labour resurgence.
Bringing together MPs from across the political divide, including:
- Vince Cable (Liberal Democrats),
- Caroline Lucas (Green Party),
- John McDonnell (Labour),
- Jeremy Lefroy (Conservative)
- and Marion Fellows (SNP)
Congratulations and a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped get us there!
We’ll be working hard in the coming months to engage our MPs and in recruiting all those MPs who don’t yet support the campaign.
Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org – if you’d like to be involved in what happens next.
Readers not already on James Robertson’s massive mailing list are advised to consider signing up to receive his Newsletter which has a wide overview of current issues, drawing on a range of sources and reaching people in many different countries. Here are a few extracts from Newsletter No. 58 – August 2017
FACING THE FUTURE
Viral essay: The Uninhabitable Earth. “It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.”
See David Wallace-Wells at www.ecologise.in/2017/07/15/viral-essay-uninhabitable-earth.
WE THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD MUST ACT, IF OUR LEADERS WON’T
14 years have passed since the British Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, offered us Our final century. “I think the odds are no better than 50/50 that our present civilisation will survive to the end of the present century”. See www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk2000/newsmakers/ 2976279.stm. If the leaders of our countries pay no attention to those warnings, we the people of the Earth must respond.
EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE RESPONDING INCLUDED:
- The Ecological Land Co-operative works towards a living, working countryside (Ed: co-founder Shaun Chamberlin). “Our mission is to provide affordable opportunities for ecological land-based businesses in the UK. We support rural regeneration by developing affordable sites for farming, forestry and other rural enterprises which are viable and ecologically beneficial”. Their current 2017-2020 Business Plan sets out more about their work. See www.ecologicalland.coop.
- The Farmer Is The Future, by Julian Rose. See www.notthembutus.wordpress.com/discussion-papers/the-future-is-the-farmer-julian-rose.
- Localise West Midlands works towards local supply chains, money flow, ownership and power for a more just and sustainable economy. Its joint co-ordinator is Karen Leach. This not-for-personal-profit thinktank, campaign group and consultancy exists to promote the environmental, social and economic benefits of:
Local trading, using local businesses, materials and supply chains
Linking local needs to local resources
Development of community and local capacity
Decentralisation of appropriate democratic and economic power
Provision of services tailored to meet local needs.
And finally: The overwhelming negatives of the Hinkley Point deal.
“The Chinese and French have made British consumers the equivalent of a gargantuan payday loan. The case for the project, says the NAO, was “marginal” and the deal “not value for money”. That is auditor-speak for crazy.” See www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/23/hinkley-point-cancel-theresa-may-hs2.
Diana was responding to the riposte to Professor Minford made by Molly Scott Cato whose work she has long admired:
“She has made a much neglected point about all those small overlooked timing and communication factors which should be taken into account in any rational economic decision.
“However, in my view, the referendum decision of 2016 should have been debated much more fully and three-dimensionally beforehand.
“Brexit is essentially not just about economics, statistics and accountancy (which was, I believe, the main reference point), but about affirmation of much more lasting and enduring issues such as political and cultural unity, integrity, solidarity, harmony and mutual humanitarian support in the face of creeping materialism overruling basic human values”.
Shaun opens with a reference to a workshop at the first national gathering of the U.S. Transition movement: “All 180 attendees at that gathering were gifted a copy of Surviving the Future, courtesy of a wealthy fan of the book, and to honour Fleming’s influence on the birth of Transition“. He refers to Mark Boyle’s article in The Guardian and we note this paragraph:
“The late David Fleming – one of the greatest thinkers you’ve probably never heard of – said in his recent posthumously published magnum opus, Lean Logic, that “localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility, but it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative”.
A Spanish publisher has now signed up to translate and publish Surviving the Future for the world’s half-billion Spanish speakers!
Shaun continues: “And filming is now underway for an hour-long film on David Fleming’s life, legacy and vision, provisionally titled The Seed Beneath The Snow! BAFTA lifetime achievement award winning director Peter Armstrong is at the helm, and I hope to be able to include an early teaser clip in the next update – stay tuned…”
The books were also named in ‘best of 2016’ lists by both GreenBiz and The Times Higher Education Supplement!
This dedicated page on the Fleming Policy Centre website has at-a-glance summaries of the reviews to date, videos from the launch events, links to buy the books etc: http://www.flemingpolicycentre.org.uk/lean-logic-surviving-the-future/
VIDEO (8 mins): 2016 event at Trinity College, Oxford University, Jonathon Porritt and Shaun Chamberlin discuss the work of David Fleming (Trinity alumnus ) focusing on economic collapse and the rediscovery of culture grounded in place. They were celebrating the launch of ‘Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It’ and the paperback ‘Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy’.
Follow @LeanDictionary on Twitter to stay up-to-date with all the latest
Mary continues to work for a better health service (as a retired health professional) and serve rural India with Assefa and Action Village India. She was recently snapped (below, far right) with the able MP Clive Lewis, supporting CAAT’s campaign to ban the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the UK’s biggest arms customer. It represses its own population and has used UK weapons to help crush democracy protests in Bahrain. UK-made warplanes are now playing a central role in Saudi Arabia’s attacks in Yemen.
The High Court rejected the claim brought by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) against Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, over the decision to continue to grant licences for the export of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia. CAAT is now pursuing an appeal.
In lighter vein we must celebrate Mary and other networkers who introduce other splendid people, one instance being Richard Douthwaite who made the link with the late David Fleming.
Mary introduced James Bruges at the launch of Steve Schofield’s 2002 report: The UK and Non-offensive Defence: An Introductory Study on the Implications of the UK Adopting a Non-offensive Defence Stance, launched in the Commons by former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle. James has done excellent work on so many fronts and we note that so much has been omitted from his profile here: his ‘Little Books’, the contributions made by his family trust and his work on biochar, which has attracted many readers.
More recently Mary introduced Fran Wilde, also a supporter of Assefa and Action Village India. Amongst many other activities she is a leading light in organising and running the Madras Café at music festivals such as WOMAD. What started as a chai stall has now become a festival institution, serving Indian food to thousands of people. Staffed entirely by willing volunteers, all the profits from Madras Cafe go back to Action Village India to support rural initiatives and help to combat poverty and social injustice across India.
Highly recommended: Fran has produced a short film about her time in Minjur near Madras where women are involved in upgrading their homes from traditional mud and thatch which are vulnerable to the elements.
CAAT’s campaign ‘Arms to Renewables’ will be holding an event on September 6th, calling for jobs that create a safer, rather than a more dangerous world.