I spoke at the Hay Festival last week, a very well-attended and enjoyable session. Every day during the Festival, the Daily Telegraph produces ‘The Hayley Telegraph’, a free magazine given away at the Festival, which includes articles by, or about, some of that day’s speakers. Here is the article I wrote for the edition published the day I spoke.
The new economic frontier is a chance for community resilience
There’s a TV advert I remember from the 1980s that has stuck with me. It features a recently unemployed man telling his wife that he and his friend are “going it alone”, that “the bank says yes”, and that they are going to set up their own business. I think the ad was for a car or something. It captured the spirit prevalent during that decade, where business was the new frontier, anything was possible, and there were no limits.
The other day I read an excellent piece by Calvin Jones, Professor of Economics at Cardiff Business School (see right) called Technology Cannot Tackle Climate Change. Having argued that, due to a range of issues, economic growth is no longer possible, he writes:
“Faced with these issues it is easy to withdraw into either a belief in an economic growth fairy, or into passive, nihilistic depression. But this is not necessary. Many societies historically have functioned perfectly well without ever-increasing levels of growth and complexity”.
He also wrote “the cognitive dissonance we feel, as GDP figures rise, and we feel ever more tired, stressed and scared, is real, and must be challenged”, rapidly becoming one of my favourite quotes. Given the challenges of condensing complex arguments into short articles, I thought it would be good to have a chat with Calvin. So what follows is either the audio file to listen to while you’re hoovering the stairs, or a transcript of our talk.
We start this month’s Round Up with the first of two awards we’ll be giving out this month, the ‘Dedication to Transition Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award’. It goes to David and Mark of Transition Keynsham, who will be taking part in the Exmouth Exodus bike ride to raise much needed funds for Transition Keynsham. The Exodus ride is an overnight bike ride from Clifton to Exmouth, a total of around 100 miles with a few hills along the way! If you would like to sponsor them, or send them encouraging words, please click here. Every little helps (as they say).
We’ll start this month’s Round up in Crystal Palace in London, and news of the ‘Palace Pint’. Crystal Palace Transition Town started the initiative inspire by the nearby ‘Brixton Beer’, and more than 80 people have now planted hops in their gardens as part of the scheme. CPTT have teamed up with local brewers Late Knights in Penge, who will brew a special brew using the hops and who will also run sessions throughout the year where people can learn to brew. Hops were also planted in the Crystal Palace Museum Garden and in the Grape and Grain pub’s Tipsy Garden (see pic above).