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.
Today sees the publication of what may well turn out to be one of the most important documents yet produced by a Transition initiative. Over the next few weeks we will be returning to it, to hear a range of perspectives on it, and hope it will generate debate and discussion. The document is the ‘Totnes & District Local Economic Blueprint‘, and you can download it for free here. The Blueprint is the first attempt that I am aware of to map in detail a local economy and to put a value on the potential benefits of an increased degree of localisation. If you like, it identifies “the size of the prize” of Transition.
Here Fiona Ward of the REconomy Project introduces the Blueprint:
Let’s start this month’s round-up in the UK, in Cheltenham. Transition Town Cheltenham have been making some gorgeous short films recently. In the last roundup we shared the one about Ken and his allotment. This month, firstly, Ivor, Remi and Leon talk us through the chickens in their garden, and their 8-person cargo bike:
… and secondly, a short film about In Stitches, who held their The Big Knit event at the Global Footsteps Cafe. A beautiful film about the power of knitting to build community:
Here’s a great short film about ‘A Little Patch of Ground’, a wonderful project run by Encounters Arts in Hackney, London and in Dartington, Devon. A very heartwarming way to spend 8 minutes on a Wednesday morning.
I was reminded by this recent piece by Dr Chris Johnstone over at ClimateCodeRed of the meeting that he and I held in June 2006 with Dr Stephen Rollnick. This was back when I was researching the Transition Handbook, and we met for a day to discuss how insights from the psychology of health behaviour change might be helpful when tackling environmental issues like climate change and peak oil. It was fascinating, and I realised as I read Chris’ article that I had never posted the transcript of that conversation here yet. So here it is, slightly dated, but hopefully containing some insights you will find useful (it’s quite long!). My thanks to Chris and Stephen for a fascinating day (nearly 6 years ago!).