The Power of Just Doing Stuff is now officially launched and out in the world! Following a pre-launch at Saturday’s Schumacher Lectures in Bristol, the book was officially kicked off at an amazing event in Crystal Palace, London. I am making a short film of the day there which I will post soon, but for now, here’s a short account, some audio and photos from the evening. I am deeply indebted to John Barrett and Jonathan Goldberg for the great photos here. I had spent the afternoon visiting some of the many projects Crystal Palace Transition Town (CPTT) have started over their 2 year existence, and meeting members of the group. The evening event was in the Grain and Grape pub, and was packed. Here is the talk I gave, with an introduction from Joe Duggan of CPTT.
If there was one picture that captured the times we are living through it is this. It appeared on the BBC website recently with the following caption:
Kevin McGuire walks his dog past a vacant shop in Belcoo, Northern Ireland. The empty shop is one of a number that have had graphics placed on the windows to make them look like working shops ahead of the G8 summit which takes place nearby later this month.
Let’s take that a bit more slowly. Here is a shop, one of many that has gone out of business due, among other things, to the growth-fixated policies of the G8, situated in a place G8 ministers will be driven past en route to their summit. Rather than their being able to see how things are actually unfolding in the real world, the division and misery being caused by their approach to the economy, the windows have been plastered with stickers that present it as a fully-stocked, thriving shop.
We’ll start this month’s round up in South Africa. We loved this video from German TV about Transition Town Greyton, and the work they are doing. Wonderful stuff. Altogether now: “Stuff your bottles, clean up your town”…
This month’s round up comes to you with a new added source of material, Twitter. There are hundreds of Transition initiatives on Twitter, and they offer a more intimate insight into what’s happening on the ground, stories that wouldn’t necessarily warrant a blog or make the local press, but which offer a great sense of what people are doing. Hopefully you’ll agree that this month’s round up is all the richer for it. Feels to me like the fullest and most vibrant we’ve yet produced.
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.
In November 2006, I sat at the back of the Barn Cinema, Dartington, and watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth‘. It had such an impact on me that by the time it ended, I had decided that I couldn’t just leave the cinema without marking the event by making some kind of change in my life. I decided that evening not to fly again, and I haven’t flown since. I have played an active part in supporting the growth of an international movement in 40 countries since then, participating in countless workshops, and discussing Transition internationally through Skype and pre-recorded talks, most of which I begin with how much carbon I have saved by not travelling in person. However, I recently watched the film ‘Chasing Ice’, and it had, if anything, a more visceral impact than ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. My resolution at the end of watching it, re-enforced by the recent passing, for the first time, of 400 ppm of C02 in the atmosphere, was that it was time to get back on a plane, and I want to use this post to tell you why.