Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought

Two recent reports that link Climate Change to the situation in the Middle East. Does the migration crisis have roots in the impact of CC?


These reports don’t necessarily mean that the Syrian drought has caused the present crisis, but they go some way to understanding why it was possible. There could have been positive remedial responses, like better farming practice and water management, which could have kept Syria stable and less vulnerable.

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Alternative Finance Workshops: Sponsorships!

Alternative Finance Workshops: Sponsorships!

by Brett Scott
Apr 25, 2016

Our financial and monetary system is dominated by powerful banks and large-scale investors, often behaving in unsustainable and socially unjust ways. We need to develop meaningful alternatives to these behemoths, and there are many bold and creative attempts to challenge this financial status quo. On the weekend of 13-15th May Brett Scott’s London School of Financial Arts and Stir To Action will lead a ‘deep dive workshop’ (click for more info) into these new forms of alternative finance.

To help out those who may need financial support to attend the workshop, Economy of Hours, MoveYourMoney, Brixton Pound and Finance Innovation Lab have kindly offered scholarships to fund places. To apply, see instructions below.

1) The MoveYourMoney Scholarship: MoveYourMoney has led the way in challenging the large banks that dominate the UK high street, working tirelessly for accountability and alternative banking systems.This place has already been allocated.

2) The Economy of Hours Scholarship: Echo is a leading example of a modern time-credit system, bypassing traditional monetary systems. They are sponsoring a place for anyone wishing to work on developing ideas to help them further streamline and popularise time- credit systems. To apply for this, email Brett Scott at brettscott [at] fastmail [dot] com with a few lines about yourself and a few lines about why you’d like to take part. Please title the email as ‘Echo Scholarship’.

3) The Brixton Pound Scholarship: The Brixton Pound is a pioneering community currency system, having made many innovative contributions to updating complementary currency systems to the 21st century, from pay-by-text systems to lotteries and ATMs. They are sponsoring a place for anyone wishing to help them develop new ideas for pushing the currency even further. To apply for this, email Brett Scott—  brettscott [at] fastmail [dot] com—with a few lines about yourself and a few lines about why you’d like to take part. Please title the email as ‘Brixton Pound Scholarship’. Priority will be given to candidates who are from Brixton, so please note if you are living in the area.

4) The Finance Innovation Lab deal: The Finance Lab has led the way in bringing together innovators to think systemically about building a financial system that serves people and planet. They are offering a special package-combo deal – buy a ticket to their Transforming Finance 2016 conference, and receive a ticket to the workshop too. For details, visit the Crowdfunder page, and look for the ‘TF2016 and Alternative Finance’ option Please note that these scholarships cover the cost of the workshop, but not travel and accommodation. StirToAction has secured low-cost accommodation options, and we will also attempt to arrange car-share systems for those seeking to get to the workshop from London

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News from the Transition Network

April 2016 – Transition Network Newsletter

We have a new film set in Paris, our theme of ‘international begins looking at UK Devolution, Brexit or Bremain and the translations project. The importance of dreaming and imagination, plus trips to Ireland, Paris and Leicester plus healthy conflict, the joy of training and the new REconomy newsletter.

8 days @ COP21Watch Our New Film: 8 days @ COP21

Travelling to Paris with Rob Hopkins during COP21, the film is the work of filmmaker Emilio Mula, who invested huge amounts of time into making this beautiful film. We would like to use this film to try a new way of being able to resource filmmakers like Emilio to make future wonderful films about Transition. So we would like to invite you to make a donation once you’ve seen it, to give what you felt the film was worth to you.

Our theme for the next 2 months is ‘International’. With the Transition movement now being active in over 50 countries, it feels like a good time to pause and reflect on how that is working, what it looks like, and the many wonderful things, and the challenges, that arise from that.  


Brexit OR Bremain?
Rob Hopkins offers some reflections on the UK’s forthcoming referendum on whether to stay within, or to leave, the European Union, and invites you to share your thoughts.

The Deficits of the English Devolution Process
You’d think the idea of devolving power closer to the local level would be very akin to what Transition is working to achieve, but as Professor Bob Hudson, public policy specialist at Durham University says in this interview “there are some very worrying questions being raised by all of this”.

handDreaming in Tongues – a multi-lingual adventure begins.
A team of three people has taken on the job of supporting transitioners near and far in improving local, national and International capacity for translation. Sara, Pedro and Deborah, the new Transitionese team introduce themselves and the tools they will be using. And ask for support through a survey.


budget and carrotsBudget 2016: What we are facing isn’t a financial crisis, but a crisis of the imagination.
George Osborne just delivered his budget In the same week that the Mauna Loa Observatory released data showing that the rise in CO2 concentrations in 2015 was the largest year-to-year increase during 56 years of research, up to a level not seen in 15 million years. Yet, in spite of being a signatory to COP21, such thinking barely figures in Osborne’s Budget.

On Having a Great Vision, and Not ‘Blowing An Uncertain Trumpet’.
A dream is a fantasy, an aspiration that has yet to touch the ground. A vision has power to it. For Rob Hopkins it is “a vision is something you feel.”


A Snapshot of Transition in … Ireland
Theresa O’Donohoe of Transition Ireland & Northern Ireland reports that the time seemed right for a national conversation and people are now waking up to our energy challenges.

galwayTransition Galway’s ‘2030 Vision’ report
Transition Galway in Ireland just published ‘A Vision for Galway 2030’, their Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP). As well as teh 100 page document, they produced eight short films, one for each topic, outlining the solutions in each chapter. We talk to Bernard McGlinchy, Mary Greene and Caoimhín Ó Maolallaigh about it. “There’s no limit to what we could do” they tell us.

La recyclerieAn Evening at La Recyclerie
At the invitation of UpCafe, an organisation that runs a series of talks about social innovation and sustainability, Rob Hopkins took a trip to Paris to speak at an amazing demonstration of permaculture/Transition/recycling in the heart of Paris called La Recyclerie.

Transition Leicester introduce ‘Footpaths’.
Running for over 5 years, the Footpaths project is a way for people to meet and support each other to reduce their personal carbon footprints through a series of meetings facilitated by members and a useful handbook.


A Healthy Culture of Conflict from the Favellas of Brazil
Originating in Rio de Janeiro, the “Restorative Circles” approach developed by Dominic Barter, rebuilding communities by creating a bottom-up system of justice, is now used in over 30 countries around the world. Sophie Docker reports on her insights from a workshop Dominic ran recently in Frome.


1ytOne Year in Transition: becoming an international community of practice
Since ‘One Year in Transition’ (1YT) has been running in the UK for four years, Isabel Carlisle: Transition Network Education Coordinator reflects on how it has grown now that sister programmes in Portugal and Sweden are launching their own versions.

trainingThe joys of international Transition Training
Naresh Giangrande celebrates a wonderful tool for training that has inspired Transitioners around the globe virtually, Launch Online.


do it supportHow to Get and Keep People Involved in Transition
In many places there are lots of people who are interested in helping out with Transition – and if this is true for you, well done! How to harness their enthusiasm into taking the project forward can be challenging, so this guide shares learning from many groups on this question.

Some of our readers this week may have received the inaugural Newsletter from the REconomy Project. This new initiative from REconomy will be published every two months and will focus on issues relating to REconomy based projects and events around the UK. You can read it here.
REconomy banner

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How ‘Ugly’ Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger


About a third of the planet’s food goes to waste, often because of its looks. That’s enough to feed two billion people.


Every year some six billion pounds of U.S. fruits and vegetables go unharvested or unsold, often for aesthetic reasons.

This months National Geographic has a great article about Food Waste (despite being recently bought by News Corp); “…Globally a year’s production of uneaten food guzzles as much water as the entire annual flow of the Volga, Europe’s most voluminous river. Growing the 133 billion pounds of food that retailers and consumers discard in the United States annually slurps the equivalent of more than 70 times the amount of oil lost in the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom. These staggering numbers don’t even include the losses from farms, fishing vessels, and slaughterhouses. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S.” etc…


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Energy Model of Alton – Workshop May 2016

Any one up for Energy Farnham?

Pop along to this event and get some ideas/inspiration!

Dear Supporter of Energy Alton

Energy Model of Alton – How should we use it to benefit our town?
Invitation to a workshop on Thursday 5th May at 2pm at Alton Community Centre, Amery Street, GU34 1HN

In 2014 Energy Alton (see for more information) won an award from the National Energy Foundation (NEF), which we used to commission NEF to develop a data model of the town’s energy consumption from public and private buildings.

The energy model has significant potential applications for:

  • Ensuring greater security of energy
  • Prioritising local action within energy strategies
  • Informing spatial and community planning decisions

We are delighted to invite you to a half-day workshop with Luke Smith, Principal Energy Specialist at NEF, on 5th May at 2pm at Alton Community Centre to explore the potential benefits from gathering community energy data.

Please let Jenny Griffiths know by email on by 25 April if you can come, and please do pass the invitation on to others who might be interested.

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February breaks global temperature records

February breaks global temperature records by ‘shocking’ amount
Warnings of climate emergency after surface temperatures 1.35C warmer than average temperature for the month

Stefan Rahmstorf, from Germany’s Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, says the global temperatures for February are ‘unprecedented’.
Global temperatures in February smashed previous monthly records by an unprecedented amount, according to Nasa data, sparking warnings of a climate emergency.

The result was “a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases”, wrote Jeff Masters and Bob Henson in a blog on the Weather Underground, which analysed the data released on Saturday.

It confirms preliminary analysis from earlier in March, indicating the record-breaking temperatures.

The global surface temperatures across land and ocean in February were 1.35C warmer than the average temperature for the month, from the baseline period of 1951-1980.

The global record was set just one month earlier, with January already beating the average for that month by 1.15C above the average for the baseline period.

via February breaks global temperature records by ‘shocking’ amount | Environment | The Guardian.

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The Grassroots Directory Crowdfunder Campaign

Today we launch our crowdfunding campaign with Unbound Books. We’re hoping to raise enough money to produce this all-colour, all-connecting A-Z  and we would love to have your help and backing to make this happen. You can watch our call-out video here (with the link below):

via We’re launching our crowdfunder! | The Grassroots Directory.

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