Notes from Monday’s meeting

p1040080We met in the Barn this week, discussing just two topics (the sustainable modern lifestyle project, and managing our morale) as well as handling several annoucements.

Thanks to Paul Whewell for chairing the meeting.

Next week’s meeting will be chaired by Alex Scrivens, and will again take place in the Barn.

p1040075There were eleven of us at this week’s meeting, including Graham Stewart who was visiting us from Transition Godalming and David Hepper who lives locally but has only occasionally joined our meetings.

We started the meeting by introducing ourselves and then raising the following topics for discussion:

> Finn had brought along the Time Line to the Great Unleashing and asked people to review it for discussion next week. He proposed that this evening he would like to talk about Managing Morale

> Casper said he would like to discuss developing a sustainable modern life style

> Joyce wanted to discuss the draft TTF Leaflet she has prepared and would like input from as many people as possible. To give input via our google group, click here.

> Alex said he had been making good progress promoting the ideas of transition with leaders of the local community and had been asked by Jeremy Hunt MP for a bullet point quick guide to transition. He has invited us to visit The Houses of Parliament with a discussion on Transition Towns.

p1040077David said he was trained as a biologist and now works for the Surrey Wildlife Trust as a reserve manager. He has a particular interest in fruit growing and managing garden water resources. He  would like to work with the Garden Share scheme to make gardening a more social exercise.

The meeting divided into discussion groups and then reconvened.

Managing Our Morale:

We discussed a number ways in which we have found our morale has been impacted, as well as ways solutions to these probems:

Problem: Solution:
There is often too much information to handle

There are often too many ideas

Be careful what we post to Google Groups

Focus on completing projects rather than adding new ones

Add some structure (focus areas) to the Google Group.
ACTION: Chris to send example to Finn

Not enough people

Not enough support

Do what we can with the people we have got

Ask for support

Only start projects when there is enough support to finish them

Focus on outreach to bring in new people

If morale is low it is easy to feel put down by others

If morale is low it is easy to start to bring others down

Have extra (non-meeting) visits to other groups

Invite guest speakers

Talk to one another.

Phone a friend!

We don’t always see the progress we are making

.

.

There is too much to do

Report progress to each other at the meetings.

Use the website to report and keep track of the progress we are making, using project pages

Focus on outreach to bring in more people.

Only start new projects that have sufficient resource to complete them.

TTF Leaflet:

Joyce distributed draft leaflets for comment. To be finalised at the next meeting.

To give input via our google group, click here.

p1040078A Sustainable Modern Lifestyle:

Context: Even with best practice eco-lifestyles, a person will still have a considerable environmental impact. How can this be truly mitigated/offset, given that the effectiveness of most existing offset schemes is debatable?

Casper has made a start planning out the project and had some issues/questions to discuss with the Group:

  1. Scope of the project: should it just include CO2equivalents or should it include wider issues e.g. water, food etc?
    Group thoughts: The wider issues are relevant, but it may be practical to concentrate on just CO2equivalents.
  2. Methodology: Secondary Research will be key to avoid repeating existing knowledge, and so we can learn from the experience of others.
    Group thoughts: Agreed.

General discussion:

  • Vision: Having a vision is key, but make it realistic and don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Set challenges: Setting challenges can be a great way to achieving the end goals, although this can take time e.g. years.
  • Developing countries: Through Transition we can create an alternative to the Western consumerist lifestyle for developing countries to adopt.
  • Not possible?!: It is possible that there is no way to mitigate humans’ environmental impacts. After reducing your activities, if you can’t do more, then you may just have to accept that you cannot change your impacts.
  • Links that may be useful:
    www.selfsufficientish.com
    www.millenniumdevelopmentgoals.org
    http://travelpower.blogspot.com/
    http://ecowhy.blogspot.com/

Actions:

  • Although this is a massive task, Casper is determined to keep trying, even if it seems futile at the moment! At least the research phase needs to be completed before deciding whether to go forward or not.
  • Casper still to contact Nick at Colour Eco re Carbon Offsetting.
  • John is keen to get involved – potentially regarding how to connect a local currency with CO2 equivalents.
  • Anyone else who is keen to get involved, please email Casper directly: casper@wax-rdc.com

Announcements:

> This Saturday/Sunday 11am – 6pm, at The Old Farmhouse Elstead (A beautiful 15th C Barn). A show of sustainably produced organic tweed jackets and coats. Ladies sizes 6-18 for sale at a fraction of the retail price.

> John alerted the meeting to a showing of the environmental children’s film”The Earth” at the Malting this Wednesday.

> Alex ask for feedback for the group about the offer by Jeremy Hunt of a visit to the Houses of Parliament.

> Alex and Graham are going to Transition Totnes to present their ideas on a Transition Training Course for schools.

> Alex described how carbon dioxide can be released in a spectacular way from a bottle of Coke using a Mento mints. The children would then grow a tomato plant in the coke bottle to recapture the released carbon dioxide.

> Paula said The Plough pub in West Street has contacted her as they are interested in helping distribute local food.

> Joyce provided a follow-up to the Bokashi compost bin demonstration she gave at the last meeting. Joyce said she could help co-ordinate a bulk order for bins if several people would like to buy one or two. It should then be possible to get the bins at a discounted price for a bulk order.

> Chris alerted the group to the activities of his youth group who will be selling Chi Tea on Saturday, outside the Oxfam shop, The Woolmead, East Street Farnham. Inspired by the film Slumdog Millionare, the group are raising money to help all children living in Indian slums.

> Finally Alex described how an instant garden vegetable tub could be made from almost any bag by filling it with a gravel core for watering, metal tins to provide trace elements and any available soil.

The next meeting will be chaired by Alex and will be in The Barn (TBC).

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