Dirk Campbell July 2015
I have just been reading one of those rare books whose central concept seems so important and so universally applicable that one wonders why no-one thought of it before. It is a very simple observation and, like gravity and evolution, very obvious in retrospect; one realises that it has actually been around for ever but not previously identified.
The observation in question is that all living systems possess a capacity, for which there is no word in the English language, for self-strengthening in response to stress or impact. This capacity goes beyond resilience, which is merely the ability of a system to retain its integrity. The book is by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan (nothing to do with the ballet movie but a book about the profound effects of the unexpected) and because there is no term for its central concept he has been forced to coin one: 'antifragility'. (The title of the book is 'Antifragile'.) It's not a good word, because it references its opposite; it's like calling strong 'anti-weak', or weak 'anti-strong'. But until someone comes up with a better word it will have to do. Read more...
The Transition Town Lewes Health group had a brilliant inaugural meeting on May 30th and several creative possibilities are sprouting shoots. The foundational idea is the Local Health Service (LHS) as an umbrella for a collaboration that could augment our beautiful but flagging NHS.
The meeting agreed that we should continue to meet as a TTL Local Health Initiative group.
Anyone interested in joining in the discussion and receiving more news and information should contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and request to join the google group email forum.
Prof David Peters started the meeting by saying that the health of each person depends on relationships and on community, yet the main treatment in the NHS is still the biomedical model, which has grown Big Pharma to $1 trillion p.a. industry. Ten years ago Derek Wannless reported under ‘Fully engaged scenario’ saying that the only way to make the NHS sustainable is to get individuals and communities to take responsibility for their own health. This has not yet happened, and GPs (who should have the best jobs in the world) are burning out and leaving in droves. If madness, according to Einstein, is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, then if we are to flourish together we will have to find radically different ways of doing health. David is chair of integrated health at University of Westminster, and co founder of the British Holistic Medical Association (BHMA) which publishes the Journal of Holistic Healthcare (JHH). A pdf power point will be available shortly.
We moved into small groups with discussions around various topics:
- Nature connection, food and agriculture
- Healing the healers
- Community & individual empowerment & engagement
- Technology and health
- Creative arts
Discussed specifically were NatureGain and care farms, end of life care in the community, mindfulness, dance & voice, medical student training, permaculture, and much else besides! The small groups reported back their findings and have written up some notes which will follow shortly.
Please do get in touch if you are concerned about ‘peak medicine’; thinking that the current health care model is unsustainable in its present form and that there is a place for local, positive changes that we can make if we come together in an inspired and creative way.
The Lewes Neighbourhood Plan took a major step forward with the running of a three-day design forum. This event was attended by representatives of literally dozens of influential groups and societies from across Lewes. Read more on the Sussex Express website...
|Look out for more public consultation events on the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan in September and October at www.lewes4all.uk|
Work by the Steering Group
- Lewes Neighbourhood Plan 3-day Community Engagement Design Forum
- Compensating for our carbon footprint– what a small area of wet woodland is doing for us
- Naturegain in motion … Update on successes
- Film of Lewes Neighbourhood Plan: Developing an Ecosystem Approach - released:
Climates is a new social network to make action on climate change happen. Bringing people together to take practical action, the founders think Climates has a natural affinity with the Transition movement. Before they launch later this year they’ve asked TTL members to help them make the site as useful as possible. Please watch their video below then complete this short survey...
Climates’ vision is to create a global climate change community, motivated, active and inspired by each other to tackle the causes and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The emphasis is on people taking practical action and helping their ‘mates’, sharing ideas, skills and expertise, celebrating achievements. By linking cause and effect, and harnessing the enthusiasm, knowledge, passion and commitment of people all across the world to help each other do more, Climates can amplify all the great work already being done by TTs and others and speed the pace of change.
An election reflection by Dirk Campbell
|It wasn't much of a shock. The Conservatives now have a narrow majority in the House of Commons, as opposed to being the majority party in a government coalition with the Lib Dems. So not really much change there...|
...More shockingly for us in Lewes, Norman Baker is out and a Conservative is representing Lewes District for the first time in 18 years. He had it coming though. Lewes consituents in general like him, but he blew his credibility by voting with the Conservatives on such policies as increased tuition fees and woodland sell-offs, and famously opposed blocking the importation of Canadian tar sands oil into Europe. Eventually, after some persuading, he resigned from the government but not in time to restore his popularity in Lewes District. More...
Feedback is an environmental organisation that campaigns to end food waste at every level of the food system. We catalyse action on eliminating food waste globally, working with governments, international institutions, businesses, NGOs, grassroots organisations and the public to change society’s attitude toward wasting food. More...
|Watch the TED talk: The Global Food Waste Scandal|
Launched in 2008 the Lewes Pound supports local independent businesses, encourages local producers and attracts visitors to Lewes from all over the world. Its striking series of paper notes and their iconic designs have contributed greatly to Lewes's sense of identity and community. Over 100 businesses accept Lewes Pounds and over LP 1,000 are spent every month with local traders. However, most of our purchases are now made electronically - using internet banking, smart cards and even mobile phones.
Fiona Kay from award winning Cheese Please on Lewes High Street commented ‘We have customers who use Lewes Pounds regularly. An electronic Lewes Pound sounds a great idea and worth exploring."
To take this idea forward the Lewes Pound is seeking a paid part-time researcher for a short project to look at the merits of introducing an electronic version of the Lewes Pound. Supported by South Downs National Park and East Sussex Credit Union the project will look at the needs of Lewes and assess the benefits to the local community, local economy and local environment. Electronic currencies are working in Bristol and Brixton but how could they work in Lewes?
If you would like to apply and are interested in research, new technology and in local issues please contact The Lewes Pound at email@example.com. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 19th May 2015.
An open meeting is scheduled to discuss this study. All are welcome at the Rights of Man pub at 7.30pm on Tuesday 19th May.
The Lewes Pound is grateful for the support of Bill’s, Cheese Please, Frank Richards & Sons, Harveys, Just Trade Food Co-op, Knill James, Laportes, 50 Sheep, Lewes Town Council, South Downs National Park, Pelham House and Transition Town Lewes.
A house-owner in Lewes has become one of the first in this area to use state-of-the-art lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels. Jill Goulder, owner of an Eco House featured annually in the Lewes Eco Open Houses weekend, has installed a lithium battery storage system linked to her solar PV panels. These recharge during sunlight hours and provide power in the evenings – very useful for households who use most of their electricity outside sunlight hours. The system switches seamlessly between battery and mains supply as needed; a good system will cover a household’s normal needs, though of course major appliances such as washing-machines and vacuum cleaners drain the batteries rapidly and will need mains top-up. More...
Jill with her solar panel and lithium storage battery installations.
© O Sauer 2015
Ann Link is currently working on KIIGS; campaigning to keep most fossil fuels in the ground and for a global cap on carbon emissions, and When I'm 84; planning a festival to celebrate our progress towards a liveable, flourishing Lewes in 2030.
With Transition in mind...
Was there a specific ‘light bulb’ moment for you?
When I first heard about Peak Oil and making a plan to use far less of it, in 2005. I just thought: "this could be the future - it's obvious to begin to prepare for it. Now I think climate change is the crucial reason.
What lifestyle choices have you made that might inspire other people?
I think I am a bit too obsessive to actually inspire people - I try to do everything I can to support low carbon and local, especially food.. When we refurbished our house though, I realised it was as important for it to be beautiful as to be low carbon - that should just go without saying. Parts of it are lovely, although we are chronically untidy and I wish I was better at colours and layout.
What are your concerns for the future?
That we might have another five years of austerity, with social mayhem and no capacity to work towards zero carbon. We need to start now. It's possible to get to zero carbon by 2030 and have a pleasant lifestyle.
What changes would you like to see in Lewes?
Frequent electric buses, and fewer cars and big delivery vehicles - sometimes I think "surely that is too BIG - madness to come through Lewes!" Cycleways everywhere, partly enabled by less parking in centre. It would be nicer to walk and cycle about, and healthier.
Do you have a guilty secret?
I enjoy driving, in favourable conditions - it's an occasional treat, but not in Lewes.
Development by Lewes people for Lewes people
Lewes Phoenix Rising is a development company set up by local people to ensure that imminent redevelopment of the North Street/Phoenix area of Lewes, East Sussex meets the real needs of the town.
They are going to knock on your door. Rather than let the candidates tell you what they want, here are some ideas of what you could ask election candidates to see if they are really going to address the critical issues of climate change and community resilience:
1) What's your view on the North St development and the provision of more expensive housing, plus the loss of jobs and community there?
2) How are you going to support local businesses and the local economy?
3) What are your plans to increase energy efficiency and support renewable energy schemes?
4) How are you going to promote health and wellbeing in a sustainable way?
5) What solutions do you propose to encourage people to get out of their cars, use local transport and walk?
There's an interesting article on nature and wellbeing on the RPPB website:
Creating more space for nature and encouraging human connection with nature is a major societal challenge requiring change in land-use, health care provision, planning, education and economics. We need a step change in thinking and approach. A Nature and Wellbeing Act could be just the catalyst we need. More...
Brighton Permaculture Trust’s Fruit Factory is all about local food
Here's their message: 'One week ago we launched a crowdfunding campaign to complete our straw bale Fruit Factory. You can watch our short video about it here...
One of the Brighton Permaculture Trust’s key projects for the last six years has been our pop-up scrumping project – turning unwanted and wasted fruit into delicious produce.
Now, we want to scale-up the scrump. We need to raise £12K in 30 days for the completion of our straw bale 'Fruit Factory'. Located in an old tractor shed in Stanmer Park the straw-bale renovation will be used for the processing of local and seasonal fruits into jams, chutneys, and juices. The Fruit Factory could process up to 40 tons of fruit a year – the equivalent of 250,000 apples!' More...
It will be 2030. My about-to-be grandson will be a large hungry teenager and our world will have changed hugely. Zero Carbon Britain 2030 (Centre for Alternative Technology) calculates that we can reach zero carbon emissions using current technology, and still have a good standard of living. Lewes has already made a start with solar panels on Harveys and elsewhere, and there is much more in the pipeline locally. ZCB also addresses food and agriculture and shows that a healthy diet is lower in carbon emissions.
|I propose we plan towards this date and start with a festival celebrating our progress towards a liveable, flourishing Lewes in 2030, covering all aspects of life from zero carbon to community care, health, education and fair employment. The Lewes 2030 project will bring in different sections of the community planning for its welfare and ask: how will we achieve our desires and needs by 2030?|
My generation will need to be part of a supportive community - how will health and caring be managed in the Lewes area? How can we increase wellbeing, eliminate poverty and make sure that people doing essential work can live nearby? What will Lewes produce and sell?
Even if the world reduces carbon emissions drastically, climate change will still have got worse, probably with more droughts, more winter rain and more storms and flooding - what preparation do we need to make?
Lewes 2030 will start this autumn and become an annual event, showcasing viable future plans and preparations, in which any group can get involved. Please get in touch if you would like to take part.
The Guardian has thrown its weight behind the global divestment movement and they have even chosen the same name as our group (a coincidence/great minds etc)!
So please act local and don't forget to sign our petition to the East Sussex Pension Fund
Members of Keep It In the Ground Sussex (KIIGS) started our local petition with 55 signatures on Saturday 14th February despite the showers for Global Divestment Day. Thanks to all who helped. We are asking East Sussex County Council's pension fund to divest from fossil fuels. The pension fund has around £185 million in fossil fuel companies. Lots of people employed by local councils, academies and other organisations will be members of this scheme.
A growing number of universities, local authorities, religious institutions and other organisations around the world have already committed to move their pension funds and other investments away from fossil fuels. These include the British Medical Association, the Society of Friends (the Quakers), the World Council of Churches and the Rockefeller Foundation. The universities of Glasgow and Bedfordshire have also committed to not invest in the fossil fuel industry. This is the fastest-growing divestment movement ever.
Move Your Money has revealed how much the major banks are propping up the oil, coal and gas industries with our savings.
The popular TTL web-page on magnetic-strip secondary glazing now has its own Lewes-made video. Magnetic-strip secondary glazing is one of the most cost-effective and unobtrusive household measures for reducing fuel costs and improving comfort and warmth; but it is very little advertised (unlike the well-known and more expensive/ obtrusive framed secondary glazing), so a small Lewes team have made a short video for householders interested in its advantages and installation process. Have a look at it here...
Neil, Jill and Olivier plan to produce more videos on energy-saving measures in the future.
Here at The Helping Arms Eco Project we are trying to address the social, political, economic and ecological barriers to food security. Gaining access to affordable, organic food is a right that must be available to all, and achieving local self-sufficiency and creating economic opportunities are major challenges to lower-income people. The Helping Arms Eco Project, with its community gardens, simultaneously addresses these issues and is part of a growing food justice movement which we aim to spread all across the country. We are open to all that wish to better the world around them, to make new friends and build a growing community of like-minded people.
Our founder is Mathew Moulding, a local man with good roots in the local community. As the chairman of the Malling and District Food Bank, Mathew noticed a need to bring our community together, not only to help the low income people of our town, but to help ourselves by helping others. I asked him once why he is working for this project and this was his response: "We should be ashamed of ourselves if one person goes hungry or is left to be lonely in a time of fast planes and mobile phones." He told me: "never has man been so far apart from each other".
Please come along and be inspired to help others, while making a better life for yourselves. We are friendly and fun and we have lots of things planned over the year so watch this space!
For more information or to get involved please email: firstname.lastname@example.org we are located at Cockshut Road Lewes, opposite the Lewes tennis and hockey club. All are welcome!
During March L&OVe would like to try something out; We’d like to map L&OVe in a new way! How about a map of the area around Lewes on which everyone can mark the places they like, love and/or visit a lot? AND get the map to portray how people feel about these places? If those of you with the appropriate skills and creative visions chip in, we may be able to produce something rather unique! – can you help?
L&OVe update for March 2015