Over sixty people attended our Imagine Southampton event on 12th April, which was run in a 'World Cafe' style. Below is a summary of all the words noted down by people in their conversations about if they woke up tomorrow and Southampton was just how you'd like to be, what would it be like? Dangerous Ideas kindly wrote a blog about the inspiring evening, which can be found here

World Cafe wordle output  Imagine Southampton tree

Imagine Southampton Apr 2016


The 'Imagine Southampton' event we are hosting on Tuesday 12th April 2016 is being run as a 'World Cafe' event. But, what is a World Cafe event you may be thinking?

From Hannah Gardiner, from the International Permaculture Convergence team:

We want to start a dialogue about our throwaway society and facilitate spaces to discuss and explore possibilities for ways forward. We want to create, chat, inspire and be inspired!

To do this we have chosen to take on an oft seen emblem of the throwaway society – the broken umbrella. Through the process of creatively upcycling this wasted resource we hope to bring together like-minded people to share ideas about life, art, sustainability and permaculture.

Umbrellas could be upcycled into functional or artistic objects, they may be symbolic or repurposed to be used in a ritual action or performance. Just let your imagination take it where it wants to go!

The resulting artworks will be exhibited in London and later used to decorate the IPCUK convergence site.

We also welcome donations of broken umbrellas and creative ideas or proposals around these ideas

Workshops will be FREE so get in touch and come and join in! If there isn't one in your local area perhaps you would like to hots one, or just join in by upcycling an umbrella and sending us a picture!

There were about 80 people in a seminar room in Westminster Central Hall for the 3rd meeting of this diverse group, representing local authorities, housing trusts, behavioural scientists. The opening address was from Amanda Rudd, MP, under-secretary for energy, which was a self-congratulatory speech. We are well on our way to fitting energy efficiency to 1 million homes, the runaway success of the Green Dealfor which there was not enough time to challenge! She also emphasised easier supplier switching. I managed to get in the first question and a supplementary before she bolted. You have not mentioned Climate Change? That has been shown to be quite a motivator for some.She became defensive - we are very concerned about climate change but people were not so interested in it on the doorstep. Supplementary:People will not mention Climate Change if the leadership dont. Dont you think that needs leadership in view of its importance?. Anyway, I was gratified that the Climate question was mentioned several times by other speakers including a housing association manager who told us that after fitting energy saving measures to many hundreds of homes, the houses were warmer.   Good but the money saved was spent on electrical goods and the net saving in energy zero. It really felt that the Coalition were not actually taking climate change or energy saving seriously at all, just energy bills now (important too but only part of the problem), even thinking that competition would do it. Free market fundamentalism I'm afraid.

The subsequent presentations were better with good questions from the floor. Sacha Desmukh promoting the roll-out of smart meters which will inform all of us on where our domestic energy goes. He saw Who do we trust on energy?as a major issue for the public. Hugh Goulbourne of Global Action Plan said that our ambition must be scaled up -there was a million home energy saving experiment in US but much much less in the UK.

A floor question, We know that only 3-4% saving can come from personal behavioural change. Are we not missing the big picture?. I might add, of course we are; there is underlying an attempt to throw the responsibility back mainly on the user whereas so many big gains are in the hands of energy companies and governments from deciding on the proportion of renewables, regulation of efficiency standards for housing and equipment! But that goes against the neo-liberal small government agenda.

Why go to such events? You can raise the inconvenient truths, get a measure of the national and political scene. At least we know what we are up against in the leadershipand there are kindred spirits so we are not alone!

Notes from Mark Hancock.

Blog-easyCar-ClubTransition Southampton have recently agreed to work in partnership with easyCar Club, a car share scheme that offers an alternative to private car ownership.

easyCar Club is different from other car rental schemes in that it is about individuals renting out their own car to their neighbours or hiring their neighbours’ car for specific journeys - ultimately reducing the number of privately owned cars and thus car manufacturing.

Renting can be on an ad hoc basis with owners setting times and prices and choosing whether to accept or decline each rental requests. easyCar Club provide the insurance for your car when you are renting it out (so your no claims discount is not affected) and provide 24/7 nationwide roadside assistance through the RAC.

easyCar Club have agreed to make a donation to Transition Southampton for anyone who signs up their car as an Owner member before 30th September 2014 and we will use the donations to support local businesses such as October books who are trying to do things differently. easyCar Club is free to join and there are no membership fees.

If you have a car that would like to sign up please do so using our special link: https://carclub.easycar.com/SignUpOwner/Stage1?areaId=southtrans or by entering the promotion code “southtrans” on the sign-up form.

Westminster Hall was full with 2000 of us eager to hear the renowned author (of No Logo, and Shock Doctrine) and activist talk about her latest book. NK is a good speaker but intense. She traced her emotional journey from regarding Climate Change as just another issue someone else can deal with, to realising that it is connected with every other trend she abhors like wealth concentration, privatised profit with socialised losses, private opulence with public austerity, lack of local democracy and unaccountable globalised control, depression of wages, the erosion human rights - for example!

There is a procrastination penalty. When man-made climate change was first internationally acknowledged in 1988 it would have been possible to bring in firm but mild corrective policies. Instead emissions from 1992 to now have increased by 60% and since 2000 have been increasing at 3% a year, whereas 8% decrease is now needed. It is now a Climate Crisisand only radical solutions can help. We now need to act swiftly, decisively and in concert. BUT the actions need a reversal of the neo-liberal, market-driven policies that have grown and spread in the last 30 years.

NK linked 1988 also with the first major free trade agreement, North American Free Trade Agreement. This reduced national and local sovereignty to act and increased the power of the profit-driven multinationals.   In two decades the market has shown itself to be incapable of tackling the climate as shown by the useless carbon trading scheme.   The Economic Sector has declared war on the earth. What to do? The biggest problem is not that people disbelieve the science but that of those who accept it so many think that it is unavoidable. NK firmly believes that there needs to be a positive message to energise a counter movement and it should be justice-based - better for jobs, inequality, public services etc.; the vision of an egalitarian and communal society (Transition got a plug here!). People need the emotional support when they take on board the enormity of the climate crisis to know that there are others who care. The explanation needs to be right for the hearers in simple language. The Polluter Pays principle needs to be enacted. Tax what we burn not what we earn.A Bolivian politician said that we need a Marshall Plan for the planet. We can go for 100% Renewables. We must divest from fossil fuels. Nuclear power is like fossil fuels a heavy industrial technology, run in a corporatist manner, goes with wealth concentration and the risks are big. (This is an area where NK has been strongly criticised for being naively folksy, ruling out a potentially big low-carbon electricity source, and non-factual - yet this whole area is is riddled with factsand counter facts)

You like me might have heard a lot of these solutions before and perhaps it is too wide-ranging and combatively left-wing to have the desired impact, but I dont think l have heard such a big picture approach, really pointing out the linkages, the political barriers to action, and calling for a justice-led campaign focussing on carbon. And 2000 heads nodding in assent provided some of the emotional support of knowing we are not alone!


Notes from Mark Hancock from 7th Oct 2014