Meeting no. 2

7 Aug

Transition Meetin 2 Poster

On 16th July we held our second meeting as Transition Egham. We met in the Englefield Green Village Centre, which has excellent facilities. Together we watched The Power of Community, a film about how Cuba survived a dramatic reduction in oil imports after the fall of the Soviet Union and how this could relate to the theory of ‘Peak Oil’.

Peak Oil is the theory that long before we run out of oil, less of it will be pumped year on year as the difficulty of extraction increases. Peak Oil theorists suggest the point at which we pump the largest amount of oil in a year, will be roughly the point at which we’ve extracted half the total oil.

Along with climate change, Peak Oil is one of the main themes explored by the Transition Network. Both are reasons why we need to think about a less oil dependent future.

At our first meeting it was something of a controversial topic and the concern was expressed that if people think we’ll be forced to reduce oil consumption, then perhaps we’ll be less proactive in making the kind of changes necessary because of climate change.

After the film we had 4 short presentations:

First we had a presentation on Direct Action as a tactic used by the environmental movement.

Next we heard from the Egham Residents’ Association and their work over a number of years including successfully standing candidates in local elections.

Then we had a speaker from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, who in particular raised the issue of the council’s neighbourhood plan and how this might be an opportunity to spread our ideas.

Finally we were told about a new energy cooperative project funding local renewable energy installations.

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Thursday 25th April 2013 – Film and Discussion evening

25 Apr

PosterOn Thursday 25th April 2013 we held our first Transition Towns event in Egham. We met in St. John’s Church which has an impressive large screen and sound system so we were able to watch an introductory video on peak oil and climate change from The Power Down Show and a short talk by Rob Hopkins about Transition Totnes, which he gave to a TED event in Exeter.

Around the films we discussed Transition and how this could fit in to Egham. People gave short presentations about existing projects which could form part of a Transition initiative:

Pete talked about Egham Sustainability and their Food Cooperative

John talked about Favabank a mutual credit alternative currency scheme developed in Eghan.

Andrea talked about Granny Kettle Wood and the fight againt the felling of protected woodland by developers.

Andrew spoke about Runnymede Ecovillage

Janet spoke about the Egham Gardens and Allotments Association

Ben spoke about the Enough Food IF campaign.

At the end of the night everyone came together and wrote up various projects they would like to see as part of our transition – see the pictures below.

Ideas transition2transition3

These ideas included:

* Starting a community orchard – exploring the idea of an ‘apple day’ or community cider pressing

* Setting up a buddy scheme at the allotments so that more experienced gardeners could share their knowledge with newer members

* A scheme to collect and distribute unharvested vegetables – with various suggestions as where the food might go (food banks, given away at the Gardening Club Annual Show, Egham Kitchen or providing ingredients for a ‘donate a casserole’ project for the elderly in the community)

* Expanding the scope of the allotment to include bee-keeping

* Inviting primary school children along to learn about the allotment and start a school veg patch

* Setting up a garden sharing scheme so that people with gardens they don’t or can’t use (perhaps older people and commuters with little time) allow those who would like to have access to land to cultivate on theirs – sharing the space and any produce if they agreed to grow food

* Land grabbing and guerilla gardening – utilising under or unused land, planting productive plants and trees

* Developing community farms and woodlands through share-issue schemes

* Tool library or communally shared equipment – people and organisations can register the equipment they have but don’t constantly use (e.g lawnmowers, drills, axes, mass catering equipment etc) and others can borrow them (perhaps for a small fee to go towards repair/replacement/new community purchases in the long run)

* Skill sharing – both as part of the tool library (to teach people to properly use what they borrow) and independently. Including craft skills workshops.

Some of these are ideas we can start working on now, based on the connections we have already made – starting on the smallest level where there is mutual interest – and working up in scale as more people get involved.

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