Exploring the local area
Attempting to embrace the opportunity to be living in a city filled with “Everyday Activists”, I have continued to take part in several environment related events, this time to explore what is going on in my –currently- local area.
After attending these meetings I felt as if I had been making juice out of 4 different fruits that on the one hand, had each a distinct flavour and on the other hand, I could tell belonged to the same tree. They all seem to be conformed by friendly and welcoming participants, each with their own level of interest, commitment, knowledge and engagement, that throught their group’s and/or personal approach, are constantly questioning society and working for the betterment of communities and/or the environment in a local and/or a global sense, in theory and/or in practice.
I will give a more detailed description (trying to be brief) of each event, without attempting to compare or criticize their actions but instead continuing to develope and share this research into alternatives for sustainabilty, hoping to document what can be found in this city, when looking.
Nonetheless, I would like to note that beyond each of these meetings’ agendas, the juice I have personnally extracted from them is the realization that behind names and concepts, there are always humans with faces. And this is something I will need to reflect on while writing another post. Still, for now, here are my notes:
Transition gathering at the GLA,
Had me smiling from the moment I arrived, standing in the queue looking at the guards, puzzled about how to deal with some participant’s giant piñata-like, unidentified object that could not fit through the x-ray scanner.
Inside, Rob Hopkins, the leader of the transition movement inspiring people all over the world, spend more than two hours with us sharing his story and inviting participants to comment on theirs, humbly emphasizing that the project owes its growth to the groups of people that decided to embrace it and make it their own.
At the same event, Nick Gardner from project dirt playfully got the child inside every adult in the room, including his own, to come out and play, asking us to help his presentation by imitating the laugh of Count von Count of Sesame Street, while telling us about the process of developing his organisation, emphasizing that every project starts with one (or a couple) of people that have an idea and decide to follow it.
Later, the groups had a chance to network and identify opportunities to contribute with each other. They also talked about the obstacles they have faced, and the difficulties of managing the projects, finding the time, the funds, engaging the community, dealing with people’s tempers… It is not easy to be in transition but they certainly seem to be excited about it and enjoying being part of the learning process. (This event was not local to my area but I was hoping to meet people from transition groups around Haringey, which was indeed the case).
Q: How can we make our communities more resilient and our projects more sustainable?
Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, African Connection,
Held in a very cosy Green Book Shop screening films and promoting discussions over the pressing concern of loosing world agreements to control climate change.
In the style of Jorge Drexler’s song “Disneylandia”: we ate African snacks in London while watching documentaries produced by and featuring African individuals suffering from climate change impacts in Africa, giving advice about how to deal with these issues they are experiencing now in their communities as a consequence of production and consumption systems designed by developed countries where us the viewers watching the documentaries live.
After Durban’s Climate Talks outcomes, and in the absence of consensus for immediate regulations or agreements, we can ask ourselves:
Q: What can WE do here and now, to contribute in the creation of a more just world?
Musswell Hill Sustainability group talk and social,
Filled with people from a completely different crowd that seem to have been questioning society for a while now and who, while enjoying a pint with friends, expressed the same respect and interest for creating better communities.
The attendees listened closely as Quentin Given from FoE talked about oil dependency, the feed in tariff and the effects of coal energy, and shared their concerns in this respect, the discussion went on to comments about Chris Huhne, George Osborne, David McKay and other names that keep coming out, being pronounced by different audiences in different contexts.
Q: How can we stop flawed and invasive methods and structures from pervading?
Muswell Hill and Hornsey Friends of The Earth
Meeting at the rainforest room, turned out to be a very intimate one due to issues with local transportation. It consisted of a review session for the development of the group’s newsletter and the actions they will be engaging with in the coming year. It was hosted by Tim Root who besides his engagement with FoE also has the personal endeavour to find support for a global boycott campaign to achieve emissions cut targets.
Q: If we took agency over our power, what businesses or enterprises would we want to boycott?