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Friday, 3 May 2013
Transition Town Totness
Transition Town Totnes wins green award - video
A community scheme led by Transition Town Totnes that encourages groups of neighbours in the town to embark on a low-carbon path together, saving money and carbon, has been named one of the winners of the 2011 Ashden Awards. These awards showcase practical solutions to combat climate change, rewarding outstanding and innovative low-carbon schemes in the UK and developing countries
Totnes in Devon might be the most
forward-thinking eco settlement in the world. As fossil-fuel reserves dwindle
and the economy contracts, will resident-led Transition Towns become the way
that we all live?
Totnes: “capital of new-age chic”. Photograph:
initiative, which attempts to provide a blueprint for communities to enable
them to make the change from a life dependent on oil to one that functions
without, seems to me one of the most viable and sensible plans we have for
modern society. I write this on the day it is announced that the UK economy
shrank by a "shock" 0.5% in the last quarter of 2010. Everyone is
blaming the weather. Hopkins isn't. Neither is he particularly shocked.
"I think the
unravelling of the debt bubble has only really started," he says. "Up
until 2008 it was all about a growing economy and cheap energy. Then we had
expensive energy plus economic growth, then we had cheap energy and economic
contraction. So the next phase is volatile energy and economic contraction. It's
not rocket science."
movement works on the basis that if we wait for government to act on issues
such as climate change we'll be waiting until hell freezes over; and if we only
act as individuals, that's too little. So it's working together as communities
where the real change will happen. In offices on that steep high street,
squeezed between the pet shop and a travel agency, Transition Town Totnes was
formed, swiftly followed by the Transition Network, to support the growth of
the movement outside Totnes.
There are now more
than 350 Transition movements, 200 of them in the UK. Last month the first
Australian region, Sunshine Coast, became an official Transition Town. Hundreds
more communities are mulling over the idea of embracing Transition (they are
known as mullers). While there has been some debate among greens as to whether
Transitioners are right to put so much emphasis on peak oil, and whether
climate change should really be the main driver for change, it is clear that the
strategy laid out in the latest Energy Descent Action Plan is one that will
protect communities in the event of both oil shocks and climate change (and
possibly economic shocks, too). It certainly beats stockpiling tinned food and
buying a firearm.
"We did have a German
visitor who was very disappointed," says Brangwyn, "because there
were still cars in the
town and there were no goats on the roof."
independent cafes, restaurants and pubs launched
Published on: April 16th, 2013
If we all moved 10% of our household
spend on food from the supermarket to local shops we could put an extra 2
million pounds into the local Totnes economy.
Transition Town Totnes' Food-Link
project has been working with all of the independent cafes, restaurants and
pubs in the town to produce a comprehensive map that illustrates the diversity
of food and drink establishments within the town and its immediate vicinity.
All of the establishments were invited to be included and participating
outlets have contributed towards the printing costs of the map. The map
promotes 23 cafes and 21 restaurants and pubs.
The map aims to encourage both
visitors and locals to support these independent businesses. Supporting
our local food outlets is one of the most proactive ways of supporting our
local economy. The majority of the featured venues source at least some
of their ingredients from local farmers and producers and all of them use
the services of other local businesses; such as signwriters, mechanics, IT
support, printers, cleaners and electricians.
By using each other's services local
businesses keep substantially more money circulating locally, in contrast to
the money that rapidly leaves our town when spent in large national and
multinational corporations. Through spending more of our money in local
businesses we can all actively contribute to the resilience of our local
economy; one based on trust, mutual benefit and friendship.
This free map was officially launched at the Local Entrepreneurs Forum on the
28thApril 2013 and will be available at the Totnes Information
Centre, in all of the participating cafes, restaurants and pubs as well as
other tourist outlets such as the B&Bs and down at Steamer Quay. It can
also be found electronically here. And can be
downloaded here - front and back.