About AlunW

Alun lives in Werrington and is a regular volunteer at the Green Backyard.

Signs of life!

After a hiatus of six months, four members of Peterborough in Transition met on 6th
March to discuss plans to revive the group and consider new projects. We met at 6.30pm in the Brewery Tap, not long before the regular Monday night session of Handmade in Peterborough.

We discussed various ideas, including lobbying the council and asking questions at full council meetings, helping in each other’s gardens, organising a “Green Drinks” evening, and taking part in the National Plant Monitoring Scheme. A plan to hold a series of evening meetings with a bring and share meal based on the “One Planet Living” themes underlying Peterborough’s Environment Capital Action Plan was outlined. Two of the four at the meeting, Clare and Danette, were planning to go along to the Big Green Energy Show in Stamford the following evening; you can read Danette’s report on the show here. Finally, we agreed that we would meet up again in the Wortley Almshouses on Monday 11th April again at 6.30pm. It would be great to see a few more people next time.

We’ve also established a facebook group called “PinT Revitalisers” where we can share ideas and opportunities. Slightly disappointingly, only thirteen people have joined this so far, though our facebook page has well over 450 likes, and there are still close to 250 people on our mailing list.

Do we have a future?

At the last monthly meeting, on September 6th, it was agreed by those present that Peterborough in Transition was in crisis. Over the last year there has been a decline in the number of people attending meetings on a regular basis, and despite some recent successes (our May Day celebration, and the Carbon Conversations group) there has been a loss of energy and purpose, in large part due to the fact that many of those who have given the most time and energy to PinT over the last few years can no longer do so. In some cases this is because people are now concentrating their efforts on The Green Backyard; in others it is because they have increased work or family commitments. There are no longer enough people willing and able to facilitate our monthly meeting or take minutes for it, nor are we able to start new projects as most of those coming to meetings are already very busy. All these factors conspire together to make it difficult to attract new regular members to the group.

It was therefore agreed by those present that our monthly meetings would be suspended for the time being. Perhaps we need to take a break for a few months, until more of us are once again able to commit to coming to meetings on a regular basis and have more time to take the group forward. Perhaps we need to change the time and format of our meetings. However, there was a consensus at the meeting that PinT needs to gain a new vision, and come up with some project ideas that are both achievable and give some energy and purpose to the group if it is to be worth continuing Peterborough in Transition’s existence. It remains to be seen whether there are enough of us willing to commit to coming to our proposed “Visioning Day” for this to happen.

If you are interested in helping to ensure that Peterborough in Transition does have a future, or have ideas for our Visioning Day and you are willing to help ensure the day does take place, then please get in touch with us via our regular email address. Currently, the plan is to devise a survey that will enable us to see what what appetite there is for the group’s continued existence, and, if this does exist, to hold the Visioning Day some time early next year.

Carbon Conversations – Part 1

Our Carbon Conversations group met for the first time on Friday April 17th. Ben, one of the two facilitators, thought it would be a good idea if we blog about our meetings. Below is his report on our first session.

Ten of us gathered for the first session at PECT. After tea and flapjacks we settled down for two hours of deep and rigorous conversation!

The introductions session raised some important issues, and, it must be said, a general feeling of despondency. How can we tackle this problem, when even we (who are trying to take action) cannot stick to the CO2 reductions we have set ourselves? And why does this burden have to fall on us, our generation, here on planet earth? Why do we have to shoulder the burden of all this?

But from this point on the mood definitely picked up.

We discussed who should take responsibility for tackling climate change. The verdict here seemed to be that as individuals we should do all we can, and then, when our options are exhausted, take it to the next level.

We discussed why we bother to take action on the issue. Most people expressed a concern for the environment and for future generations. Others were turned on by the sheer challenge of it all.

Finally we did a mix and match game, learning about the carbon footprints of everyday things, from a text message to a new Land Rover. This was nothing short of revelatory for certain participants!

Looking ahead, we discussed the latest literature on climate change, and our next session on domestic energy.

The good news was that as we left the door, our spirits were decidedly higher than when we arrived. We may be facing a daunting task, but there’s nothing to beat standing up and facing it head on.

Speaking for myself, while I was pleased, though not entirely surprised, to discover that (according to Ben’s calculations based on a questionnaire the group members filled in before the first session) my carbon footprint is well below the UK average, it is still much higher than what is sustainable. A substantial proportion of my footprint is my share of the footprint of the UK’s infrastructure. So while I still need to take further action myself, it’s also important to do what I can to encourage government and businesses to take action.

A local currency for Peterborough?

PeterboroughPound

The Peterborough Pound currency symbol

Plans to create a local currency for the city, the Peterborough Pound, are well advanced. The Peterborough Pound is designed to be used by individuals and local businesses. Similar schemes have already been successfully introduced in places like Totnes, Bristol, and Brixton and many other towns and cities are following suit, though the Peterborough pound is likely to be the first local currency in this region. The project has already secured funding for a pilot scheme, which will begin as soon as enough individuals and local businesses have signed up to get involved. Both individuals and businesses can register/pledge to be part of the scheme on the Peterborough Pound website. For further information please visit the Peterborough Pound website or facebook page or read the Peterborough Pound Leaflet.

Carbon Conversations Group

Carbon Conversations offers a supportive group experience that helps people reduce their personal carbon footprint. Their sessions engage with the difficulties of change by connecting to values, emotions and identity. The groups are based on a psychological understanding of how people change.

The group will meet every second Friday evening, from 6.30 – 8.30pm, in Peterborough Environment City Trust (4-6 Cowgate, Peterborough, PE1 1NA) on the following dates:
Friday 17 April
Friday 1 May
Friday 15 May
Friday 29 May
Friday 12 June
Friday 26 June

The six meetings create a non-judgmental atmosphere where people are encouraged to make serious lifestyle changes. The groups offer:

  • space for people to explore what climate change means for themselves, their families and their aspirations
  • permission to share their hopes, doubts and anxieties
  • time to work through the conflicts between intention, social pressure and identity
  • reliable, well-researched information and practical guidance on what will make a difference
  • support in creating a personal plan for change

The meetings use professionally designed, reliable materials to cover climate change basics, ideas for a low-carbon future and the four key areas of the footprint – home energy, travel, food and other consumption. Discussions of practicalities are woven together with discussions of how people feel and what these changes mean personally. Carbon reductions of 1 tonne CO2 are typically made by each member during the course, with plans developed to halve individual footprints over a 4-5 year period.

The cost of joining the group is £15 to cover the handbook and materials. There are two facilitators, who are not paid, and there is no cost for the venue.

There is only space for 10 people in the group. So to confirm a place, please get in touch early.

If you are interested please contact Rich Hill (rich_hill44@yahoo.com) and cc Ben Cuddon (bencuddon@gmail.com)