Film Night: Ideas, thoughts, feedback…

Our film showing of The Power of Community (29/10/08) attracted 25 people and was thoroughly enjoyable.

the audience

After the film, which went down very well, we spent some time discussing our reactions to the issues raised.  We then asked people to jot down comments and suggestions on ‘post-its‘ in response to three statements:

  • One thing I can do to prepare for Peak Oil
  • One thing Ely can do to prepare for Peak Oil
  • One thing the Government can do to prepare for Peak Oil

These post-its were then posted up on A3 sheets of paper we’d stuck on the walls.  Here are the results of the exercise:

One thing I can do to prepare for Peak Oil

  • Join an organization so not just a single voice
  • Learn the facts and share them around
  • Finish my highly insulated eco home
  • Pray – build trust – talk – raise awareness
  • Publish a booklet about what we are facing (peak oil/climate change) with steps towards zero carbon Ely
  • Develop practical skills and teach others
  • Make more use of garden space to produce food
  • Reduce amount of gas I use, heating and hot water – completely stop using plastic bags and packaging – grow veg in my parents garden
  • Get an allotment, garden or convert garden to allotment
  • Share my car with someone
  • Buy locally
  • Leave the car at home as much as possible
  • Transition Town work
  • Have more veg and less lawn
  • Keep growing the veg on our organic allotment plot!  Cycle there!
  • Cut down on fossil fuel use
  • Get fit and healthy – grow own food – learn how to can food – get to know neighbours
  • Use my bike in place of the car
  • Raise awareness – cultivate my own veg – share my car more
  • Use public transport
  • Build a strawbale house with no requirements for heating!  (Already underway….)
  • Downsize (further)
  • Use less – Waste less
  • Learn a new skill and pass knowledge on e.g. bike maintenance, repairing clothes/furniture etc

One thing Ely can do to prepare for Peak Oil

  • Energy audits for businesses, schools, council offices
  • Pedestrianise the city centre and plant food and trees
  • Plan a wind turbine like Swaffham in Norfolk so self-sufficient in electricity
  • Collect supermarket waste food and distribute via the church
  • More wind power – the fens were drained with wind power
  • Support schools to grow their own
  • Share an allotment between a group
  • Community gardening – raise awareness – stop plastic bag use
  • Plant fruit and nut trees around town
  • Community care sharing – community vehicle
  • Community debate – organise coops
  • Improve availability of public transport
  • Turn land over to growing food – more allotments – food coops
  • Encourage farmers markets and swap shops – low rates for charity shops – more allotments
  • Think about having their own energy supplies i.e. combined heat and power or wind farms
  • Develop and adopt an energy descent plan
  • Encourage community activities
  • Bad growing practices
  • Improve recycling
  • Address having the worst performance on recycling locally
  • Encourage more local employment to prevent Ely becoming a commuter town
  • Waste less

One thing the Government can do to prepare for Peak Oil

  • Invest more in renewable energy
  • Be truthful about the need for change – educate
  • Develop some of creative ideas into industry – creative jobs
  • Put more money into alternative technology
  • Develop alternative power use
  • Tell the truth about Peak Oil
  • Invest in sustainable energy
  • MASSIVE subsidies for and investment in public transport
  • Face up to the problem – raise awareness – cut advertising rubbish we supposedly need
  • Encourage development of renewable energy systems
  • All new builds have energy saving.  This would bring down the cost.
  • More free passes and cheaper transport
  • Reclaim rail transport for all people
  • Support regions, cities and towns to localise production/markets and services
  • Raise awareness – improve public transport
  • Reverse the aim of achieving economic growth and aim for economic reduction (sustainability)
  • Foster and listen to community initiatives as well as create network-style administrative systems that feed each other (in all senses)
  • Support/enable district councils and the like to actively support ordinary people to make far reaching changes in their communities
  • Well, there are so many things – trying to take the crisis out of the arena of party politics would be good
  • One thing? Difficult to know where to start….
  • Standardise glass bottles.  Very cheap to wash, but we smash and melt
  • Better public transport infrastructure
  • Not to support Transition Town formally but enable them to grow and mature
  • Waste less
  • Put public information films/ adverts regularly in the media to inform and educate/encourage change in lifestyle and consumption

It was wonderful to see so many positive thoughts and ideas, this is the one of the core concepts of the transition model, that ingenuity and creativity is alive and well within the community, all that is needed is to encourage it to blossom and grow.

Many thanks to all those who turned up on a cold night and to the Ely Methodist Church for an excellent venue.

We’re planning another film showing before Christmas, stayed tuned to this website to find out more.


The Oil Crunch: Securing the UK’s energy future

The UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) is a group of British companies,  concerned that threats to energy security are not receiving proper attention from government.

They have just published a new report, ‘The Oil Crunch’, with the aim of engaging government more proactively on peak oil.  They aim to encourage collaborative contingency planning by government, industry, and communities on measures that can be taken to accelerate independent energy supply within the UK.

Worth taking a look

Transition Norwich – Great Unleashing video clip

As earlier posted, the Transition NorwichGreat Unleashing‘ was an inspiring event to attend.  Below is an enjoyable video clip of the evening:

Peak Oil – How Will You Ride the Slide?

Take a look at this wonderful (very short) animation that very neatly illustrates just what we’re facing with Peak Oil

The purpose of Transition Ely, along with all the many other Transition Initiatives, is to plan for and create opportunities to ‘ride the slide’ in a creative, managed and gradual manner.

At this point we are on the plateau shown in the animation, which means we still have time to work together as a community to take stock, build resilience and help make a more sustainable world in which to live.

Ely Apple Festival – 18 October 2008

Our stall at this year’s Apple Festival was our first major outing as a Transition group.

And what a fine day it was!  We gave out lots of leaflets, explained again and again and again who we are and why we are here.  Almost everyone showed an interest and many signed-up as a contact, or for our email newsletter.

entrance to yurt

The highlight of the day was being awarded ‘best dressed’ stall by the organisers.  We were given a fetching trophy with ‘Transition Ely 2008’ engraved on the side.  We could hardly believe it, our first venture into the community and we’re given an award, brilliant!


It wasn’t so much the stall that caught people’s attention but rather our wonderful Yurt and busy-bee knitting group who produced a fine selection of hand-knitted Cambridgeshire apples.

knitted apples

More photos can be seen on our Flickr pages.

So, all-in-all a wonderful day.  Thanks so much to the organisers, the other stall holders and the good people of Ely.

Check out a short video of the Yurt, knitters and Apple Festival:

We have another stall next Saturday at the Farmers Market and our first major film showing on the 29th, oh my!

For those of you who didn’t get a leaflet here’s the low-down on the film.

Sustainability and Resource Depletion – Richard Heinberg video

(Text taken from Global Public Media website)

“Richard Heinberg identifies the essential axioms of sustainability and ties them to current economic trends such as the high and volatile prices of oil and other commodities. Species survival will require more than ‘Sustainability Lite,’ a vague commitment to more environmentally benign practices, but instead an all-encompassing effort to live within the ultimate resource limits of the planet.”

This hour-long video of Richard Heinberg talking on Oct 2nd this year is well worth watching.  In the video, Heinberg talks about the ‘Five Axioms of Sustainability’:

  1. A society that continues to use resources unsustainably will collapse
  2. Population growth and/or growth in rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained
  3. To be sustainable, the use of renewable resources must proceed at a rate that is less than or equal to that of natural replenishment
  4. To be sustainable, the use of non-renewable resources must be declining at a rate greater than or equal to the rate of depletion
  5. Sustainability requires that substances introduced into the environment from human activities be minimized and rendered harlmess to biosphere functions

In summing up he says:

1) Sustainability is not optional
2) New paradigm for success: us less!
3) Local sourcing of materials beats global sourcing
4) Look for fossil fuel imputs and reduce them continually
5) The 21st century will be very different from the 20th

One of the most telling quotes of the presentation is:

Depletion and decline mean the transition cannot be avoided our choice is whether to undertake it proactively

This is exactly what Transition Ely is all about, startng the transition process ourselves before Nature forces us to…and the latter wouldn’t be pretty.

Watch the video:

Transition podcast

Check out this wonderful collection of people talking about what Transition means to them.

Recorded at the launch of Transition Town Totnes‘s Energy Descent Action Pathway project on September 24th 2008.

It’s only eight minutes long, so give it a listen!