It has been back to school with a bang at TTT. This issue was intended to be a ‘back to school’ edition, showcasing the educational offerings coming through TTT as we do our bit to inspire a generation (several generations hopefully). The rationale was that things would otherwise be quite quiet right after the holidays. The rationale was wrong.
The ‘back to school’ thread is still here but there are so many other exciting things to report as well. Last week saw TTT’s 6th birthday (Happy Birthday us!) and must have been one of the busiest weeks we have ever had.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall came to visit us on Friday, not just to become the latest patron of the Atmos Project, but also to spend some quality time to get to know TTT more thoroughly. People threw their doors open to the rest of us nosey eco-wannabes in the 2012 Open Eco-Homes programme this weekend, which this year also included KEVICC and Schumacher College.
Don't miss the Eco-Homes Fair this Saturday.
TRESOC has announced its submission of the planning application for the much talked about Totnes Community Windfarm. - Let me interrupt myself here. This is important – really important. This is going to happen very quickly. By our next issue the deadline for letters of support will have passed. You must take action now. Even if you are not a TRESOC shareholder please show your support. This is a major piece of work that many people have been working on for a long time, and it has great potential.
Totnes’ first ever Car Free day will be on the 20th of this month and, if all that’s not enough, we also announce our new Programme of Events that will keep us going up to December.
This newsletter is not just for passive reading. It is also a call to action. There are several things that require your attention and action. Please give it some time.
It has been an extraordinary ‘summer’ of highs and lows, great inspirations and some woes. 54 records beaten at the Olympics and 152 at the Paralympics. Like others, I was amazed how much I found myself caught up in the fantastic spirit that embraced the nation (crying my eyes out in front of the TV for two weeks). The mantra ‘to inspire a generation’ is rightly everywhere.
But the weather? Well, not that great, was it? It is surely a sign of the uniqueness of our time that we can concede a season like that and shrug it off as a bit of a miserable summer. Practically every generation that has come before us way back to when we made our first forest clearing, tethered our first ox and planted our first rough rye, would have been a lot more concerned than that. After a summer’s harvest like this, they would be questioning their prospects of surviving the winter. Riverford’s Guy Watson’s latest newsletter, entitled ‘harvest woes’, concludes, “…another bad year would sink many of our growers. As we start to plan for next year the prevailing concern is how to cope with risk and uncertainty.”
Farmers and growers are down 15-45% on yield and not just here in the South Hams; major food exporting regions across the world have had their own climatic anomalies to contend with. International food price hikes seem inevitable this autumn posing an extra financial stress for many of us, but real hunger for many others.
Those depending on tourists round here have also had a tough time. I work on the river in the summer and everyone there is well down on business. If anyone reckons addressing climate change is bad for the economy they need to come and spend some time down here.
TTT is not a political outfit but as we enter conference season and take stock of a significant government reshuffle, it seems important to be observant of changes in the political landscape. The early noises from the TUC Congress don’t seem to provide any new light, the Chancellor has clearly run out of ideas, pulling all stops for some form of growth, and the potential implications of the recent government reshuffle leaves me cold with anxiety.
It seems the main gift we had from this government – localism – is to become ever weaker, as things are made easier for developers to build, build, build. With development proposals on every corner of our town, held in check by just a few committed residents, this is worrying. But we don’t need another lesson in the lack of substance underpinning localism; we learned this in early summer by the defeat of the NotoCosta campaign. The campaign has been a great triumph in organising at community level, bringing the business community together and in us becoming more informed and articulate in local economics, but the vote by the SHDC Planning Committee was no narrow margin; it felt to me like a heavy kicking. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP has maintained her support for the campaign (and has tweeted her ongoing opposition to a third runway at Heathrow). I am sure she would like us to help her by letting her know she has lots of support in continuing to represent what Transition is trying to achieve. Right now that means letting her know how much local support there is for the Totnes Community Wind Farm. Why not copy your letter to SHDC to her as well?
Six years on, it seems our work is as important as ever.
Lets get back to that ‘Back to School to Inspire a Generation’ thread …
A bit heavy, all that. Lets embrace that Olympic spirit and inspire a generation again.
If there has ever been a time to promote relocalisation as a model for economic regeneration it must be now. And we are doing it. And we are educating for it. In this issue you will learn of all the various ways we are taking Transition further and deeper into the ways we educate our children and ourselves.
Hal Gilmore - TTT Education Group