Just after Christmas last year my friend Persephone Pearl announced she was starting an experiment to stop buying new things. I asked to join her and we formed a facebook book page called A Year of Buying Nothing New. Inspired by the New York Group ‘The Compact’ our idea was to stop consuming all non-renewable goods.
Many years ago, in my twenties, I had an epiphany. For a few brief minutes I experienced oneness. The wind in the trees, the birdsong, and everything in between, it was all one all was blissful unity. Tears poured from my eyes as my heart melted. That half hour in a hillside in remote village in Turkey changed my life. From then on, I’ve known that we are one.
I love money; I love the way it helps make things happen. So when the transition started in Lewes I was quite happy to look for ways to pay someone to run the office. We managed to get £20,000 for a two-year part time post from Esmee Fairbairn and have continued to have a funded post for communications from various sources.
A few years ago, when Transition Town Lewes was just starting up, I had tea with a local historian, Colin Brent. Colin told me that, in Victorian times, almost everything was owned by, and for, Lewes people. As well as the printing presses, bus companies, prisons and cobblers, virtually all the food eaten in Lewes was grown locally.
This is a story of how a community created its own energy company. It began with an Open Space workshop run by Transition Town Lewes mid-2007 called How will Lewes power itself (in a world without fossil fuels)? The discussions were varied, and one focused on starting a local energy company.
Looking ahead is a strange thing to do. We simply can’t know what is to come. Who would have foreseen everything that happened in 2011 this time last year? So many people started to stand up for what we wanted. Transition Town Lewes’s Ovesco pulled off Britain’s first solar power station. So who can imagine the details of 2012, the year to come?
Argh! (strangled cry). Writing this has taken me all afternoon because part of me really doesn’t want to think about the big world out there. Like most other people, I just want to stay under the duvet. But what's that going to achieve (stern ticking off)? And you'd be missing all the fun. (True...) So here we go, back to reality!
I’m living in a bubble and I like it. It’s my reality where all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. It’s a bubble I’ve gradually formed over the years to keep myself sane and healthy.
Rob Hopkins described in his excellent article yesterday the form of resilience we aspire to in the Transition movement – a long-term ability to foresee and ride the wave of change and create communities that are fit for purpose in a world of dwindling and polluting foss