Monthly Archives: April 2012

What is it all about?

What is Transition Redhill all about? If you have heard of Transition Towns before you will know that they are all about sustainability. They are about towns becoming more self-sufficient in the face of peak oil, increasing food prices and water scarcity (despite the rain!). But that is not all. Transition is not only about worthy sensible things. It’s also about community and fun. Transition Redhill is a group of people who care about Redhill, who want it to be a good place to live, not just to shop or work. To help you understand what the Transition movement is all about we are showing the Transition Networks new film, In Transition 2.0 – see the previous post about the event here: http://tiny.cc/4zjldw.

It’s going to be a great night, and the get you in the mood you can see a trailer here: http://tiny.cc/83jldw

Come and join us at the Garland at 8pm on 17 May for In Transition 2.0. Get yourself a drink, pull up a seat and find out what its all about.

To put you in a good mood, you could also join “Action for Happiness” too. “Action for Happiness is a movement for positive social change. We’re bringing together people from all walks of life who want to play a part in creating a happier society for everyone.” Sign up at the Action for Happiness site here: http://tiny.cc/3ikldw. What does Action for Happiness have to do with Transition? Both are about building community, strengthening society through positive action.

Feeling philosophical? Why not visit the School of Life: http://tiny.cc/31kldw. Learn how to be cool (http://tiny.cc/mnlldw), how to make a difference (http://tiny.cc/8olldw) and see lots of other creative and thought provoking articles and seminars. Bring the ideas back to Redhill and make our community a thriving and engaged place to live.

New Report on People and the Planet

For those who like to understand the current state of knowledge, you might be interested to see the new report on People and the Planet from the Royal Society. Rapid and widespread changes in the world’s human population, coupled with unprecedented levels of consumption present profound challenges to human health and wellbeing, and the natural environment.

The combination of these factors is likely to have far reaching and long-lasting consequences for our finite planet and will effect future generations as well as our own. These impacts raise serious concerns and challenges,  us to consider the relationship between people and the planet. It is not surprising then, that debates about population have tended to inspire controversy.

Although globally focused, the report highlights implications for health, education, consumption and use of resources that will have relevance at a local level. Many recommendations are aimed at National Governments, but there are issues that might best be tackled locally. For example, Recommendation 2 suggests that the most developed and the emerging economies must stabilise and then reduce material consumption levels through: dramatic improvements in resource use efficiency, including: reducing waste; investment in sustainable resources, technologies and infrastructures; and systematically decoupling economic activity from environmental impact.

These sound big and hard to deal with, but are exactly the issues that the Transition Network seeks to tackle, making our Towns more sustainable, and our lives better, through community participation in the delivery of the things we all need for comfortable and satisfying lives.

 

Thursday night at the movies

Transition Redhill are launching a regular series of free film screenings on Thursday 17th May with, appropriately enough, a showing of the new Transition Network movie In Transition 2.0.

We are planning more free screenings throughout the coming year – approximately one every two months. Details of future films have yet to be finalised (oh, and they might not always be on Thursday nights – venue availability will be the decider there), but will be published on this site as soon as we have them.

In Transition 2.0 will be shown at The Garland on Brighton Road on 17th May at 8pm. Further details here.

Energising Redhill

April’s Transition Redhill meeting was a great opportunity to learn all about local initiatives to help people better understand their energy consumption and the possible options for local, sustainable, energy production. Jonathan Essex talked about a local project that involved training 20 unemployed young people to carry-out home energy audits.

Transition Redhill are running a “Personal Carbon Footprint Monitoring Project” (details below, or here: http://tiny.cc/azz7cw). There are also other local organisations offering a range of advice. For example, Action Surrey (http://www.actionsurrey.org/) provides a range of information on energy monitoring, energy audits, energy saving with insulation and solar energy production and feed-in tariffs.

We also learned about local work to consider the types of sustainable energy options that could be applied locally to produce local power to our community. These options covered:

  • Anaerobic digestion and gas production
  • Passive Solar energy
  • Wind generation

Anaerobic Digestion is a technique that takes domestic food waste and produces methane gas that can be used for heating or electricity production.  The Borough current plans to ship food waste, via a £10 million “Transfer Site”, to a “Digestor” at Shepperton in West Surrey http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-17319163.  The large scale proposal is not popular locally, with increased pollution and traffic the main concerns about the plans. Transition Redhill discussed the merits and viability of smaller scale “Digestors” across the county. More information is available on Anearobic Digestors (http://tiny.cc/tqz7cw) and community schemes (http://www.localunited.net/).

Other significant sources of local energy production that could be developed at a community level are solar and wind production. Two mappting exercises have been carried out locally to identify;

  1.  the extent of suitable flat or south facing roofing around Redhill, and
  2. the best locations for wind generation, taking account of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (http://tiny.cc/8oz7cw)

All these energy production methods have clear potential for community based energy production schemes that could help Redhill and Reigate reduce dependence on centralised and carbon-intensive energy production, enable the towns to be more sustainable and resilient, reduce our CO2 production and generate money for the benefit of our community.

A Transition Redhill group to further consider community based energy production is being developed. If you are interested you should contact Derek Smith at derek.redhill@gmail.com.

Free Beer and Chocolate

At just my second visit to the Transition Redhill meeting I was welcomed with an offer of both a pint and £50 worth of free chocolate.  Admittedly the chocolate was part of a promotion by www.ecotricity.co.uk to switch to their electricity and gas (an offer I am seriously considering as they look to be doing some great stuff to get away from the use of brown electricity) but nonetheless it was a very warm welcome.  The former I accepted without much hesitation.

This week’s meeting was a chance to get to know the regular members of the team and hear about their work in the Redhill area.  Under their previous Sustainable Redhill banner the Transition Redhill team had been involved in some great local initiatives.   I very much look forward to getting involved with this very focused group of people in projects covering energy and food, amongst others.

At the end of the meeting I took the opportunity to pick the brain of Katie, a keen baker, to discuss my current addiction to baking (and eating) sourdough bread.  I won’t bore you with the details of starter hydration, flour types and kneading techniques but I will mention that the topic of a community bakery was raised (pun intended), which is very exciting, particularly as I am keen to be involved in a food based project.  Watch this space, or better still, come along to the next meeting.

If you have been thinking of coming along to a meeting but have not quite made it yet, I recommend you get yourself along to the next meeting at the Garland pub on the third Tuesday of the month.