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Transition Waltham Forest : Trees, Fresh Blood & Networking

If you or anyone you know is young and unencumbered (you know, without kids or other dependents, like an employer for example) and living in London E17 (England), please, we need you to help us roll out the Transition Waltham Forest project :-

Following a charming presentation about the Transition Towns movement from Olivia this evening at the Hornbeam Cafe, the conversation ranged, with several key topics coming up.

1. People are already doing it
There are something like 500 community groups in this London Borough, many of them active in an area of Transition. Somehow we have to take an appropriate message about Climate Change and Energy Descent to a good number of these. That’s legwork, and attending other people’s meetings, and that takes extra bodies. Fresh blood, please !

2. Food growing is the easy first rung up this ladder
Everyone needs to eat, and community resilience to Climate Change and Energy Descent is best built by working from the ground up. By growing food on that ground. Brian made the point that in his experience, food growing is about as neutral an activity as you can get to engage people in the issues.

3. Scraps of land can be used for trees
Planting trees is a huge Climate Change adaptational response. Even Boris Johnson, our delightful and colourful city Mayor, appreciates the value of trees in the London Boroughs, and there are public funds available to make sure more trees get planted. Not only do trees provide shade, they can help with cooling off the “urban heat island effect”, whereby the cities are a couple of degrees hotter than the rural areas. It could keep air conditioning power consumption down in high summer. Plus, if the trees are fruit and nut, then they become part of the edible landscape of the future.

4. All of us are busy already
Those of us who attended this evening were uniformly white and middle-class (again). That doesn’t mean that we aren’t communicating and collaborating with people from other community groupings, but it does mean that everybody in general is already too busy to prioritise a Transition Towns meeting.

5. Not all local projects can accept volunteers
One of the key principles of Transition Towns is allowing people to join in with what they have motivation or energy or interest for. In our Borough, some of the projects are effectively closed to volunteers, either because of funding/staffing issues, or just sheer busy-ness. Tom indicated that the HEET project is getting huge demand, helping people with Fuel Poverty, for example :-

So, just to repeat my beg : if you know anyone with community activism experience in E17 with time on their hands : self-starters, ready to work crazy things for no money, get them on to us.

Also, humorous concept of the day : Ed Miliband went to a Transition Towns event recently as a “Keynote Listener” :-

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