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Transition Towns on BBC’s “You and Yours”

Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
You and Yours is a consumer affairs programme on BBC Radio 4, and today it ran a piece about Transition Towns, in particular Transition Town Lewes. You can hear the programme here, but hurry, it will only be there until tomorrow at 3pm.

The piece about Lewes was very positive, and featured interviews with, among others, Adrienne Campbell and Keith Ellis singing his oil song accompanied by a ukele! There was then a discussion with James Hartfield of who argued that Transition Towns were about a return to the 18th century, and that the white van has been such a great invention that statues should be erected in its honour.

A healthy dose of sanity and reality were brought to the proceedings by Jeremy Leggett, who argued that what was happening with Transition Towns is essential and that we no longer have the luxury of inaction. Give it a listen, but don’t wait too long!!
(13 June 2007)
Contributor Sam Norton writes:
It’s very encouraging to see the issues being taken up in the mainstream media.

Go to the You and Yours site at BBC.
Click on ‘listen to latest programme’ and go forward approximately half an hour for the discussion (after an item about chess).
After today (Wednesday 13th) you will need to click on the ‘Wednesday’s programme’ link; it will be available for one more week.

Getting concrete

Colin Beavan, No Impact Man
One of the hard parts about the No Impact experiment is that it is not part of any tradition or culture. That is to say that because we are not part of any community, we have to make things up as we go along. That’s why I like this new project launched by Miranda at Simple Living and Sharon at Causabon’s Book, which strives to give a set of fixed and stringent rules for reduction of individual greenhouse gas emissions, in each of seven areas, by 90 percent.

Sharon and Miranda call their initiative the Riot for Austerity 90% Emissions Reduction Project. They choose the 90 percent mark because climatologists now generally agree that we need to reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 in order to prevent the melting of the icecaps and Greenland ice sheet that would cause irreversible change to the climate. Because American’s emit way more greenhouse gas than most of the rest of the world’s peoples, we must reduce our emissions by 94 percent in order to meet the planetary target of 80 percent. Sharon and Miranda rounded from 94 percent to 90 to make it easy (joke!).

They have a Yahoo discussion group, where people who want to attempt the 90 percent reduction-or even less stringent targets-can discuss. The rules for the Riot for Austerity are based on the average US consumption in each of seven areas. The project targets are calculated as a 90 percent reduction on those averages. I’ve summarized the targets for each of the seven areas below.

Added since I first posted: I want to emphasize that what I like about this project in particular is the community of people working together towards the goals. I really do believe that each of can only do what we can. These stringent goals are definitely not for everyone. I just thought it would be interesting to show you what some people are working together to accomplish. A community of people who supported each other in the single step of not using plastic bags or to go cups would be equally inspiring. Takers?
(12 June 2007)

A guilty liberal finally snaps, swears off plastic, goes organic, becomes a bicycle nut, turns off his power, composts his poop and , while living in New York City, generally turns into a tree-hugging lunatic who tries to save the polar bears and the rest of the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his baby daughter and Prada-wearing, Four Seasons-loving wife along for the ride.

Sharon Astyk rejoices at Today “We” is One More.:

…I never dreamed we’d have 500 people [in the Riot for Austerity proejct]. Now I’m starting to dream even bigger. What about 1,000 people? What could they do? How many people would they tell, speak to, influence? We could make music, video, art. We can speak out with a collective voice, and say not only “We can. You can” but also “We’re here and we won’t go away. This is too important.” Less than 1,000 people began the march across India in Gandhi’s revolution.

5,000 people all over the world who cut their emissions would be a constituency, a PAC, a political power, a voice of quiet joy and anger. 5,000 people alone could save 25,000 barrels of oil from being burned. Less than 5,000 people changed the 2000 US elections.

When 10,000 voices speak, you cannot help but hear. When 10,000 people stand up and say “We did. We can. We must” those who would rather not hear us have to pay attention. 10,000 people have changed the course of history hundreds of times.

50,000 can march and stop traffic. 100,000 can change the world

Setting a global context for local emission reduction targets
(PDF or Flickr)
Bryn Davidson, Dynamic Cities Project

Measuring climate change is an act of science.

Setting targets is an act of leadership.

Our aim for this presentation is to establish a basic set of arguments that local planners and decision makers can adopt when advocating for local goals.

The nested set of arguments, each with their own assumptions, are presented in order from global to local (with Canadian cities used as an example).

1. A global target for emissions reductions.

2. An equitable national contribution to global reductions.

3. An equitable distribution of reductions by large cities vs. small cities.

4. Within each city, an equitable contribution of federal & local efforts.

As the global dialogue evolves, individual assumptions will change. Our interest here, however, is in creating a framework that will remove some of the arbitrariness of current targets while allowing for a degree of unity and benchmarking between cities.
(11 June 2007)
Contributor Bryn Davidson writes:
As always, we welcome feedback and suggestions from the online energy community.

BA: Compelling graphics, but it would be very helpful if there were accompanying text or audio file to explain what we are seeing.

Intel and Google’s energy drive

Leonard Anderson, Reuters
CALIFORNIA – Web search leader Google Inc. and semiconductor maker Intel Corp. launched a broad-based program on Tuesday to introduce more energy-efficient personal computers and server systems to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Called the “Climate Savers Computing Initiative,” the new program has signed on computer makers Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, Lenovo Group Ltd., software maker Microsoft Corp., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and more than 25 environmental groups, companies and universities for the energy savings campaign.

The program will set new efficiency goals for computers and software tools that manage power consumption.

It comes at a time when Silicon Valley has made clean technology a priority as it seeks to play a greater role in reducing the harmful effects of climate change attributed to global warming.
(13 June 2007)