Solutions & sustainability - Sept 30
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The Transition Movie: time to pick up your digital camera and co-create something wonderful
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
I am really thrilled about announcing a new initiative by the Transition Network. We have some funding to make a film about Transition, and after much contemplation, we have come up with a way to make it which we think best reflects the Transition ethos. In essence, the idea is that rather than having one camera crew spend months trudging around the many Transition initiatives around the world, hoping fortuitously to stumble across interesting things happening just at the time they happen to turn up, the idea is instead that the initiatives themselves make the film. In the best spirit of ‘We-Think’ and collaborative thinking, we want Transition initiatives across the world to record their stories, their dramas, their successes and failures, for 3 months between October 1st and the end of the year. We think it will lead to the creation of a film which is truly extraordinary.
The idea is that we provide some training, some digital tapes, a Transition Movie Hotline and a great deal of support and enthusiasm, and then you produce a record of what you are up to. We are working with Smith and Watson productions, who have made a number of films for the BBC, and with independent film-maker Emma Goude, who will have the unenviable task of sorting through the mountains of footage and producing an epoch-capturing, life-changing movie from it.
We want this film to be a celebration of the possibilities of the new media at our disposal, as well as being a celebration of the amazing work you are all doing out there catalysing your communities around responses to peak oil and climate change. This is an appeal to the creativity and artistry that is out there in the Transition community. There is a lot more detail here, and a beginner’s guide to filmmaking here. We will shortly announce the dates and locations of the filmmaking workshops. So, this is setting you all a challenge…. let’s see what happens!!
(22 September 2008)
Can you ski and be green?
Leo Hickmand and Veronica Tonge, Guardian
Skiers are accused of destroying the very wilderness they love. We asked two experts for their views on the sport's impact, and got two very different responses.
Leo Hickman - NO
When you jump off that chair lift for the first time every season, fill your lungs with frigid air and glance at that mountain vista ahead, it's hard not to feel a connection with nature. Immersing yourself in this environment is arguably one of skiing's key attractions.
But strip away the glamour and the thrills and you are left with a list of environmental woes. And that's not taking into account the fact that the busiest slope in any ski region is the line of aircraft descending to the airport. You cannot talk about skiing without mentioning climate change. Skiers, of all people, should be aware of the rapid changes occurring on the world's mountain ranges. Glaciers are in speedy retreat and snow lines are rising quickly.
Skiers are not directly causing these problems, other than by being members of the human race. But the skiing industry is frantically, forlornly, trying to stave off the deleterious effects of climate change with a series of measures that will only exacerbate the problem in the long run. ...
Veronica Tonge - YES
Many people take the view that the downhill ski industry ruins the environment, consumes vast amounts of energy and cannot possibly be in harmony with the principles of responsible or sustainable tourism. However, it has been the saviour of many mountain communities and traditions, halting the depopulation and poverty that occurred at the end of the 19th century.
It requires positive action, however, for a sport such as skiing, with its requirement for lifts, pistes and artificial snow, to operate on a green basis. Ski lifts and artificial snow-making do require power for the ski season; but they are increasingly efficient and clean since they no longer run on diesel and the electricity can come from renewable sources. Many resorts in Europe derive nearly all their power from hydroelectricity and, in America, Vail Resorts became one of the world's largest corporate users of renewable energy when it switched its five resorts and offices to use wind power. ...
(28 September 2008)
Gray water: A do-it-yourselfer installs a rerouting system
Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
I was never more excited to do laundry, and it wasn't because my son and I were running out of clean underwear. I had just installed a system to divert gray water from my washing machine to my xeriscaped frontyard, and I was anxious about whether the $312 and two days I'd spent installing it would pay off.
Considering all the money and political squabbling that goes into getting water to this desert metropolis, it seems silly not to recycle water once it's here. Especially now. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are telling us to conserve, which I do. I was still using 253 gallons at my home each day, according to my latest Department of Water and Power bill. I just wanted to use less, and recycling my gray water was one way to do it.
Gray water is the wastewater generated from sinks, showers, bathtubs and washing machines. All of it could be used to irrigate plants but, instead, is drained to the sewer in Los Angeles County, where it's treated and, for the most part, sent into the Pacific.
In L.A., about 40% of the water used at home is for outdoor irrigation, according to the DWP. The rest is used indoors. In theory, that meant I could get all the water for my landscape from what I was already using inside. I also would be saving money and doing my minuscule part to save the state...
(27 September 2008)