Friday, 29 January 2016
Wednesday, 30 December 2015
What can we really do to improve the economy in your local area? Realistically you cannot change something – like a disaster on the other side of the planet. Yet you can affect your own locale for the better – and contribute ideas to how things should be undertaken.
Communities want to be stronger. Too many times in our isolated world where you only know the immediate neighbours on your street and not those ten doors down. This does create some element of disillution where people think they live in challenging areas, ghetto’s or disconnected communities – yet if you reach out and start finding out who your neighbours are? What they think of locale? What would they like to see improved in the area? You can all begin working on a community plan.
Yet how to empower that community? What realistically can you do in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? 25 years? Could your community be a lifeline that begins creating your pension? A savings plan for the children and grandchildren? With so many people working into their 70’s and 80’s in this day – many people are keen to be better involved in their community. Employment and community initiatives enhance local links for many who feel somewhat disconnected.
What do we need?
Water, food, shelter, sex – the basics. If our local economy provided housing, food, energy and other basic needs (local social good links so that people can actually meet each other) then perhaps our communities would be genuinely stronger.
On the energy front the UK is finally beginning to embrace ‘community owned energy’ (even though some trail blazers started this in UK decades ago and suffered the wrath of backward and archaic systems in life which were long overdue for an overhaul.) and this is something that could really develop local benefits as funds from PV, wind, micro-hydro, CHP, anaerobic generation could really help your locale.
Same goes for housing co-operatives to infuse a much needed demand for real skills in UK (which the skills deficit is heavily cited by many industries – yet we seem to act too little too late to address the skills deficit challenge.) with building, carpentry, electricians, engineers, plumbers, manufacturing, processing etc.
Possibly more importantly than above two is food production. In the face of the recent years flooding problems many have suffered in UK, farms under water etc. we should focus on micro-growing as well as large scale agricultural production (with lesser impacts) and look to creating a new industry of soil integrity support mechanisms.
What do we want?
NO we are not chanting – what do we want? When do we want it? Too much (materialistic demand it would seem) – hence we are in such real trouble with backlash of economic yo-yoing, flooding/droughts, wars etc. etc.
Generally we only react when disaster strikes (a totally normal human trait!) yet what we need is consistency of good practice (and not wait until it’s too late) to address food production, community production, manufacturing, flood/drought reduction, energy black outs, peak oil.
You’ll all have your opinion on the outcome of COP21 in Paris …. Where do we go from here? Less reliance on technological innovation – more reliance on human innovation.
What can you do?
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
Divestment is important, yet what was holding it back a decade ago in boom periods? After all the media pomp has quietened ….. will we remember the investment in small co-operatives? Or will we look towards the larger impressive projects?
What choice would you make?
Sunday, 6 April 2014
The BOGOF deals (Buy One – Get One Free) psychologically primes us that we are making great savings when we are out shopping and doubling our purchases for prospectively half the price of costs ….. yet the reality is the food will not be eaten quickly enough and will go off and inevitably end up in the compost bin/black bin.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves: Do I really need to buy this? Or is it an issue of people believing that food is useless once it hits the expiry date? Can we risk keeping food an extra day or two for consumption after the expiry date?
The different sources of information may not always be consistent with each other – yet it is plausible that ten’s of thousands of tonnes of food is wasted each year (by many countries).
What can we do to reduce this waste stream contributor?
Composting is important – in fact: it is critical to return the nutrients to our soils. Yet it should not be abused! The more localised the composting can be done with zero to few miles travelled - If composting was fully comprehensive (where primarily some composting is done on-site of the domestic home, the restaurant, the office place, the college campus etc. then excessive amounts were picked up by council services) then it can be an even more sustainable process for us to support (than sending it long distance to be composted elsewhere.)
Yet to reiterate: please do not abuse composting as a fall-back just as we become more complacent with our fridges food stock.
Tuesday, 4 February 2014
More flooding - what positive small steps with responsible basin use, toilet use and garden expansion can save us?
- Don’t flush wet wipes.
- Don’t flush away sanitary towels.
- Don’t flush anything artificial other than toilet paper.
- The only thing that should go down the loo is urine, blood, vomit, faeces and toilet paper – too many people assume a toilet is a 2nd domestic bin. This is not appropriate.
- Consult the internet for basic ‘Keep the toilet from getting blocked’ methods before needlessly wasting professionals time (and your wallet).
- Add a Strainer / Stopper Waste Plug to collect the waste in the bottom.
- Don’t flush it away - Food waste can be picked out the strainer/stopper and put it in a composting bin which most houses have adopted now.
- Everything saved going down the sink will cause less stress on our sewer systems.
Will a water butt help reduce the amount of water fallen in long rainy periods? When is the 'safe period' to empty it then?
Expand the garden. This may be too late for many - as with road expansions over the last fifty years in urban areas - many streets sacrificed their gardens to the road programme to widen roads .... with less garden space - we have less rain absorption abiity - which is fatal in built up areas which are reliant upon sewer systems.
Planning should support expanding green space - or maximising efficient use of green spaces in areas that are built up - more green roofs perhaps? With more grass space will come more rain absorption and lesser burden of flooding.
Other approaches such as efficient toilets, innovative sewer applications, improved and widespread agricultural good land practice or any other variables that will emerge in the early 21st century. This is not claimed as the sole answer to flood reduction - another favoured approach is more tree planting and woodland expansion in order to absorb the torrents of rain. The Woodland Trust have published such a report.
What any country cannot consistently tolerate is mass flooding which destroys lives, puts a burden on the economy and a burden on communities. We must all take a responsible stance in the starting points of what we put down the toilets and sinks into the sewer networks.
What can you do?