We are delighted to welcome Peter Macfadyen, author of the renowned book Flatpack Democracy (and 2!).
Starting in the Somerset town of Frome in 2013, the Flatpack Democracy movement has shown that by standing as a group of independent local councillors working closely together, people all over the country can and do steer their local councils to thrive and prosper. Flatpack Democracy is a practical guide and inspiration!
Join us on Thursday, 2 July 2020 from 19:30-21:30, using the link below:
Feel free to invite your friends, too!
For further reading in the meantime, click here: https://www.flatpackdemocracy.co.uk/about/
The Transition New Mills Reading Group continues to meet monthly on Zoom, to discuss a book, watch a film/video or host a speaker. This month we discussed Dieter Helm’s book Green and Prosperous Land – A Blueprint for Rescuing the British Countryside.
Dieter Helm is an economist and brings a pragmatic view to the discussion of how to repair the damage that has been done to the environment in the UK. He explains the concept of Natural Capital, these are free, natural assets. Some are non-renewable such as fossil fuels, others are productive on an ongoing basis and will deliver returns for ever unless they are damaged below a base survival level, for example our rivers/water supplies, land, marine environment etc
There are three principles underlying his proposal – Public money should only be used for public goods, the Polluter should pay and there should always be a Net environmental gain. He presents a strong argument for the inclusion of external costs (eg pollution) in the cost of things as this will lead to changes in behaviour. (we referred to the plastic bag charge several times as an example of how things can change behaviour overnight).
He chaired a government committee which has drawn up a 25 year plan to restore and improve the natural environment in the UK. It involves major changes to taxes, subsidies, regulation and enforcement but argues for local non profits (ie not government or private sector) to be the main agents to carry out the delivery. This is a very detailed and comprehensive plan which shows what can be done with the resources available to turn environmental degradation around.
We had some criticisms – that it only refers to the UK and some issues are global (eg. the aviation industry) and/or involve our relationship with other countries (for example food security) and there is no reference to wider issues such as class or decolonisation which could be relevant to the current situation.
With unprecedented national public interest in addressing climate change, the impact of and reaction to coronavirus, and the vision of the Community Conversation, Transition New Mills is poised for its most significant year yet.
There are lots of ways you can get involved to help reimagine and rebuild our town; you don’t have to be an environmental campaigner, an expert in anything, or have lots of time on your hands. None of us can solve the climate and natural crises on our own; we need to harness the collective energy and capacity of the town and everyone in it.
The diagram below suggests how Transition New Mills can operate. Anyone can place themselves on it wherever they feel most comfortable. For example, you might want to join in another group’s related activities (such as the Litter Pickers), a Transition supported project (such as the Repair Cafe), help with project mentoring or some of the administrative tasks, or join the Committee.
Looking forward to the AGM next Sunday evening (3rd May), we will be holding elections for up to 9 posts on the Committee. If you’re interested in that sort of role to help steer us forward, please do let us know beforehand by emailing email@example.com.
Alternatively, if there’s any other way suggested by the diagram in which you think you could contribute, do also get in touch and together we can start creating a resilient, sustainable and ethical future!
To attend the 2020 virtual AGM on Zoom, please see joining instructions and papers here.
Sunday May 3rd at 7pm, on this ZOOM link
As you know, our AGM is usually an opportunity to meet our wider group of supporters, listen to a talk on a topic of interest, and have a good conversation about green issues. However, the lockdown has made us rethink our plans for this year; we will be doing this virtually instead, and just dealing with key business. To join, just click the above link and it will take you to the meeting. (This might take a few minutes if you’ve not used Zoom before.) Please check your video and audio switched on so we can say hello!
We are in need of a new constitution to enable us to operate effectively and efficiently as we continue to expand our range and scale of activities, and it is important that this is agreed soon so we can continue to grow. We also need to ratify the accounts after the financial year end.
If the constitution is agreed, there will be an election for up to 8 Committee members. We encourage you to consider standing; please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 7pm on Sunday 26th April if you wish to. In order to be stand for election and be eligible to vote at the meeting we are asking participants to read and agree to a simple set of principles which cover the Transition movement.
We will also work on an accompanying set of more detailed procedures which will help put the constitution into practice; these will be ready before September.
When it is safe again we plan to have a proper celebration of the year’s achievements, so please watch out for that. It will involve food and lots of conversation, it goes without saying. There might be sunshine, and there may be a bit of hugging.
For now, please join us on May 3rd if you can. It should be short and painless, but is really important for the group. It would help if you could read the documents which will be posted on our events page beforehand.
We very much hope to see you there.
The Steering Group
Julian, Sue, Penny, Jill, Liz,
Sam, Jane, Phil, and Helen