Join the Community Conversation!

New Mills Town Council have declared a climate and ecological emergency. Come and be part of the conversation to explore what this means for you and your community.

New Mills Town Hall, Saturday 7th March, 10am-4pm

New Mills has a proud history of change: from the start of the industrial revolution, through the Cooperative movement, to reclaiming the Torrs and Mousley Bottom.
Now it is our turn for the history books! What would we like New Mills to be like in the future? How will it look, sound and feel? This is our chance to reimagine our Town and help create a positive vision for us all.
Last year we experienced:
• moorland fires in February
• record breaking temperatures in July
• intense rainfall in August putting us at threat of flooding from the near collapse of the Whaley Bridge dam
Instead of feeling disempowered and disconnected, our community can start to build a response. We need to build resilience to future threats and actively create new and positive ways of living. What would you like future generations to thank you for?
Our Community Conversation will be imaginative, creative and, we hope, inspiring to all who attend.
We want to include as diverse a range of people as possible so please encourage colleagues, clients and friends to register their interest too; we are hoping to have a creche area also to help children contribute. This is not a one-off process, and there will be plenty of opportunity to develop the plan further in the future, so if you cannot come but want to remain in touch please let Transition New Mills know.
In the spirit of the day, it is proposed to have a ‘bring and share’ lunch. If you can, please bring a little food to share. If you have specific food allergies, we do recommend bringing your own food. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided. If you have additional support needs please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you
It would be really helpful if you could let us know if you intend to come by sending us an email at transition.newmills@gmail.com or on our Facebook events page.
Many thanks to New Mills Town Council for supporting this event!

We have set up a new page on the Transition New Mills website which will be updated with the latest developments.

Another type of Manifesto

The New Mills Transition Reading Group meets monthly in someone’s home to discuss a book or, occasionally, to watch a film/video or host a speaker. Last month we discussed Derbyshire County Council’s Carbon Reduction Manifesto which was published in May 2019.

There was a lively discussion critiquing the Manifesto –

Overall it was seen as aspirational but vague, lacking in ambition and not something that the public could use to hold the Council to account on. Most points in the manifesto triggered many questions, needed further elaboration, measurement, targets, auditing, policies, deadlines, discussion of investment etc. It does state that targets would follow in 6 months, this  is nearly up, so we would welcome sight of these. Issues not covered in the manifesto include any plans to create a circular economy, plans to mitigate against the consequences of climate change (already with us and going to get worse), and a notable absence of discussion of agriculture and forestry which seemed strange given the large rural areas in the county. The County Council is in a prime position to provide leadership and act as a facilitator and we hope that this first draft of the manifesto will be followed by further commitments for carbon reduction.

The discussion looked at the resources in the County and some of the challenges and possibilities – around renewable energy, newbuild and retrofitting homes, heating and transport. A member of the group is to write a summary to submit as a response.

There is no meeting in December, instead members are invited to the solstice celebration at The Torrs on 19th December from 5-9pm. Meetings have been set for 2020 – Mondays January 20 and February 17.

Discussion Group: The Impact of Eating

The New Mills Transition Reading Group meets monthly in someone’s home to discuss a book or, occasionally, to watch a film/video or host a speaker. At the September meeting we discussed George Monbiot’s article in the Guardian on 9th August, ‘Here’s the true cost of eating meat. It’s worse than you think’ together with the piece on Silvopasture in ‘Drawdown’ edited by Paul Hawken and other online articles which deal with related subjects.
The George Monbiot article is here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/08/ipcc-land-climate-report-carbon-cost-meat-dairy
Links to other articles that contributed to our discussion were:
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987
https://greenallianceblog.org.uk/2019/08/20/whats-the-beef-with-beef/
https://www.greenbiz.com/article/6-reasons-why-practice-silvopasture-will-help-save-modern-farming
Monbiot argues in favour of stopping eating meat because of its carbon footprint and to completely cease meat and dairy production in order to increase the rewilding of the countryside. Some thought that these were not the only possibilities and this generated a discussion about land use.
One of the background pieces for Monbiot’s article talks about a variation between best and worst producers of meat by a factor of 50 in terms of environmental impact so it was argued that if the worst producers could be targeted then this would have a far bigger impact than trying to stop production altogether. In addition, mixed farming can use animal manure for fertiliser, reducing dependency on chemicals and associated repercussions like runoff and water pollution.
The discussion included the issue of protein and where that comes from in a plant based diet. Also, referring back to an earlier book (The way we eat now by Bee Wilson) there is the issue of the economics of the food industry and the issues around providing cheap and nutritious food.
The general opinion was that there needs to be a significant reduction in meat consumption and a cultural shift to see a plant based diet as healthier and cheaper. Some of this is already taking place. In addition, it’s not just about personal choice, changes are needed at a government level including the revision of agricultural subsidies to assist the transition and the need for major changes in the food industry. One article mentions the need for a ‘just transition’ for farmers so they are paid properly for the food that they produce.
We discussed food security and the comment in Monbiot’s article about the 55% of UK cropping land being used for livestock feed. Monbiot heavily criticises extensive as against intensive farming of meat but (as discussed with Isabella Tree’s book Wilding) extensive farming can encourage increased biodiversity. Also, the carbon footprint of meat production may conflict with the issue of animal welfare. There are both ethical and environmental grounds for changing to a plant based diet but some may be more amenable to a process of reduction rather than sudden elimination.
Our next meeting is Monday October 21st at 8pm and the book is The Wall by John Lanchester
You don’t have to read the books to come along – someone will give a synopsis and all input to the discussion is welcome. Email transition.newmills@gmail.org for details of venue.

Many thanks to Sue Cooper for the post.

Prisoners of Geography: Discussion Group

The New Mills Transition Reading Group meets monthly in someone’s home to discuss a book or, occasionally, to watch a film/video or host a speaker.

This month’s book was Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall published by Elliott and Thompson Limited. The subtitle of the book is ‘Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics’ and his premise is that geography plays a determining role in the history and current political situation in many parts of the world. There was a mixed response to this book which generated a vigorous discussion. Some found the book very informative and interesting, it provided a useful background and explanation of current political issues. Others found his obsession with identifying hotspots for potential conventional conflict old fashioned (one person likened it to the game of Risk) and disputed the argument that geography is deterministic, rather that it is one of many factors behind current political situations.

The next meeting is 8pm Monday June 24th and the book is The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson. (Hive are selling for £10.69, free postage, if you want to buy it).

We have also agreed the following meeting on Monday July 15th; the book for that is This is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler.

You don’t have to read the books to come along – someone will give a synopsis and all input to the discussion is welcome. Email transition.newmills@gmail.org for details of venue.

 

2019 Annual General Meeting

You are invited to come along to the Transition New Mills Annual General Meeting at 7:30pm on Monday 8th April, at the Volunteer Centre on Union Road.

This will be an opportunity to celebrate the successes of the group, learn about the various projects carried out, and look forward to the forthcoming year.

Papers are available here.

We welcome nominations for the 3 posts in the Administration Group (2 generic, 1 Treasurer). If you would like to stand, please let us know at transition.newmills@gmail.com by 6.30pm on 8th April, and be prepared to present a short pitch at the AGM prior to elections.

Fulfilling the Prophecies

Latest blog from Liz Longden:

The first time I remember having what might be called a political thought was when I was 17. Doing a sociology A-level, I found out about self-fulfilling prophecies. About how telling a child that they weren’t clever and sending them off to secondary modern immediately worked upon that child’s expectations of himself (or herself) so that they acted not clever, performed not clever, became in fact, not clever. About how children that this applied to were disproportionately from underprivileged homes, and how that became a pattern repeated down the generations. I remember thinking, ‘that’s not fair’, and I became a life-long left winger, but I think it’s absolutely true to say that it is only 5 or 6 years ago that I realised that just casting your vote, arguing in the pub, and singing choruses really loud at folk gigs, did not an activist make and changed NOTHING.

So a couple of years ago since I started talking to anybody around me who would listen about plastic and the pollution it caused. Since then the research findings about plastic pollution has got worse and worse. The bloody stuff is in just about every waterway, every sea, every ocean. We are breathing it, eating it, and drinking it. I know that many, many thousands of people around the world are working on the problem, but I look around me and see so many more others carrying on as before. Even new ways are becoming fashionable to get microplastic into our oceans. Glitter nails: really? Really?

Meanwhile, the latest news is that we are rapidly killing the insect population on which the entire planet depends. This rated only third place on the BBC news.

And all the while climate change thunders on. I watch the traffic going past my door. About one in six vehicles is a big 4 by 4, or an SUV. Mostly very shiny clean, never been near a farm track or an off-roading experience in their lives. A few days ago I spoke to a lady who was sitting in her 4×4 outside a school with her engine running. I knocked on the window and very politely asked her to turn off her engine. She said ‘WHY?’ ‘WHY?’

I see my friends posting from their holidays in lands far away, where they are having a wonderful time. Now I love my friends, but times have changed. We have got so used to the idea that we can have anything if we have the money to pay for it, but it is apparent now that that was never true. Well here’s the thing: I don’t want to see your posts from abroad, they scare and sadden me, and yes make me angry. I don’t want to lose any friends, and I know that I am far from perfect, but I do want to challenge you, with my heart in my mouth. I want to see how you are not going to fly this year, how you are doing your utmost to cut down your carbon footprint, how you are encouraging everybody you possibly can to do the same thing, how it is the first thing on your mind in the morning and the last at night.

The children that marched this week were motivated partly by anger, but also by fear. They are terrified of the future and we are letting them down. For me, trying to save the future comes before everything. Before personal experience and holidays of a life time, before your little bit of winter sun, and certainly before having baby sweetcorn and strawberries in February. We must accept that our lives have to change, fairly drastically, and if they become a little more limited then so be it. We have used up way over our fair share. We will still have more than enough for happy fulfilled lives, and perhaps, perhaps, so will our children.