Guardian columnist George Monbiot is one of the foremost progressive political thinkers in Britain today, one who has long put a spotlight on environmental issues, particularly those ignored by the mainstream press. He joins us The Elephant to talk about how the climate change crisis isn’t just an isolated problem, but one that is intimately intersected with other major problems we’re facing in our societies – from the run-away political power of corporations, to the rampant consumerism that dominates our culture.
Recorded for The Elephant Podcast
The alternative to hypocrisy is cynicismGeorge Monbiot
I think this really matters, it is essential for Wales as a nation as it puts us on the leading edge of positive change. Evaluating all new development through the perspective of the Well Being of Future Generations Act creates an essential lens that can steer policy in the right direction. The over-ruling of the M4 extension this week is a fine example. We need to find transport solutions that dont involve investment in more roads or the destruction of increasingly rare habitat.
As a farming nation regenerative agriculture can be the leading edge of our climate response. Here is Tim LaSalle talking on the essential role agriculture can play. This is the start of a big conversation. We will be picking up on this on June 20th at our next meeting and I think this si a subject that has an especially broad appeal. .
This week we return to the theme of emergency. Notably the Welsh first minister has indicated he will not support he M4 extension in South Wales as it is incompatible with the declaration of a climate emergency. So obviously this can be a powerful tool to leverage action from authorities who have been nothing but inconsistent over the realities of the low carbon future we are planning for.
It is felt we should produce a clear statement of intent and expectations from the Town and County council with regards to this on gong situation. This will be the key theme of the next meeting.
Last week, we welcomed to our community gardening talk our colleague Bill Smith from Ruabon who is retired motor mechanic offering extensive experience and knowledge of Electric Vehicles and we expecting him to return this week offering to answer questions and clarify understanding of this emerging technology.
All this and more this Thursday!
First Minister Mark Drakeford is widely expected to announce tomorrow that the proposed M4 relief road south of Newport will not be built.
Although there has been no leak of Mr Drakeford’s decision, which he will announce to AMs in the Senedd, many interested parties have concluded privately that what had been the Welsh Government’s preferred “Black Route” will be rejected.
The rising cost of the project, now estimated to be well over £1bn, coupled with the Welsh Government’s recent declaration of a “climate emergency”, are believed to have swung Mr Drakeford against it.
Bodies like the CBI are strongly in favour of the relief road, complaining that the current M4 is not fit for purpose and sometimes causes serious delays, especially around the Brynglas tunnels. But the proposed relief road is opposed by environmentalists, who say the Gwent Levels, a sensitive wetlands landscape, would be wrecked by having a motorway built through it.
Those against the project also argue that much of the congestion is caused by drivers who use the M4 as a local road, and that it would swallow up the Welsh Government’s entire borrowing allocation, leaving no capacity for worthy schemes elsewhere in Wales.
However, when a public inquiry into the scheme began in early 2017, Welsh Government economist Stephen Bussell gave evidence that the project had a benefit-cost ratio of 2.22, with economic benefits of £2.12bn against a cost of £952m.
The estimated cost of the project subsequently increased.
As usual we met at the Cross Keys Llanfyllin, informally meeting for coffee and chats at 7.00 and then kicking off for real at 7.30. NEXT Meeting June 6th, Cross Keys Llanfyllin
Thanks to Lesley Sweet who facilitated the meeting and helped compile the agenda.
Community compost Sunday. Exploring the possibilities of the fast turn around 18 day compost See event poster above
Guest speakers and input into meetings. Especially in the 7.00 – 7.30 slot or full talks on dedicated evenings. Please submit suggestions
Climate Emergency. It is felt the sense of urgency has slipped and we want to press the council to pass a cliamte emergency motion. Re visiting the statement made by the Welsh Government in April we are reminded that they have set a target of public sector net zero by 2030. That’s 10 years.. we want to know what the plan is.
Cultivate Newtown. We had discussed a full visit to the horticulture training centre, instead we have opted for a hour long slideshow and talk from Steve Jones next week at the Keys, normal time. 7.00 for 7.30 p,m
Bike repair cafe. Please any potential bike engineers wanted.. planning for an event perhaps twice a year
From Repair Café website – if we want to become an ‘official’ repair cafe
Want to start your own Repair Café? You can!
The Repair Café Foundation supports local groups around the world to start their own Repair Café.
For a voluntary one-off fee of € 49 we offer the following digital starter kit:
When your Repair Café gets started, we will
From Montgomery team (11th May 2019)
They pay out £300 for insurance although Repair Café don’t suggest that you actually need it as people sign a disclaimer.
They have drinks and cake for people to buy and ask for donations for repairs.
They use a hall with outdoor space for working on the bikes (could be done indoors but it gave them more space) – Institute would be a good comparison for size.
They had laptop and projector playing a video on loop – this time was from the story of stuff https://storyofstuff.org/movies/
Also have a simple craft area to keep children amused (and hoping to do fabric repairs/upcycling in the future.
Most popular are electrical, electronic (IT), bikes and sharpening of gardening tools. After the 1st event they decided to take the gardening tools to the person sharpening off site as the generation of sparks at the first event attracted a crowd which wasn’t great for H&S !!
When people arrive a form is filled in and a label attached to the item.
Montgomery Repair Café House Rules
Farming and land management is both part of the problem and a big part of the solution. Economic forces and government incentives have pushed farms to be more intensive, bigger and with more and more inputs. This has created cheap food but it has come at the expense of the landscape, wildlife and biodiversity.
Part of the climate change response is to manage landscapes much more organically, to rebuild soils and soil carbon with set of techniques often called regenerative farming.
MPs have approved a motion to declare an environment and climate emergency.
This proposal, which demonstrates the will of the Commons on the issue but does not legally compel the government to act, was approved without a vote.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who tabled the motion, said it was “a huge step forward”.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove acknowledged there was a climate “emergency” but did not back Labour’s demands to declare one.
The declaration of an emergency was one of the key demands put to the government by environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion, in a series of protests over recent weeks.
Addressing climate protesters from the top of a fire engine in Parliament Square earlier, Mr Corbyn said: “This can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe.
“We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to US President Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis.”
At the moment it is set up so that new blog posts appear on the home page. We can create other pages for each of the groups or topic areas if we like. Anything is possible. It is often best to let it evolve organically then make some changes when we have a better idea of how we want it to work.
This is easy to change if we want to, if you would rather have static page as an introduction.