Economic Armageddon

This lecture may appear a bit dry and technical, that’s how finance people speak, but see past that to understand the key themes of what he is saying, this is dynamite. We all know that this is the case, we just probably haven’t fully admitted it to ourselves yet. Since the 2008 crash we have witnessed 11 years of lying, of smoke and mirrors, of quantitative easing, of our own refusal to admit the jig is up. Nothing has changed since then, we have not reformed anything only inflated the problem by kicking the can down the road. Now the developed world is drowning in debt and unable to meet the social responsibilities it has signed up for. Get ready for the roller coaster ride of your lifetimes because the train is going to run off the tracks!

We live in a world here in the West that has become detached from reality. Every day we ignore the ecological un-sustainability of our reality, the economic unreality becomes ever more distorted. Wall street, City of London, banks in general feel they have a right to endlessly make money out of money even if it adds no real value to the economy, money that flows to top to the elites and bares no relation to the world outside of the bubble. Well guess what folks; that bubble is bursting. The West as an economic force is essentially over. We have been the architects of our own undoing as well,.

We believe in house prices, in pensions, in never ending economic growth. Where is the growth supposed to come from when we have exhausted the natural world of its resources and are now turning against our own populations as governments divest from the social economy and their own responsibilities to the electorate. Think about it.. we go to work to do what? To create economic value in theory, what if our daily work does the opposite, it actually makes things worse not better. well that moment is coming up on us. Jem Bendall touched on this is the Deep Adaption paper. The energy and resources in your car and petrol tank that you burn to get to work is worth more than the work you do all day. Think about the implications of that on our economic models.

Richard Wolff is a leading Marxist economist, his critique in invaluable
This is pretty interesting in the light of the previous two videos

Facing up to climate change is as much an economic and social justice issue as anything. I think all of these illustrate just how much our economic models and the plutocrats that run the show are failing us badly. This is getting it right and making some interesting points especially when he starts to compare an economic system to an ecosystem. Of course this is what we teach in permaculture, so for me it is interesting to hear that come out the mouth of an unbridled capitalist. He doesn’t touch on the ecological realities of our predicament, but this is an insightful and interesting critique of where we are at.


BRACE horticulture group have so far agreed to meet each Tuesday behind the institute from 10 am. We are open and inclusive to anyone who wants to join and we are developing our ideas about the purposes of the garden, who its beneficiaries are and to firm up a design. We have so far decided to build 6 main crop raised beds, each will be 1.2m wide and approx 4m long. We are planning a 6 course rotation as the central activity for the space, with wild flower areas around the edges and propagation areas for perennial plants, esp those suitable for forest gardening and extending and filling Cae Bodfach.

We broke ground yesterday at the new community horticulture plot
Plans are evolving, it is early days, this is a collaborative process, we want to hear from you


  • Community building
  • develop strong local horticulture team
  • demonstration of possibilities
  • overlap space for community groups to meet each other
  • BRACE momentum
  • Link to co-ordinated community action on climate
  • add to local food security
  • build soil, compost and fertility
  • 100% organic

Users and stakeholders for involvement/ consultation

  • Llanfyllin High School Sudents, esp land based studies
  • Core BRACE team
  • Drop ins & regular volunteers
  • Town Council
  • Men’s sheds
  • Llwyn Teg, OAP
  • Cross Keys play group
  • BRACE members and network
  • You?

Garden elements

  • Main crop veg produce
  • Forest gardening
  • Fruit tree guilds
  • propagation area
  • composting
  • Signage
  • links to institute
  • maintenance of planters and isolated elements
  • Llanfyllin signage and verges
  • Tool Shed and rain water collection

Meanwhile at Busoga High School, Kamuli. Here is one we made earlier

Connie Kauma and her school team have kept on supporting and extending the forwst garden we designed and planted together on the 2017 PDC at Kamuli. Fantastic to see how the garden has matured already. I hope this will inspire our team here in Llanfyllin to do something here that makes a big impact on the community.

rumblings in the garden

We are hugely excited to have been offered the space behind the public institute in Llanfyllin as a space to create a community growing hub. We are very inspired by the work in Newtown at the Cultivate centre and we want to use a similar process that was used to design and set that in motion back in 2013 when it began. The project there kicked off with an open permaculture design process which came out of a series of consultations with the potential users groups of the growing space.

Our early aims will be to get the site under control, start making compost and start designing the space to contain a mix of raised beds for ‘main crop’ veg cultivation and for propagation of perennials herbs and fruit trees and bushes. There are 100 different species of apple in Cae Bodfach, just over the road so one of our early goals will be to start propagating from them, certainly ones that seem best adapted to the climate here.

The plan currently is to have a weekly volunteer session on Tuesday morning, where among other things, a work for the week will be published to other people who want to contribute on other days can see what is needed and planned. The first volunteer session will on Tuesday next, which is the 17th Sept, we will be there form 10.00 am. Anyone is welcome to join us.

Clive Faulkner from Montgomery Wildlife Trust

Packed evening at the Keys this week, thanks Darren Mayor for the pic

Momentum seems to be gathering at the BRACE meetings. We are currently holding 2 meetings per month, 2nd and 4th Thursday each month, usually one involves a speaker coming to inform us on a particular subject and the other we discuss general business then go into topic groups where we are working on several initiatives.

These include Repair cafe, Community Compost, Heritage Orchard, Roadside Verges and next up a community gardening hub. More on that later. Clive’s talk was fascinating, alarming and very in line with the understanding we have formed about the degree of emergency we should be feeling and how we should be acting in the light of these facts.

Our landscape is frozen in time, it has not been allowed to breathe, to move around, species have been fragmented and trapped and now with climate change there is great pressure for species to move around to find more suitable habitats. Field boundaries haven’t changed in 500 years, you can look back on old maps and seem the same field shapes. As agriculture farms more and more to the edges these reservoirs of biodiversity are also being eroded into.

We need to think in corridors, in pathways, to create a permeable landscape. Species need to move around, to reconnect and allowed to move much more freely. Looking to river banks, railway sidings and verges we realise that many pathways are there and with strategic management we can link together wilder area, habitat rich area and allow a much better movement of our remaining wildlife.

A wild un-managed landscape would form a patchwork, a constantly shift pattern of dense forestation, clearings, pathways, floods and fire and the action of large mammals opens up new spaces and allow the biological succession to happen. With most of the large mammals removed and one we do have contained in rye pastures none of this mosaic of diversity is functioning in a way it will have done for thousands of years. Add to this the stress of ever more pressure on the landscape and a changing climate and we find our self balanced on a knife edge. Many insights into what we must do and how we can manage the land we have access to in way that opens up niches and allows for a much freer movement for all our species.

One School One Planet launch

We welcome any support and involvement from teh BRACE group for the launch event for Small and Slow Solutions. We really hope this publication can contribute to accelerating the responses to the climate crisis, the book is especially aimed at 165 years looking at an uncertain future and wondering how to react, but it is also for eveyone and we are very proud of what we have created. We will have copies to share to Powys educators, parents and anyone wanting to respond meanigfully to what is currently unfolding around us.

events 11th aND 12TH SEPT:

Conferences happening next week in Moelyci Farm, Bangor , Gwynedd.

11th Sept – Innovative BIOMASS conference – Biochar & Biomass Resource use for Resilient Rural Communities also looking at aerobic digestion.

12th Sept – Practical Responses to the Climate Emergency – there is an expert from Holland coming to speak about his car club and app, and also our local Jeremy Thorpe on housing co-operatives, amongst others.
Here is the link to book your free ticket:

Extinction rebellion & deep adaption

A recent XR talk in Penzance

Roger Hallam giving a talk in Penzance, Cornwall, speaking about Extinction Rebellion, the climate emergency and the ecological crisis all around the world. Let’s stop pretending and ACT NOW. If you believe we need to do something about the climate crisis join us in October for the international Rebellion. In October 2018, we declared The Rebellion. In April 2019, we declared The Emergency. In October 2019, we will declare The Truth. Starting on Monday 7 October, we are joining together as global family in an International Rebellion as we grieve the suffering and destruction of our beautiful homeworld. We will gather with our communities across cities, countries, and continents, to rise up and rebel for our deep love of life and the need to protect it.

Journalist Paul Mason talks about extinction Rebellion and other direct action movements
Greta Thunberg and the 1975

We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis, and we need to call it what it is—an emergency. We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control, and that we don’t have all the solutions yet; unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things. We must admit that we are losing this battle. We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed, but Homo sapiens have not yet failed. Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands, but unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance. We  are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people, and now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly. Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that Homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it: we have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases, and either we do that, or we don’t. You say that nothing in life is black or white, but that is a lie—a very dangerous lie—either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t; either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t; either we choose to go on as a civilisation, or we don’t—that is as black or white as it gets; because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival. Now  we all have a choice: we can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations, or we can continue with our business as usual and fail. That is up to you and me. And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change, but you cannot have one without the other. If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level—people like you and me. So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible. Today, we use about 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that; there are no rules to keep that oil in the ground. So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed—everything needs to change, and it has to start today. So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.

Jem Bendell, author of Deep Adaption gives an insightful talk

We touched on the work of Jem Bendell in one of the earlier BRACE meetings, his words here frame what we should be thinking about going forward. As much as we need to be mitigating the on set of climate breakdown, that is continuing to reduce emissions we also need to focus on adaption.

We must now recognise the significant change is locked in and whatever we do we are still facing the likely collapse of the systems on which we depend. Grain based agriculture, the very thing that propelled us forward at the dawn of our agrarian civilization will not survive, indeed it will be one of the first staples of our current world to fall.

I suggest at BRACE we begin to look at local adaption strategies and as a focus of the work we are doing. Prof Bendal suggests we look at these 3 hard truths:

  • Collapse is coming: think of impacts on food and finance
  • Denial works! A renaissance of community support is essential but alone will not be enough. Geo-engineering will not save us, there are no established technologies available to us
  • We have to let go. Collapse is already underway, we cant maintain many of the systems we have in place, we have to prioritize where we invest our energies.

Yes it is an emergency!

Is it strong to be calling this an emergency? The question was raised by the Town Council.

We discussed this at the BRACE meeting this week and the answer we came back with is yes.. emergency is absolutely the right term as immediate action is called for.

Also Climate Emergency has been officially declared by the Welsh government, so it would be wrong to call it anything else. The Office of Future Generations who have identified Climate Emergency and loneliness and Isolation as two key challenges facing our population currently.

What is clear to us that these are intrinsically related and in tackling the climate and biodiversity emergency we can rebuild communities and reconnect people together through taking collective responsibility for repairing our damaged environment.

The Welsh government have identified and are funding 10 key areas to begin to tackle this emergency

Climate change is the greatest threat facing future generations. On 29th April 201 9 Welsh
Government declared a climate emergency. This follows the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) latest report saying we have 12years to avoid climate breakdown

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

A week later the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
findings highlighted that nature is declining globally at unprecedented rates, the rate of species extinction is accelerating with a million species under threat, with grave impacts on people around the world.

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

The steps the government are taking at the moment do not appear to match the declaration of a climate emergency – last year my assessment of the budget showed that only around 1 % of the Welsh Governments Budget was being spent on de-carbonisation.
We are lagging considerably behind other countries across the world and indeed the UK in a number of key areas such as investment in public transport, active travel, energy and re-greening our land

Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

repair cafe update

We have had a great response from people willing and able to help with fixing things at our Repair Cafe sessions (Oswestry 7th Sept 12-3pm , Llanfyllin 5th Oct 12-3pm) so now we are looking for other helpers to support our core team (and always happy to have more fixing experts we can call on!):

  • Anyone who is good with Twitter and/or Instagram to help with social-media and comms
  • Large White Board and dry-wipe pens
  • Cake makers – we will be offering refreshments while people wait and homemade cakes are the best (please include ingredients list)
  • Helpers in the refreshment area
  • People to set up a BRACE stall/table and co-ordinate staffing from 12-3pm (it is a good chance to reach out to the community but Repair Cafe Team already have lots to do on the day!)
  • Someone knowledgeable about BRACE/XR/Repair Cafe concept to liaise with Councillors, Rotary, Lions etc
  • DIY/craft magazines for people to browse through in refreshment area

If you are able to help with any of this, please email or call/text 07958963622

Poster & next meeting

Its seems logical to follow on from Llanfyllin show with an open meeting and to invite new members to find out what BRACE is all about. We can also encourage any past attendees to come along as well and build some momentum. News includes the beginnings of a big conversation with RSPB who are going to be doing a huge 10,000 hectare wetland project above Vyrnwy and they will be reaching out for volunteers.

BRACE could act as a major link between the community and this project to restore a huge area of blanket bog which over the decades has been drained, planted with Sitka spruce and drained areas have also started to regenerate. Turning this carbon source back into a carbon sink will be significant achievement and something we could align the group with and co-ordinate community involvement.

Poster for events etc.. you can down load the poster blank from the link below