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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A new economy?

As UK goes through a continuous periods of austerity throughout the remainder of this decade, and the remainder of the plant has their own practices to deal with their ongoing recession. Even when economies were ‘good’ many Governments still ran up huge national debts …. How can these ever be minimised? If ever? Can you really affect your government? Or is it more feasible and realistic to focus upon your locale?

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.

So…..

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 – great on the large scale – yet what of all the little co-operatives?

Divestment is a word that has been banded about as a trend in the mid 2010’s and with some successful campaigns encouraging industry and Government to support a switch in support towards more ‘sustainable’ resources.

Can we really pull all funding away from these ‘bad sources’ of coal burning/oil exploration? Will divestment really make a fundamental shift in such a short term? It would be na├»ve to believe that hundreds of millions of sterlings, Euro’s, Dollars, Yen will switch over in a short amount of time that the carpet will be pulled under from all these dirty technologies?
Unlikely …..
It may be premature to mention that nuclear and fossil fuels have ‘lost the race’ as transition is not as easy as many believe. With pension schemes from big UK firms looking to potentially switch investments towards massive projects such as Swansea Tidal Lagoon (and Cardiff and Newport Lagoons) yet what about all the smaller co-operatives that have been screaming out for funding for the last twenty years? Will they continue to be overlooked?
There are many heroes that it would not be right to forget about who pioneered community renewables and investing in local areas yet were unsuccessful in their initial renewable energy applications at the turn of the century (Awel Aman Tawe  in Swansea and Arts Factory  in Ferndale) yet hopefully their reinvented practises will flourish this time around as the 2010’s recognises greater need for co-operatives in renewables, housing, food, skills etc.

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?