Steering Group Minutes

Steering Committee Minutes
Click here for 19 July minutes. Hopefully Andy will produce those for last night’s meeting shortly.  Whether they will eventually appear on this website or be found at where you may find the January (first meeting) and February minutes under ‘Files’ if you’re logged in as a member, I can’t say.

The following is not the minutes (see above) but a description of the meeting with useful hypertext links.

I had intended a flurry of posts, but let’s get at least one in place – more to follow.  Click on the hypertext links herein to be taken to more info in a new window.
Last night’s meeting was well attended with 9 steering group ‘members’ (undefined) and two visitors.  The open agenda became impossibly long and much could not be meaningfully discussed even by 9.35 although quite a lot of time was spent nattering about things which didn’t really take us much forward – partly the nature of ‘committees’ perhaps?

There were clearly very different opinions strongly expressed – and no doubt others left unsaid.  It seems that solar power might not be a ‘good thing’, “free” solar panels are clearly suspect and nothing must be done for a profit. (Whether that means loss-making non-solar energy sources are a good thing I’m not sure).

I’m intending to be a little provocative and hope this will generate some discussion here.  I am however mindful of and inspired by the ‘Standard Transitions’ principles (see item 3. especially) of embracing different points of view and trying to move forward with what we must all do and hopefully can all agree on, at least to the extent of making a real difference.  Hence the need to draw in, inspire and motivate ‘almost everybody’ which seems to me to be the essence of the transitions movement and a major reason for its rapid growth.  But dozens or hundreds of transitions initiatives is not enough.  Some of those need to engage with and motivate not hundreds but many thousands of ‘ordinary’ people – that’s you and me mate.

The various websites were considered in passing but barely discussed. There was discussion of a ‘think tank’ or more a regular  public forum really and the need to find a venue for these preferably free. (Please comment or leave a reply below if you can help). The first such meeting (forum) on the topic of ‘Energy’ might take place in St.Paul’s park on Saturday 27th August. (Details/confirmation to follow).  A second forum may follow after a month on ‘Food’.  Other likely or possible topics for future sessions might be Transport, Waste/Re-cycling, ‘Environment, water and Conservation’ (I just made that one up) and ‘Inner transition and creativity’. (Did I make that up too or was it implied in last night’s discussion?) – that’s 6 topics or 6 months to next January for a start unless we have shorter ‘forums’ more frequently or ‘divvy up’ into separate groups sooner. (Comments please!).

The next steering group meeting (all welcome), every third Tuesday is scheduled for 16th August 7-9.30 pm at the usual venue. Please submit agenda items in advance via or transitionbrentford at or maybe here.

Other topics considered last night were  ‘the end of the motor car’; ‘car-pooling’/lift-sharing (offered by the same person in almost the same breath); ‘Verticalveg‘; the dangers of (Boris Johnson’s) cycling super-highways; bike-trailers (includes bamboo link); workshops at Syon Lane; school workshops and Education Network (you could volunteer here); we don’t want nuclear power; transitions training  (17-18th September in London); learning and borrowing ideas from ‘what works’ or has been successful elsewhere; leafletting at Morrisons and perhaps at Brentford Festival on Sunday 4th September; an Art festival and Community gatherings/publicity; acquiring a printer; Tree-planting with the Woodland Trust; Walnut harvesting and a Brentford wild food map, Capital Growth and Cultivate London.

On nuclear power and just for discussion I give you James Lovelock of ‘the Gaia hypothesis’ in the Guardian 1st March 2008:
Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive. To Lovelock, the logic is clear. The sustainability brigade are insane to think we can save ourselves by going back to nature; our only chance of survival will come not from less technology, but more.
Nuclear power, he argues, can solve our energy problem – the bigger challenge will be food. “Maybe they’ll synthesise food. I don’t know. Synthesising food is not some mad visionary idea; you can buy it in Tesco’s, in the form of Quorn. It’s not that good, but people buy it. You can live on it.” But he fears we won’t invent the necessary technologies in time, and expects “about 80%” of the world’s population to be wiped out by 2100. Prophets have been foretelling Armageddon since time began, he says. “But this is the real thing.”
Read the whole article for more provocation!
Slightly more optimistically, in a recent paper on ‘Gaia’, Lovelock says:
There are no benign or malign organisms: we just do our things and suffer or enjoy the consequences. I like to think our CO2 emissions were an innocent mistake not something done with malice, so there is no occasion to feel guilty about it.
The remaining life span of the biosphere is unlikely to be much more than 500 million years, so that if humans died out the chances of our replacement by another intelligent communicating species is improbable. If this is true then we have a goal a purpose. As part of the Earth system our job is to help keep our planet habitable and perhaps become a step in the evolution of an intelligent planet.
I look forward to your comments,  replies (and posts if you sign up). (And did I miss anything?)

PS. I missed working with faith groups and wildlife/nature conservation trusts. Mention of London Wildlife Trust, Gunnersbury Triangle and Pensfold? Field Kew.


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1 Response to Steering Group Minutes

  1. Trevor Bending says:

    The link for London lift share is
    (If wordpress doesn’t strip it – otherwise I’ll add it later london dot liftshare dot com

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