Future Focus: Food

Hi everyone, and Happy Easter!

I’m too busy to write a proper post about this today but I just want you all to know the second episode of my radio talk show Future Focus is out and ready for you to listen to! Here’s the link:

http://www.mixcloud.com/RadioFreeBrighton/radio-free-brighton-future-focus-17-04-14/?utm_campaign=notification_new_upload&play=new_upload&utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification&utm_content=html

The show is a positive monthly talk show about sustainability which covers a different theme each episode. This time I turned my attention to food: where the problems lie, and what kind of solutions are already happening. I also interview Meiwah, a fellow volunteer for local sustainable living group HASL, who talks about her experience setting up community projects dealing with food waste and growing food locally.

Hope you enjoy it and as ever feel free to give me your feedback! The sound quality at times is not perfect and that annoys me but I’m working on it. But if you have any tips for better content or delivery then fire away.

Next month I’ll be talking about sustainability and travel so watch this space.

Free the Fruit

I just got back from a field-trip with my university to Morocco. It was an incredible experience. But what I want to talk (write) about today is not the sun or the spices or the camels or snake-charmers, nor the invigorating thrill of leaving Europe for the first time, but the orange trees.

In the city of Marrakech, the streets outside the central medina are lined with orange trees. They’re very beautiful and they smell amazing, like someone passing by has a stylish citrus perfume that lingers after they’ve gone. But what I was more excited about was the possibility of abundant fruit. Seeing as the trees were in a public space and there were many poor people who could do with a free snack, I thought maybe the oranges were free for the picking: a civic resource. Upon asking our guide, I found out that for some ungodly reason they weren’t edible oranges, they were some bitter un-eatable variety.

I have no idea why, and it seems like a lost opportunity to me. I’ve always thought cities would be much improved with a sprinkling of fruit trees, lining avenues and adorning parks. I mean, trees already make oxygen, and you can’t really get anything more useful than that. When you consider they also absorb carbon, look pretty and offer food and shelter to wildlife, it’s a done deal. But while you’re at it, why not sweeten the deal with a bounty of fresh fruit?

In the UK and all around the world, we could have local councils and community groups get on a fruit-tree-planting-mission and tick off a tonne of jobs in one go. It’s really important that the fruit be free for local people to pick and eat though. That’s the beauty of the scheme. People shouldn’t be allowed to hog the harvest or take away bagfuls to sell, but they should be able to have their fill. Allowing something to be free does require bursting out of that sad old everything-is-for-sale mentality that seems to pervade our everyday lives. I realise that would be kinda difficult for some people to get their heads around, but I happen to think it’s a nice idea. It would improve poorer people’s chances of getting plenty of fresh fruit, which as a student I happen to know can be expensive. It’d also cut into our food miles and boost food security. Considering the UK imports around 90% of its fruit*, a little action wouldn’t go amiss.

Free peaches! Not my image.

Free peaches! Not my image.

And could it really be more obvious that fruit trees might as well produce edible fruit?
I don’t know what those Moroccan town-planners were thinking, but I bet if they’d done a survey close to 100% of people would have opted for free delicious oranges over useless inedible ones.

* Statistic from The Constant Economy by Zac Goldsmith.

Future Focus: Energy Episode

Hey everyone, hope you’re enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine.

In my last post I mentioned how busy I’ve been working on my new radio show, Future Focus – a talk show all about sustainability for an online community radio station. I’m so excited to tell you that the first episode is ready for your listening-pleasure!
Unfortunately they somehow forgot to tell me when it’d be broadcast, so I was sitting here waiting for the heads up when they actually aired it six days ago without telling me. No worries though, because they mixcloud all their shows. Here’s the link to the episode, which centres around sustainable energy in the UK.

http://www.mixcloud.com/RadioFreeBrighton/radio-free-brighton-tegan-tallulah-future-focus/

This is the first time I’ve worked with the radio so it’s a learning process! I’ve already learnt buckets of stuff that’ll help me out in the next episode, so I’m sure I’ll improve my presenting skills as I go along.

Please have a listen, share with interested friends, and let me know what you think!

The next episode is going to be about sustainable food, so watch this space.

Radio Free Brighton - an online community radio station.

Radio Free Brighton – an online community radio station.

Video: The big picture behind the credit crunch, and what to do about it

Hey there.

Just want to share this 12-minute video I came across on Sustainable Man. It really succinctly explains how the economic crash of 2008 is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, and how due to the depletion of key resources we’re in for a very tough time indeed. Don’t worry, around half way in it saves you from alarm and possible depression by turning to the more proactive question of “what can we do about it?” The solutions explored in the rest of the video are just a teeny tiny teaser of the awesome stuff people are working on all around the world, so be sure to do some more research. For ideas on what to punch into google you could check out my post The Big Bumper Book of Solutions

Share with your friends, especially people who don’t already know about this stuff, and start a conversation!

Also don’t you think the illustrations are brilliant?

 

 

Busyness and the Radio

Hi lovely readers, I hope everything’s going well with you.

I just wanted to explain why my blog’s gone a bit quiet at the moment. As usual there is a good reason, I’m not just being lazy on the writing front. Actually I’ve been incredibly busy. Half way through my degree, my workload is picking up quite a lot (I have to start writing my dissertation soon!!), and I also have a waitressing job that’s taking up most of my evenings. But I’m also doing two other much more exciting things. Continue reading

Enough is Enough – Video

As I wrote in my glowing review, Enough is Enough by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neil is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The book outlines an idea for a steady state economy – a truly sustainable economy that puts wellbeing before profit. When I read the book and found out about this concept, it was pretty much a life changing experience. I was ecstatic that other people were actually working on the ideas that were already half-baked in my mind. It filled me with hope. Today I found this video on Youtube which gives you an 18-minute taster of Enough is Enough, the limits to growth and the steady state concept. If you haven’t read it, watch the video for a quick summary. Then order this brilliant book from your local bookshop!

 

 

What is Sustainable Development?

‘Sustainable’ is used a something of a buzzword these days, employed as a handy prefix for everything from fashion to washing-up liquid to fish to economics. From some of the branding and back-of-packet claims that are commonplace, you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘sustainable’ was synonymous with ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’. It’s not. Very simply, it means ‘can go on and on, maintained at a constant level or rate’. Plenty of natural processes, like childbirth and volcanic eruptions, are not sustainable as they happen and then end reasonably quickly. So it doesn’t mean natural or green, it just means it can continue. I want to say ‘can continue forever’ but obviously nothing can continue forever. ‘Continue for the foreseeable future’ perhaps.

Confusingly though, ‘sustainable development’ is a much more complex concept than simply ‘ development that can carry on for nearly forever’. The most widely accepted definition comes from Our Common Future, better known as the Brundtland Report, in 1987:  Continue reading

wind turbine

EU Announces Climate Targets for 2030

Great news, everyone.

The Guardian’s live stream tells us the EU Commission has agreed on the climate targets for 2030:

  • 40% cut of GHG emissions, from 1990 levels
  • At least 27% of energy coming from renewables – binding
  • At least 25% improved energy efficiency – non binding
  • The EU carbon trading scheme will be reformed  Continue reading

Europe will declare climate goal tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday 22nd January 2014, the EU will be announcing the carbon cutting target for 2030 and the renewables target for the same period.

Europe seems fairly united in the need to tackle climate change, and they’ve already decided a fifth of the budget will be allocated to climate related policies. But dangerously, corporate lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry are using this final window before the announcement to clamour for attention and weaken the deal. If you want the EU to seal an ambitious deal and seriously tackle climate change, please take a moment to send a message to EU Commision President Jose Barroso, through Avaaz.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/save_eu_climate_legacy_d/?aUKFedb  Continue reading

The public meeting took place in a beautiful church

Urgent: Last Chance to Stop the Gagging Law

A few months ago I wrote about why we need to Stop the Gagging Bill. Last week I wrote about  how happy I am that my city is officially opposing it. On Thursday I went to a local public meeting about it, where two MPs and two other speakers hashed it out with 300 concerned local people. The meeting was organized by people power group 38 Degrees, and they’ve also got a petition that’s being presented to the House of Lords tomorrow – if you haven’t already, please sign it!

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/signup/fix-the-gagging-law#petition  Continue reading

Not my image

Geographical Community

There’s a lot of intelligent comment in sustainability circles about how globalization (among other forces) has degraded geographical community. People don’t tend to know their neighbours as much, or at all. People move around the country in search of quality employment (labour mobility, in economic speak). And people move around the world in search of a better life, or just out of curiosity. Continue reading

How Equal is the USA?

In my last post, I showed a short animated video about the huge income inequality in the UK. The video showed the big differences between what people thought the situation was, what they thought it should be, and what it actually is.

If you thought that was a shocker, then get ready, because I’ve found a similar video for the US of A and it’s even worse.

Although this is very much bad news, I think there is one silver lining to be gleaned from both the UK and USA situations. We’re always told that there isn’t enough money for all sorts of great things. Free education, arts funding, a new smart grid, high-speed electric rail, renewable energy, better healthcare, nature conservation… All sorts of things. Well at least the money is very definitely there. If we could just stop all those billions congregating in the tippy top of the pile, we’d have enough money for practically anything.

The first stage is surely raising awareness. Both videos show that people rightly assume the rich are much richer than the poor, but they massively underestimate the difference. In particular, people don’t realise that the poor and middleclass are actually very similar in wealth compared with the most wealthy.

Wake up everyone, this isn’t okay.