We started with five minutes of silence at Diana’s suggestion and then thanked Hiron for hosting us at the Bangaldesh community centre.
Financial report from Steve: we’ve not really had any fund raising activities until now, but we’ve got a grant of £1000 from Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) for our apple press and we’re putting in an invoice for £500 from donations from our bulk purchase scheme. Well done to Caroline, Jon and Steve for setting the latter scheme up. It was suggested we should split the £500 between a float for paying for meeting rooms and a pot for a “project”, the latter to be decided. It was suggested that we have a subgroup to collate ideas as to what we could do with it, but initially we’ll see what comes out from ideas people have as a result of this meeting. Aside from the CBC grant and the PV donations we’ve got £33.50 (after spending £40 on hiring the hall for the Winter Feast).
Hiron then gave us some insight into the Bangladeshi community. Unfortunately none of the community (aside from Hiron) had turned up for our meeting, and there may be cultural reasons for this: many of the first generation members of the community were rural farmers who view Bangladesh as home and are focused more on day-to-day activities, rather than long term views on the environment. This attitude is reflected in things like recycling rates. The irony is that there is a large attachment to growing food and farming. 90% of Bangladesh community are Muslim, and its very clear in that religion that life and the environment should be preserved. People are choosing to ignore verses in the Koran that promote the protection of the environment. The elders aren’t necessarily keen on environmental messages: many old cultural practices are difficult to change.
Steve suggested that we have a joint event where the Bangladeshi community teach others about growing Asian vegetables and share knowledge of growing. Steve also pointed out that global warming is affecting Bangladesh. Diana said that we can learn from the Bangladesh as to how to survive if we have an economic collapse – being happy with less/no money. Hiron suggested that a picnic in the summer might be an idea as that would be popular with the older parts of his community. Sue suggested charging for the Asian vegetable growing sessions to fund raise for Bangladeshi charities. Jon suggested having Asian cooking/recipes along with the Asian vegetable growing – Hiron said that it might well be something that the ladies in his community would do but they might be slightly uncomfortable with any men taking part. He suggested a small group of women looking at growing vegetables might be the best way to start.
Paul then reported on recent activity: we had a Winter Festival at Rosebury St Peters hall in December that involved an evening for cooking, chatting and networking. Zena came and did carbon foot prints for people.
Report on the admin group meeting that took place at Sue’s house before Xmas. Jon reported on the list of threads that we’d brought together at that meeting from comments that had been made at past meetings. We’re now looking for people taking ownership of these projects – hopefully some of them will move forward in 2012.
Picnic in the Park: Charnwood Arts are very keen for us to be involved, as the event originally had a sustainability theme 30 years ago. We need volunteers who are prepared to work on this to step forward in the next week so that we know what we are able to do. Sue and Steve had suggested a “Do You Own” theme (grow your own, make your own, repair your own, etc). Hiron said that the BSA could prepare information boards about the effects of climate change in Bangladesh. We’ll need to decide what we can do and what to focus on depending on how many volunteers. Several people at the meeting said that they could either help planning and/or manning the stalls. Paul said we could have the apple press at the event, and also suggested we show people the simpler lifestyle from the 1940s and 50s (linking from what life was like when the Queen was crowned, seeing as this is her Jubilee year).
Diana said that we need to make sure that we’re contacting our neighbours so that we start to build local webs of resilience. We could also have an inter-generational skill sharing (which fits in with our desire for reskilling and relearning ideas which might otherwise be lost).
Energy group developments. Jon reported on the solar PV bulk purchase scheme – we’ve had six PV installations made. Andy asked if solar PV paid for the energy used in making it – it does now and its improving. The energy group will be meeting in the next couple of weeks to discuss the PV scheme, insulation installation schemes and making the Energy Descent plan.
Paul reported on the Food Group. The grant from CBC for the fruit press relies on us having at least 8 events with about 25 people at each in the next 12 months. The press and scratter is being built for us and should be ready by the end of March. We’ll do a press release soon to thank CBC for the press and also to encourage people to collect suitable bottles (eg fruit juice or tomato passatta bottles). We’ll need to raise a bit more money to pay for a pasteuriser (about £200). Also Paul has been in touch with the Manor Farm folk at Long Whatton to discuss a baking session. It was suggested that we plant apple trees around the town to supply fruit for the press in future years.
Transport: Paul pointed out that Neville Stork is interested in this. Sue said that there are conversations happening with ABC, etc and Karl from East Leake was keen on organising bicycle maintenance workshop. Sue said that she will follow this up!
Transition Footpaths Session: its a community carbon reduction group promoted by Transition Leicester. They intend for small groups (up to about 10) to meet over seven sessions (usually once a fortnight) to discuss set aspects of transition topics (food, energy, etc). You do a carbon footprint calculation, have “homework” to try reducing your footprint and then do another calculation at the end to see how you’ve
done. Its designed for people in the group to support each other rather than be competitive. There’s a group running at the moment from Transition Loughborough facilitated by Sue, and Amy is about to do the group facilitator training as well. Zena coordinates future groups so people should contact her (or Sue who can pass contact details on to her) if they are interested in setting up/taking part in future groups.
“What would happen in Loughborough if…” – Caroline said that a couple of years ago Transition Buxton ran an evening looking at how their town would be in 20 years time if they had made various changes proposed and Peak Oil had reduced their energy supply. We’ll discuss doing a similar event in the Energy Subgroup – probably something to look at for the second half of 2012 as the Spring/Summer is already filling up. This might tie in well with Energy Descent planning.
Some future events:
- The next ABC meeting on 14th February (Sue presenting the lifestyle movement),
- 19th January at 6pm some TL folk are going to talk to a group in Chapman Street about vegetable growing,
- 18th February the Landscaping Out Society group are tree planting at the University – all welcome to help.
- The next Transition Loughborough open meeting is 15th February at the Gorse Covert Community Centre.
- Steve is organising “Make do and Mend” events at Rosebury St Peters community centre for six weeks from 19th January.
- Loughborough Green Drinks is in Swan in Rushes from 8pm on 26th January.
Paul said he would be happy if someone else would help book events as he’d done it for over six months now. Amy said she’d look into getting some places (Sue has an idea for the March one).
Sue will link with Hiron about arranging to work with the Bangladeshi women’s community.
Amy said the University is doing an environment day on May 14th and asked if TL would be interested? We said yes! Jon suggested that we might want to come up with a TL premade stand so that we’re ready for events like this.