A couple of nights ago I gave a talk and slide show at the Talbot Hotel in Leominster, Herefordshire. It was organised by Leominster Civic Society and I was called in at the last minute because their planned speaker was suddenly unavailable. I put together a talk about the Herefordshire Local Development Framework document and how we could improve it by learning from some inspirational examples of global best practice in terms of Co2 reduction and a diverse range of other benefits. Throughout the document Herefordshire Council use the term “Sustainable Economic Growth” without ever properly defining it. Many of the places I have written about in this blog over the last year have made dramatic Co2 reductions while seeing rapid economic growth as they develop various forms of renewable energy. Gussing in Austria made a 93% Co2 reduction while creating a thousand new jobs; not bad for a small town of 4,000 people. There is much for Herefordshire to learn.
What I love about these evenings is the opportunity to present the examples that inspire me that a better, more ecologically sustainable and socially just future is possible, but also the many points that arise out of the discussion that always follow these talks. I hear about new ideas, projects, technologies and developments to use in future talks. I have had criticism that just talking doesn’t change anything. This week I heard otherwise: Last year I showed a slide and talked about carbon negative cements such as Novacem and Calera and someone in the group who’d not heard of this before was about to write a document where he now specified that the contractors were to source the lowest carbon cements available, which they have now done. Result!
Also after the Leominster talk there was a lot of networking going on about how some innovative and ecologically restorative land use ideas might be practically developed by a couple of members who owned land. Exciting stuff.
I’ve a few more talks in my diary, but am always open to giving more, so do contact me via this website if you’d like me come to talk to your group, be it a Council, Transition Town, Friends of the Earth group, school, college, Chamber of Trade etc