The Powerdown Show

This Sunday is 10/10/10 and TSL will be staging a Swap Party and film show. I’ve mentioned the Swap Party in a previous post, but I’ve not said much about the films. They are in fact 20-minute programmes made for TV by Cultivate Centre of Dublin, Ireland. In all there are ten episodes, all of which are well worth watching, although we will only be able to show three or four on Sunday. The first episode outlines quite forcefully the twin challenges we face of Peak Oil (PO) and Global Warming (GW), but having stated the problem, the remaining episodes look at how individuals and communities in Ireland have tried to develop sustainable solutions to some of the areas of modern life that are going to be hardest hit by PO and GW. Throughout there is no attempt to deceive us about the meaning of sustainable. Here ‘sustainable’ means something that can go on reproducing itself indefinitely, and so there is a strong emphasis on using materials from nature. An example of this is in the episode on ‘Shelter’ where we see beautiful buildings made of cob (straw and clay), and wood, which are close to being ‘passive’ houses, after the German passivhaus, which uses no energy to either heat or cool the building. Going a step further, in the example from Daintree, people live and work in the same vicinity, thus radically reducing carbon emissions from travel, but also creating strong community links. It’s a very inspiring episode, and it makes me think of what could be done in HK if we grew plantations of bamboo and used it to make all low-rise buildings. Some wonderful examples can be seen here of what one company in Hawaii and Vietnam is doing: http://www.bambooliving.com/

In the episode dealing with energy it is again refreshing to hear the emphasis placed upon the need to drastically reduce our use of energy, instead of trying to kid us that we can go on with business as usual if we just switch to renewables. It is made quite clear that renewables cannot do for us what fossil fuels have done – not by a long chalk. However, the conviction comes through that changing our lifestyles will in fact lead to a much more rational use of energy, which can in turn contribute to a saner, more satisfying existence.

Other episodes look at transport, food, the economy, community, Transition, systems thinking and where we go from here.There is an enthusiasm and excitement running through them all which is highly infectious. You are left very much with the conviction that there are so many things that can be done to combat PO and GW whilst significantly improving the quality of our own lives. Reconnecting with nature and with our local communities is at the heart of the Transition Movement, and these programmes were produced in order to support that Movement. There are many short clips from interviews with some major figures who are concerned with these issues, such as Rob Hopkins, George Monbiot, Richard Douthwaite, Graham Strouts and Jeremy Leggett. All the programmes are compelling viewing, leaving you energised and eager to get out there and do something. Don’t miss the chance to see some of these programmes – come along and join us on 10/10/10 at China Beach Club, Mui Wo, from 4.30-7.30pm on the rooftop.

Don Latter

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About transitionsl

I've been an English teacher for the best part of 30 years, teaching in England, Tanzania, Brunei, Australia and Hong Kong. I've always been interested in nature and environmental issues, but it was the discovery of Peak Oil about five years ago that galvanised me into trying to help my local community to prepare for what will be a dramatically different world to the one many of us have been used to. I've been helping to run a transition group, following the guidelines created by Rob Hopkins's Transition Movement in the UK. This blog is an attempt to engage in discussion with a wider group of people in Hong Kong on the ways to transition from our current oil dependency to a state of fossil-free local resilience.
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