Can we together Create the Future we want

This is copy of an article by Robin Coates, first written for Malvern Hillistic.

To add to the Transition to a low Carbon more Community resilient world that Transition Malvern Hills (TMH) has been working towards we now have the massive Brexit transition to work our way through.

From a TMH perspective the big concern about Brexit is that the EU has been very successfully working towards (and achieving in many areas) much improved environment protection and standards. As well as being vital leaders of the Climate Change agenda. Will the UK now backslide to the position it was before we joined “The Dirty Man of Europe”? We had the poorest recycling rates, the highest level of pumping sewage to sea and spreading sewage sludge to agricultural land, the most inefficient houses (by Northern EU standards), the least interest in restricting dangerous chemicals and pesticides and much more. Having to raise our game to meet EU regulation has led to major benefits in nearly all environmental areas. In others like air pollution the regulations have enabled the Government to be taken to court by UK pressure groups and instructed by the courts to create a plan.

If there is a loud enough voice from the public we can perhaps stop there being a bonfire of necessary regulation (the bonfire proponents would call all this red tape).

It is just possible that Brexit could lead to the UK creating a vision of a different future. We will be less attractive to Multinationals so maybe their lobbying tactics will stay focussed on Brussels and the publics’ voice could carry more weight in the UK.

As Rob Hopkins the Co- Founder of Transition Towns recently wrote in his blog:
It could, after all, end up with England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, in whatever permutations of independence or united-ness we end up with, as a model sustainable, equitable and resilient nation, showcasing a completely renewable energy grid, home to thriving and diverse food economies, meeting its housing needs through truly affordable gorgeous homes in community ownership, supporting each other through the long-overdue disintegration of neoliberalism, creating diverse thriving working communities. And if those of us fighting for a better world in the UK have lost the link to the EU, then we will need to find other ways of co-operating with our friends across Europe and around the world, working locally but sharing our learnings, overcoming barriers and tapping with greater vigour into the networks that exist. Well why not?

From a Hillistic perspective we can add to this healthier citizens supported to eat and live healthily with unhealthy food advertising banned or carrying serious warnings and lots of emphasis on complementary treatments that support our bodies to heal themselves, with drugs being a last resort.

To make this much more attractive future come about we, as citizens, are going to have to raise our voices and support or create the many experiments and prototypes of this more healthy society. We need to realise just how many people want this more desirable future and feel rather hopeless about it happening. It is worth pondering on how many small groups are quietly working on this, usually believing they are in a tiny minority as they are not connected to other groups and individuals working on another aspect of a very similar vision.

There is a book called Blessed Unrest subtitled: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. It is a 2007 New York Times bestseller by Paul Hawken. He identifies all the fragments from social justice, indigenous peoples’ oppression, inequality and environmental issues and more and showed how interconnected these are and how many millions of people are working for change but most not realising how much we need to join the issues and our pressure and solutions. To broaden our sense of community and realise together we can achieve much more.

TMH’s project have been based around the notion of them being community schemes (the Malvern Hills Car Club and the Malvern Community Energy Coop being examples). All our efforts have also built links to other Malvern groups. The Malvern Cube Youth and Community Centre is perhaps the most overtly community based project, helping to save the building from demolition and then run it and develop it with a wonderful group of Trustees and Volunteers from other groups and interests.

A great venue for your next event, group or class, have you tried it yet?

Now Malvern has a community resource second to none where all ages, abilities and interest can do their own thing and meet others with different interests.
What else can we create together?

We would like to start a project that brings together the distribution of local food but we need interested volunteers, could you be one of them?

More information: for electric bike greenwheels.org.uk, for the car club malvernhills-carclubs.org.uk, for the malverncube.com or contact Robin Coates 01684 540284, robin@robincoates.com.

Volunteer Waste Champions

Worcestershire County Council are trying to recruit volunteer waste champions to work for Worcestershire County Council.

Emma Stuart ,Waste Prevention Project Manager at Worcestershire County Council says:

Do you enjoy talking to people and sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm? Are you a passionate composter or have some great recipes for using left over food?

If so would you like to become a Worcestershire County Council Waste Champion?

With Worcestershire residents throwing away a massive 260,000 tonnes of waste each year, there is an increasing need to reduce the amount of waste being produced.  And this is where you come in…..

The County Council would like to work with communities to encourage them to compost more, waste less food or even understand better what can and cannot be recycled.

If you can spare some time and would like to encourage others to reduce their waste please get in touch. You can advise on all aspects of waste including reuse, repair and recycling.  Or just one part; so if you are a keen gardener, you can become a Compost Champion.

The County Council also supports the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign so if food is your passion, what about learning how to run cookery demonstrations and classes to show people how to reduce their food waste and, more importantly, save money!

You do not have to have any specific experience as we will give you full training, all we ask for is enthusiasm and commitment!

For further information please visit www.letswasteless.com and click on the “Waste Champions” button.

 

Electric Bike Loan Scheme

bikeLoanCycling is one of those great win/win/wins you get some exercise, feel healthier and more in touch with your environment and it is by far the most energy efficient form of transport. Energy efficiency in transport is all about the power to weight ratio so it seems crazy that we design cars that weigh over a ton to move a person weighing 80 kilos.

OK there is a problem, Malvern is too hilly I hear you say and anyway I am too old to cycle. Not if you have an electric bike, when the sensor detects it is getting harder work for you the motor helps you pedal. The same with head winds. This means you are able climb hills easier and faster, none of that walking up hills, standing on pedals or puffing and panting

I live in Colwall Green and am 73 years old it takes me on average 15 mins to get to the middle of Malvern 4 miles away in a car and 20 minutes on an electric bike. I arrive feeling fresher but not sweaty. With paniers I can carry some shopping and of course park anywhere. There is something very satisfying about cycling, for me it is the combination of choosing my pace, sedate or thrilling, experiencing my surroundings and a warm glow of self-satisfaction knowing this is good for me and the planet.

It was this good for the planet Carbon Footprint saving associated with electric bikes compared with cars, particularly for the shorter journeys, that got us to start our Electric Bike Loan Scheme 6 years ago. Now you see many more in Malvern. We wanted local residents to experience the tremendous benefits of a good electric bike. With the motor assisting you as pedalling gets harder. Our idea was to give local residents the chance to have a real trial over a 2 week period, so they could try some of their regular trips to see if it works for them. We have 4 mid-range bikes for a free 2 week loan. I also have 2 folding bikes of my own that can be tried when visiting me, one is a converted Brompton an amazing machine if you need a small folder. I use this when ferrying the car club cars about.

There are two main systems of providing the power by either a motor in the wheel hub or a motor driving the crank/pedals. The later tends to be smoother and have better range and hill climbing ability with a smaller motor. There are also different power outputs of motors and batteries. We can help you figure out what is likely to be best for you depending on your use pattern, location, budget and fitness.

Our scheme has also been very helpful to people recovering from illnesses, operations and injuries. It has also helped people who have lost their licence to stay mobile and get to work. Many people have not cycled for years and are amazed at how well they can get back into it. Several parents have taken up electric bikes so they can ride with their children to school a great way of keeping them fit and helping children to see that car travel doesn’t have to be the default way to be mobile.

Using an electric bike in combination with our Car Club (Car Share 12 vehicles and 70 households in the Malvern area) can work very well. This way you have access to a car when you need it for those longer journeys or big shopping trips all at a fraction of the cost of running your own car (or second car).

Good bikes are expensive so sometimes people prefer to hire from us on a long term basis and we also sell our bikes after 3 years for less than half price. Malvern Cycles now stock and sell Electric Bikes and we can help you decide on the best electric bike for you. We strongly advise avoiding cheap ones on the internet as they often suffer from poor performance, reliability, early battery failure and no spares or service backup.  The exception might be if you are going to be a very occasional user but then we would suggest buying from a dealer who will give you service and near enough so you can return the bike easily.

For more infomation on electric bike loan go to greenwheels.org.uk,  for the car club malvernhills-carclubs.org.uk or  contact Robin Coates 01684 540284 email robin@robincoates.com

This post is by Robin Coates and is based on an article by Robin in Malvern Hillistic. 

Malvern Clothing Exchange

The Malvern Clothing Exchange currently open every Thursday morning , at the Octagon Centre, Brook Farm Drive, Malvern, WR14 3SQ. Upstairs in the gallery- between 10.30 and 12.30pm for exchanges of  Babies’ and young people’s clothing [ Ages 0-16 years]. The Octagon’s Coffee Club operates at the same time, open to all Malvern  residents.

Click here for a map of where the Octagon Centre is 

The Clothing Exchange welcomes parents/grandparents and children. Exchanges are usually three items per child but you can take more  and can come back again & again!  Many parents bring lovely clothes to donate.  Some are new donations from shops. There is no charge if you exchange items . If you have no clothes to exchange you may still take items  for your kids and leave a small donation to our running costs.

Saving the earth and saving you money for other things!

For more information see theoctagoncentre.org.uk

Malvern Cube Market

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Malvern’s market is back, every Saturday.

This once popular Malvern market will be here every Saturday from 10:00am – 2:00pm, bringing you all your favourite produce including fruit & veg, locally produced meat and sausages, fresh bread and a variety of other artisanal stalls selling locally crafted goods.

Don’t worry about the weather, it’s all under cover! Ample free parking and on-site café.

Keep your community unique and shop local!

If you are interested in running a stall please contact the Cube on the details below.

Malvern Cube, Albert Road North Malvern, WR14 2YF
email: malverncube@me.com
Phone: 01684 575363
Facebook: /TheMalvernCube
Twitter: @MalvernCubeMKT @malverncube
web: www.malverncube.com