Thursday, 13 May 2010

Thursday 13th May 10

A very busy day, with three meetings and a potentially relaxing gig... with me as an audience member!

My first appointment was with a group called York Probus, who are a group of retired ex-professional 'gentlemen' who meet once or twice a month to go on a visit, have a talk, experience companionship. They meet at a pub on the Shipton Road, gathering at 9.45 with a speaker at 10.15 til 11, then a beer in the bar. They had a bit of business first, and 'wired me for sound' so I was amplified, and introduced me

I started with a few minutes introducing myself, then moved onto resource depletion and explained about Hubbert's peak, and what peak oil actually means and how the post-peak situation might pan out. Then I went onto the results of all this oil use... CO2 levels in the atmosphere rising from a pre Industrial Revolution level of 280parts per million, to today's 390, with many scientists saying a safe level for a habitable Planet is 350ppm. I explained a bit about the predicted direct results of too much greenhouse (sea level rise, bigger, more frequent storms, floods, droughts, species extinction) and the indirect result of some of these things, including migration, changing patterns of disease, famine. Then we got onto what the talk was supposed to be about: 'The Green Way Forward' (their title, not mine!) which included info about personal changes such as diet, renewable energy, lower carbon energy, reducing resource use, personal carbon trading/rationing, localisation. And I mentioned political solutions, tech solutions, community solutions, intergovernmental solutions.

Then it was 'over to you' and the first off the mark was a retired banker (!) who launched into 'we don't know if CC is natural or human induced' and 'individual actions are futile' and 'that volcano produced more CO2 than several year's worth of human emissions... I was glad to have memorised the correct estimated figures for that to shoot him down on that, making his other arguments look a bit crap. There were several other deniers but also some 'agreers' which was reassuring.

I could have continued for a lot longer, as could the audience I think... but we had to stop. There was a vote of thanks afterwards, and the old chap doing that told me that I had presented the most challenging talk they'd ever had (I'm proud of that!) and although he didn't feel any wiser, he did have a lot to think about! YES!!!

I had a coffee with a few of them in the bar afterwards, and chatted/argued for an hour... and they told me most people have a quick drink and are gone in 20 minutes, so I'd lasted much longer than they expected! They had done a collection basket and this ended up with £55 in it, which is destined to be given to York in Transition.

I decided to pop in on my new friend Jenny, who had some compost off me and wanted to write me a cheque for that. I really like her company... I could have stayed there all afternoon but I had to get back for lunch and my second meeting at 2.30. But I briefly popped into see Dylan at Miller's Yard to pick up his orange skins and coffee grounds (what a mix!) and then home via Freshways who only had a small amount for me.

A very quick lunch and immediately back on my bike to go to South Bank to Millthorpe School. This was through Freecycle... a teacher involved in the special needs class had asked for gardening materials.. and I'd replied, not sure exactly what, but offering help and compost, no doubt! She is wanting to do some raised beds or planters, and wanted to engage my 'expertise' which I told her was not as much as some of the gardeners I knew, but she seemed determined to keep me involved, and what I have to do now is send her lots of information about assorted composting equipment, planters, nurseries, and sources of information. She's working on a funding bid, and if she gets this, she said she'll pay me as a consultant!

From here I cycled swiftly over to St Nicks to attend the 3.30 York Rotters Management meeting. this was a really good meeting, as we reviewed the past year's work. On most areas, we exceeded our targets. We looked through some research that the Council commissioned, which showed that 55% of York residents had heard of York Rotters, and 12% of these had used our services in some way... which means that about 6% of people in York have used our services... a considerable number, if true! So, that was a very upbeat meeting and I'm really glad that Sara the recycling officer is back with us, after maternity leave.

I got back home quite near to 6pm, and settled down for a quiet hour, had tea, but at 7, had to go out again! My old friend Rakesh is standing for election with the Co-op Board, and he had asked me to be his proposer. So I cycled along to the Rowntrees part of town and spent a bit of time with him, signed the papers, and at 8, went to the Clarence St Working Men's Club, where I thought the CarFree Cities Fundraiser was taking place. But it wasn't. I realised it was at the Lawrence St Working Men's Club, duh! So I cycled all the way back to my side of town, parked my bike and paid my fiver to sit and listen to Helgi's band 'Hot Fudge' who were very good (I enjoyed listening to the female lead guitarist and singer), and a band I didn't like as much, Standard Fare. I read lots of Permaculture magazine, but had a few good chats to Kate, Dave, Rory, Ginevra, Owen, Graham and others.

Home by 11.30. Knackered but very happy.

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