This page features our volunteers, TiK Members who give time and energy generously towards achieving the TiK Vision. Why are they involved?
Taking Sustainability Personally
Robert is a former Chair of TiK. He is planning another article that builds upon this one, which presents how citizens can become potent change-makers in achieving sustainability.
I have been reading in the news over the last 24 years how human activity, principally by burning fossil fuels, has contributed to a new phenomenon, global warming. Now a warmer Britain may sound appealing, very appealing in fact, but that is just looking at the issue from a personal convenience perspective. The thing is, global warming is a global issue that is much bigger than me and much bigger than Britain…(contd)
The full article is published here.
Karen Mellor is one of the three founders of TiK, with Vic Bates and Barbara Rowbottom. She gives her reasons for founding TiK and her ongoing involvement. It is a précis of a talk she gave to her church.
Five years ago, I started to consider what I might want to do now that the children didn’t need me so much. I knew that I didn’t want to go back to meaningless seven-figure numbers in banking and, for me to follow my spiritual path, it would have to be something that I felt passionately about and got me up in the morning.
Around this time, there was a General Election and, for the first time in my life, I became more aware of politics, climate change, debt, justice and world inequality. I had always been aware of inequality in the developing world and the importance of supporting their struggles, but, that year, I felt very deeply that the rich countries of the West were using more than their fair share of the earth’s resources and consuming too much stuff.
The more I learned the more it wasn’t enough to just say “well I’ll just do my little bit by recycling and turning my lights off”. In order to make the world a fairer place to live, we must do more than that. We must change the way we think about our current behaviours.
Looking back at my diary entry for April 2010, I was reminded of the Book of Esther, where Mordecai tells Esther “who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this”. Shortly after this, I met with two lovely neighbours from Kings Langley that I hardly knew and we started up “Transition in Kings”.
In the last year, I have been unable to be so involved with Transition in Kings due to family commitments and this standing back made me question my commitment to raising awareness in such a wealthy commuter town, with the appearance of being consumed with greed rather than need.
We have the same struggles in TiK as in many volunteer organisations: the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few; burnout is common; working with community and being community, in love and truth, is a minefield.
The bigger picture
On an international level, once again we are at a crucial point in the Climate Change talks. We hope that world leaders will come to their senses and agree binding carbon targets. I don’t hold out much hope from the UK’s current leadership judging from their recent about-turns on renewable energy.
But, even if they don’t, the world’s ever-growing Transition Network will continue to work out local solutions to encourage behaviour change and work together towards more resilient, zero-carbon communities where people learn to be open with, know and trust their neighbours once more.
Working in the community
As a Christian, to me it means not only being a good steward of our bodies and our money but of the earth and the people God lovingly-created. For me, that means campaigning against major polluters; encouraging people to divest their finances and pensions from fossil fuels; working in the community to encourage others to rethink their lifestyles and holding my brothers and sisters to account, in love. With the expectation that they will, of course, hold me to account, in return.
Jeremy works in “intelligent spaces”, helping public venues identify and connect with visitors through wifi, social networks and other technology. He has always been interested in ecology and was an early member of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Professionally, he is an economist and an ex-Army Officer. In terms of the future, he has three adult children. He works in the Food, Economy and Transport Groups.
It is easy to descend into talk of catastrophes, painting a grim picture of mankind’s future when greed, untrammelled capitalism and consumerism ravage the finite resources of a fragile earth. In the midst of this scenario, there are great examples of change and the challenge is to be that change.
Painter, mythologist and wilderness teacher, Martin Shaw, says that we have fallen out of a very ancient love affair, a kind of dream tangle, with the earth itself. If, through our own mess, that relationship is about to end, then we need to scatter as much beauty around us as we possibly can, to send out a message, to attempt some kind of repair.
The Age of Cheap Energy has come and gone (1850-2008); the myth of endless economic expansion on a finite planet is still pitched by the unfeeling media; the economy is ridiculously skewed toward gross inequality; 97% of our food (if you can call most of it that) is sold through 8,000 supermarket branches; money is created for oligopolistic banks to flog debt and make money from money; manufacturing and skills are left to fester because of another myth, that the free market knows best…
…out of all this negativity will arrive opportunity in the widest sense: to build enterprises which safeguard resources, which promote community involvement, which focus on the local, which don’t need untrammelled growth to succeed.
Everything has to start somewhere and the Transition Network, with other similar organisations, is in the throes of a revolution. The majority of people can’t see it yet but they will…when their pockets are hit by the next financial crisis, the next extreme weather incident, the next exodus of “good” jobs.