Film – The Power of Community

Feb 23 2009

Borrowed from World Development Movement Thorn House 5 Rose Street

Notes from post-its written at meeting.

Present:  Eric,  Helen , Johanna, Louise, Mike, Pauline, Roger,  Sara, Sarah, Tom.

Parts of film bringing optimism:

The whole film was quite uplifting – People seemed happier surviving and thriving with less. Lots of solutions.
One aspect I liked was the way the people responded to the crisis in a positive way and became quite creative.
Rebuilt community spirit with everyone pulling together.
We should be much more optimistic about the future.
Optimism – human ingenuity and creativity in times of crisis.  Worry – Can we in a consumerist society adapt at the same speed as Cuba ?
We coped with somewhat similar  problems in WWII and if push came to hard shove  we could do so again.  We also have more scientific knowledge which would help.

Could copy ?

I liked the way the various solutions brought people into closer communities. Also the mixed community workers all living close together, avoiding commuting.
Sense of community.  Health system.  Education valued.
Be more local. A culture of interlinking; resources sharing, skill sharing, strong communities.
A move from an individualistic culture to a community driven society.

Differences / questions.

Population to land ratio ??
How well would this work in a colder climate ?
No sub-tropical climate – harder to grow a range of soft fruit and vit C rich veg without polytunnels.
Less recent experience of centralised planning, land management and austerity measures.
Heating a much harder problem to solve here.
Different temperature, but no air conditioning less of a problem.
Also different temperature for growing a wide range of vegetables – change of diet for UK on the whole.
Climate difference is everything.
Scottish land ownership, much in the hands of a few.

Government actions which could facilitate:

Give us land 4.5 acres per person in Scotland ( from Soil and Soul )
Sustainable energy and introducing legislation to govern its use responsibly.
More carrots and sticks for energy efficiency:
1.    Heavy taxes to eliminate gas –guzzlers
2.    Car-pool lanes for those cars carrying 3+ passengers
3.    One button at the door to turn off everything except the fridge; to make it easier to remember.
4.    More incentives for small scale renewable, small scale farming and cultivation, training, sustainable subsidies and more allotments.
Subsidise trains, high tax on aviation and car fuels.
De centralise electricity generation, generate near where demand is high.
Should government force actions – if so what ?