The talks included:-
Green Economics by Molly Scott-Cato
UK power generation by Peter Marshall
Microhydro by Rachel Fielden
Peak Oil by Ian Page
We showed the BBC film Message in the Waves in support of our campaign to reduce
the number of plastic bags given out in Thornbury. The audience learnt about the huge swirl of
plastic debris that is circulating in the Pacific Ocean. This ‘soup’ causes major damage to wildlife
in the region, particularly birds such as the albatross, turtles and dolphins who get tangled or choked by plastic which they mistake for food or playthings.
We showed the film The Power of Community, which looks at Cuba after it lost its oil supplies when the Soviet Union broke up. It shows how they increased food production by using every available space to grow vegetables, especially in the cities, and they got about by riding bicycles. The film described how they became fitter and rediscovered their sense of community.
The film stars Pete Postlethwaite and is set in 2055. Pete Postlethwaite plays an archivist who is looking back at how stupid people were not to do anything about global warming. See the Age of Stupid website, including a trailer and posters. The film is about 90 minutes long.
Tickets for the film cost £3 each. The film show started at 7:45pm. Doors opened at 7:15pm. After the film show there was a question and answer session with a panel consisting of our MP Steve Webb, Paul Ashford (member of the International Panel on Climate Change), Ian Page (member of International Futures Forum) and Chris Sunderland (Agora).
Molly Scott Cato talked about the credit crunch and how predictable it was, as borrowing had got out of control. She said it was an opportunity to change the economy to a much sustainable one. She talked about initiatives in Stroud and elsewhere such as LETS, local currencies and community supported agriculture. For further information see the New Economics Foundation website.
Peter Marshall talked about the likely shortfall in electricity generation in the UK. He said that as old power stations shut, there are not enough new power stations planned soon enough to fill the gap. The national grid infrastructure is also getting old. He took the view that renewables could not fill the gap, and we needa programme to build new nuclear stations.
Rachel Feilden of the Mendip Power Group talked about her 6kw watermill on the Frome in Somerset. She described how they had restored the building and fitted a new turbine. She said there are many other potential sites in Somerset, Gloucestershire and elsewhere in the UK, and these could contribute significantly to our electricity generation.
Peak Oil was the subject (on 28th April at the Chantry) for Ian Page, who is a former futurist for Hewlett Packard, now a consultant with International Futures Forum. He said that oil production seems likely to decline to nothing for the next few decades while demand will climb sharply if the recession ends. With bio-fuels and more efficient cars we can carry on for a few more years, but the shortage will hit us about 2020. Nuclear electricity will hit a similar shortage of uranium in a decade or two.
A discussion agreed that we should aim to produce basics such as food more locally, so that we are not dependent on lorries or international trade.