18 Sep 2008
Albert Bates on peak oil, relocalisation and why the hippys were right all along
In Totnes, one sometimes hears the term ‘old hippy’ used as a term of abuse. Last week in Totnes, Albert Bates, an old hippy of the highest order, thrilled a full house at the Methodist Hall with the story of the Farm Ecovillage in Tennessee. It was a delight for me, as I first heard Albert speaking in 1995, when I was a fresh-faced, just qualified permaculturist who was lucky enough to get a bursary to attend the ‘Eco-Villages and Sustainable Communities’ conference at Findhorn. The speech Albert gave there, one long evening, was a life changing moment.
What is so wonderful about Albert’s talk, both the version I heard in 1995, and the one he gave last week in Totnes, is the incredible story he tells about what can be achieved when people work together to make something happen. The story of hundreds of middle-class city hippy kids turning up on 1000 acres of poor farmland in Tennessee and having to work out how to grow food, build houses, make electricity and so on, is a great story for our times, showing what the combination of circumstance, passion and necessity can draw out of us.
Luckily for those of you who couldn’t make it, Carl Munson of the wonderful Traydio.com was there, and made podcasts of the Albert’s talks. You can here is main talk, ‘Anything is Possible’ here, and a short interview Carl did with Albert at the end of the evening here. You can also read Carl’s review of the talk here. You can recreate the Albert Bates experience in the comfort of your own living room by also downloading his powerpoint here and flipping through it as you listen to the podcast. Now, how 21st century is THAT?! Transition Culture, the cutting edge….