2 Nov 2009
Llandeilo Becomes the First Transition Initiative to Recieve a Royal Visit
(Here is a press release from Transition Town Llandeilo in Wales…). The Transition Town Llandeilo project was very pleased to receive a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales at the Civic Hall on October 23rd. The Prince was introduced to members of Cymdeithas y Dalar, the allotments project on National Trust land at Dinefwr Home Farm, and to some of the people who saved the Dryslwyn post office from closure by turning it into a community shop. He also heard about “Carbon Conversations”, a practical 10-week evening course to help participants reduce their carbon footprint, and about Llandeilo’s first full Permaculture design course, which is just getting underway.
Members of Transition Cwm Gwendraeth and Transition St Davids were there too, alongside representatives of Calon Cymru. Calon Cymru is a group working towards creating a sustainable corridor through Powys and Carmarthenshire following the Heart of Wales train line. The Transition movement is about creating a community response to the twin crises of Peak Oil and climate change. Llandeilo was one of the first of over 50 communities in Wales that have started along this road.
The Prince’s visit is timely. We are just a few weeks away from the crucial UN Copenhagen conference on climate change. A Met Office study published at the end of September challenges the assumption that severe warming will be a threat only for future generations, and warns that a catastrophic 4C rise in temperature could happen by 2060, unless there is strong action to reduce emissions. Then in October, a report by the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) said worldwide production of conventionally extracted oil could go into terminal decline before 2020 – but that the government was not facing up to the risk. (And in fact many experts suggest that the peak could be much sooner than 2020.)
In effect, climate change is warning us that we must change our lifestyles. Peak Oil indicates that we will be forced to change anyway. Against this background, the Transition movement says that we cannot rely on politicians to sort this out for us. Global and national responses are essential, but we must also respond as individuals, families, and as communities. Transition comes in at this community level.
The communities that will cope best in the changed conditions of 2020 or 2030 will be the ones that have become self-sufficient enough to provide for their essential needs in emergencies. Relying on long chains of food distribution, cheap imported clothes, and loans from financial institutions with headquarters in London or New York, means we lack the ability to withstand the shocks in store. We need a relocalisation of the economy. We need more of us to be producing food, and fibres for clothing, and energy, and to be doing it in ways that don’t rely on petrochemicals. We need to be able to buy more of the things we need locally, but we also need to wean ourselves off shopping as a major leisure activity. We need to be travelling less, and enjoying time spent close to home more. We need to rediscover some of the skills that our grandparents took for granted – valuing once more the merits of ‘dig for victory’ and ‘make do and mend’.
A re-skilling programme is one of the next initiatives that Transition Town Llandeilo will be undertaking, with a ‘taster event’ at the Civic Hall on 22nd November. This will include demonstrations of food preservation, sustainable woodworking, knitting and needlecraft, sourdough baking, and more. This will lead into a more comprehensive programme taking in vegetable growing, keeping chickens, and energy auditing.
As a group we have been envigorated by this visit. A lot of people have noticed for the first time that Llandeilo has Transition Town status. The publicity this has given us, combined with the activities of the Prince’s Charities in Wales in the areas of rural regeneration, sustainable development, and business action on climate change, is helping us to establish deeper working relationships with Carmarthenshire County Council, as well as with our local town councils. Peter Davies, vice-chair of the Sustainable Development Commission in Wales, is also co-ordinator of the Prince’s Charities in Wales. He has previously taken part in a local Question Time event we put on, and this link should be useful to us. With our skills sharing programme about to be launched and our AGM a few weeks away, we think this is something we can really build on.
At our AGM on 30th November, we will be discussing new projects to be undertaken in the areas of Renewable Energy, Food and Farming, and Transport. A fuller picture of our activities is given by the website at www.transitiontownllandeilo.org.uk.
More information is available by calling Steve Brown on 01550 740655 or emailing steve.TL2@btinternet.com.