Susan Gregory (NE Seattle Tool Library), Pastor Lorraine Watson (North Seattle Friends Church), Signe Gilson (Cleanscapes), Dai Gorman (Lease Crutcher Lewis), Richard Conlin (Seattle City Council), and Tim Croll (Seattle Public Utilities) at the opening day for the Library.
Here is a wonderful story from Seattle. I am indebted to Susan Gregory and Leo Brodie for their time in telling me about it. In North Ravenna, NE Seattle, a rather exciting project has emerged from Sustainable NE Seattle, the local Transition initiative. Inspired by a similar project in West Seattle, the NE Seattle Tool Libraryopened to the public last month, and already has over 1,100 tools available for local people to hire. Members pay an annual membership and can then borrow tools for a week at a time. The Tool Library is housed in a building belonging to a local church which was renovated using a grant from a local recycling company. I asked Susan to tell me about the Library, how it came about and how it works:
Today’s guest post is from Naresh Giangrande, and explores the story of the Totnes Community Wind Farm, which is reaching a crucial stage in its planning application for two wind turbines near Totnes. He explores how sometimes, it appears, even unprecedented levels of community support just aren’t enough, and how it appears local planners have decided the view from one church and a listed building outweigh the economic and community benefits, not to mention the benefits to future generations:
Yes the small sleepy town of Totnes in South Devon is again in the latest, the hottest front line of cultural dissonance, this time over wind turbines. The Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) is seeking planning permission to erect two 2.3 megawatt wind turbines in the best location for wind energy generation in South Devon, itself one of the windiest part of England. Some people love ‘em some hate ‘em (wind turbines that is), and we are well endowed with many in both camps.
Here is a beautiful short film, which will brighten any Thursday morning, about Transition in Brazil. It looks at what Transition looks like in 2 different communities there, Brasilandia in Sao Paolo, and Granja Viana. Made by the Permacyclists, it is an uplifting glimpse of how Transition is taking root there. I love the quote at the end: “A movement which brings sadness and suffering isn’t sustainable”.
Last Friday I visited Brixton in south London to visit Brixton Energy. Brixton Energy had just closed its second share launch, Brixton Energy Solar 2, which had raised £70,000. Its first project, Brixton Energy Solar 1, was the UK’s first inner-city community-owned solar power station, a 37kW solar array on the roof of Elmore House on the Loughborough Estate. The second was a 45kW system spread over the roofs of the 4 housing blocks of Styles Gardens. I joined Agamemnon Otero of Brixton Energy on the roof of a neighbouring tower block on a crisp and clear winter day, with a clear view over the solar systems that Brixton Energy had already installed (see picture above), to ask him more about the project.
It’s fantastic. Get a copy. It made me wonder whether the recent revival of independent record shops have a few things to teach us more generally about vibrant local economies? As a vinyl junkie and as someone who grew up in independent record shops, I wanted to explore some of the issues in the film in more depth. I was therefore delighted to be able to start out by interviewing Graham Jones, author of ‘Last Shop Standing’ and presenter of the film. As lovers of music, vinyl and independent shops we could have talked all day, but luckily for you we kept it brief.