Last week’s highlights included an afternoon on the Climate Change Commission for Wales: one of the agenda points is reserved for one of the Youth Climate Champions to talk about their work and concerns. It was 15 year old Cerith Jones’ turn at the Commission and he took the floor with confidence and courage, telling a group of people his parents’ age that they needed to do much more to create a safer world for his generation. I suggested that a reasonable challenge in return for ones he gave us was to fill one of Wales’ big venues before the end of the year with thousands of young people to create a voice for reason, and mandate for change. It’s doable.
The moment one commits, all sorts of good things begin to happen. It’s best to start with setting out to do good, and dreaming big.
o real targets I wondered what Einstein (see previous post) would have thought in response to this thought-provoking post on Climate Radio / Switch-off.co.u. In short, the targets set at the COP 15 Climate talks at Copenhagen in December are about as important as it gets. Large scale commitment and action is needed, with targets in the order of a 40% cut in CO2 emissons by 2020 being the order of the day. Here’s the league table so far:
· Australia – not clear (conditional target of 25% but they are using a base year of 2000)
· Canada – 2.7%
· EU – 20%-30% - half of which could be offsets
· Norway – 30% - a third of which could be offsets
· Japan – 8% - no offsets
· New Zealand – “we’ll tell you later”
· Russia – “later…”
· United States – 0-4% (exact number is unclear) - mainly offsets
The IPCC’s 2007 assessment (now considered to be based on old science) is that industrialised countries should be making cuts of 40% at the very least.
Phone a friend, and start Doing - the upside really is worth having…
To get good at doing, we need to get good at thinking too, and use quite space to focus on what’s really important; it’s the art of asking a good question. Albert Einstein talks about it like this: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
There’s an amazing farm, Blaencamel, nestled in the hills north of Cardigan. For the last 30 years, they’ve been growing wonderful vegetables that sell from their farm shop and farmers’s markets in central and south Wales. They grow soil too. Waste cardboard from local shops, grass cuttings, waste silage, hedge trimmings and old veggies are turned into compost in three weeks; the compost helps the soil grow. The farm is carbon negative because of this, which means they lock up more CO2 in the soil humus than their farming produces. Three decades on, they’re still finding out what works, with a combination of passion, skill, learning and action. The art of Do
(they are going to release 50 extra tickets, which would raise £1,000, which interesting spend on a ticket for Do, then they enter everyone who buys an interesting ticket into a draw for a Do Ticket-fingers crossed)
Hugo Spowers has the power of Do, and he’s used it for 10 years to provide the energy, motivation, passion and perseverance needed to bring an idea to fruition. Today was the day that the world had it’s first real insight into Hugo’s vision of the future of travel in the form of his prototype Hyrban two seater hydrogen car, powered partly by ‘ultracapacitors’ that can strore good amounts of energy and release it quickly.
In four years time, they hope to have the car in full production. Keep an eye on Riversimple. Here’s designer Hugo Spowers on You Tube
2009 Do Lecture speaker Alistair Humphreys features in today’s Guardian website in a neat little article about favourite rides. Inspired by other rollers a few years ago, I started cycling more; my favourites are:
Off-road: The red-graded Gorlech trail at Brechfa forest, halfway between Swansea and Carmarthen in West Wales. The combination of moss-covered ancient stone walls and dappled beech sunlight on the climbs contrasts beautifully with swooping downhills and some of the best berms in the country.
On-road: Still a relative novice at this, but the 1200 mile ride I did with my two eldest teenage children a couple of years back - they were 15 & 17 at the time - was one of the best holidays ever. We cycled from St Davids to the ferry port at Plymouth, took a ride over the Bay of Biscay to Santander, then cycled home. Hot, varied, fast, slow, tired, thirsty, very happy, and exceedingly fit-making.
Last year, a couple of friends from St Davids / Sweden starting hatching a plan to use their skills as photographers to make more of a difference by heading off to the west coast of Africa to capture images of people dislocated and affected by climate change. They had no money, and kept true to their goal, and committed to the trip. Then Amnesty International gave them some work as they were going to be in Africa.
It’s a wonderfully smart thing, nature. Been around for a long time. Weathered major recessions, meteorite strikes, and that kind of thing. Biomimicry teaches design by bringing nature into the classroom, and a good place to start is understanding our place in time. Here’s a few words on what the 4.5bn years of the world’s history looks like in eight steps, compressed into one year.
On 1 March, life started
28 March saw the first photosynthesis
We stayed in single cell status right the way through until the end of August
1 September? Sex and the first multicellular organism. Things started moving then
Dinosaurs were around, and ruling the roost through most of December until being thrown out with the Christmas paper on the 25th.
Humans turned up on New Year’s eve at 6.00pm, dressed as humanids
Homo Sapiens sapiens arrived at five to twelve
The industrial revolution started less than one second ago.
We’re a young species with a lot to learn from the 30-100m other species out there - things like how not to treat our planet as a dustbin, or heat up the atmosphere carelessly. And how not to eat ourselves out of our habitat.
Save time? Keep time? Waste time?
Let’s use time wisely. There’s a need for serious action on climate now, and to be in carbon descent in 700 days. Things to do.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been as busy as a bee. Confirming speakers,getting sponsors, ticket sales, looking at how Do will fly this year. I thought this morning, as I put honey on my usual breakfast … am I really as busy as a bee?
Here are some incredible bee facts that made me realise I may be working hard but I am not quite beehive worthy.
bees never sleep.
When flying, a bee will beat its wings about 180 times per minute
A bee can see 300 frames per second.
According to fossil records, bees first appeared on earth about 150 million years ago.
Bumble bees unlike honeybees, bumble bees only produce enough honey to feed their young and so they have no commerial value.
A full pollen load weighs about 1/6th of the weight of a bee.
A full load of nectar weighs about ½ the weight of a bee.
The average worker bee will fly approximately 500 miles before it wears out and dies.
A queen bee has to eat 80 times her own weight to produce 2,000 eggs per day.
A bee will visit 50-100 flowers during one trip.
A bee must tap 2 million flowers to make 1lb of honey and would have to fly 55,000 miles to get it.
One bee will make 0.8g (1/10 of a teaspoon) of honey during her lifetime.
Wow … you can check out Gerald Cooper’s facinating talk from last year’s Do Lectures on our ‘Bees, Man and the threat of extinction; what we can do’.
Looking into super Termites this year … watch this space.
It’s good stuff, this Doing business. Energises other people. Picks up on Tim Ferriss’ lovely concept of being strategically unreasonable; I like that. One of the goals from the Hay on Earth workshops, inspired by a dose of Doversity, is to get 1000 community climate champions in place in Wales by Christmas this year.
With only 700 days to get every organisation, community and family in the UK into carbon descent, and 4500 more to reduce our emissions, it’s time to start doing. That’s why our goal is to get 1000 people in place, not 10. Time to think big, then Do. Join us.